Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Dave Ursillo of DaveUrsillo.com.
“Your problem is you are too busy holding on to your unworthiness.” ~Ram Dass
For all that we are free and empowered to do in this day and age, why is it that so few are willing to take a “leap of faith” and strive to better their lives as they wish?
The culprits that cripple dreams are oft-discussed by Jonathan here on Illuminated Mind: fear, self-doubt and unworthiness.
Self-doubt is so prevalent because it is safe and secure — a cocoon of protection that insulates from risk, chance and the unknown. No matter how naturally fearful we might be of the dangers and consequence of risk-taking (it’s human nature, right?), few of us would actually choose to be protected at the cost of unworthiness, insecurity and even self-loathing. And yet few can honestly say that self-doubt and unworthiness have no influence in their lives.
Feelings of unworthiness are so common because people outside of ourselves hardly ever see or hear our own self-doubt.
If we wore self-doubt on our sleeves, we would soon find ourselves repulsing many important people and loved ones from our lives: an outward lack of confidence or belief in one’s self are incredibly unbecoming traits. Think about it like this: If you met an attractive stranger, you wouldn’t tell him or her that you have no confidence in yourself to be a worthy boyfriend or girlfriend. At your job, you wouldn’t readily volunteer to a boss or manager that you don’t believe you’re worthy of a long-awaited promotion. So, why waste the time, effort and energy harping upon self-doubt in your own head — chances that could be used to create opportunities and achievements?
Self-Doubt: A Quiet Culprit
Self-doubt is private; unworthiness is quiet. But that they are confined within our minds doesn’t mean they are docile and peaceful: unworthiness and self-doubt are powerful inner demons that with time can grow to heavily weigh upon us — so much so that our lives are wracked by fear and self-loathing.
Listen, I myself go through self-doubt, even feeling unworthy of the goals that I’m pursuing. I think just about everyone does. Indeed, there’s even a benefit to playing Devil’s Advocate within your own head; thinking about your life’s decisions and actions from a few different perspectives is a smart process. Nevertheless, the biggest obstacle to achieving our pursuits in life is holding onto unworthiness. Self-doubt is seductive: it creeps into our minds and makes itself a home. But before long, the weight of unworthiness feels like you’re carrying masses of iron upon your shoulders.
There are simple methods to help us undo feelings of unworthiness.
If their prevalence comes from their very private and quiet nature, we counteract them by making them loud: what if we imagined verbalizing or publicizing our self-doubt? How would others react? When you speak your unworthiness out loud, how does it sound to your own ears?
Through verbalizing self-doubt, journaling insecurities, or even keeping a video diary, we can counteract self-doubt and undo feelings of unworthiness:
1a. Would I tell someone I love/who loves me this self-doubt? What would he/she say? — A loved one will likely be very understanding, but strongly encourage you to overcome it and convince you that you’re capable of doing so.
1b. Would I tell an acquaintance, associate, or coworker this self-doubt? What would he/she say? — As we get further away from our closest friends, lovers and relatives and extend out from our inner circle of relationships, people will start to be repelled from your verbalized self-loathing.
1c. Would I tell a stranger on the street this self-doubt? What would he/she say? — You might start to get some stares at this point. Ask yourself, is it worth wasting my own time harping upon self-doubt and unworthiness?
1d. Would I tell a mentor or someone I look up to this self-doubt? What would he/she say? — Your mentor will likely react by telling you to discard those pointless thoughts, to carry on, to persevere. And you can, without someone else telling you to do so.
1e. Would I tell someone who looks up to me this self doubt? What would he/ she say? — Someone who looks up to you wouldn’t believe his or her ears if you expressed self-loathing. Be strong and overcome it, if not for yourself, then for those who look up to you.
2a. Write your self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness down on paper. Upon writing it, do the feelings it dissipate — as if a building pressure within you has finally been released? If you go back in a few days or weeks time and reread what you wrote, does it look foolish or embarrass you?
2b. Video Journal yourself when you’re feeling particularly unworthy and lacking. Once when I was attempting to record an episode of my video-blog RenegadeTV, I was particularly down and frustrated. I went back and watched the video days later — and was completely shamed by how unnecessarily I was reacting to simple frustrations. The idea isn’t to shame yourself, but to realize how throwing a pity party and being entrapped by self-loathing are pointless and ought to be discarded from the start.
Self-loathing and unworthiness breeds a strong internal conflict within you — one that manifests itself in total frustration, anxiety, and even depression. It arises when the wild and free human spirit within us confronts the demons of insecurity and self-doubt that linger upon our minds. This internal clash obliges us to choose between releasing self-doubt and undoing our sense of unworthiness, or continue to be weighed down by them.
With consequences as stark as night and day, one thing to me is clear: we ought to make the decision — right now, today — to discard self-doubt and unworthiness, to take a “leap of faith” and strive to better their lives as best we can.
What technique works best for you?
About the author: Dave Ursillo is a 24-year-old American writer from Rhode Island currently living in Boston, MA. He writes on the subjects of inner growth, spiritual enlightenment and personal development on his blog, DaveUrsillo.com, and can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.