#12: Why Self-doubt is not such a bad thing after-all!

Having self-doubt is good, it stops us from getting too ahead of ourselves – but can there be another important reason or purpose?

Let’s pause for a moment – why is the ‘self’ being doubted? Check out this podcast episode to get our perspective on it. 

Listen & SUBSCRIBE to the show on Apple Podcasts.

If you would like to suggest a topic for future episodes, please CONNECT on Facebook or email us.

Facebook: https://byndm.in/facebook
Email: mail@drsranisuraj.com

Transcript of the episode

Rani
So, Suraj and I have been running this course now for three weeks. And we were asked this question by one of the participants. They asked – “I find self-doubt helps me to take more care. For example in doing something important. Have I misunderstood what you meant about self-doubt?”

So today, we wanted to talk about the flip side of self-doubt. In other words, is self-doubt, all bad.

Suraj
We all have experienced self-doubt, right? At some point in our lives? And it’s something we have come to fear almost. And as you grow older, I think you get more and more self-doubt. Or suddenly it seems to be that way because as you grow older, you tend to accumulate more experiences where you have successes and things that have not gone your way.

Rani
Setbacks and failures

Suraj
Disappointments, relationship breakdowns, losses, and whatnot. Then this doubt develops about our own self, take on a sense of blame, holding ourselves responsible for some of the things not going our way and maybe beginning to see ourselves as

Rani
not good enough. That’s a very common core belief. When we say core, it’s one of the beliefs that people find it very hard to part with for whatever reason. And I can relate to that. In my younger years when I was always feeling less able than everyone else, somehow I thought everyone else was better than me. Everyone else had much more confidence than myself. So it’s funny when you think about it – this self-doubt and how it grows on you, and it creeps up on you. Most of the time we go about life, believing that’s who we are, and then we have more doubts. The interesting bit is, we have come to see self-doubt as something negative, like something to overcome. So if someone has self-doubt, we say, “Oh, maybe you need to work on it.” “Maybe you go for some coaching or some counselling or for some therapy”. Similarly with confidence and self-esteem. So this question by our participant that they find self-doubt actually helpful, is a very interesting one because it’s a shift in perspective. What I heard them saying is that had it not been for them pausing and doubting themselves and the decisions, they would have perhaps taken or made some unwise moves.

Suraj
And it’s something that seems to develop from the very time you go into school when you’re quite young. You somehow get compared to people in your class.

Rani
Yeah. So for example, in the work situation or job situation, when you are competing with your colleagues for a promotion, for example, and then again, you find the self-doubt creeps in. I think we’re just laying it all out – how it might play out and show up in people’s lives. But one thing is for sure. It is impossible to have 100% self-confidence all of the time. And I really want us to pause and reflect on this. Because in a way, we can fake it until we make it and we can pretend to be self-confident and we can take courses to boost our self-confidence and have less self-doubt. But the thing is that we can fake it, but for how long? And invariably and for sure, we are going to experience situations where we feel at a loss. And we doubt ourselves. And what we’re actually saying is maybe self-doubt is not all bad. And maybe there’s really something good in that in the sense that when we doubt us as a person, and we do not take ourselves just to be the person that we have believed to be all our lives, maybe that will open up new doors, new opportunities, to really learn who we truly are if we are simply not the person. Does that make sense?

Suraj
Yes, it does. The word self-doubt if we turn it around, it is doubting the self which we are saying – it’s not altogether bad. It may be a good thing.

Rani
When we’re talking about the self, we’re talking about the person. And actually, as a person, we have no choice because we will have self-doubt. So the person, in other words, will continue to have self-doubt. And that’s how it is going to be,

Suraj
I think real changing anyone’s understanding of who they truly are, seems to start from that position of beginning to question or doubt that which is transient, ie the self. So doubting the self has its benefits as we’re trying to point down, that jolts you out of sleep, to explore who or what you truly are. The self is really not happy in that state.

Rani
So if we are completely happy with our self-confidence, we have no issue whatsoever, we never doubt ourselves, we’re saying that maybe there’s something wrong there. Because maybe we are in denial of some kind. We are saying that we are so perfect as a person. The more authentic we are, the more we know that actually, I do have my moments of self-doubt. And I know that that’s coming from the insecure part of me. And there’s nothing wrong. But when we acknowledge that it’s okay to have self-doubt, that we can’t be confident all the time, all we are doing is we are getting curious about the fact that who we think we are, that is the person who self doubts from time to time, maybe that’s not actually who we truly are? And that itself might lead to a self inquiry of some kind, a process of looking inwards, and see what we are not seeing clearly

Suraj
Important understanding to share as well as if you’re doubting the self. That’s an indication in itself, that the self is less than whole, the self is less than complete. It cannot be the source of your true well being. So doubting the self is doubting the existence of the person, doubting the “I”, doubting that sense of personhood, the ego-mind and the body-mind. I think that’s a good thing. And that’s what is going to prompt us to turn inward, to go deeper into who we truly are, and begin to look in a new direction. And I think that’s the beginning of something really special in most people’s lives.

Rani
If we use self-doubt as a cue to chip away the layers of conditioning or beliefs about who we are, then like you said, we will begin to see new perspectives. And we might realize, actually, all this time I grew up and I really thought, who I really was, is this person with all the stories and baggage and roles and likes and dislikes. But I now get the sense that there’s so much more to me. And in other words, can our true essence have self-doubt? Or is it just the personal self that can ever have self-doubt?

Suraj
So we’ll leave you with that intriguing question. until we see you in the next episode.