7 Aug 2017 · posted in thoughts
I've tried to write about self-doubt numerous times before and every time I've tried, I couldn't find the right words. Staring at the blank screen, fingers ready on the keys, I just couldn't quite figure out how to talk about something so deeply emotional. But it dawned on me that that's exactly why we should talk about it, no matter how hard. Self-doubt is after all something deeply emotional to everyone who experiences it and it can really hold you back and define your choices. And although this time I finally found the courage to open up the conversation, I'm still not really sure what to say and which words to use.
The thing is: we are all people with our own insecurities. And we probably all think that we're alone with those insecurities, but we're not. I feel like self-doubt is still a little bit of a taboo subject, but it shouldn't be, because it's something everyone can relate to on some level. When you put yourself out there, online or in the real world, people can see you and that is a scary thing.
Probably the biggest reason of self-doubt nowadays is comparing yourself to others. The beauty of a connected world is also its curse: there are a lot of people to compare yourself with. And what you get to see of these other people is their best and a lot of the times their lives seem perfect on the surface: beautiful blog, beautiful Instagram feed, amazing home, amazing travels, gorgeous body, ... So you end up feeling insecure in comparison.
You don't feel pretty enough because you keep looking at all the supermodels on Instagram. You don't feel accomplished in your job because you see other people living their dreams while earning money. You don't feel talented enough because someone else's photos or blogposts or songs are so much better than yours. You don't feel creative enough because someone else's home DIY's are so much cooler than yours. And I could go on for an eternity giving examples of how comparing to others can make you feel insecure and not enough.
I've been there, I've done that and I still struggle with approaching it differently, especially on rainy days. When my mood is melancholic already, that little devil on my shoulder will be nasty and mean and I'll feel like there's no point in doing anything I love to do (blogging, taking photographs, decorating our home, ...) because there will always be someone "better" at it. But then again, if everyone thought that way, all the people I both look up to and envy for being "better" wouldn't have started doing what they love in the first place either, because there was someone "better" or more advanced already when they started sharing too. But being open and honest, real and vulnerable, authentic, ... that means so much more than portraying a perfect life that, everyone knows deep down, nobody has.
Sometimes you just have to do things you love, just because you love them, no matter how few or many people are watching, no matter how good you are at them. You also have to be willing to give yourself the chance to grow in something: blogging, photography, cooking, DIY'ing, teaching or whatever your hobby or your job is... everything takes practice and the people you're comparing yourself with are probably on another level of their journey already. Sometimes it's also okay to admit to yourself that you will never be world class in something, but that you love to do it anyway.
This is something that has taken me quite a long time to accept: sometimes we're just not as talented as others and no matter how much hard work we put into something, the talent isn't there and we'll never reach the level we want to. But now, after a good few adult years of trial and error, I've come to realize that hitting those talent limits probably means you're trying to do something that is not really you, that you're trying to be someone you're not, copying what works for others instead of figuring out what works for you.
Finding that balance between working hard, pushing through insecurities and getting better at something you really love and letting go of things that are a major source of frustration and self-doubt because you know you will never be as good as you'd like to be, it's not easy. But I think it's good to remember to focus on the process of doing something you love instead of only looking at the result. Sure, there will be someone better at doing what you love to do, but that doesn't take away the joy of cooking or writing songs or taking photographs.
Instead of doubting your own abilities and feeling insecure, use the people that are more experienced than you as a source of inspiration and learn from them to develop your skills naturally. Accept that we're all on our own journey and even though you are not yet where you want to be, you're working towards getting there. The fact that you care so much about getting better that you start to question if you will ever be good enough, that alone makes you already good enough right now.
If you have a moment of self-doubt, just remember that we all have those moments and that no matter how perfect lives seem online, there are insecurities hiding behind every photo and every sentence. Instead of letting self-doubt and insecurities hold you back, let them guide you to become the best, authentic you, you can possibly be, one day at a time, one choice at a time.