how to conquer self-doubt | 1.12.22
In this episode, Kristen talks about self-doubt, where did it come from and how do we move forward and through it.
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Kristen Boice 0:01
Welcome to this week's close the chapter podcast. I am so grateful you're joining me for this important episode, as we look at conquering self-doubt, and this is something we all if we're honest, have struggled with some point on and off throughout our lives. And I hope it's helpful as we're going to break down. Exactly what is self-doubt? Where did it come from? And how do we move through it. Before that, I wanted to give you a couple of quick updates and points of encouragement. Jump on our mailing list. If you're new to the close the chapter podcast, we are so grateful you're here, welcome. join the newsletter, you'll get it every week, we do not spam you or bombard your inbox and has all the tips and strategies to finding yourself in healing. You can go to Kristen k, r i s t e, n, d Boice, B 0 I C e.com, forward slash free resources and you get a healing guide for free, delivered right to your inbox. And you can join us on social media at Kristen D Boice on Instagram and Facebook. You can join our Facebook group at Close the Chapter podcast. And welcome to the family of people that are growing together that want to heal that want to evolve and look at things in a different way. Share this with somebody, this episode that also struggles with self-doubt. And you can be real. You can talk about how you're struggling, where you're getting stuck in the shame and the fear that keeps plugging you have somebody that you could walk alongside to support each other and doing this deeper work. I cannot tell you how priceless that is. Please know that I'm cheering you on, you can binge listen to the podcast to support you on this journey. And know that I am so proud of you. If no one else is telling you that I want to tell you that over and over again. I'm so proud of you, you are a cycle breaker, you are changing patterns that no longer serve you and that you're tired of, you're starting to hopefully feel better about yourself after you listen to this podcast. Now I will say we're naming what's really going on. So it's not a magic bullet to help you erase the shame. It's to help you process it to get to the other side. And we have been taught taught, started this out, like I've got a southern drawl. We are taught to not name it, to hide it to bury it because it was unsafe. It was shamed. It was traumatised and as to actually name the emotion process what we're feeling. And we're breaking through that cycle, that you no longer have to shove stuff down. It's actually maladaptive instead of adaptive were in childhood, it was adaptive. And now it's not. So thank you for joining me, it's a long-winded way of saying I love you. And I'm so grateful you're here. So let's dive into self-doubt. Because this is something you might need to listen to on a repeated basis when you're in self doubt when you're in that shame spiral put this on to know that you're not alone. And there's nothing wrong with you. Because oftentimes, we are afraid of feeling defective, broken, that there's something inherently defective about us that there's something not right, that we're afraid we're going to be perceived as crazy. And so that plagues us we get in our head about what other people think. Let's define self-doubt, just so we're on the same page. You know, I like to have definitions. So we have a working, meaningful way of conversing about this. So self doubt. First of all, I want to say is universal. I really believe that unless you have some serious mental diagnose mental health diagnosis. And I want to say everybody struggles with this on some level, it's characterised by feelings of uncertainty regarding one or more aspects of the self. So it can be a part of you that you struggle with. It could be all of you. It could be from trauma where you feel like there's something wrong with you. And it's rooted in fear and shame of not being enough. It's rooted in what people think of you the fear of what people think of you. It's rooted in our shame stories and less breakdown? How did we even get to the point where we doubt ourselves so much? And I think of self-doubt in a continuum? Does it happen all the time? Some of the time? Not very often. Kind of make a self-assessment? How
often are you doubting yourself. And PS a sidebar note before we jump into this is I have a little bit of a stuffy nose. So if I sound a little stuffy, that's why, okay,
the first thing I want you to do is grab pen and paper. Anytime you listen to this podcast, I know you might be working out walking, driving, getting ready in the morning, you don't have access to pen and paper, that's okay, come back to this and get your pen and paper your journal out. So you can do some of this work. This is like free. It's not therapy, because I can't be your therapist. But this is basically taking a deeper dive into. This doesn't substitute for therapy, I feel like now I need a legal disclaimer, this does not substitute for therapy, you actually need a therapist, and I highly encourage you to walk through this with a therapist. The first thing is explore When did your self-doubt begin? And oftentimes, that's helpful to do kind of a self-doubt timeline, if you will. So as I look through my timeline of when did I begin to really have self-doubt I can go back to even kindergarten and preschool where you're starting to be socialised. And you're looking at friendships and whether you're liked or not. Whether you're included in play or not, whether people share with you, I can look back at that, because I switched preschools several times. And I remember that the feeling of starting over. And then I have a vivid memory in first grade where we were on the bus to the field trip at my mom was on that field trip. My mom, that's the only field trip my mom ever went on, by the way. And so I remember that. And I remember her saying Do you want to sit with a friend on the bus and I said, Well, no one wants to sit with me. And I remember my mom comforted me at that time, which was very healing, a very nurturing to my little girl that felt like invisible that felt like a nobody that was defective that nobody wanted her. No one liked her. And I remember then that created so much self-doubt whether I was likeable, or lovable. And we also had these reading groups. I don't know if you had this when you were growing up, we had reading groups where you were put in high ability, medium ability, low ability. And I remember because my mom said, the new thing is sight-reading versus phonics. And because I didn't have phonics, and we were using sight reading, it wasn't registering in my brain, it wasn't comprehending. So I was in the lower reading group. And now being an avid reader, I look back at that. And I remember the shame of being in that lower reading group and thinking I'm not smart, I'm stupid. I'm, I'm not getting this, what's wrong with me. And I remember that self-doubt, then. So if you go back, you're going to look at your inner child, you're going to look at these experiences that we've all had. And they weren't purposeful, that created self-doubt that created shame, of not feeling good enough. And these are important to explore. Because when you are insightful about why you have self-doubt, or why or what this is about, it helps you move through it feel more empowered, and we can actually name it, offer ourselves empathy. And get to the other side of that sadness, of that fear of that shame, of anxiety, which is really rooted in fear, we can actually feel more empowered because we understand it. We don't always have to understand something to find healing. I just find doing this work that the more we can connect the dots, the more it makes sense to us. And the less shame we have when we can work through it get to the other side. So some of the other pieces, of course, were middle school, we I switched schools in seventh grade from a private school to a public school. And that was a radical difference in terms of expectations, what you wore, how you acted, had friendships. The good news is I had a best friend that I had been best friends with since preschool and she was my saving grace because I didn't know anybody. And she befriended me immediately. And so I had her as a friend and basically felt lost at sea. She was sort of my anchor and the self doubt was significant at that age. And that is for a lot of children, a lot of adolescents go through this. And then I look back. And as I was doing my timeline, one of the important questions, that is really a critical exploration is how does self doubt, impact your parents,
this is a tough one, some of you may not have any connection to how self doubt impacted your parents, you may be like, I don't think they struggled with this. Or you may have a big heart and say, I've already known that my mother struggled with so much self-doubt. That's where her anxiety came from. And she projected onto me. So as a child, now, looking back, I didn't see the self-doubt with my mother. Now looking back, I see how that fear of abandonment, which was from her childhood, because her father travelled a lot. She wasn't sure if he was coming home at times. That's a whole nother deeper dive into family of origin work. Her self doubt, and sense of security, based on childhood circumstances, created this feeling of self-doubt. And it helps me understand her as a parent better. I can see my dad in making decisions sometimes self doubt, would show up in in just making business decisions, or purchases. And this is all part of being a human self-doubt as part of being human. It's recognising how did self-doubt evolve for you, and what parts need some more healing? What parts needs more attention? When I did my timeline, I knew that I needed to identify unmet needs, and how those unmet needs in my childhood, and we're not blaming anybody, we're just noticing, getting curious and going, Oh, let me just take a look at that. Not to focus on what was wrong and how a parent failed. We're not doing any of that, because we don't want that done to us. We're trying to gain understanding on how did you develop so much self doubt. And it's life experiences. It's not just our childhood. It's not just our family of origin, it's life experiences. It's school, it's teachers, it's coaches, it's other kids. It's trauma you've been through. But as I look back, and I noticed the unmet needs, but parents got divorced when I was in third grade. And that created a lot of self doubt, why did it create a lot of self doubt, because the sense of security in the family was rocked. And I've done a lot of episodes on this. I got triangulated, which is putting someone in the middle, which is the child me in the middle of an adult dynamic, or the issue that's between two people, it's pulling another person into it, in order to make you feel better. So what happened was, my mom felt, even though she wanted the divorce felt really insecure, is the best way to put it about my dad having us or my stepmom having us. And she basically would say what she was angry with my dad about to us as children. And so I felt triangulated in the middle of that. I felt like I had to make my mom feel better. I had to make my mom feel like no, that's not true. I don't love my dad more. Even though she wouldn't say that. Like, do you love him more? She would say fine, then go to your father's house. Any time that I was upset with her, or anytime I would voice something maybe I didn't agree with should you say Fine. Go live with your dad. And so I remember feeling bad. I remember feeling guilty. I remember feeling responsible for how my mom felt and I would doubt myself. I would be like, well, maybe it is me. Maybe I did cause her to feel upset. Maybe I was rude. Maybe I didn't handle that. Well. And while that may be true, there's elements of course of me being a teenager or being a child and what was underneath that was pain. But my mother was mired in her own pain. So she wasn't able to see my pain because she was so much in fear over. If I was going to love my dad more my stepmom, that she wasn't able to offer me that space, an acknowledgement for how this might have impacted me. Now, I will say wouldn't change it for the world. It's helped me be who I am. So I want to disclaim this. And the reality was, that wasn't my role to be in the middle of my parents and to help her make her feel secure. But
what how that has landed for me as an adult, is I have a lot of self-doubt about Did I say something wrong? Did I see something hurtful, I see something that triggered this person, and I take over responsibility for it. And that's there. And then I'll doubt Did I did I say something wrong there? Did I say something and I'm so much better. This is really a lot of work. I've come so far, that doesn't happen very often anymore. Maybe every now and again, it used to happen all the time in college and high school, in my 20s. I would keep so busy, though, that I didn't even have time to kind of ruminate on these things. But what that left is self-doubt about how I felt like maybe I'm in the wrong, maybe I am upsetting my mom. And now all the therapy I've done with myself, and just doing this, what I do, but my own work has led me to know that that wasn't mine. That wasn't my issue. Now I have my own issues. But that wasn't one of mine. But I've had to do a lot of reconciling. What was my mom's? What was my dad's and what was mine? And that's what I'm encouraging you to write down? What is your stuff? And what is it yours? What is your self-doubt? And then what was the self doubt that wasn't yours? That you might have taken on that maybe made you question decisions you've made, that maybe it's made you question you, maybe it's made you doubt whether you made the right decisions, and so you get paralysed in decision making, because your parents would come in and say, whoo, I don't know. Are you sure you made that decision because of your parents anxiety, because of your parents fear that got projected onto you. And that anxiety of a parent can cause so much self-doubt in children and teenagers. It can be the thing that if not managed, and it comes untethered. self-doubt is a direct correlation between your parents anxiety, mom's anxiety, Dad's anxiety, and now your self doubt. I'm going to say one more time. Unprocessed anxiety and parents can go on in land as self doubt. For children, adult children. It's palpable, and I have to watch this in my own life, the anxiety over the pandemic and all of the divide and getting sick. And I have to what's the right decision on vaccines? And what's all of it? Right? We're all navigating the information. In me taking several deep breaths, centering in and not projecting my anxiety onto my children, is something I have to tend to. Because if you have unprocessed anxiety, it's going to transcend into all your relationships. And when I say on processed, I mean unattended and acknowledged,
not nurtured. It's one that can seep into the pores of the family system. And most likely did if we look at times in history where there was high stress, high trauma going on. No wonder our parents were anxious. If they had financial issues. Maybe there was affairs going on. Maybe there was job losses, maybe there was death, disease, illness, lack of resources, that of course can cause trauma and anxiety. And we have to stop that generational transmission now, if at all possible, by recognising our own fears, so it doesn't land a self-doubt for our children. So if you have anxiety and you're trying to control everything, I'm going to tell you something that's a hard truth. I'm going to give it to you straight up. We don't have control over protecting our children over adult children I should say. And when our children leave our house, we can only do what we can do now. It is my job to protect them from predators, it is my job to protect them from abuse, it is my job to protect them from outside, people taking advantage of them. Of course, I cannot protect them from hurt and pain, eventually, I mean, they could go to school and another kid, which has happened, basically gets up from the lunch table and decides they don't want to sit with them at lunch anymore. Okay, that's okay, that kid has the right to just to, you know, move lunch tables. And that doesn't mean that that is going to land his pain and shame and the has to be tended to. We're equipping our children, to name their emotions, to acknowledge them, to nurture them to process them, whether that's in a journal, my daughter has kept a journal this year as a teenager. I've encouraged her since forever. She used to keep one and she gave it up. And now she's back to journaling. And she says it's the most helpful thing that she has done as she navigates being 15. And I've kept a journal my whole life. And so that is one of the things I know kept me centred, more centred, not always centred, but has kept me more centred breathing. In journaling. When I have self doubt, what do I do, I go to my journal, I go to prayer, I go to my journal, I write it out. I also am vulnerable with people in my life, there's a couple of people in my life where I'm like, I'm struggling, I am in so much shame, and fear and doubt about myself. And they can just acknowledge that they can't make me feel better, I'm responsible for making me feel better. I'm responsible for working through my self doubt, nobody is responsible for working through my self doubt, and no one's gonna make you feel so much more important, because you'll be dependent on that feedback all the time, you have to do that for yourself. So as we look at these unmet needs, and we look at what we might not have gotten, and we look at what our parents might not have gotten, we look at how anxiety whether it's in school, through teachers, through our parents, just in society in general, how that anxiety has penetrated our self-doubt. It's pretty powerful. And now we look at comparison, and we compare someone's outside hits. And that takes us into so much self-doubt. And right now as teenagers of teenagers that are growing up on social media, it is a whole nother level of self-doubt. And I'm going to tell you statistics if you haven't heard them already, on this podcast, since the pandemic 53% of girls, teenage girls have had suicidal ideation, self-harm, or suicide attempts. That's up 53% 4% in boys. That is a staggering number. And you say why Kristen, why is the number so high? There's so many reasons. One is the self-doubt that they feel when they look on the internet and they're thinking that person has a million Tik Tok followers and I have for that person is getting so many likes on Instagram and Tik Tok and Snapchat and I'm getting nothing. What's wrong with me they
look a certain way. They look thin and beautiful and talented and I have nothing. I am nothing compared to them. I don't have what they have. I don't look how they look. I don't have the accolades and the significance and importance. I don't belong there's something wrong with me. They are massive amounts of pain and self-doubt, from comparison is shame. And addiction is the birthplace of addiction comes from shame, feeling that good enough. And there can be so much positive on the internet. I know there is there's there's lots of positives. The reality is also the sheer the isolation, the loneliness, the loss of what was their whole lives changed what they had been doing. And now what they are doing is so different in terms of the plant what the pandemic changed. Think about how all of our lives have changed. It's just so it's a trauma. And we've all been traumatised in different ways. But comparison As we've heard, the quote is the thief of joy by Teddy Roosevelt, number named Brown took it into her book daring greatly, and it steals joy. And what do we mean more of that ever is joy, but when you're in self-doubt, you're not enjoy. You're in shame. You're in fear. You feel so not enough and not good about yourself. You doubt your decisions, you doubt how you look, you doubt what you said, You doubt how you feel you doubt your thoughts, you doubt your relationships, you doubt everything. Because you don't feel secure with you. And I'm telling you the truth, when I'm in doubt, I don't feel good about myself. I don't. And so therefore, when I don't feel secure, I looking outside of myself to make me feel better. This is what I call survey says. This is where triangulation, where you pull someone into the mix, as you survey says, Well, what do you think? Do you think what I said was bad? What do you what do you think I should do? What do you think that this person was wrong? And when we're in shame, we survey the thing. We survey people and think, Well, what do you think? And I want to say that when you survey, you're moving away from what you already know, is the answer. The truth lies within you. The answers lie within the answers or not outside of yourself. I remember one of my therapist said one time, I was like, Well, what do you think? And I really wanted to know, like, what do you think? And she said, she paused. It was like very long pause. And I'm thinking I can't wait. I want to know what she thinks this is gonna be so helpful. This is gonna help me heal. This is gonna hear me, I don't remember if I thought hear me. But when she said, The answers lie within you. You have the answer. You know the answer. And I'm thinking if I knew the answer, I wouldn't be paying you. But this is just what I thought. It's true, though. You know, when you said, Well, I knew that, you know, when someone says Why would do this? Why I knew I knew that. And then this person says, why did why did you ask my opinion, then? It's because we would have validation. We wanted acknowledgement, we wanted to feel secure in our decision in on ourselves, and what the truth is, it's rooted in lack of attachment. That's a whole nother conversation growing up, that's human development work, where we have a secure attachment with our primary caregiver. And I feel like the roots of self doubt go way back. So if I had an anxious mom, which I did, there was hard for her to attach because she was afraid something bad was gonna happen to me, something bad was gonna happen in general. And that's a trauma response. And I think right now a lot of us are at a trauma response, where wait for the next shoe to drop, what's the next bad thing? What's the next mere variant of the COVID-19 virus, whatever that is, as we try to self predict, or self protect, that's interesting. I said, a little Freudian slip. So self protect by predicting. And the truth is, we can't predict. We can come up with hypothesis. We can't predict. I don't know what's going to happen one minute from now and have to be able to self regulate through it. When self doubt appears.
I have to tend to that little girl that says, Am I even worth it? Anybody even care about me? Is anyone even going to listen to this podcast? What did I even say on this podcast? Oh my gosh, that sounds so stupid. What? Nobody's gonna listen to this. Why do I even do this? This is what self-doubt sounds like. Let's be honest. It's brutal. Let me go oh, I think I'll just pull that episode. Oh, I'm not gonna post on social because people are gonna think I'm all about self-promotion. So I'm just not going to do that. So freeze. And then I go into freeze, fight-flight freeze or fawn. Which one of these did you do as a child? Which one of these did you do as a teen? Which What was your family role in fight-flight freeze or fawn? I was a foreigner. I was a pleaser. And then in teen years, I became a fighter. I was like, no, no, no. I'm not going to get triangulated into feeling terrible. When this is your to problem, not my problem, that I would self doubt about it. I better go home. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten so intense over that. I look back I'm like no, that wasn't appropriate for them to pull me into the mix of that and that was okay to be angry about that. So we have to check the next thing on the list is we have to check expectations are what you're expecting of yourself. Is that real? are you so worried about what other people think that hold you back from being your real self? Does it hold you back from naming what you feel? Does it hold you back from if someone asks you how you are from speaking the truth, instead of saying Fine, which is hiding, masking, burying feelings inside not expressed? Are they so unrealistic that you have perfectionist at the heart, and if it's not perfect, you doubt yourself. That's all to protect yourself. We think if I just say it perfect enough, do it perfect enough, look perfect enough that I'll protect myself from blame, shame and judgement, which is a shame. Otherwise, we'd be doing this all the time, we would protect everybody from hurt. It's important that you're, you're learning to explore what you've repressed, what you've pushed down what you've moved away from what you've masked, what you've covered up, what you've hidden. What you haven't been 100% honest about. Because if you're not that playing self-doubt, that drives self-doubt, and fear, and shame and guilt. If we don't tell the truth, if we don't name it, if we don't bring it to the surface. It's hard to free yourself. And the truth of the matter is, you're doing the best you could as a child, you are in pain, probably you felt neglected, you felt not seen, not heard, not understood, scared, and you were doing what you needed to do to survive. And now it's not working for you, because it's playing out. It's wreaking all kinds of havoc in your relationships, and you as a parent. And if we don't get a handle on our reactivity, or dysregulation, our anxiety and fears, it's going to transcend as much as you think it won't. And as much as you think you probably lock that down as much as you think you're, you're fine. I'm going to be honest, we all struggle with this. We all have fears, we all have anxiety, we all have things that scare us, we have to deal with that we have to attend to it, we have to face it, in order to not put it on somebody else. And the birthplace of working through self-doubt. is, you know it, I'm going to say it is self-compassion and nurturing yourself. So when I have self-doubt I write in my journal sweetheart. You're scared? How old do you feel, and I know what the ages it's usually eight when my parents got divorced. And I say sweetheart, Oh, honey, you were scared, you were sad. You were grieving. You were put in the middle of a dynamic that wasn't yours to manage. And honey, you did the best you could. And now you want to do something to help other people. And that's brave, or insert whatever it is for you, whatever the thing is. And it's okay. It's okay, go do that thing. And let's not be attached to help other people perceive it, let's not be attached to the number of likes, or number of followers, or number of validating feedback. When someone else
does well celebrate with them. We're all little children inside. I promise you, we're all little children inside, nobody is better than anybody. We're all little children inside doing the best we can. And so the last thing I want to leave you with was self-doubt as well, I want you to write out a time when you were able to work through the self-doubt, I want you to write out a time when you were able to work through the self doubt. And for me, one of the big ones was starting this podcast. It was scary. And I've let go of numbers have let go of that. And I'm more connected to each of you that are listening. Because you're here for a reason. You're here on the same growth journey and need information that might help you in that healing process that might free you up that might help you be more of yourself that can change your family dynamics that can help you be a better parent that can change your relationship with yourself. Sign me up who gives a rat's about numbers. It's not about that who gives a it doesn't matter on likes. What matters is you're showing up as your authentic self. speaking from the heart Being yourself, let the love come through. And that's what matters. And that's what matters for you that you're able to free yourself to be yourself. I know that needs to be a wrap or something. So my encouragement to you is take notes on today's episode, get your journals out, get your journals out, write out that self-doubt, do the timeline. What were the unmet needs? How was self-doubt with your caregivers? How did that impact you? And offering yourself Self Compassion and talking to the little, the little person inside you, that is doubting themselves. Because usually, it's a certain age, when we have that self-doubt that just keeps coming back over and over again, take several deep breaths, pray, meditate, cuddle with your pet, go for a walk, and speak truth that you are enough, you are valuable, you are lovable. I really, really, really want to shy away from saying anybody has broken because that is natural. That simply isn't true. You wouldn't be here, man, you are a survivor. You are now wanting to thrive in your life and break these cycles and break these patterns in no longer recreate these patterns, a triangulation of projecting anxieties of not self-regulating, of not managing your triggers in your fears. That speaks volumes about you. You wouldn't be listening to this episode in this podcast if you're ready to make some radical transformations. And at the same time except yourself. It's not an and or either or it's not like changing who you are. It's healing by myself. And I am so grateful for you. And I cannot wait to see you. I feel like I feel like I really want to see you guys. So at some point I am going to do a retreat where I can or something where I can see who and we can have this in face in person. connection point. Just know I'm sending you my heart centre and I'm connecting with you through these airwaves however you're listening. And I want to encourage you don't give up. Work on just taking some deep breaths. And we all have stuff we're not proud of. We all say stuff and it's okay. It's okay to be human. Until next week, keep journaling. Keep going. Keep breathing. Thanks for tuning in.
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