It comes in forms of words, sometimes other’s actions; whether it forms from an email, text, phone call, or one-on-one conversation. It tears apart my thoughts. It toils with my emotions. It consumes my being, and rips at my relationships. It’s awful. It’s overbearing. It’s real.

Self-doubt.

While doing some preparation for this blog entry I began to come across different quotes from people of various backgrounds who suffer(ed) from self-doubt. I thought I would share one that spoke straight to me.

“Don’t let others put thoughts into your mind that takes away your

self-confidence.

Katori Hall

Often, through working with teens and children, I find that one of the biggest obstacles they face is self-doubt. With the amount of negativity that face our children and youth today so much of it plays into who they are as individuals. Teens and pre-teens are forming who they are, what they are, and who’s they are, all the while struggling to really understand that so much of the forming stems from self-doubt.

As a child, I remember hearing I wasn’t good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. As a teenager that played into how I understood myself, my abilities, and my goals. As an adult it has caused panic, anxiety, clinical depression, and at times, a total breakdown of self.

Most of us, at an early age, began to make decisions based on approval of others. Our parents or grandparents told us what was right (acceptable) or wrong (unacceptable). Eventually we went through Jr. High/ Middle School in which our peers began to tell us what was acceptable and unacceptable. Once we enter into society through the work force many behaviors, we learn, are not acceptable in our specialized field.

For instance, in ministry, for decades we have expected our pastors and leadership to personify God; that is the behavior(s) of having every perfect thought, practice, and maturity. Thank goodness this grave practice of unrealistic expectation is being broken. This unacceptable behavior from others has, in fact, been forming pastors (all people) to believe what is acceptable. Creating much unnecessary, unhealthy, and stigmatic self-doubt in our own selves as pastors. -I can only speak for my own self, and through my own experiences-

“As a result, most of us have lost touch with our inner wisdom, with our true desires, our self-confidence to the point that doubt, insecurity, fear, and indecisiveness have taken over. We have learnt to fit in and comply with others’ requests in order to feel loved, acknowledged and approved of. There are so many external ‘voices’ swaying us in so many directions, that it can become challenging to make sure which one we want our lives to head towards.”

Samanta Maranca, Transformational Coaching & Healing. Argentina.

The question of self-doubt then becomes about what we as individuals allow ourselves to accept as true or false about ourselves. For me, I often allow myself to accept false statements. For example, the phrases of “I”:

-I lack…

-I am not worthy…

-I am a failure…

-I am not good enough…

-I don’t deserve…

To accept these phrases as true is often the beginning of a spiral downward into self-doubt; not building up positivity and essentially creating “joy” is a harmful practice.

So, if we deny these phrases and speak truth to ourselves, we open up and create room to allow ourselves to accept our strengths. I have learned, and continue to attempt, to speak my strengths and truths out loud.

Yes, sometimes, I look absolutely ridiculous talking to myself, but I bravely attempt to not let what others are saying about me effect my need for this silliness. It is in this silliness that I embrace and accept who I am and who’s I am.

I encourage you, if you have issues with self-doubt to write down your truths and strengths, look at yourself in the mirror and speak them out loud, shout them from the rooftops if need be. Do not accept the words, actions, emails, texts, etc. of others to be your truth. Allow yourself positivity, and explore the power of freedom from others unacceptance of you.

Be silly with me.

Accept yourself. Love yourself.

I love you. God loves you.

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