The Unbeatable Self-Doubt (And Why It’s Not Always Bad)

Every time I would come up with an idea, I would eagerly start, write them down so meticulously and would be so inspired to get started without even having the slightest hint that it could be a crappy idea.

At that moment, I thought it was a great idea. I thought it was novel. Heck, I thought it would be groundbreaking. I’d already imagined the end-result of the idea but half-way through it, I became overwhelmed. I got lost in details and in the end, I would just scrap the idea altogether and find something else to think about. You can say my mind is chaotic. Sometimes, it won’t stop even when I’m sleeping. Sometimes, I would get anxious just having all these “ideas” and would end up curling up in my bed feeling all consumed by my overly-ambitious expectations.

Then, the self-doubt would come. It would come, sucking every last bit of optimism that I had. Self-doubt would come like a supermassive black hole. And it wouldn’t stop. Inspirations evaporated. I would criticise my “great ideas” so heavily that I felt ashamed for having them in the first place. Like, what was I thinking?

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How do you beat this intangible inner demon? How do you not succumb to your own little voices that had kept telling you that what you’ve been doing is not good enough? You can’t even run away from yourself. And the worst thing about self-doubt is that you don’t really know when it will end. I remember having them for months (for months!) because I didn’t want to deal with it. Self-doubt would come when you least expected it; it’d come when you thought you would have everything in control.

It also came from my perfectionism and my fear of failure. I fear failure because I want to be in control. And I was rushing into something that I don’t know about when I should’ve taken it step by step. Ahh, self-doubt… our friend, a loyal companion that would be there for you just when you were in the heat of the moment. 

But I wanted to start somewhere anyway. So, I started writing again in spite of my self-doubt. I had convinced myself that everything exists for a reason, even if it would take me months or years to deal with.  It didn’t feel as comfortable as when I was focused and believed in myself. But these moments are important to me. Because with self-doubt, I’ve come to realise that my most authentic feeling would also burst out like that of the hot water from the geyser. This unbeatable self-doubt that I – that we – had been in battles with so many times do play a part in our creative process.

With self-doubt, the recognition that we are flawed would bring us back to the ground. I mean, when you have your head so high up in the clouds, who will bring you back to the reality but yourself? They’re also crucial because it is a reminder that everything takes time. That you have to be patient to succeed. That you shouldn’t be rushing to be at the place that you’ve dreamed about to be in.

In the end, I’ve realised that self-doubt is not always bad. Yes, there were setbacks and some moments when I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere. It has occurred so many times in my life but I never actually stopped doing – at least not completely. 

And it’s funny how the more you try to fix a problem, the harder it is to get out of that problem. And the more you’d think about it, the less you’d spend the time to actually doing it.

After that moment of realisation, I finally decided to embrace the self-doubt as it is. I’ve also realised that this “unbeatable self-doubt” will only beaten if I do more of the things that doubted me in the first place. Just like everything else in this world, this self-doubt would come back but it was there temporarily. And it was there for a reason.

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And let’s be honest here… the only one who’s truly stopping is yourself – your self-doubt. Because when you really, really, really want something, even your self-doubt wouldn’t overcome you.


Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

4 thoughts on “The Unbeatable Self-Doubt (And Why It’s Not Always Bad)”

  1. So true … self-doubt and fear will always be there but should not prevent us from doing the things we love and/or want to achieve and explore. Facing fears and self-doubts allow us to move out of one comfort zone and into another … always expanding our horizons and growing along the way.


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