What’s Up With That is a blog series where I explore how I have been feeling and some of life’s most important questions. These posts are unedited (apart from the odd spelling mistake) and not pre thought about. They are what’s on my mind during the ten minutes that I take to write about them.
I’m sat here feeling nervous about writing this post but didn’t someone once say that doing what you are scared of is a must or something or other! I find it super hard to be vulnerable. I hate the process but I always feel so much better afterwards but never actually during it. I think that this comes from hiding so much back from the people that care about me as I have never wanted to impose my unhappiness, negativity or problems onto them. It makes me feel so guilty when I do.
I chose to talk about self-doubt today because I have come to learn many things about what it means to me.
A few months ago I was taken by surprise during one of my Well-Being lessons that I was teaching to my 11 year old students. We were talking about confidence and self-esteem and I asked them to write about somebody that they thought were really confident and has positive self-esteem and why they thought that. Their answers were sweet. They included: The Queen, Parents, God, Beyoncé and to my complete surprise 5 of them had written about me! I was a bit taken aback by this as I had not expected it at all and then I sat down to think why they might have chosen to write about me and it suddenly clicked. The woman that I present to my students is very ‘together’. She smiles at everyone as they walk past her in the corridors and wishes the whole world a good morning. She takes the time to ask if they are OK or to see what they got up to at the weekend. I don’t allow myself to have any doubts or feel vulnerable in the classroom because those teenagers are my priority when I am with them. Man it is hard to be a teenager in 2016…but that is content for another blog post.
So to the 5 11 year olds that wrote about me I am the most confident person that they can think of and I found a lot of pressure with that. The next lesson I made sure to talk about how I am not always confident and have bad days, weeks, months, hell even years too. Nobody is perfect or feels perfect for a lot of the time!
Over the past few months I have been consumed by this feeling that ‘I can’t do anything right’ and it made me feel dreadful! I had no confidence in the decisions that I was making and it was like I was falling into a rabbit hole that just had no bottom. I just kept falling and falling and falling. I was pushing people away from me, as I was scared that I would loose them completely otherwise. How could I be a good friend when I wasn’t being good to myself?
It wasn’t so much always an external problem. My work wasn’t slipping. I still smiled at everyone but inside I was tearing myself apart. It changed my sleeping patterns, I began to eat unhealthily again and the gym was a no go zone.
One night at the start of December 2015, after about 2 months of feeling like this, I sat up in bed and decided that I had enough. I dug through my pile of notebooks and I began to journal how I was feeling everyday to see if any patterns emerged. After just one month of doing this there is so much that I have learnt and I thought I would share it with anyone that might find it useful.
I am delicate and sensitive
Especially in a time of doubting myself. Whenever anyone had feedback for me or even said anything I would be ultra sensitive to it and I found that I felt very effected by everything that people were saying to me and dealt with it in a pretty negative way. It made me want to get intouch with myself to see why I was feeling so wounded and so hurt by these things that were being said to me that were not meant to be hurtful.
Doubting myself and stress are two very different things
This may not apply to everyone but for me…
Stress- I feel that I have stress a lot of the time. It is like I am wound up into a tight ball of frenzy and what writing for a month has shown me is that this stems from feeling that there is nothing meaningful and fulfilling in my life and ultimately feeling like I don’t have any worth.
Self Doubt- I have so much in my life that I love and is meangful and fulfilling to me and I am so excited about so many different things that I don’t want to mess it up. And I am so afraid of messing it up! It is fear. The fear of failing, letting myself down and the fear of letting those that I love and care about down.
I think that with the unknown comes a cycle of fear and with that self-doubt. Possibility is both wonderful and terrifying. Its freaking scary knowing that there are so many things that could happen and so many things that couldn’t happen. How are you supposed to wrap your mind around that?
We must all start taking a chance on ourselves and leaning over the edge of uncertainty because leaning over that edge can spark spectuaclar realizations and ignite the fire within us all.
Over the past month I have learnt how important it is for me to be present and in the moment and to really experience everything that I feel inside to its fullest- this self doubt, the questioning, the processing and getting out at the other end with these really great realizations and the excitement of possibility instead of being afraid of it.
Doubt is a natural part of life and it isn’t something that is going to go away forever but now I feel as if this process has given me a bigger grasp on how to get through it the next time and that in the end everything is going to be OK!
Please do let me know what self-doubt means to you. It would really mean a lot!