Have you ever had an idea about something you'd like to do, say or be, only to find that as you start putting it into action you run out of steam, give up or find yourself distracted by 'more important things'? Could it be that who you really want to be is not allowed to move beyond the limitations imposed by self-doubt and fear?
Who would you be or what would you do if fear was no object? When this question comes up the answer often includes something about living in fantasy-land; yet these dreams are parts of our true self which have not been allowed to express themselves, and because of this feel very distant, secret and unreal.
Often people say that self-doubt is an important tool in monitoring one's arrogance or big-headedness. As such, self-doubt gets confused with self-regulation which is our internal assessment system gauging our capacities, resources and abilities. Meanwhile, self-doubt can be defined as the self-limiting inner critic, which is less about assessment and more about not feeling good enough. Self-doubt is closely linked to shame and everyone experiences this in different ways. The question to ask ourselves with any drive towards self-expression is: 'what is stopping me?'
If, for example, you're in your 70s and you've had a life-long desire to be a dancer, self-regulation might inform you of the physical limitations about becoming a professional ballet dancer. However, joining a class may allow an expression of your true-self at a more accessible level. The next stage is often where self-doubt steps in with thoughts like "I'm too old", "I'll make a fool of myself", "What a stupid idea" etc. At this point the inspiration towards expression withers and withdraws back into our comfort zone. Stepping beyond this means taking a risk and dealing with uncertainty.
Most of the time we're not conscious of our inner critic and the role of self doubt in shaping our lives. Yet through these dreams and ideas our soul nature wants to come into the world and be expressed. As we explore what might be stopping us from expressing ourselves and negotiating with self-doubt our lives can take on new meaning.
As Marianne Williamson says;
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us."
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.
About Neil Turner
In my practice I specialise in anxiety, depression, relationships, sexuality and improving self-esteem. The aim of my work is to help you feel more at ease and confident within yourself, your life and relationships. My style of therapy is both Existential and Transpersonal although I draw on many different approaches depending on your needs.
The Existential perspective is about understandin… Read more
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