In Others’ Words: Your Own Worst Enemy

Doubtful man bears arms. Dumas. 2014

I thought self-doubt was normal. You know what I mean? You grow up and along the way you realize you’re not perfect. Less than. Unworthy. Why? Because school teaches you that. And sometimes parents tell you that. Or friends. Or enemies.

Or all of the above.

And self-doubt arrives and takes up permanent residence in your head.

Maybe you can’t. As a matter of fact, you probably can’t. What if you try and fail? What if you’re not good enough? Wait … you already know you’re not good enough, but what if someone else — or everyone else — finds out? 

You live with these kinds of thoughts, these doubts, long enough and they become normal. Accepted. You believe them.

You’re your own worst enemy.

Let’s be honest: there are plenty of people willing to gang up on us. Willing to tell us where we are wrong. Or not good enough. Or less than. Plenty us people to throw doubts our way. Why do we help ’em? And why do we even lead the way?

In Your Words: How do you combat self-doubt? I’d love to hear something positive you heard about yourself this week: a compliment, an affirmation … something that spoke worth into your heart and mind.

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  1. August 8, 2014, 6:27 am   /  Reply

    I’m not sure I agree with M. Dumas.

    Self-doubt can create a dynamic tension within us that may ultimately be the only way that we are spurred to our best efforts. Surety can easily fall into complacency.

    Best compliment I had this week was from Cindy Herron, that my words have a ripple effect the reach of which I’ll never know. I never thought of that, and that’s the hallmark of a great affirmation – it takes us beyond the limits of our own hope.

    • August 8, 2014, 2:39 pm   /  Reply

      Love what Cynthia Herron shared with you, Andrew.And she’s right.
      And she’s also a lovely encourager,isn’t she?

      • August 8, 2014, 2:54 pm   /  Reply

        Yes, she is! But it takes one to know one!

        I can’t count the days my heart was lifted by coming here.

        Had another thought on M. Dumas’ words, and that is the SEAL motto – “The only easy day was yesterday”.

        Self-doubt means that success requires a deep reach into resources we don’t know we have, an act of very concrete faith.

        If we’re in a struggle we perceive we can’t win, we’re free to give it our all, because there’s nothing to lose.

  2. August 8, 2014, 6:38 am   /  Reply

    I think you need to put a like button for Andrew’s posts!
    While this wasn’t said to me this week, it affects me every day. Once my granddaughter told me I never said anything bad about anyone. While it blessed me that she believed that, it’s held me more accountable. Now when I’m tempted to make a negative comment about someone, I remember Ash’s words. 🙂

    • August 8, 2014, 2:40 pm   /  Reply

      Pat, I appreciate what you shared — it highlights how ifluential others’ words can be.
      And I agree with your granddaughter: I’ve never heard you say anything bad about anyone, either.

  3. August 8, 2014, 6:45 am   /  Reply

    The older I get, the easier it gets–which means it’s fairly easy now to ignore heavily-weighted negativity. A technique is also like mastering driving through hill country, build up momentum going down after cresting each hill, so that it’s easier going up the next.

    • August 8, 2014, 2:41 pm   /  Reply

      Great word picture, Dee.

  4. August 8, 2014, 7:21 am   /  Reply

    At the first of sounding incredibly cocky–which I truly don’t mean to be–I’ll be honest and say I don’t often struggle with self-doubt. At least not the kind that threatens to knock you down day after day and makes you hugely dislike yourself. I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin and I really credit that to family and friends who built me up more than I’ve ever been (very rarely) torn down.

    That said, there’s one area in which self-doubt really does attempt to tackle me CONSTANTLY. And that’s in the area of writing. I just turned a book in this week. I thought I’d feel amazing afterward. And I did…for about twenty seconds. But every day since then I’ve felt this pit in my stomach that it’s not good enough…not good enough…not good enough.

    To answer your question, the positive thing I heard this week to combat that came from, of course, my mom. She texted me to ask how I was doing one night. I was honest about things. She texted back, “Melissa, you don’t have to own that.” And I sat there going, oh my goodness, she’s right. We don’t have to own those negative things, about ourselves, our writing, whatever. We know better than that. I know better than that.

    • August 8, 2014, 8:17 am   /  Reply

      I know that feeling, Melissa. The worry and dread that follows me around until I hear back from the editor that she loves it. I remember the relief when I submitted my first book, not knowing if she’d like the plot or characters or anything since I don’t submit a synopsis. But you are a great writer. Your editor will love it!

      • August 8, 2014, 12:19 pm   /  Reply

        Thank you, Pat. Writing this book has been the weirdest experience ever. Nothing’s ever felt so challenging. It’ll be interesting to get feedback, for sure, but man, I can say this: I’ve never been SO grateful for editors. My editor has told me repeatedly that we’re a team and I’m not alone in getting this baby done. That’s so good to know. Thanks for the encouragement! Can’t wait to read your next book!

      • August 8, 2014, 2:42 pm   /  Reply

        The writing business is fraught with stages of “will they like it?”
        And we have to learn how to navigate them all without giving into the self-doubts.

    • August 8, 2014, 2:41 pm   /  Reply

      The more I hear about your mom, Melissa, the more I like her.

  5. August 8, 2014, 10:53 am   /  Reply

    Satan is a master accuser. He tells me I’m unworthy and I listen. Yesterday a dear friend reminded me that I am precious beyond measure in God’s eyes!

    • August 8, 2014, 2:43 pm   /  Reply

      Thank God for friends like that!

  6. Susan
    August 8, 2014, 1:46 pm   /  Reply

    The only way I can combat it is to get into God’s word. To coat my mind with his voice and not my own or the enemies. Otherwise it will take me down every time.

    • August 8, 2014, 2:44 pm   /  Reply

      I constantly have to ask myself: Who is the voice of authority in my life?
      And it’s also why I chose the word THINK for my one word in 2015. I have to be purposeful about what I THINK about.

  7. August 15, 2014, 10:07 pm   /  Reply

    Self doubt is my number one character flaw – I’ve been told that over and over and I know it’s true. I don’t have a lot of combative strategies … writing that helps me realize I need them. I do have a few, one being reading your blog and a few others that offer hope. Thank you.

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