Self-doubt. I’m sure at some point in our lives, we’ve all dealt with this. I am someone who’s been struggling with it for a while, and unfortunately, as I grow older, it only seems to be getting worse. The same thoughts flood my mind every single day…
Am I good enough?
Will I ever be successful?
What am I doing with my life?
What is my purpose?
Why isn’t there one thing I excel at?
I feel mediocre.
Sometimes, I wish to cease to exist.
Why can’t I just be outgoing like everyone else?
Why is it that things that come naturally for others, are challenges for me?
But I’m not here to make myself the victim or complain about how much I suck at life. I just wish I could get over this irrational fear of failure because that’s essentially what this is. I think I’ve always been afraid to admit it, but I do, in fact, have a fear of failing. As a result of that, my life has been affected in so many different ways. I’ve missed out on opportunities. It’s prevented me from moving forward in life. It’s stinted my growth as an individual…and just reading that makes me cringe.
I know that there’s no such thing as perfection, yet I’ve somehow convinced myself that I need to be perfect. If I don’t, I feel like a failure (not to sound dramatic, but I don’t really know how else to explain it). Life’s supposed to be about challenging yourself…going beyond your comfort zone. My problem is that I’ve become too comfortable in my comfort zone and I don’t like change. I like routine. When I see or hear the word challenge, I automatically think of failure. The only way to grow in life is to make mistakes. So why is this so difficult for me? How did this get to be so bad that I’ve now become the only person standing in the way of myself?
The only answer I can think of is my shyness. I hate being described as shy, but it’s true. I’m not the most outgoing person. I get embarrassed very easily. I care way too much about what people think of me. I’m always monitoring what I say and how I act around people. I always knew I was the quiet one, but as I grow older, it seems to stand out more. I notice that in group settings I don’t say a word. If I have an idea, I don’t share it, because I’m afraid of rejection. But as long as I blend in to the background, how am I supposed to get anywhere in life.
Sometimes I feel like my life’s one big catch 22. I don’t want to appear stupid so I don’t speak up, but then my quietness is sometimes misinterpreted, therefore giving people the wrong impression of me, which leads me back to the point of caring what others think about me. I’m getting a headache just thinking about all of this…
It’s easy for someone to say, “Well, just speak up. The worst thing someone can say is ‘no.'” But those who can relate to my situation know that this is no easy feat. To be completely honest, I think most of this is genetics. It stems from personality traits. I can’t think of a situation I’ve ever been in that would have “traumatized” me and made me change my behavior.
I have my moments here and there. Sometimes I surprise myself. But it still takes me twice as much effort to talk to a stranger than it does for someone who’s more outgoing or extroverted. It’s a constant tug-of-war between wanting to push myself beyond my comfort zone but not actually following through with it.
I am my own worst enemy. I look at a lot of people and see how charismatic they are. They are great public speakers, exceptional team players, and embody all the right leadership qualities. Sometimes I feel like as much as I want to be the leader sometimes, I’m always going to be the follower and that makes me sad because what does that say about myself? I don’t want to continue living life with this negative image of myself. It’s easy for people to say, “Well, if you don’t like where you are in life, do something about it.” Well, that’s the problem. I don’t know what to do or where to even begin. Sometimes I feel like there’s something really wrong with me because of these thoughts I have and how much they consume me. It literally affects my everyday life, and, like I said, the older I get, the more pronounced it becomes and the more I notice it (which is bad because then I just focus on it more).
Again, I’m not writing this for the sake of complaining and victimizing myself. My hope is for other people to read this and know they are not alone…because sadly, sometimes I feel like I’m alone and that no one can relate to what I’m going through. So if anyone out there is struggling with self-doubt, I’m right there with you. I know life’s not supposed to be easy, but sometimes, I feel like it’s harder than it needs to be (and it’s my fault for making it that way). I just want to get to a point in my life where I’m happy with myself, the self-doubt is not a magnified issue, and I can just life my life. But I know that the only way for that to happen is if I make a change.