My First Steps Towards Overcoming Self-Doubt
The intention of this post (written as a reflection) is to provide you with a synopsis of the steps I took towards overcoming my own self-doubt. *Please note, there will be a series of posts that will delve deeper into this topic providing a multidimensional view to better assist you in understanding and overcoming any of your own self-doubt. -V
I woke up last Wednesday morning with a feeling of dread and uncertainty in the air, as well as, in the pit of my stomach. My intuition, had sensed something awful was about to happen. Leaving my home, in a state of confusion, I found out later in the day my boss had “let me go” due to the lack of budget.
After packing up my belongings and spending some time to say my last goodbyes to my colleagues, I sat in Mazada 3 Hatchback for a few moments to eat the remainder of leftover lunch while recollecting the growth and transformation that took place prior to me taking the job, during, and after it was over. Regardless of all the amazing things I’ve learned, experienced, and accomplished in the past 27 years of life, I still felt the presence of self-doubt lurking nearby questioning my existence — dressed in the cloak of uncertainty.
The weekend was a day away, and instead of going out to the abundance of “things to-do” on a warm Friday night in the Bay, I chose to attend my friend Rosey’s Innerstanding meditation and sound healing workshop, in Japan Town back home in the 408 — San Jose, CA.
It would be my fiancé Mark and a couple of our close friends, Vanessa and Anthony’s first time attending one of these. Excited to be home and reunited with familiar faces, I made sure to represent my hometown by wearing a T-shirt — I had bought the previous week at F.A.M.E (Fashion. Arts. Music. Exhibition) — that read, “Product of San Jose — 4:08.”
We were now seated inside the Live Lotus yoga studio among 40–50 other San Joséan’s. The lights were dim enough for me to see the faint flickering candle past through my eye lids. Rosey was seated in the center of the room, directly across from me, with the gong behind her back. She asked that we go ahead and find a position that makes us feel comfortable. While my fiancé and friends laid flat on the ground, I chose to stay seated upright in quarter lotus pose for the entirety of the session.
The first fifteen minutes into the meditation was the most challenging of the hour. With the myriad thoughts and internal dialogue that popped in-and-out of my head yielding comments, such as, “Who do you think you are?…Nobody cares about what you’re doing?…You’re worth nothing…,” I tried to bring it back to center by focusing on my breath to lessen the nasty voice that was yapping away in the corners of my mind.
However, the opinions of insecurity, fear, and unworthiness was reasonably persuasive trying to minimize my inner light and attempted to corner me like bullies ready to beat me up for my lunch money.
To protect myself from being dragged down into the rabbit hole, I began to notice my internal dialogue — the voices of judgement and the inner critic — come into play, taking up room in my head space as if it was their rightful home.
Rosey’s tranquil and ethereal voice, one that reminds you of kindness and love, help guided me back to center. I began to notice her choice of words — few yet intentional and impactful — inspired me for a moment to think childlike and less logically. I turned inwards, taking what I’ve learned in the spur of the moment, and immediately applied it to the unruly mess occurring within my head space. Quietly and mindfully, I whispered to myself the two words that commanded detachment from the negative voices that tried to cling on…
The first time I said it, nothing happened except my bull-like stubbornness resisting to cooperate. The second time I said it, still no change towards my attitude. The third time, I noticed a thin and slight possibility like a light at the end of a tunnel. And when the fourth time came around, I felt my sense of conviction strengthened by the seconds. I continued on mindfully repeating these two words until the the negative voices in my head subsided into silence. There was now space for me to move on and confront a larger issue — self-doubt.
Losing my job is not a terrible thing, it’s the questions “what’s next” and “what if” that’s unsettling leaving me in the field of uncertainty. And while sitting in this space, I begin to question myself, my abilities, my existence hence causing my self-confidence to dip below. I find that when I’m in this space it’s often because I don’t feel that I am enough.
The meditative and expansive resonance ringing from the gong, bells, tuning forks and so on — played by Ajay and Hermes, conductors of the sound healing portion — brought my attention and breath back to center.
The next three phrases appeared in my mind’s eye assisting me to stand a little firmer, more grounded and rooted in my inner power — innerstanding:
If you have ever seeked approval from your mother, father, partner, friends, teacher, and or boss in the past, you can probably relate with me on how the feeling might be when we want to please those we love and care about so much. Or maybe it’s because we seek to be wanted, to gain approval and be accepted among our peers. And, or, maybe it’s because we desire to be respected.
As simple as this phrase might seem, it was my first step of courage towards overcoming self-doubt. I realized the permission that mattered the most was not external but my own. If you feel any sort of guilt for giving youself this “wonderful” permission, don’t give up or push the possibility away. Like a muscle in need of strengthening, it takes time, training, as well as, unlearning the many years of conditioning from external experiences endured.
A declaration set into motion. The power of choice. This simple yet powerful phrase provides clarity in direction and impacts your present and future. Note, it might be a tad bit challenging at first to fully grasp and believe you are what you say you are, however, it only gets easier with practice, having patience with yourself and time. The exciting part about this step is you are the creator who gets to chose your future and who you want to be in this present moment in light of that choice.
This phrase reminded me of the person I’ve declared myself to be, and whatever self-doubt inhabiting my mind is not real nor true.
Bong goes the gong. At the exact time when this phrase appeared in my mind’s eye, the mallet struck the gong at such an impeccable timing, unplanned for, to emphasize the importance of this phrase — lesson — I had just received.
When I first mindfully whispered this phrase to myself, the light bulb went off upstairs and I immediately got it. Like a breath of fresh air, the hostile environment of my mind questioning myself, the expectations of others, opinions of what’s right, what’s wrong, and what if’s — voices of doubt — disappeared into thin air as if it was all an illusion that I, myself, created. There were moments when it tried creeping back in and when that happens, I remind myself to just be here in the present moment and that the truth resides in the here and now.
I walked into the Innerstanding meditation workshop with many unsettling and unresolved questions about my future. I left with a sense of peace instilled within me, knowing that at any point on my path, I came come back to my inner power by reminding myself that I can give myself the permission to be, I am enough, and to just be me — nothing else.
I now invite you to give this process a try by spending as simple as 10 to 15 minutes a day to turn inwards and meditate using the following tools I have provided here in this post. If you wish to explore a little deeper, I invite you to spend another 10 to 15 minutes journaling what you discovered in this process.