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    How Self-Doubt Can Be Your Greatest Ally

    If you struggle with self-doubt, you’re on the right blog post.

    And if you saw the title of this blog post and thought, “Wait! Self-doubt has robbed me of opportunities and ruined my life! How dare you call it my friend?” I promise you, it’s not click-bait.

    This is not going to be one of those posts that gives you 10 ways to get rid of self-doubt or ignore it.

    Read on because by the time you get to the end of this post, you’ll know how to ensure self-doubt doesn’t sabotage you.

    Self-doubt refers to a lack of confidence or faith in oneself and/or one’s abilities.

    How can this possibly be a good thing, you ask?
    I didn’t say it was. Or wasn’t.

    And I promise I am not trying to confuse you.

    But have you ever successfully treated an ailment that wasn’t accurately diagnosed?
    No? Me, neither.

    Cos you see, what usually happens is that when we’re looking for pain relief, we have a tendency to attack the symptoms right away.

    Not realising, remembering or caring that the symptom is a sign of something else.

    I have a headache.
    Right, I’ll just pop some aspirin.
    Not remembering that I haven’t slept well in a week, I’m stressed, deydrated and I’ve been subsisting on coffee all day today.

    I’ve got a pimple, hyperpigmentation or acne breakout.
    So, I’ll just buy the new stash of skincare products that popular Instagram influencer swears will give me fair, glowing, kissable skin in under 7 days.
    Forgetting that it’s about to be that time of the month, I’ve been eating cr*p the last week or so, I’ve never used sunscreen and that hyperpigmentation really isn’t supposed to disappear overnight.

    When we want relief from something that makes us uncomfortable, we don’t often consider that the uncomfortable state of affairs might just be a manifestation of a different thing. A warning that something else needs to be looked after.

    If self-doubt shows up, there is usually a reason.

    Self-doubt exposes to you, the very thing you already believe you are lacking.

    So, it might be the manifestation of an insecurity (which you might have up to a point, hidden quite well from others or one you told yourself you don’t have).

    It could also show up because you are actually carrying unresolved trauma from a past experience.

    Say you have to give a presentation and even if you’ve prepared for it, you’re filled with self-doubt. You believe there’s just no way you can give a valuable presentation.

    If you look back (and sometimes, you may not have to look too hard or far), you’ll see the reason you’re wracked with self-doubt is you truly believe, so say to yourself that
    you’re unworthy because you believe

    • the people you’re supposed to give the presentation to, are better/richer/prettier/more articulate than you
    • you’re not clever, so you have nothing to say that anyone wants to listen to
    • you’ll mess it up because you always make mistakes and mess things up
    • nobody wants to look at you cos XYZ

    More often than not, you’ll be repeating a story that you started to tell yourself after one experience or you’re just repeating what someone else told you. Voilà self-doubt thrashing you in a situation that has nothing to do with your abilities!

    Now, you may not have time to go to therapy before your presentation is due, but it usually helps if you can get down to the reason the self-doubt is showing up.

    You’re not stupid just because you failed an exam.
    You’re not worthless just because you grew up without money. Or you only have one good pair of shoes.
    You’re not a screw-up just because you messed up on that one presentation 15 years ago and everyone laughed at you.
    Or a failure because you spent so much time and energy prepping for that task, but you didn’t get the acceptance you craved.

    Maybe you feel self-doubt when you don’t know absolutely everything there is to know on a topic because that reminds you that you’re not the smartest person in the room. And that makes you feel less than.

    There’s a reason you can’t be OK with not being the smartest one in the room.
    And that reason, no matter how hard you try to hide it or how much you study, will keep manifesting itself as self-doubt to sabotage you – if you suspect that there might be someone more knowledgeable.

    Of course, you might be feeling self-doubt because you haven’t done the work for the presentation. In that case, the principle is the same. Diagnose, then treat.

    You haven’t done the work and that’s why you feel inadequate. It’s not because you are actually inadequate or lack the ability.

    That you haven’t used your ability doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That you’re having a bad hair day, doesn’t mean you’re ugly.

    Self-doubt exposes to you, the very thing you already believe you are lacking.

    It’s not supposed to be comfortable and it can be really annoying, yet self-doubt can be your greatest ally if you see it as the thing that warns you about stuff you really need to deal with. ASAP.

    And if you are a woman in Law or Media who’s plagued by self-doubt, but you’re tired of acting like it isn’t there, tired of treating symptoms, ask for my help here.

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