If there is anything that life could ever teach us, it’s that it moves on even when we don’t want to. There will always be bumps in the road and it takes a great sense of naivety to believe that it will always be perfect. The truth is that it won’t.
We all know it takes rain to appreciation the sun, and that it’s always darkest before the dawn, and whatever other cliché people have shoved in your face during a strenuous point in your life. But the other truth is, is that many of our hardships are fueled by our own personal afflictions. The dangerous potential of a certain situation lies in the way that we let it affect us. And if we can put any of our personal demons to blame, it is doubt.
Doubt has the power to bring us to our lowest point and it does so behind our backs. No one ever plans to hit rock bottom, but we welcome it the second we let ourselves be consumed with uncertainty. The mind is an extremely powerful thing and the second we let it off its leash to run wild, there is no saying where it can take us and how far it can bring us down.
The trouble with doubt is that its accompanying burdens put on a mental strain that last far longer than its initial cause. You can have one bad experience, but the doubt that it welcomed into your mind could negatively affect all the experiences that follow. It’s important to understand what this mental distress can do.
1. Wasting Time
Everyone at some point will be faced with a hardship they can’t stand to look at. It will hurt and it will be mentally straining, but that strain will help build your mental strength. Doubt has a tendency to remain inside your head far longer than the necessary restoration period.
What it does is that it not only picks on the current situation, but it starts branching out into all other aspects of your life. Before you know it, you’re second-guessing everything you were once sure of. It spreads like a virus and takes a hell of a lot of strength to recover from—strength that was already depleted by the arrival of doubt itself.
An example of this would be losing your job. In the current economy, it’s more common than uncommon, and many can relate to how hard it is to get back up on your feet. Some people just give up. Before they know it, months and months go by, and they haven’t moved from their couch. Why? Some say fear, and sure, the concept of starting anew is frightening.
But it’s doubt that holds them back. Doubt has arisen from the fact that you couldn’t hold onto your last job, so who’s to say if you will be able to keep the next one? It’s the simple uncertainty of whether or not your next endeavor will be successful, only because the previous one wasn’t.
You can fight fear by trying to get back up on your feet, but to fight doubt, you have to believe in yourself enough to know that you can survive whatever gets thrown at you. By succumbing to the uncertainty of what’s to come and what already is, you’re letting valuable time pass; time that could’ve been used to move forward and break away from the burdens that hold you down.
2. Messing with Instinct
Some people believe that everything happens for a reason. Others strongly believe that any form of fate is simply a coincidence. Regardless of your ideologies, you cannot deny the power of your gut. Have you ever left your house and had a strong feeling in the pit of your stomach that was promising of a great night?
Or did you ever walk into a new building for an interview and feel such good vibes, so much so that you could envision yourself working for that company with a smile on your face? Those were your instincts talking. Everyone has them, and throughout the course of your life, you learn to trust them.
Until doubt decides to come out and play.
There is nothing that can quiet your internal instincts quite like uncertainty. The problem is, that feeling in the pit of your stomach occurs so suddenly; the moment doesn’t last long enough for you formulate any thoughts pertaining to it. And that’s the simple beauty. Having that intense inclination inside of you thrives on your intuition, not your thought.
When thought does come into the picture, and you begin second-guessing those feelings, it’s easier than ever to do so because it wasn’t logic you could argue against. You cannot settle a dispute between matters of the mind and of the heart; they operate on completely different frequencies.
Think of doubt as the parasite that feeds off of weakness. What greater weakness is there than that which cannot be debated with any logical reasoning? When we trust who we are inside rather than who we think we are, we’re extremely vulnerable. Any and all uncertainty will be quick to attack once we’re in such a delicate state.
3. The Question of “What If?”
We already know that second-guessing a situation messes with both your instincts and wastes time while doing so. There is going to come a time where you think to yourself, “What if?” You didn’t take that step forward because you were too busy wasting time wondering whether or not it was the right choice.
There’s nothing worse than that question. There’s a quote that reads: “’What’ and ‘If’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.” This statement is totally and completely true. One of the greatest agonies of your life will be the acceptance of the risks you didn’t take.
Opportunities are at every corner, whether we see them or not, and they’re meant to be taken. No one’s to say how successful or advantageous they will be, but they will serve as learning experiences that we can relate back to in the future. You cannot allow doubt to prohibit you from taking a chance because there is a very good possibility that you won’t get that chance again.
4. Failure to Enjoy the Moment
Doubt doesn’t limit itself to latching onto hardships and distressing circumstances. It can also grow from insecurity and invade your mind during the most favorable conditions. A common example of this is entering a new relationship and getting the initial grasp of what love really is and whether or not you feel it for that person.
Doubt will be the one to step in and say it’s not. We tend to over-think that which we are unfamiliar with. And the process of getting to know someone, as well as the process of exploring our own reactions to them, is one with a massive agglomeration of unfamiliarity.
You cannot allow uncertainty to ruin the pureness of those moments. Much like the chances that may not come again, the privilege of pure and simple joy cannot be so easily attained. The time you should be spending reveling in that solace will be spent reconsidering the significance, relevance and even existence of the moment. You cannot fully enjoy anything in life if you have doubts about it.
5. Lack of Confidence
What do you call a person that yields to hesitation and doesn’t trust his own capability? You call that person insecure. Success is a direct result of confidence, and you will not survive anywhere, including the parameters of your own mind, by lacking it.
If you have faith in your word and can stand up for what you believe in, you’re already a success in your own right. No one will question you if you give them the answer before they ask. If you doubt yourself, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
In most cases, doubt will be inevitable. We’re all merely flesh and blood and are not immune to the faults of our minds. However, it is imperative to understand how harmful holding onto those thoughts can be. It is natural to feel uncertain about particular situations, but it’s also important to understand how different those situations would be if we were rid of all skepticism.
Avoiding doubt isn’t the objective; the goal should be to understand and conquer it before it can do any harm. Living in fear is a personal crime. But doubting your ability to face that fear is a death sentence.
Kathy Polo | Elite