We are our own worst enemies. That’s an undeniable fact. We think things about ourselves we would never dream of thinking about other people. The majority of us pour scorn and doubt on ourselves in every little thing we do. For many of, this primarily takes the form of hatred about our appearances. Others still get home from a night out and analyze every last thing they feel they did wrong. And, when it comes to the big decisions in life, most of us put more obstacles in our way than anyone else would ever dream of.
It’s the old cliche, isn’t it? We’re forever standing in our own way. In extreme cases, we end up making ourselves miserable. Luckily, many of us are becoming aware of this and taking positive steps to change. We now use things like positive affirmations and self-love on a daily basis. And, there’s no denying the positive impact they’re having on the way we treat ourselves.
Still, at significant turning points in your life, you can bet that voice of self-doubt will whisper in your ear. Even if you thought you had banished the thing for good, it could rear its ugly head and convince you to take the wrong path.
That’s why we’re here to tell you to rebel against yourself. Think about it; would you listen if your friends told you that you couldn’t do something? Would you turn away from that new career because your parents had their doubts? Probably not. If you’re anything like most of us, obstacles like these only fuel you to go after that change you desire. Why is it, then, that you have such a defeatist attitude towards your self-doubt? We think it’s past time you made a change, don’t you? To make sure it happens, we’re going to look at three significant events, and how you can rebel against yourself during each.
Believe that no career is impossible
Typically, our parents are the ones who put obstacles in the way when it comes to specific careers. We’ve all had the ‘I want to be an artist’ talk at some stage, haven’t we? For many of us, this happens during our awkward teen phases. At that age, this career path seems like the only admirable one. Our parents, of course, tell us that it’s not practical. There’s no money to be made, and we’re wasting our time. Do we stop right there? Of course not. If your artistic dreams ever were left in the dust, it’s because your passion fizzled out of its own accord. Why Is it, then, that you listen to yourself saying the same things when it’s time to settle into a career? Why do you talk yourself out of going freelance because of fears about regular income? Why do you turn away from creative pursuits you’re passionate about because they aren’t easy options? If your teen self could see you now, they would hang their head in shame. Don’t let it happen. Instead, react to these doubts the way you did to your parents’ way back when. Rally against the idea that there’s no money to be made in creation. Prove that pulling a regular income is possible when you’re a freelance. And, whatever you do, rebel against yourself every time you hold yourself back from you dream career. You may find that this is the only way to end up in a career you would never have bothered pursuing otherwise.
Know that it’s never too late to change career path
What if you listened to your career self-doubt years ago and ended up on the wrong path? It’s all too easy to slip into the belief that you’re doomed forever. You took maths at college when you should’ve taken arts. Now, you’re trapped in a life of numbers. The moment you start to think about making a change, you shut yourself down. You’re too old. It’s too late. There’s no way you can start on a new career now. Ask yourself, though, whether you would accept these statements from anyone else. Probably not. If anyone told you that you were too old to change career, you would fight to prove them wrong. So, don’t take that from yourself. Disprove the theory by making a success of this. Return to adult education and take the path you should have gone down in the first place. Even if you aren’t in a position to return to education full-time, opting for courses from somewhere like the University of Redlands Online (my Alma Mater!) could make this possible. Either way; don’t stay stuck in your career because you don’t believe there’s any other way. Instead, remember that it’s never too late. Then, go out there and prove yourself wrong.
Prove that you have the inner strength to do it alone
At some stage in life, you’re going to need to do it alone. It could be that you need to move to a different town for work. Perhaps you feel the need to move further afield for personal reasons. Either way, this is another prime time for the old self-doubt. Straight away, that voice in your head may start telling you that you don’t have the strength to make it away from everything you know. And, too often, you’ll listen to it. You’ll stick closer than you intended, or turn down that promotion at work. All in the name of ‘self-preservation.’ In reality, though, you won’t be preserving anything but your doubts. Over time, you’ll genuinely come to believe that you don’t have the inner strength to step outside of your comfort zone. And, that can have disastrous consequences. Instead, you need to know from the start that you definitely have the inner strength to achieve this goal. Moving to a new place could provide the lease of life you’ve forever been looking for. There’s no denying that it’ll be a challenge, but it could bring you into your own. After all, you won’t be able to lean on any of those familiar sights and people. That in itself can improve your inner strength. By then forcing yourself to get out and meet new people, you’ll start wondering why you ever doubted yourself in the first place. But, guess what? None of this can happen if you don’t ignore that niggling voice in the first place!
Rest easy that you can be happy in a relationship
Most of us hate nothing more than someone else sticking their nose into our relationships. The moment they tell us they don’t think it’s working, we fight even harder to prove that it is. You guessed it, though; the same can’t be said for our internal self-doubt. Many of us chuck away wonderful relationships because of our interior monologues. Even if things are good, you may convince yourself that you need to leave before it all goes wrong. In extreme cases, you may even project onto your partner and assume that they don’t love you at all. Sometimes, it is fair to say that our internal relationship monologue is on-point. But, we propose that you should treat these doubts with the skepticism you would if they came from anyone else. How dare you make these assumptions about your relationship? Instead of listening without question, try to take an abstracted view. Consider whether there really is a problem, or whether you’re just misreading the signals. You’ll be amazed at how often the latter is the case. Don’t let something like this ruin every relationship you form. Instead, tell that voice to butt out, and trust that you can find happiness with someone else.
Never stop dreaming
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris
When we’re young, we get used to people telling us to stop dreaming. Most kids do, after all, spend large portions of their day daydreaming out of the window. Many kids live entirely in their imaginations. And, they don’t listen one bit when adults tell them that they need to get out of their heads. Who would want to do that, after all? Sadly, when you reach a certain age, your inner monologue may well tell you the same thing. When you have a job to do and bills to pay, you may convince yourself there’s no time for dreaming. What would be the point anyway? This is your life, and you may as well put up with it. Or not. In reality, it’s crucial to remember that you’re never too old to keep dreaming. This is the one thing which helps us envision ourselves in different positions, or keep moving towards a better future. The moment you let doubt stop you here, you really will get stuck. You’ll stop envisioning yourself elsewhere, and that would be the worst tragedy of all. It would certainly ensure that all the other pointers on this list would slip out of your reach. You could argue, then, that the best way around this would be to ignore yourself the way you did all those adults years ago. Keep dreaming, and carry on.