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Friday, March 3, 2017

Self Doubt, Insecurity, Uncertainty...Not a Problem

Self doubt, insecurity and uncertainty have been frequent visitors to my psyche for as long as I can remember. I can remember feeling these things all the way back to my earliest memories. They're not necessarily tied to any particular circumstances. I just felt that way. I still often feel that way.

For a long time I thought that these frequent feelings were an indicator of some personal deficiency. Why the hell couldn't I just be more confident, self assured, and secure? If I felt this way there must be something really wrong with me. Therapy ensued.

I found little relief. Talking about my past, my upbringing, and social patterns didn't help. Nor did positive thinking, rationalizing, or emoting. Hitting the bed with a pillow only damaged the pillow. I also tried to fix the feelings by seeking solutions through relationships, sex, religion, spirituality, work, money, and anything else that I believed could repair me.

Nothing worked. Nothing.

Several years ago I realized that these feelings weren't permanent, and I wasn't limited to only feeling unstable. There were plenty of times that I felt OK. There were times that I felt elation, and times that I felt optimistic, and times that I felt at peace. Sometimes I felt depressed, sometimes angry, sometimes anxious. There were days when I experienced very clear thinking, and high productivity, and others where I couldn't hold my focus for longer than a second. One of the most important things that I realized was that feelings don't have any inherent meaning. They're just feelings.

Everyone I've met has times of feeling the whole gamut of human emotions. That's just human. We don't have to attach a drama or story to them. Feelings come and go. I'm finding more and more that If I just let my mind settle down, that my feelings self adjust. They pass. They don't mean anything on their own.

Within the Earth's atmosphere there is energy at work. There is push and pull between areas of high pressure and low pressure. The weather is constantly changing as a result. Sometimes there are storms, sometimes there is calm and sunshine. Sometimes it's volatile, sometimes peaceful. We can experience storms as scary, or thrilling, or dangerous, or compelling -- depending on our state of mind. We also can experience the calm times as boring, comforting, delightful, relaxing, or suspicious -- again depending on our state of mind. Like the weather is a part of the Earth's nature, our feelings are just a part of our nature.

I am not my feelings. My feelings don't define who I am. They're just energy at work. There's pressure, and push and pull, and storms, and calm. None of these feelings are permanent, and none of them are right or wrong, good or bad. They pass. They aren't caused by my circumstances, they arise from my thinking.

I've stopped seeing self doubt, insecurity, and uncertainty as problems. The only problem I've ever had with them is that I thought that they were significant truths about me. They're not. If you stop seeing your feelings as problems, they'll stop being problems. They'll just be feelings. All you have to do is feel them.

For those of us who are in solo businesses, or freelancers, or independent creatives, we need to realize that there will be times that we feel these kinds of emotions, maybe often. I have a couple of days every few weeks that I just sink. I can almost predict when these days will arrive. I've noticed that these sunken days are followed by a couple of weeks of highly engaged, productive time. While the down times are uncomfortable, and uneasy, I don't worry that they happen any more. They're just a part of life. No threat. No concern.

One thing we need to be very clear about is that our emotions aren't the truth about our work. They don't mean anything about whether we're on the right path, or if our work has value. They're just feelings. You can have a shitstorm of negative feelings one minute and feel like pitching the whole thing, and the next minute you can be totally in love with your work. That doesn't indicate anything about what decisions you should make, or which direction you need to go.

Get yourself into a clear state of mind, and get grounded, and you're likely to find that insights and guidance come into your awareness, along with greater freedom, productivity and flow. Your feelings are just fine. You are bigger than your feelings. Self doubt, uncertainty and insecurity are no threat to you, even though they may visit from time to time. Don't even try to change them. Let them be.

**I'm not a therapist or psychiatrist. I'm telling you what happens for me. If you are depressed and anxious all the time, there may be a real need for medical intervention. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask for help. There are ways to regain your sense of health and wellness. Doctors like William Pettit have a history of great success in helping people with chronic emotional and mental situations.