Self-doubt.

We all know it, some of us more intimately than others.

It’s that voice in the back of our heads or in the center of our chests or in the pit of our stomachs that tells us, “You’re not qualified. You’re not good enough. You can’t compare.”

It whispers, soft and low, a constant presence that comes in waves and washes over us when we’re vulnerable. It ebbs and flows.

So how do we navigate these tides?

I think there are a few practical ways that we can step out of the water.

  1. Surround yourself with like-minded people. And surround yourself with people who challenge you! Just be active about becoming part of a community. You can’t do it alone. None of us can.
  2. Share. Shame is deeply intertwined with feelings of self-doubt. But shame dissipates when we open up about our struggles – it cannot survive in the light of day, because normalization eradicates shame. When we thrust our fears out in the open we find others with the same fears, and we open ourselves up to receive encouragement. Shame tends to disappear in the face of connection.
  3. Do something tangible. An activity that has worked for me: Write down your negative beliefs – get really, really real with yourself. Then throw them away, burn them, rip them up, recycle them… just get rid of that piece of paper. This physical action can actually be incredibly therapeutic. It’s okay if you need to do this several times, but even just getting them out of your body and onto a piece of paper can help (like a Pensieve! #HP4lyfe #HufflepuffPride)
  4. Keep writing. Push through. Self-doubt is like a parasite: it attaches itself to the soul and leeches away at the creative spirit. Combat your fear with action and fear with flee.
  5. Remember these words. Write them down if you have to. Commit them to your memory and recite them like a mantra: Your voice has value. Your voice has value. Your voice has value.

Of course, doubt is a normal part of being a human. But we can take action to prevent ourselves from drowning in it.

Do you have any other tips for combating self-doubt? Share them in the comments, or come join us in The Writing Collective’s Facebook group here. We’d love to hear from you, writer.

And don’t ever forget: Your voice has value.

Cheers,

Miranda

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