Welcome back to the second installment in this mini-series on self-trust. In part one, we defined self-trust and looked at why it matters, and what areas of life it impacts. In this segment, we’ll look at some of the reasons why self-doubt smolders and where it comes from.
Where does self-doubt come from? Essentially, we can track self-doubt back to one of three time periods. It’s always best to back to the originating incident, in order to fully clear any block. (For more info about that, check out my book 1-2-3 Clarity.)
Self-doubt may have originated:
- In a past life
- In this life, but in the distant past
- In this life, due to a recent series of events, brought about by a
(usually adverse) turning point
Self-doubt grows with a compound effect. Consider:
We’ve all made choices in life we’re not necessarily proud of. We might go so far as to call them dumb choices (or worse). That is part of life—we all make mistakes. But sometimes, the consequences of these mistakes are grave and we have difficulty forgiving our erroneous choices. Other times, one bad choice can lead to an adverse event, which then snowballs into a series of bad choices, and then we find ourselves deep in self-doubt.
Here’s an example of each of the timelines listed above:
Self-doubt from a past life:
Susie goes out of her way to please people. She just can’t handle anyone crying in her presence. She feels an overwhelmingly strong need to comfort, to appease. Conflict makes her very uncomfortable, and she avoids confrontation at all costs. Susie loves smiles and warm hugs, but doesn’t like to be in the spotlight or in charge of anything. Forget about leadership for Susie! You’ll find her in a supportive, behind-the-scenes role, where she will give everything she’s got to please the folks in charge. Susie is silently always wondering if she measures up, if she’s good enough. She needs constant validation, but that doesn’t allay the self doubt that bubbles up inside of her. Susie will forego what she really wants (if she even knows what she wants) in lieu of trying to make someone else happy. Relationships inevitably end because eventually, they either grow bored of her incessant need to please (after all, the 1950s are long gone), or they grow weary of her neediness and constant need for validation. In a past life, Susie was a tyrant, a terrible leader. She wasn’t Hitler, per se, but some of the ways she abused people would’ve given him a run for his money. She doubts her ability to make her own choices, because she doesn’t trust herself with desire, power, and leadership. She sets out to please others in an unconscious way to try to make up for the terrible past life things she’s done.
Self-doubt from this life, but from the distant past:
Jan’s self-doubt stems from her childhood, when she always felt overlooked and overshadowed by her smarter, prettier, more popular sister Marsha. At some point, Jan decided that if Marsha got all the attention, it must be because Jan herself didn’t measure up to being worthy of attention. Today, Jan’s self-doubt underpins her relationships, her ability to love herself, and her overall level of success.
Self-doubt from this life, from a recent turn of events.
Felix Unger is a dapper man. Sharp-dressed, always punctual, and well-versed in interior design, haute culture, and all things related to elegant entertaining. Felix had an amazing home, a great career, and a beautiful wife. He was on top of the world! But when Felix’s wife dumped him and kicked him out of the house, that’s when things started to go wrong. Felix’s self-doubt began to grow. His ex took him for everything he had in the divorce, and he blamed himself for that (after all, he still loved her). He should’ve gotten a better lawyer, should’ve let some time lapse instead of succumbing to her request for a fast divorce. But he still loved her. Had he made a poor choice in marrying her? He should have gotten a pre-nup, should have created some off-shore investments, should have done a million things differently. Now he’s broke, lonely, out of work, has no place to go, and is questioning his every move (including what to wear!). Oh and did we mention the ex claimed all the friends? And once Felix convinces his buddy Oscar Madison to let him stay for awhile, Oscar will soon be the one questioning his own life choices. (And yet, hilarity ensues.)
Now that you have an idea where self-doubt comes from, join us for the next part of this series, where we’ll look at tell-tale signs of self-doubt, so you can do your own assessment. In the meantime, I invite you to think about what you’ve learned in this series so far, and see how it applies to your own life. Until next time…