Ensnared by Doubt
I often fall into the trap of doing nothing.
I shy back from words or action because I think I’m not the right person. I don’t know what I’m doing, my words are jumbled up, I’m a nobody, probably my thoughts are all wrong, people will think I’m crazy, I’ll look like a fool.
I doubt myself: my intellect, abilities, emotions, my experience, knowledge, understanding, my opinions, beliefs…my everything.
Sometimes when I’m prompted to do, my confidence gets lost in the folds of these doubts. And so I don’t.
I don’t speak up.
I don’t reach out.
I’ve been following along as a fellow blogger, Alise, prepared to take a step outside of her comfort zone and travel to another country to help young girls who were rescued from a life of sexual slavery. At one point, a commenter suggested that the money Alise raised for this trip could be put to better use by sending trained counselors, or funding a building, or buying food. I don’t believe it was suggested with malice, but it reminded me that confidence-damaging words and ideas can come from any direction, even from people who mean the best.
Doubt can be a snare, small and easily disguised. A slim cord that lays in wait. One emotional misstep and it snaps tight so quickly that you don’t know what happened. Suddenly you’re choked for air. Your mind races through escape routes but the loss of oxygen debilitates to the point where you simply can’t think, and the easiest thing is to just go quiet.
That sounds so scary, and in my physical life I would fight – I would kick and claw and do whatever I could to get out of that snare.
But in my emotional life it’s just the opposite: it feels scarier to fight against negative thoughts than to give in to them. And so I go quiet, I sit still, ensnared by doubt.
Alise is in another country today. In her last post before leaving she said, “I know that there are people who are probably better suited for this trip.” And she wasn’t going without fear, but she was going. Maybe she’s not the most qualified person to go there, but she has something that nobody else can offer, and that’s herself. She is uniquely qualified to offer up her heart and her love and her support to those girls.
A lifetime of experience has taught me not to be myself. But here in the intimate setting of this world wide web, I’m training myself to grow in the right direction. I’m forcing myself to speak up, and reach out, and do. I’m learning that it’s okay to be me. After all, I’m the only one on the planet who can fill that job.
I constantly look outside of myself for positive examples like Alise. And I constantly find them. I also find encouragement and kindness from the friends I’ve made in the blogging community. You all let me be foolish and silly, and occasionally incoherent. You let me change my mind. You let me pursue thoughts and ideas willy-nilly, not only here but in the comments on your own blogs. And you never tell me that I’m crazy or a nobody or that my thoughts are all wrong.
You help me face my fears and fight against the choking power of self-doubt. And that’s pretty darn awesome.
Items of Interest:
The Nitty Gritty (what Alise expects in Moldova)
New Memories (Alise’s last post before leaving)
Risk is scary. Regret is worse. (by Kylie: a great post about facing our doubts and fears)