Why You Shouldn’t Believe Everything You Think
I figure out the topic of these blog posts by sitting in front of an open Word document and reflecting on the week. I consider how my mental health was for the last 7 days and I try to identify some part of my days that posed a challenge to it.
There’s always something, be it big or small, that I can reflect on and use to draw out some sort of teachable moment from. I don’t always get it right but sure listen.
This week I found myself floundering in an ocean of self-doubt. I doubted whether I was good enough; good enough for writing, good enough for my job, good enough for the people in my life. Sometimes I just don’t feel good enough.
Some days I feel like everywhere I look I’m failing in some sort of way. It can be paralysing. When the rejections pour in, or you under-perform, or you can’t seem to make things work, it can do a lot of damage to your wellbeing.
This type of self-doubt stems from pressure, and in particular, pressure that I put on myself. I think a lot of us put massive amounts of pressure on ourselves to be a certain way, to have a certain amount of success.
You know by now how I feel about social media, and how it exaggerates this problem, but this problem also exists outside the reaches of Instagram and Twitter. The pressure comes from an unshakeable notion that we should be further along than we are.
When we compare ourselves to other people too often, this sort of self-doubting spiral can happen. We see people achieving life-goals, or being happy or moving forward and we try to see our own reflections in these other people.
This comparison makes us question ourselves. It makes us wonder about our own perceived shortcomings and it ultimately makes us feel bad. We don’t even pause to consider that someone else is out there comparing their lives to ours and getting similar outcomes.
The issue at hand is not that we aren’t doing well in our own lives, it’s that we are telling ourselves that we should be other people.
When I look at our people’s lives and find myself stressed out because of this comparison, it is ultimately a result of telling myself that who I am and what I am doing isn’t good enough, and that’s bullshit. At a certain point you just have to accept yourself for who you are.
This voice that tells you you’re failing, or that you’re not good enough is an old liar. It’s the ghost of the mechanism that makes sure you complete tasks properly. We all have a level of self-doubt that’s healthy and necessary, the voice that says “Are we sure we locked the back door?”
But if we allow this voice to dictate the majority of our thoughts, we’ll never be good enough for ourselves, let alone for the wider world. If everything you do is constantly being doubted and compared to what other people are doing, you’ll never feel like you’re doing anything right.
This week, I didn’t feel good enough. This is somewhat helpful because it allowed me to take stock, humble myself and figure out what was going wrong. But it isn’t true. We need to stop comparing ourselves to the lives of other people.
The voice that tells you you’re not doing enough is a result of your ambition. It’ll constantly plague you to do more work, to study more, to exercise more etc. Some times you need to ignore that voice and accept that today, you’ve done more than enough.