For years I have battled with self-doubt. It is a horrible affliction to have to deal with. Without anyone’s interference, I will sometimes doubt my ability to succeed in a career. I will sometimes doubt my ability to be a good parent. I will sometimes doubt my ability to be a good wife. I will sometimes doubt my ability to write well. The list goes on and on.
There are always reasons for my self-doubt. I might have met with failure at one point in my career. I might have been rejected after an interview. I may have had an article return to me from an editor with a million and one red marks on it. I may feel guilty for devoting part of my time to things other than my children, who, in my heart, I always feel deserve 100 percent of my time.
Some of my reasons for self-doubt are real and others are only in my head. I have messed up miserably many a time in my career, in my writing, as a wife, and in my parenting. When most people mess up, they inevitably doubt their abilities to do better. That happens to me all the time.
But then I pick myself up. I am actually quite good at that. I will make horrible horrible mistakes, but then I will recognize them for what they are: mistakes. I might grovel in self-pity and self-doubt for days, weeks, or even months. But I eventually snap myself out of it. I know that it is only human to make mistakes. Every single human being on this earth has made them and will continue to do so. And so will I. But I have learned to make my mistakes, grovel in self-pity for awhile, stand up, shake the dust off, forgive myself, and try to do better the next time.
It would be great if life were that easy.
I don’t only have to deal with my own self-doubt. I, as everybody else in the world, also deal with other humans who, knowingly or not, throw my weaknesses in my face every once in awhile. Or worse, they envy my strengths and find ways to attack me; increasing my already long list of things I thought I was a failure at. Or simply, they say something mean just because. Just to hurt me.
My instinctive reaction for years when this happens has been to run to friends and family who know me who can give me a little bit of self-validation. You did nothing wrong, Nadia. You’re doing a great job, Nadia. So and so has issues of their own, don’t listen to them. No matter how many times I hear this, I still doubt myself. I still feel that maybe that person sees in me all those failures that I feel myself. Maybe I really deserve to get that thrown at me.
I write this today as a way of holding myself to a promise. The self-doubting has exhausted me. Mean people have exhausted me. And I am sure I have exhausted many people around me by repeatedly going to them with my troubles.
I write this today as a way of telling myself that I am not perfect and it is all right. I have made horrible mistakes and I forgive me. I will make horrible mistakes again because I am human. I will learn from them. I will continue to grow as a person because of them. Most importantly, I will not let people around me cause me to doubt myself. I have great family and friends who support me and who kindly and lovingly give me advice and guidance when I need it. People who send me negative messages are not worth my time. People who say negative things about me in a hurtful way need help themselves.
I write this today to tell myself, “Learn, Nadia. Take the positive. Leave the negative. Don’t let people get you down. Learn. Grow. And move on. You’re doing a great job.”