In my last post I talked about self-doubt…that one thing that even smart women do. You know, when you listen as your inner insecurity goblin screams, “You suck monkey nuts!” or “You couldn’t write your way out of a paper bag!” (Apparently, my self-doubt monster is into clichés)
Today, I continue that discussion by talking about the taboo of talking about self-doubt, which is the equivalent of petting, grooming, and tucking our insecurity goblin in with a bedtime story. Why shouldn’t we be able to discuss self-doubt without fear of someone perceiving us as weak? Won’t exposing the insecurity goblin to the light of day help destroy it? Or at the very least, weaken it’s grip on us? The reason we don’t do this is because basically, we don’t want to be seen as flawed.
Again, I have to wonder, is this cultural or biological? In animal packs, weaker members are often seen as hindrances and driven out. We go to great lengths to hide what is really going on in our lives and even greater lengths to hide what is going on inside. When we Tweet or Facebook, we either talk about the fun stuff, (Look everyone, my life is so awesome!) or about how busy we are, (Look everyone, how productive I am!) Or how hard their lives are and how everything sucks, (Look everyone, I’m a martyr!)
What we don’t talk about is self-doubt. And the reality is, most successful women have moments of feeling inadequate. (At this very moment I’m thinking, will anyone even get what I am trying to say?) (And the other thing I am thinking is, will people think I am bragging because I am including myself as a successful woman? Massive eye roll.)
As if dealing with self-doubt isn’t hard enough, there are those who would feed your insecurity. Putting your ideas out there as a business woman or a creative is tough and scary. The fact is, you can’t please everyone. There are people out there waiting to tear you down, whether because they are feeling threatened or they’re just plain jealous or even because they just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. To deal with these people effectively, you first need to deal with your own self-sabotage.
The following tips are how I deal with self-doubt:
- Find your own truth. Mine came with the revelation that I shared in my last post: Editors and agents would not love my work if I wasn’t talented. They’re not telling me that I am talented to be nice. There are some days I have to repeat that several times.
- Be aware of negative self-talk! Sometimes at night my mind heads to the negative and every time I shut my eyes, the dark side takes over and I dwell on every failure, every weakness, every time I hurt someone, etc. A veritable litany of fail and suck. When I catch myself doing this, I try to redirect my thoughts to puppies or kittens or wine. Something, anything, but an inventory of my worst attributes. One thing that works is to make a mental list of the things I have done well. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.
- Talk about it with people you trust. Bringing the monster out into the light of day is like dumping a bucket of water over the wicked witch of the west.
- Nurture yourself: When all else fails get into comfy clothes, fuzzy socks and zone out with some reality TV and a glass of wine. Hey, it works for me.
Click to Tweet!
On the blog: Talking about self doubt aka the Inner Insecurity Goblin! (click to tweet)
From @teribrownwrites Do you ever attack yourself by listing a veritable litany of fail and suck? (Click to Tweet)
Thank you. I really needed to hear this today.
I think self doubt is something we need to be on top of all the time–aiding and abetting the goblin is bad for our lives, our business, our creativity!
My own doubt is going full tilt. My blog, which I swear will be up by tomorrow, is stalled because of my self doubt. In it I actually mention the self-doubt thing so funny you put this up today. When we have it we hear the old voices (Or at least I do) saying “Don’t get too full of yourself” or “You’re not so hot you know”. I actually fight against the voices by talking back to them and saying `Who else should I be full of` or `Maybe you are wrong, have you thought of that`. I think the more we write about self-doubt, and indeed many other things, the less power it actually has over it. I remember the first time I found out someone else was afraid of being caught out as a fraud, I was so relieved I was not the only one.
I think the fraud thing is typical for most women and creatives especially. I try to banish self doubt from my mind but have to fight it all the time!
Awesome post. Great tips. Self doubt is what makes it hard to receive praise with a gracious spirit.