THE WAY I SEE IT #20 : By Darren Murphy

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TO DEVELOP personally in any specific environment it is key that self-doubt is handled adequately. Self-doubt is an ugly monster; it needs no invitation, holds no prejudice and can arrive with a debilitating cacophony in your head, which puts the brakes firmly on progression of any form.

The majority of us suffer from self-doubt, as with everything it varies how much each of us might be affected. In my own personal case it has been an inveterate emotion which I’ve had to learn to deal with. However, the important thing is it does have its advantages, if you learn how to use it productively.

Firstly, it’s important that you learn why self-doubt occurs. My understanding of it is a basic lack of faith or confidence in oneself. If you suffer from self-doubt, whether it be rarely, occasionally or frequently, one thing that’s certain is that it’s not the end of the world. Far from it. In fact, self-doubt is a natural instinct, a built-in warning system, if you like. We all ask ourselves the questions, whether it be as simple as stressing about how you look in that new dress: “Oh no I can’t go out in this can I?” Or applying for a job in a new role of which you have little or no experience: “What if I get the job and I can’t do it?” Or in my case: “What if they hate my writing, what if I’m not good enough?”

These are normal feelings. It’s important, though, that we don’t let these moments of insecurity completely take over our lives. If the thought process continues on a negative basis life is going to become very difficult. Put things into perspective. If you listened to every little seed of self-doubt which planted itself in your conscience, then you are not going to develop personally or progress in life positively.

There are procedures you can follow when your mind starts to drift to the dark side and you begin questioning yourself, although essentially it’s a battle of wills. A fear of failure is often the catalyst which induces an episode of doubt, however, ask yourself this: If you simply gave in because of your fear of failing, would you not regret at least trying in years to come? Evidently it’s about using the doubt as a motivational tool, a stepping stone to making a decision, committing to an action or resolving an issue. When used this way, feelings of this nature can be quite liberating. It’s when we don’t act on these moments of self-deprecation that we create a negative and defeatist attitude.

It’s easy to overbear yourself whether it be with work or a hobby, don’t get lost in the mist. Allow yourself time to take a break, treat yourself leisurely or engage with friends, all these help to conquer self-doubt. Above all else trust yourself, listen to your doubt, yes, but use it wisely. It needn’t be the stumbling block on the road to achieving your goals. And remember it’s completely normal, even the most conceited among us aren’t exempt from the occasional bout of self-doubt. I’m really not sure about this week’s column; I don’t know how it will be perceived. There’s a joke in there somewhere I think, or is there?

“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare