A Self-Doubting Gay Male.
self-doubt: lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities (oxforddictionaries.com)
Self-doubt as a noun is very apt in these times to name something that seems to resonate with a lot of people. Many will speak about self-doubt privately, or not at all. To speak of your own self-doubt makes you too ‘get-at-able’ in a society of confidence boosting, self-fulfillment techniques against a backdrop of social media influencers. So we maybe only speak about it with ones that we trust.
For myself and for a long time I had self-doubt and still do, but I feel that it keeps me going. Rather than avoid a situation as I sometimes would in the past, I try to work it out and look beyond. Knowing that it will be over, because life moves on and it is just another square of the quilt in my life. I know that a decision I make about myself or for others may not work out. On the action/reflection model perhaps I was not the best person to make that decision. But I did and have to live with it.
I do, however, know that you don’t know how things are going to actually be until that point of decision. Therefore, it comes down to the process of not just being anxious, sometimes that helps, but planning different possibilities of outcome. Even when you are minutes away from the situation, or even in it, you may have to change all your planning on a quick reflection of the situation. I think it takes a very able and adaptable mind to do that.
As a small example, I started a boxing class recently and there was going to be the opportunity to try some light sparring. I spent about a week watching Youtube videos on first-time sparring techniques. Practicing some of the techniques I learnt. Then when it came to it, I could not quite get the hang of what I had learnt and was overthinking it so much, I could not action what I learnt. I had self-doubt before. After the experience though I felt that I had tried my best and the outcome was not what I wanted. I just go back to the drawing board with my self-doubt and learn again (or overthink if you are like me).
I thought being part of the LGBT population and working in it my self-doubt would be eased somewhat. This has not always been the case and, with age, knowledge and experience I have found a more comfortable relationship with myself and my communities. I know I don’t fit in to every ‘label’; I like being in queer spaces but would describe myself as a gay man. I don’t know everything about being part of the LGBT community and that can fill me with self-doubt. But is that actually me? Or is it other people who are so passionate and intense that I could never do enough, understand enough in their eyes. To do so would cause fatigue and anxiety on my self-doubt of not quite being good enough. I don’t have much time in life to transition to be that person.
Like my sparring experience though, my self-doubt has been settled with knowing that there are people who often don’t listen to your perspective, but that they, maybe, have their own self-doubt too. To mask it they are as knowledgable and passionate as they can be. Sometimes this can hinder any reflection of their actions.
So I feel very lucky that I have some self-doubt and anxieties that I can work with. I know that there are going to be some assault course’s that I will struggle to get over because of my anxieties. Now, however, I am more adept at knowing and finding out what that assault course may be made up of before making a fully commited decsion to commit. It frustrates some people, but you are only here once and to live a good life is to have many opportunities and take them as they come, self-doubt or no self-doubt.