Trusting and Exploring Your Doubts
Doubt finds all of us. Whether it presents itself as doubt in ourselves, our relationships, our religion, or our career paths, it will find its way in. If you are anything like me you have faced doubts in more than one aspect of your life.
In everyone’s life there will be at least one incident that stirs us to make a major change and for many that time will come from a moment of doubt. The ability to search within yourself to find the root of that doubt, and the journey that will follow will take you to a deeper understanding of who you are and what you stand for. Sometimes the voice that is beckoning us to listen to it is not the one we should push down, but instead the one we should allow to rise up, to tell us how to best serve ourselves and the world around us.
One of the worst things anyone can do is make you feel like you don’t have a right to your doubts or your questions. This can make you believe that having doubts makes you less faithful or positive or optimistic. Which is simply is not true. Authentic positivity and optimism must also include realism, which means understanding there will be obstacles on our path, and while we cannot allow the bad to overtake us, we also cannot be naïve to the fact that it will occur from time to time.
This idea that if you believe positive things then good things will happen makes us feel good inside, right? This way of thinking tries to provide an easy solution to problems that in reality, are much more difficult to solve. It leaves no room for doubt or exploration of what is true for you. I know plenty of people who have a read a lot of self-help books and are no closer to knowing who they are (shit, I used to be that person). There is nothing wrong with self-help books or motivational speakers UNTIL you allow their voice to drown out your own. Until you take their word as gold above even your own truths or push down your doubts because they say you shouldn’t have them.
When you start to rely on someone or something else more than yourself it is usually because you haven’t learned to trust yourself when you have doubts. You have read the books, listened to the podcasts, and you have learned that you should never apologize, you should always be grateful, you should always do one thing each day that works towards your passions, that your religious text requires a certain behavior, that you should eat a certain way, and on and on the list goes. But not once have you explored why some of that may not work for you. You have not asked yourself why some of what they tell you to do or believe makes your soul uneasy. When you feel like something or someone is trying to make you push aside your doubts ask yourself these questions:
Why don’t I trust that my own doubts need to be explored?
How can I ever know the answer to the problems that nag me if I am not even willing to ask the question?
How do I ever learn to find my truth if I am unable to step in to and explore my doubts?
We have made too many people believe that someone else holds the key to what ails them or that some product holds the key to improving their life, but both of these things are false. No one else holds the key to what makes you, you. No product is ever going to find within you what you can’t find within yourself.
Exploring your doubts and pressing in to your questions does not mean you are not an optimist, it does not mean you won’t change the world, and it does not mean there isn’t a deep knowing within you that everything will be OK. What it means is that you are smart enough to know you can be and do all those things while still searching for answers to the questions that live inside of you.
You cannot be who you were made to be if you never question and if you never doubt. A lot of the ideas and beliefs you have, have been put there by other people, and they are not based in your own experience or your own introspection. This is OK, it is part of growing up, BUT now you must learn how to find your own identity. An identity that may ultimately be separate from your parents, your faith, your church, your community, and/or your influences.
When doubt occurs DO THE WORK, don’t push it down and hope it goes away, don’t ignore your inner voice. Work on yourself, for yourself. Work to understand why you are feeling those things and you will get a clearer picture of what is meant for you and what is not. It is absolutely normal and healthy to doubt but if you aren’t willing to explore why something isn’t right for you, or why you feel so uneasy about something, then you will never fully become who YOU were made to be.
Mindset is important. Being positive and optimistic is important. Having grit and determination is important. Trusting your gut and intuition is important. Understanding nothing will ever be perfect is important. Knowing that uncertainty and doubt is a big part of life is important. Learning how to search inward for the answers to those doubts is important. Being able to trust yourself in the doubt and uncertainty is essential.
In learning to accept who we are, we must accept our full selves, which means accepting our doubts. It means understanding that our doubts are not the worst of us coming forth, but rather the core of us arising, seeking answers to the unease in our soul.