Three Understandings for Navigating Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is essential to any creative process. Every accomplished artist experiences it, as does anyone who dares to chart a new course in their life, in any form. It takes courage, because when you create art, or create realities, you enter the unknown. If the process of creation were seven steps, self-doubt would be number four, the most determined. If you cannot move through self-doubt, you won’t be able to proceed to the last three steps, and you’ll likely start over again and again, or just give up. Conversely, if you try to skip over that step, you will be hard-pressed to reach the goal line without massive struggle, or find fulfillment even if you do manage to get there.

Creative Process-wildcoyotes

Humorous but revelatory look at the creative process

Here are three understandings to help you navigate your self-doubt:

1st understanding: Self-doubt is not self-punishment or self-flagellation (humorous diagram aside). This is an important distinction. If you’re beating yourself up and calling it self-doubt, know that this is self-destructive behavior, and at best, fake humility. Pride and humility need to be in balance. Always move toward being your own best friend. Engage in the practice of loving self, which includes forgiving yourself when you screw up. Without self-forgiveness, you’ll repeat your mistakes and won’t change.

2nd understanding: There are layers to responsibility in the creation of anything new in your life. The “rah-rah—it’s all good” or “it’s all shit” mantras will disconnect you from your soul and spirit. Don’t let the light blind you to the presence of self-doubt, or the dark keep you mired in it. Always seek to balance between the light (spirit) and the substance (soul).

dark-dragonfly-1-wc

3rd understanding: Creativity waxes and wanes, and sometimes it can get lost, which can trigger heavy doses of self-doubt. When this happens, you need to push in the clutch and change it up. Pause is essential to retrieve lost creativity. If you’re too busy to pause, that’s when you need it the most. Time is an illusion. It does not have to be your slave master. Use meditation to step out of space-time. Take your self-doubt into your meditation, ask for help in lifting it. Controlling it doesn’t work. Trying to be perfect absolutely doesn’t work. Perfection is brittle and static, and leaves no room for creativity.

A final caveat—your negative ego:

Your negative ego can have a field day with your self-doubt. One thing you can count on: it always lies. So, don’t give it to your ego. Whether you acknowledge your self-doubt, or ignore it, one of the most destructive games your negative ego will play is delusions of grandeur, and delusions of insignificance. Both are a lie, and both will take you down. Your positive ego is supposed to just deliver information from your physical reality. But we, somewhere in our growing up years, shamed it into taking over interpretation of our reality. Make sure you are the one in charge. Harness your negative ego and give it a back seat.

p.s. Do you think I had any self-doubt in the writing of this post? You bet!

One Response to “Three Understandings for Navigating Self-Doubt”

  1. […] where logic meets the brick wall and crumbles « Three Understandings for Navigating Self-Doubt […]

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