I am feeling debilitating self-doubt today.
This is never comfortable, but since I have not felt this way in so long, I feel extra un-prepared to handle it.
So I have mostly been trying to avoid it, which has resulted in me walking around with this pit in my stomach all day while I just get crankier and want to eat everything in sight.
It finally started to ease once I finally started journaling about how I was feeling which quickly led to me connecting the dots on what really had me feeling uncomfortable:
- There are things that I want that I am embarrassed to want. So I am trying to pretend like I don’t want them. Wanting and not-admitting-to-wanting collide in some pretty uncomfortable energy.
- After years of keeping my eyes on my own work, the past few months I have started following more creative people online. At first this was really inspiring and now I’m just feeling like everyone else is better/brighter/more focused/ etc, etc, etc and I am somehow “behind”.
- Both of those things are amplified by the amount of time I have been spending working on the new website and other behind-the-scenes kind of work. I am aching to be doing more with my creative ideas.
Right now self-doubt is saying that everyone else has more energy for sharing creative ideas and that I am too sensitive, too slow, too weirdly ambivalent about being seen. So really I should give up.
This feels hard to hear because, deep down inside, I do worry that all of it is true. It triggers fear after fear, going deeper into that worthiness wound that we all have.
Usually I try to go right in and speak with my various inner critic/fear/doubt voices but this one feels too raw.
So I am doing my best to simply feel it and stay present with it. To that end, I am going to go take a bath with my self-doubt and see where this leads me…
Oh before I go do that I want to share that even while I have all of this discomfort something else is rising in me that I only notice when I sit and really feel how I feel:
Inspiration and enthusiasm!
A breakthrough on the horizon!
The growing truth that I have *so much* amazing stuff to share that it’s kind of scary.
Remembering about creative cycles of rest and renewal and expression and how this draw towards sharing more is the energy that starts to draw me towards the next part of the cycle.
(It doesn’t mean something was/is wrong, it means it’s time to shift into the next part of the cycle)
Off to that bath now…
[After the bath]
Well that went really poorly! The voice of self-doubt just got really mean.
So I cried for a while then just went to bed.
Now it’s the next morning, I am feeling much better.
Not 100% better – I feel like I moved through some of the emotional stuff that I was feeling but I didn’t actually do anything to transform it.
You know you have transformed the thing when you feel ready to move forward.
So let’s dive in. Hello self-doubt.
(To keep this somewhat clear – self-doubt’s words will be in italics)
Self-doubt shows up as the cookie monster. (Oh that’s funny my favourite doughnut shop has a new cookie monster doughnut)
But he’s not cuddly and happy like the cookie monster, his vibe is really more Oscar the Grouch. In fact, as I look closer – I think he is inside a garbage can.
I sit down beside him.
I look into his eyes and he looks absolutely terrified. He’s not a monster at all, he’s a frightened little kid.
“Oh I’m so sorry you’re scared. What can I do to help?”
Self-doubt hugs his legs, pulling his head into his knees, like trying to be really small. “I don’t want to do any of this. It’s scary.”
“OK, What’s “this”?”
“THIS!” Self-doubt gestures wildly around “EVERYTHING! I’m trying to pick up all the balls you’re dropping but it’s impossible!”
I sit with this for a few minutes. Yes I know what self-doubt is referring to. I’ve got a lot happening right now and I can’t do everything and so I am not doing everything.
“Which things are you The Most stressed out about?”
“You’ve gone quiet! You’re becoming invisible! You’re just working on stuff by yourself all day and not putting anything out there. Your blog, your Instagram, your emails – I mean your beautiful Dream Lab! There is so much you could be doing but you’re not doing it! You’re not inviting people to be a part of the magic of it all!”
“Yes you are right. I am focusing on getting the Year of Dreams + the new Circle website done. The next projects are the Creative Dream Alchemy kits + putting the work out there.”
Ugh. I know. “Putting the work out there” is such a lame way to describe what I want to do.
“See? You’re so disconnected from the project you don’t have a decent descriptor for it!”
***Ding! Ding! Ding!*** We found the problem***
I am pulling back from this project before I even begin it! Instead of fuelling my love and enthusiasm for it, I have been fuelling my ambivalence.
Self-doubt just disappears into a puff of smoke. He just needed me to see that.
My heart feels lighter. Transformation is beginning.
I see it now: Energetically I was on a path going in a direction I don’t want to go in, by pulling back from my ideas before even fully exploring them.
And I see what my next steps need to be: Map out what this project of “putting the work out there” means. Give it a suitable name, like: Inviting People To Be A Part Of The Magic. Get in touch with the beauty and enthusiasm of it. LOVE it!
Oh wow I feel totally different now.
I just re-read the beginning of this post which I wrote last night. Yes – I don’t feel any of that any more. I get that this is a signal for me to shift and adjust and take action.
I can map out this vision for this project this week, then I will be holding it differently – even though I still won’t have much time to work on it for a while.
… One week later:
I wrote this post a week ago.
Today, looking back, I can see that it was this message from my self-doubt was exactly what I needed.
I’ve been inspired and on track. I have made creative progress. I feel more sure of myself. I feel good about my work.
In fact I am all lit up about my plans for 2018 and I’ve been working really long days because I’m just too inspired to stop working when dinner time rolls around.
Self-Doubt doesn’t have to hold you back. It can actually be a gift.
Working with self-doubt, releasing what is not yours to hold while receiving the message of it is actually Creative Dream Jet Fuel – it can propel you towards your dream.
We can do this together!
I am doing a (free!) creative dream obstacle-releasing ceremony!
It’s live online on Dec 19 – the recording will be available until Jan 9.