Self-doubt is so hard to deal with and there’s a scary reason why:
Sometimes it’s at least partly true.
If self-doubt were really just a negative voice in your head of course it would be easy to push past it and get on with life.
But self-doubt works differently:
It takes a real fear or issue and then combines a true insight with an exaggerated or false one.
Am I just the problem?
When we have a self-defeating narrative running in our head it acts as a kind of sneaky, ruthless saboteur.
Whatever goes wrong it always means something about our low worth or mistakes.
Or so it tells us…
For example it might note that you’ve had many jobs you were unhappy at and it’s because you’re too easily dissatisfied…
In reality you’re just looking for a job that’s more of a fit, but if you don’t watch out, self-doubt will have you thinking that the real problem of too much job turnover is just about you and not the situation itself.
Here are more things to remember if you’re doubting yourself a lot…
1) You have enormous potential
If you’re here reading this article you have enormous potential.
Not only do you have eyes to see (or a screen reader if you’re blind), you also have a mind to understand, contemplate and consider what’s written.
You have fingers to type and lungs to breathe.
No matter the terrible cards life has dealt you, you have enormous potential.
You have the power right now to say “enough!” to every abusive, insincere, fake aspect of your life and to start over.
No matter how much you doubt your own worth, I want to assure you that what’s going on is much different than you realize.
And I don’t want you to believe me on faith: I intend to demonstrate and prove that you’re of much higher value than you may believe.
I don’t intend to show you’re a victim, as the victim mentality never helps anybody.
But I do intend to show that if you’re drowning in self-doubt you’ve been buying into narrative and frameworks that have falsely imprisoned you.
Let’s start with a simple fact.
2) You’re likely misunderstood
Teenagers are famous for saying that nobody understands them and rebelling.
Way back in the epochal “Rebel Without a Cause” starring James Dean in 1955, Dean’s character Jim Stark ranted about the supposedly normal society of phonies around him who made him feel alienated, worthless and angry.
This sort of hyperbole was taken to represent a kind of 1950s rebellion that predated the hippie movement.
But what if Stark wasn’t entirely wrong and feeling misunderstood and low value is a product of modern industrialized society and social atomization?
Many authors and thinkers have explored this experience of alienation since then, including back at this time by authors like Jacques Ellul and up to the present day by thinkers like Sebastian Junger in his book “Tribe.”
It’s clear that the ideal of being human is being undermined by false narratives of “progress” and transcendence.
As the author Herman Hesse memorably said:
“The likeness of man, once a high ideal, is in process of becoming a machine-made article.
It is for madmen like us, perhaps, to ennoble it again.”
You may feel alone and worthless despite material conditions of the developed world being better than ever and wonder why.
Consider that you’re experiencing something which is partly being socially engineered for economic reasons because human labor is less necessary than ever before with the acceleration of technology.
Does this truly mean you’re of lower value? Not at all…
In fact, staying human could now be considered something of an act of rebellion.
As for the disappointments you’re facing in your life and feeling like crap because of those, consider the following:
3) Sometimes it really isn’t your fault
When facing rejection in your personal life and career, it’s common to internalize it.
But what if it really isn’t your fault and you really are being mistreated?
“How can I ever be better?
Nobody’s ever let me in.”
Swift makes a very good point here!
Sometimes people make us feel terrible about our own worth because we buy into their paradigm, one in which we weren’t “worthy” or “good enough” for them.
But is that really the case?
The solution to this isn’t to become a victim, but to become a victor.
You become a victor by seeing that other people’s coldness, rejections and fakeness are their problem and their weakness and ugliness, not yours.
4) You have talents that others don’t have
I can guarantee you that you have talents that others don’t have.
No matter how low value and doubtful you’re feeling about your own worth, there are things you know how to do that others don’t know how to do or are unable to do.
This could be simple mechanical tasks or more advanced knowledge or talents from the artistic to the academic.
It could be that you’re an amazing driver…
It could be that you give stellar advice to friends who are struggling…
It could be that your sense of style is unparalleled…
The point is that you have good reason to be proud of your skills and talents and to know that not everyone can do them or be at your level in these ways.
5) You will find your tribe
In my worst moments of self-doubt I felt that even if I recognized my own value and put it into practice, it wouldn’t matter…
It wouldn’t matter because I’d still feel alone without the kind of social network I’m seeking.
But over the years I’ve built my own tribe worldwide of other people who don’t quite fit in the mold and prize authenticity above cookie-cutter roles…
To be fair, I am still in the process of bringing that worldwide tribe more down into the offline (or IRL) world, but it’s very much real.
If you doubt your own worth or feel like it won’t ever translate into real world value and social companionship, be assured:
The strong personality and fortitude you’re building now will be necessary for the days to come, especially as people work on building forms of community to bridge a connection from the online back to the physical space.
Here’s the secret…
I said I would prove that your worth is higher than you think, so here goes.
Have you ever met somebody who thinks they’re the bee’s knees despite not having good looks, wealth, intelligence or any special attribute that seems to justify their belief?
But they truly believe it, and that confidence radiates out from them, and a surprising number of romantic partners, business partners and colleagues seem to believe them!
What kind of scam is this you may wonder?
Then you try to have this same kind of confidence they have but it doesn’t seem to stick, and you find yourself cycling back to that same self-doubt that keeps you trapped.
Why is this?
The truth about your own value
The truth about your own value is that it’s you who decides it.
But your decision that you are high value doesn’t make any difference if you don’t actually stick to it.
While you see people with no seeming outer value who believe strongly in themselves and having that reflected to themselves, you, who likely have higher value objectively than many others still feel undervalued and not good enough.
The reason is that some part of you is still waiting for outer validation or recognition first before being who you truly are in your soul and believing in yourself.
Don’t budge on your boundaries, don’t take less than you’re worth.
Don’t worry about the approval or disapproval of others.
Follow your dreams and make them happen, or learn lessons from the failures along the way.
Your value is not only higher than you know, you already have it in your power to make it a reality by ceasing to try to prove anything and getting on with your life!