Self-doubt as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a feeling of doubt about one’s own abilities or actions.” Self-doubt is something that I feel on a daily basis from multiple things. You see, I have really low self-esteem and I try to find different activities that will make me feel better about myself. Some of the things I have tried are:
- Motivational challenges
- Telling myself that I’m good
- Writing out my emotions
- Drawing out my emotions
And have any of them worked? Ah… Not really. The motivation challenges helped me feel a little more confident in myself but it doesn’t last that long and telling myself that I’m good makes me feel narcissistic. When I wrote out my emotions it makes me realize how much I actually belittle myself but the feelings still remain. As for drawing out my emotions, well, it makes it appear as though I just leave those emotions on the page and when I look at the drawings the feelings just fly back into my face. So, here I am, trying to write it all out again because there are so many things where I feel self-doubt.
I am a part of an English Education master’s program. My GPA wasn’t the greatest during my undergrad years and I’m not the greatest writer. Sometimes, I wonder why I didn’t go into primary education like my parents advised me to do and instead jumped into the English major bandwagon. I had the dream of becoming a writer, a publisher, and/or an editor with being a teacher as the backup plan. Each dream was shrouded with doubt in myself. Now, I’m comfortable and happy with the idea of becoming a teacher and not just any teacher but an English teacher. But (as there’s always a but… no pun intended)…
Everyone in the English cohort I’m a part of are really great people. They all speak to one another with such ease and some of them are already great friends and have gotten to know each other easily over the summer. Everyone is different but everyone is a critical thinker – a wonderful speaker. They work so well on the spot. My cohort is full of people who invest in their ideas and assignments and they work so thoroughly (or appear that way) so much that I just feel like I’m not up to par. I’m not the oldest but I’m not the youngest either, yet my maturity level has got to be the lowest compared to them all. I’m still stuck in this eighteen-year-old mindset because of the way I was raised. Being sheltered, losing privacy, being emotionally abused, and all of that never really helped me gain self-confidence or give me a little bit of an ego boost. It makes me feel incomplete and unworthy of being a part of this program where great people, who know what they want and how they want to teach, belong.
From everything I have experienced in childhood to now has made me become a demure woman with passive and sometimes passive aggressive passes. Sometimes, I have a hot-head but I fear that what I say is something that is completely irrelevant and just plain stupid– that it shouldn’t even be mentioned. The only person I am remotely assertive with is my significant other because I know that no matter what I say, he will listen.
Anyway, I have very little ego, very little self-compassion, and very little self-confidence. I have a hard time believing in myself. I feel that if I dare believe in myself I’ll end up being narcissistic. There is no reason to believe in myself when I am “stupid, dumb, and an idiot.” Those are words I have heard since I was four up until I was seventeen. They were repetitive and said every week. As I grew older the angry outbursts lessened but the words stuck. Now that I’m twenty-two, I rarely hear those words but it’s scarred me. I just can’t believe in myself because I am “stupid, dumb, and an idiot.” I am “inconsiderate,” a “dumb-***,” and “unintelligent no matter what [my] grades show.”
I don’t believe in myself because of all those little phrases I heard from when I was a little girl to a budding young adult. I was surrounded with self-deprecating phrases that lodged into heart, mind, and soul. Those words that were always yelled at me and screamed into my ear made me believe about that in myself. I was never too good and I will never be good enough. I can always do better. I never tried my best.
I express doubts about myself to my significant other so much, usually ending up in tears, that he’s gotten tired of it. I just don’t think he understands how deeply ingrained the self-doubt is for me. I feel that, if I ever believe in myself, something bad will happen so I have to stick with the “okay”. The “okay” is that everything happening to me is just okay. I will be okay. I will not be better or good or any of that sort. I’ll always be okay – average, mediocre. Blending in with society and nothing more. I shouldn’t expect so much out of myself but I always break when I feel self-doubt.
In the end, the only thing I can do for myself is realize the problem. When did these feelings start and what can I do to stop this? Instead of finding ways to make myself feel good I should express myself – not so much that I complain but in a way where I can see where these self-doubts begin. I am able-bodied and able-minded. The only thing I need to do is to start believing in myself. From there, maybe, just maybe, self-doubt will fly away and disperse in the wind.