“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win,
by fearing to attempt.”
Perhaps you weren’t cut out for this writing business? I mean, if you were any good at it, you wouldn’t have spent an hour staring at a blank screen. It doesn’t come easily, and maybe that means something? Perhaps you should let them know you can’t do it and you’re sorry you gave the impression that you could.
And while we’re being honest, Yvette, I’m not sure you’re cut out for that job you thought you could handle. Let’s face it; you’re a little bit scared most of the time. How healthy can that be?
Perhaps you should just focus on the kids. (Because you’re never really fully focused on the kids, are you?)
These are the lies that race through my thoughts. The logorrhoea of chatter that pulls me down and tells me that I am not good enough, not smart enough, not brave enough.
He is the noisy inner critic who taunts me; “you’re not cut out for this; how dare you even try.”
The devil on my shoulder who will not be flicked away.
I know I’m not the only one who experiences this incessant negative inner dialogue. Pastor and writer Steven Furtick confesses, “my soul sometimes feels like a twitter feed where I am following a million of the most annoying people ever, and I can’t find the Unfollow button.”
I am learning to recognise that this is not the voice of a friend. This is the liar, who takes healthy caution and turns it into fear. A distortion of truth that shakes my confidence, causing me to fear shame, failure and rejection.
When I slow down and listen, I can tell that this is not my own voice. It might sign off, “Love, Yvette” but there is no love in its tone.
It is a great imitator of me; it takes on the voice of concern, pretending to be in my corner, as though it has my best interest at heart.
“I’m just here so you don’t fall,” it lies.
In reality, it just doesn’t want me to fly.
I’m learning to recognise the difference between the humble voice that says, “go slowly, Yvette, you’re still learning” and that which says, “you’re just not good enough and you’ll never be.” The humble voice will keep me on the path of purpose and calling.
Self-doubt is crippling. It blinds us to our potential and keeps us from stepping into all that we are created to be.
Shame and vulnerability researcher Brene Brown tells us that one way to combat the effects of self-doubt is to write it all down. “It’s usually just best to acknowledge the messages,” she says. “Write them down. I know it seems counter-intuitive, but writing them down and owning the gremlins’ messages don’t give the messages more power; it gives us more power. It gives us the opportunity to say, “I get it. I’m afraid of this, but I’m going to do it anyway.”
So here I am, submitting my writing to you. Afraid, but doing it anyway.