How much are you looking forward to taking some time off over the Christmas holidays?
But how much of a challenge do you find it to actually let go of the busy-ness? To properly relax and take it easy?
It’s at times like this that self-doubt can manifest in a really exhausting manner.
If you find this a challenge, then read on, I’ve got something that might help you here.
How does self-doubt get in the way?
When I speak here, I’m speaking of something that was my personal experience (but, thankfully, isn’t anymore).
For as much as we want to be able to let go of the busy-ness and relax and take it easy for a period of time, it is times like this when the voices of self-doubt can become really loud.
The voices in the background are egging us on…
Maybe you want to rest but you don’t want to risk becoming lazy… that wouldn’t do at all.
Or maybe you’re desperate for a rest but you’re actually frightened that if you take the leap and let go of all your busy-ness completely, that you won’t have the energy or the drive to get started again when you need to.
These voices of self-doubt can threaten your very security and livelihood, not to mention those who are depending upon you.
Maybe it just feels safer to keep hold of your edge, to keep a breast of what’s going on, even when you know it’s taking your peace of mind.
The threat about stopping and resting can feel very real. We’re frightened that if we let go completely that we won’t be able to start again when we need to.
Being busy and efficient has become part of a successful identity. People are relying upon us. They know when we say we’re going to do something, we can absolutely be relied upon to do that thing.
Even if this is exhausting to uphold, we cannot afford to let this go because who would we be without this…
Would we be employable? Or would I become a useless lump who sits around eating chocolate and watching rubbish TV?
Meeting the voices of self-doubt
The approach I have developed for working with self-doubt involves meeting these critical voices and welcoming them in.
And it feels so counterintuitive to do so.
Why would we want to welcome voices that tell us we’d better keep busy or we’ll be at risk of becoming a lazy, useless lump?
Well, we welcome them because, at some level, these voices are telling us a truth.
Note, A truth, not THE truth…
An important part of giving self-doubt a purpose is acknowledging the presence of these truths.
So instead of fighting this truth, denying this truth, or overcompensating for the truth by proving it wrong…
We simply acknowledge it’s presence.
But we don’t have to agree with it wholeheartedly.
By acknowledging the presence of this truth, we get the opportunity to get to the deeper level of truth, which is at the core of this exhausting drive for survival.
The drive for survival
When we learn how to approach self-doubt with curiosity and compassion, we get the opportunity to explore these survival drives.
These are the inherent insecurities which we carry with us. The messages and beliefs from childhood about ourselves and the world. This stuff may not even belong to us but because we’ve been carrying them for so long, we don’t even notice their presence anymore.
And this is the real power behind giving self-doubt a purpose, exposing these truths, questioning these truths, and updating these truths.
The truths are different for all of us but it usually comes down to the same belief:
I am not enough and I need to work extremely hard to prove myself.
But here’s the thing, no matter how hard we work, we will never prove ourselves when driven like this. Because no matter how much approval and recognition we receive from external sources, we don’t REALLY believe it ourselves.
And just because we’ve proved ourselves once in one circumstance, it doesn’t pan out that we will be able to repeat that performance or sustain that success…
So we need to keep working hard to prove ourselves.
This is what I want you to know
I want you to know that you are enough, just as you are. You do not need to be or do anything more to be enough.
I want you to know that you can trust yourself to keep showing up and to give what you need to give when you need to give it.
I want you to know that you need to rest. And that to rest is probably the MOST productive thing you can do this holiday season.
And if you don’t believe me, I would love it if you would just experiment a bit and give it a try.
And if you can’t let go and rest, if you find yourself worrying about not being able to start again…
That’s absolutely OK. You are not wrong. Nothing you think or do is wrong here.
Meet it all with compassionate curiosity, welcome exactly where you are at.
Because this is the only way that you can develop your own inner resources that give you the courage and the creativity to give yourself what you need.
And you know exactly what you need. You are the only person who knows exactly what you need.
Here's a poem, especially for you...
I wrote this poem especially to speak to that drive for survival.
And it’s about learning to trust ourselves and our place in the world.
The reassurance that always helps me is to feel in my core that I am exactly where I need to be right now, learning the exact lessons that I need to learn…
And that I am already enough, just as I am.
This is the message of my poem Found Lost.
Would you like to learn more about this approach?
The Doubters is my free of charge community where self-doubt is recognised as a positive force for meaningful and sustainable growth.
Here you will find inspiration and support to welcome self-doubt with compassionate curiosity.
You can join here: The Doubters
If you would like to go deeper with this work and get the opportunity to explore your personal experience of self-doubt, I am currently offering a 5 session coaching package.
You can find out more about this on my website: https://oliviadsilva.com/work-with-me/