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I love your blog and your articles for Oprah. Your sense of humor really appeals to me. You don’t take yourself too seriously.
I’m wondering about your advice on “self doubt.” Isn’t there a purpose for self doubt? Isn’t self doubt really that little voice from inside telling you that you are about to make a large mistake? Should you really ignore it or act as if it isn’t there?
Hi Kate, I’m aware that it is years since you left this message but I feel I need to say something about it for the sake of anyone who comes across this thread in the future.
I don’t think self-doubt is the same as the “little voice telling you you are about to make a large mistake” – I think Martha would call that intuition, and yes you are meant to listen to it. But apparently the messages of intuition come along with a calm feeling, no matter the content of the message.
Self-doubt is something else entirely, and I am so glad that you have never had to experience it in its worst form. Because if you had, you would know that following your advice to interpret it as meaning you are about to make a mistake, would mean never getting out of bed again. The constant soundtrack in the mind of “who are you to…” “you aren’t good enough…” “you’re a faker…” “what makes you think your privileged white ass has anything valid to say…” HAS to be ignored. Or else the person dealing with self-doubt will never do anything. At all.
This is the first time that “act as if” has made complete sense to me. It’s so much easier to do something in bite-sized chunks of time or for specific hurdles than to say, “from now on I’m always going to be like this, think like this or act like this.” Your approach is not overwhelming and is much more do-able. Thanks for taking a minute (literally!) to giving me a new way of limiting how I let self-doubt influence me.
You’re amazing!… T
Personal Message – I watched you on Oprah’s life lessons webcast yesterday…I have read your articles in the past (and loved them) but hadn’t realised you had addressed your own sexual preference – I hate to say sexual preference because loving someone so deeply really isn’t all about the physical, is it. Anyway your history (I come from Utah though I am not LDS) and your honesty really touched me…I just wanted you to know I was hoping things are ok for you today and that what you do is helping so many. Please take care Martha. All the very best, Christy (I now live in Melbourne Australia)
Thank you, I know that “As if” action works. I read once that our brain will always answer the question we ask it. So if we ask “What if I get this wrong?” it will answer. If we ask “What if I make a mistake?” it will answer. If we ask “What will I do now that I am exercising ‘as if’ I am fit already?” or writing, painting, loving, trusting already…the brain will answer.
I have another form of self-doubt that comes in after ‘as if’. It seeps in through cracks in my sense of myself, my own inner truth, and erodes my self-trust. I recently experienced it when trying to tell someone about how I felt about an event in our relationship and his response was “Well, if that is the story you want then I can’t help it!” and then I start to doubt whether it’s ok to have had the feelings I had. I start to think; what if I have over-reacted? And an answer comes from a brain which feels compelled to answer to prove the ‘rightness’ of the question! Can you write something about this? Is there a way in which women do not feel ‘allowed/entitled’ to their feelings? Is there a way in which we undermine ourselves with self-doubt; pre- & post-event? Thanks again. Leona (from Sydney, Australia)
I adore that you say here to “feel” last in the equation: act, doubt, and THEN feel. It has taken me many years (and quite a bit of counseling) to understand how much feelings lie. Apparently, this is a common issue for those of us with post-trauma issues; we have learned that our feelings are paramount, even though they are often highly inaccurate.
I know this may sound confusing to those who have not experienced this (esp in this age of honoring our feelings as women re-empowering ourselves) but in the context of post-traumatic stress, what you say above, the act “as if,” is stellar advice.
Thanks, Martha, for these bits of heart wisdom. They do make a difference.
Also a nod to Leona; what you say is extemely helpful. Thanks for sharing that!
It seems to me that this “act as if” applies to many feelings in loving self negativity….
Thank you so much for that! That message was exactly what I needed today. I am in the middle of a couple of big projects that I have put a lot of work into. They are both nearly done, I have poured a lot of work and care into them, and they both require me to put myself out there and take a chance. So of course I am filled with self-doubt and even dread. Acting as if I have no self-doubt will help me finish these projects in the grand spirit that I started them with. Thank you!
@Sylvia, wow, thanks! You just gave me a great insight
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