What do we do when we feel discomfort? Do we run away? Do we distract ourselves? Do we ignore and pretend A doubting of reality? Where do the feelings go when they are repressed and not fully expressed? Do we digest them through our pores and with our breath? Do they alchemize into Our cells, our inner makeup Only to resurface again later? Am I okay if I sit here With the fear, the doubt, the unknown? Will I somehow lose myself and be completely consumed and transformed by it, as fear would tell? What if I sit here for 10 seconds? Surely, I can do anything for just 10 seconds. No big deal, I tell fear after the time’s run out. And, well, I’ll be. I’m still me. I didn’t fall of the cliff. The earth didn’t cease to rotate because I sat with the doubt or uncertainty. Still the earth rotates on its axis and I became one with the fear and found my way to the other side, To home. Confidence in myself, My self-worth, My inner being was strengthened as a result of just getting still And being with the discomfort. For just a moment in time Heaven moved with the earth And I came out unscathed At having faced it, Just for today.
Doubt is where the real inner work resides. We can take a breather, examine what’s worked, what lies underneath the surface, and uncover old fears and wounds. This is where Doubt lives. It makes us feel small and inconsequential. It belittles our triumphs as not a big deal or just a coincidence, chance or dumb luck. Not true.
What do we do when Doubt creeps in? Do we run and hide and choose not face what’s blocking our path?
Playing safe = playing small.
It’s our duty to share our gifts with the world: Our talents, our skillset, our voice, our words, our stories are desperately needed.
How can we overcome Doubt?
We can journal the uncomfortable feelings. Process our thoughts into words on the page. Or stop and simply get outside and take a walk in nature or do some other movement.
How do we get still and ready to confront Doubt?
My favorite is to sit still and do a visualization with Doubt. Ask Doubt what is she trying to protect us from? Imagine Doubt is an unexpected guest that needs tending and attention. Make a cup of tea. Help Doubt take off her wet raincoat and dry by the fire. Hand Doubt the warm mug. Start gently, where you are. Try not to get caught up in a shouting and pushing match. Accept Doubt. Listen calmly and openly to all the concerns and potential threats. See them as outside yourself. They are not your truth or your story or what will happen. There are no guarantees.
Assure Doubt that you are okay. You are strong. You are capable. You are ready to take the next bold step. That with uncertainty can come greatness, joy, and a life beyond imagination. Sit in silence together, sipping the warm tea that never seems to cool until the last drop is gone. Thank Doubt for her words and say goodbye.
What’s the payoff for playing small? It provides a safety net in a world that seems wrought with violence and fear. Doubt is natural and almost like reflexive, protective posturing. However, please remember that your dream, your talents, skills, story, words, and energy are not threatening.
When I sit with Doubt I uncover some more: FEAR. Fear of being vulnerable, being open to criticism or possible judgment. Or possibly overcoming Doubt will spark a movement, create momentum for inner growth and shared experience, and provide an accepting environment and community where we can all thrive and not only merely survive.
I almost lost it all. One moment of self-doubt could have turned to tragedy. It couldn’t really be carbon monoxide. It must be faulty batteries, not a faulty furnace.
How I doubted myself. How it could have ended everything for me, for my life, for my neighbors in the building.
What I could have lost and missed out on: motherhood, adventure, marriage.
All lost in a moment if I didn’t move. If I didn’t follow through. If I didn’t make a phone call. All could have ended.
The earth gone black. Death by choking. Death in my sleep. Death all alone. Death all heartbroken. Leaving everyone I knew’s heart in pieces too.
Luckily, that’s not where my story ended. It was a rebirth. A renewal. A tangible bona fide appreciation of life.
How fragile it can be. How temporary it is. That every day is a gift.
My neighbors survived. My life was given new meaning. I am forever grateful for the lessons and cherish each day.
That basement apartment off of Gano Street? The final verdict: uninhabitable for human life. I called it home for a short three months. And it could have cost me my life!
My first time on my own. Living the dream of being an independent woman.
And I was afraid. I was lonely and heartbroken. Alone for the very first time. Unsure of what to do. Doubting my choices to leave, layering on guilt and remorse.
It could have all ended. But thank the stars it didn’t. My life is amazing these 14 years later. The beauty and gift of this one remarkable life.