Doubt comes over you when you least expect it. It is an inconvenient feeling. You can have an amazing day, week, or month. You can get a promotion at work, or and feel validated by your boss. You can get into a great rhythm with friends, or a new significant other. You can be secure and have people in your life that lift you up.
And yet, still, self-doubt will creep in to mess with your head. And once you’ve got the notion into your head that you’re not good enough, your self-worth plummets. It’s infuriating, when you rationally know how much you’re worth, to be shaken and left worried about failed first impressions, whether or not you’re gaining your coworkers respect, or whether your friends care for you as much as you think they do.
When you’re doubting yourself, losing faith in the people around you is almost a natural progression. Instead of feeling validating by your relationships, you pull apart minute details and obsess over “he saids” and “she saids.” You get lost in “what ifs” instead of reminding yourself of the value of your friendships, your relationships, and yourself. While obsessing over minutiae, you begin to overthink everything around you, instead of just being able to let it be.
You want to let it be. You want to let go and remember that everything really is alright. But when you’re wound up, trying to validate yourself becomes that much more difficult. Feeling your self-worth lower is as crippling as a panic attack, but it’s a slower burn. Instead of hitting you all at once, it comes out of nowhere, sneaks up on you, and slowly brings you down, even in your best moments.
This insecurity can make you feel lost even at moments in your life when you have a clear direction. It can make you question the things in your life you perceived as certain. It can make you shy from the things you’d instinctively approach head on. It can make you meek during times when you would otherwise be strong. In other words, the hesitance that comes from losing faith in yourself can push you to be someone you’re not.
In my opinion, we’ve all experienced this. If you’ve made it to your 20s and claim to have never experienced doubt or insecurity, you’re lying. Even when our confidence grows, we have moments where we question ourselves. And to a certain extent, that’s a good thing. It’s important to keep ourselves in check. But going overboard, and over questioning, and berating ourselves for everything we haven’t done yet is not healthy. That just extends these moments of doubt.
The feelings of inadequacy aren’t rooted in reality, they’re rooted in fear. And everyone, at one point or another, is scared. But that doesn’t mean you don’t stack up to everyone else so much as it just means you’re a normal human being. You are allowed to doubt yourself, as long as you know that you are so much more than just your doubts. Your actions, feelings, and words say so much more about you than your fears do. And your insecurities stem from trying to be better, and that is, ultimately, an admirable thing.
Next time it feels like you’re losing faith in yourself, remember that the fact that you stop to evaluate yourself is a strength, not a weakness. But also, remember not to take it too far. It is never okay to burrow so far into your concerns that you end up shattering your own self-worth. You are much too valuable for that. Instead, work on improving without forgetting about all the good you’ve done. It’s not fair to yourself when you refuse to acknowledge the strength you have and how far you’ve already come. You are growing every day, but it doesn’t hurt to remember how much you’ve already grown.