Saying Goodbye to Self-Doubt and Living your Best Life Guilt-Free
In my 32 years of existence, I’ve spent around 20 of them questioning whether I’m good enough.
As a pre-teen it was, “I am good enough to hang out with the cool kids or for a boy to like me?”
In high school it was, “Am I good enough to stand out and be recognized to get into the college I want to go? Am I pretty and thin enough to get asked out on a date?”
In my early twenties I was in constant pursuit of finding a meaningful relationship and struggling with my body image and level of fitness. I would constantly compare myself to my friends and acquaintances thinking, “I should be more in shape like them. I should have my shit together like they do. I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.”
Then came the post-college years, where I flitted about like a butterfly, landing here or there but never really finding a place to land permanently or find a purpose. Was I good enough to pursue the career I felt passionate about? I doubted myself for many years and took many twists and turns on my road to fulfilment.
Letting Go of Feelings of Inadequacy
Then I got married and the self-doubt followed me, asking, “Am I a good enough wife? Do I attend to my husband and care for him? Or am I too selfish?”
It’s not easy on the person who loves you unconditionally to constantly be bombarded with their partner’s feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy. It takes a toll on them – and you.
When you husband sincerely compliments you on your outfit or haircut, please say thank you and move on. Too many times I would brush off his compliments – thinking, “He can’t really believe that, because I’m not the skinniest, prettiest, most successful woman on this earth.”
All of that doesn’t matter, though. In the end I am his wife and his companion. What I’ve learned is that you can’t really love fully if you do not at least accept yourself first.
Motherhood Can Really Bring out the Self-Doubt
When I became a mother my self-doubt continued as, “Am I good enough to be this precious little girl’s mom? Will I provide her with enough care and emotional love and support? Will I allow her to develop into her own person and offer a helping hand but let her make her own decisions?”
Motherhood tends to bring out a spiral of self-doubt even for those who never experienced anxiety or feelings of inadequacy before in their life.
Mom Guilt is a Real Struggle
The Mom Guilt is a very real struggle for moms, especially those of us who work outside the home.
As newborns, our babies are totally incapable of anything except pooping, eating and sleeping for 95% of the day.
They do not start turning into little humans until around 3-4 months out of the womb. The third trimester can be a grueling time for new parents.
The Self-Doubt Spiral
The self-doubt starts early, when we question whether we are feeding our babies enough, whether we are attending to their every need and every cry. The feelings of guilt over letting them cry for just a minute while we finish our shower or using the bathroom.
The guilt for returning to work too soon, and all of the feelings that come along with that – including questioning whether you’re putting in your full effort in your sleepless state of mind.
The self-doubt continues into the later baby stages and early toddler stages, when we feel guilty for picking up our phone and browsing social media while our baby plays on the floor. Or feel even more guilty for taking a night out with our friends to enjoy a glass of wine.
Or when we doubt our capabilities at disciplining our toddlers, or let them have too much screen time.
Potty training is a whole other struggle that brings about self-doubt and questioning of whether we can really do this thing without ruining our child for life.
Let Go of the Self-Doubt Spiral
The point is – there’s many times in life self-doubt can plague relationships, parenting, career, and life-balance.
Twenty years is a long time to battle so much self-doubt but for me it’s time to say goodbye and take the next chapter forward.
Soon I will have to teach my daughter who is full of so much life and wonder that she should never doubt herself or her abilities. I will definitely need my own self-doubt to be kicked to the curb by then.
I will teach her to always remember that she is good enough and that God put her on this earth for a reason.
I need to teach myself that same lesson sometimes. Spiraling out of control on the self-doubt scale is something I have been very familiar with in the past, but is also something I’m working towards letting go.
Steps Toward Letting Self-Doubt Fly Out the Window
The steps needed to rid of self-doubt may vary by person, but these are the steps I’m following to move toward a more guilt-free life in which I can enjoy all of the pieces intentionally and fully:
1. Let Go of the Past
Most of us have situations from childhood, or our teenage years, or our early twenties, that we constantly dwell upon and wish they could have played out differently. It makes no sense to keep dwelling on the past, as we cannot change it. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge the past situations, tell those situations in your mind that “you forgive them” and to move forward in your present life.
It might be more difficult for those with very painful pasts to perform this step. In those cases I highly recommend a certified therapist or counselor to speak to.
2. Evaluate What is Making You Anxious and Implement a Practical Solution
If your self-doubt and anxiety stems from uncertainty of your future, for example – know that you are not alone. I talk to a great deal of people who are anxious over what the future holds. Practically speaking, this is not the best way to spend our time and energy, because we can control our future to an extent.
If you have a big goal of switching careers, for example, instead of constantly plaguing yourself with worry about your current job situation, start taking practical steps today to begin the slow process of changing your situation! It seems like a simple solution, but so often we are caught up in the daily anxiety and stress that we cannot see 5 feet into the future to determine what our life could possibly look like if we only were brave enough to take the leap toward fulfilling our happiness.
3. Drop the Mom Guilt!
Yes, this is much easier said than done. I still struggle with Mom Guilt occasionally. I can usually battle it by reviewing my career goals and why those goals will propel me forward, and will also show my daughter how a woman can wear multiple hats and succeed at them all!
I am a firm believer that by pursuing our dreams while raising children, we can show them that they’re able to pursue their own dreams when it comes time for them to fly free. Working moms (and dads) teach kids responsibility, creativity, passion and purpose. They show kids what it’s like to work hard for a dream and achieve great results. Why not celebrate working moms everywhere by showing our children that we can achieve anything we set our minds to? It will teach them that hard work does pay off!
4. Practice Mindfulness Daily
I talk a great deal about mindfulness, meditation and yoga as important resources that I use in my healthy toolkit in order to both practice gratefulness in my life and to bring my mind and body in harmony and focus.
I believe that by practicing mindfulness on a daily basis, we are able to see our plan of action much more clearly and for me, that lessens my anxiety and self-doubt. This is because my mind will travel to a place that is ideal – I can be found pursuing my highest goals and succeeding when I picture my future self.
I am much less anxious over the unknown when I can mindfully see what my future holds. No, I am not psychic – but the mind is a powerful tool at manifesting your desires. What you think, you can become.
5. Allow for Down-Time
Pursuing big goals, raising children and getting our minds and bodies in shape is tough work! It’s always important to allow for adequate down-time, whether that is in the form of rest, relaxation, or self-care. If reading a good book is your cup of tea, then allow for at least five minutes of that activity each day. It could be watching a favorite show on Netflix, taking a bubble bath, or maybe just sitting in silence for five minutes to decompress.
Some days things may be too crazy to squeeze anything in besides collapsing in bed, but I promise that if you find just five minutes a day to do something you love and that resets you as a mom and a career-driven woman, then you will ultimately be able to reach your goals faster and succeed even more in each area of your life.
I’d love to hear the ways you battle self-doubt in your lives! Drop a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until Next Time,