“I don’t know what I’m doing.” If I believed everything I think, I would just wallow in this place called self-doubt. Yep, that’s what gets me – Self-Doubt. Even grown into a woman who is accomplished and blessed in many ways, whom self-doubt leaves alone most days, I was once that 3 year old child making sense of the world in a way that leaves me believing that I must be wrong, flawed, and false. First I believed these thoughts- you know how well that turns out right? That’s the, “my chest is caving in” feeling as it must then be true that I am a fraud, that I haven’t learned a thing since graduate school to help my career.
I knew something had to change. I heard the voice of my best friend. But she wanted me to believe something completely different, that I am capable and good. She knows me better than I know myself at times so she is a reality check. But it didn’t work this time because believing the complete opposite, even if true, can be a difficult leap.
Wait a minute, what am I reacting to exactly? Remember that old bumper sticker, Question Authority?
Encouraging myself to take a step back from the yucky feelings, I looked at the self-statement then, just as a set of words. Essentially, I removed my personal judgment. At this moment, I was freed! Spinning in circles is best not to do for too long; I was free to question right back! Here’s how it went:
Self-doubt: “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Curios Self: “What makes you think that?”
Self Doubt: “I don’t know this, this, or this, I should have…”
Curious Self: “Well, so learn.”
Self Doubt: “Actually I have been wanting to.”
I questioned the authority of that original statement and found the truth:
For me being a good therapist includes continuing education in my area of focus.
Now that I can do something with! That faulty voice wants to follow it up and say “I told you so, you are a fraud…..and on and on.” The more we listen, the uglier it gets! When I move quickly to the feeling that follows a critical message, I become immobilized. Next time I find myself in the pit of self-doubt, I will remember to remove the judgment and take away the false authority to look for some element of truth. Something I can move with, learn from, and go.
By Jennifer Ballard