How to Deal with Doubt

How to Deal with Doubt
Doubt, cousin of Fear, serves one purpose. To keep you safe and comfortable. To make you think of all the reasons why you shouldn't go there, do this, try that. It makes you question the endeavor before you start. Most people let it stop there, with the questions and worst case scenarios. They let doubt stop them before they even get out the door and spend their life wondering 'what if' and daydreaming away.

I created a wallpaper for my phone, an affirmation for me to remind me about my goals and vision. 

"I am a millionaire."
I fully believe I am that, and the only thing that separates me from that reality currently is time. Time is passing, and there is work to be done in the mean time. But I absolutely believe that is my future.

Not because I'm 'greedy' or just love money so much. But money is the thing the world currently views as power, security, and freedom. Money buys houses, healthcare, freedom -- people. Money buys me and my family our freedom.

One of my family members, someone close to me, saw my phone screen and laughed. Hurt immediately sparked in my chest, and I tensed as I tried to keep a flare of anger back.

"So if you just say you're going to be a millionaire, you are? Is that how that works?"

I thought about my business coach and the course she created, based on the past 10 years of her life that's allowed her to create 7 income streams. I thought about how I have lifetime access to that program, and the group full of like-minded, supportive women. I thought about the work I'd put in already, and the plans I had set up to go forward with.

"Yeah," I said, attempting to be casual but failing to keep the hard tone of of my words. "Pretty much."

What do you do when something like that happens? How do you deal with other people, people who love you and should support you, doubt you? And then it starts all the doubts you have in yourself to speak up, like a domino you can't keep from falling?

1) Acknowledge your feelings. 

One of the worst things you can do is ignore your feelings and emotions. Books like *Feelings Buried Alive Never Die and *The Body Keeps the Score highlight that. For me personally, it created a host of problems like feeling resentment, bitterness, apathy. 

My own creativity suffered, and I went through three years of 'writer's block' where the whole world just seemed gray. Telling yourself not to think about something or ignoring your feelings can be disastrous  Our feelings aren't our enemies or even meant to stop us. They're just data and information, even if they seem big and overpowering. But you control you, not your feelings.

Your feelings are a signal from your body -- like a check engine light on a car. Something needs your attention. Acknowledge your feelings and from there, get curious.

2) Affirm yourself with the truth.

When Doubt speaks, answer back. I love to journal, to write out my thoughts and feelings, to express myself freely and without judgment. I've made it a habit to be completely honest with my journal writing -- even if it's unkind or unflattering or flat out mean. 

If I can't be honest with myself, if I can't tell myself truth, then who can I tell? If I pour out toxic thoughts and feelings on the page, then at least I feel heard. I feel accepted. And if it displays some poor, low behavior or pattern of thinking, then I can now intentionally address it within myself. I've brought an issue to the light, so I can see what needs to be pruned away and what needs to be nurtured.

My coach is also a fan of journaling and the written word. One tactic she's used is writing down your doubts and fears, all the 'what if this terrible thing happens' scenarios. Then answer them. What will you do if X happens? Go ahead and make the contingency plan. Then put it in a box, just in case you need it one day. Chances are, you won't and proceed with the plan. 

Do the right work and the things you know will bring your vision closer to reality.

3) Understand their perspective and opinion

It can be difficult to hear our doubts echoed back to us from others, especially friends and family.

This is a matter of knowing and understanding boundaries, what is yours and what is theirs. Perhaps they had ambitions and goals and dreams, but didn't pursue them. Maybe they were unrealistic or a fantasy. They stopped or never started, and that 'failure' hurt them. They have their reasons for their doubt and expressing their concerns. It's likely well intentioned but still...

Your thoughts are your thoughts. Their thoughts are their thoughts. They are free to think, and feel, and say, or do whatever they want. So are you -- this is basic freedom. Their opinion is theirs, they have their reasons for it. 

But their opinion doesn't have to be your reality. Their limitations do not have to be yours. 

The sky is the limit, until you reach the sky, and then the sky is the floor. 

4) Establish a boundary

When someone laughed at my goal, I decided to create a boundary. It wasn't necessary for me to have a conversation with that person. But I don't go out of my way to tell them what I'm doing or seek any validation from them. I don't need their permission or approval or admiration. I give myself those things. If in your case, you have someone in your life who is constantly speaking against your work, have a conversation with them. Approach this with the idea that you are going to express how you feel when they say certain things to do. Then ask them to do or say something else -- or nothing at all. It's not helping you.

If they refuse or continue to disregard your boundary and request, then it might be best to put some distance between you and them for a while.

I am a millionaire. I believe and affirm that in me, for me. If I say it, I will be it not just because I say so but  because I will do what I need to in order to reach it.

What are you? Who do you say you are and what you doing to make it reality? If you consider yourself an introverted writer, then join the club over on Facebook!