Self-doubt is a killer of motivation, ambition and reaching your goals and dreams. I know this feeling all too well because I doubt myself constantly. It's a vicious cycle of negative self-fulling prophecies that will sap you of your energy and perpetuate toxic beliefs about yourself.
Lately, I've been struggling with doubting myself in my abilities and my career choice. I am getting close to finishing my master of social work degree and in my final internship. It will have taken me four years to get my MSW and I often kick myself for not finishing this year or even last year because "life happened" and I went on a steady downward spiral.
During my first year as a full-time MSW student, I worked a high-stress job as a collegiate news editor that paid very little money and was far too demanding of my time; when you're a full-time student in a masters program, that is your job and it requires all of your time and energy with a 16-20 hour a week internship, a full course load and endless homework. I should have stepped down from the job, but I needed the money. The stress became too much and I had several breakdowns. I burned out. The inner flame of passion I had carried for writing and for social work was no longer burning; all that remained was ash and embers.
I was also in a highly toxic and abusive relationship for two years, which is when a lot of my problems surfaced. I had to switch to part-time status in my master's program and even took a short hiatus just so I could work and save money. I also needed to pull myself back together after developing a psychological addiction to several substances and being torn apart by an abusive ex-boyfriend. Anyway, all of these events combined with years of childhood trauma created the perfect environment for self-doubting and self-loathing.
Fast forward to now and I'm finally happy and healthy. I am in a spectacular relationship with a wonderful man who treats me with love, kindness, and respect. I have great friends and a great family. I am finally back on track and where I should be in my life. Except I have that negative voice in the back of head telling me that I'm not good at what I do and I'm failing just like I did in my first internship.
It is an awful voice that propels me into a state of depression, anxiety and kills any motivation I have. It is the voice of self-doubt. It's been in the back of my mind lately and I keep silencing it, but it keeps creeping back up on me. I compare myself to my friends, my peers, and even strangers because I have this false belief that they're doing better than me or have it better than me. The truth is, I know very little to nothing about their lives and that's not right of me to assume they have it better because they are in their careers and I'm still working towards mine.
"Maybe I should have stuck with writing and went into Public Relations. At least I wouldn't worry about letting people down I'm supposed to be helping, burn out or making money, right?"
"Maybe I should have chosen a different career entirely because I wouldn't be in this predicament."
These are the "Maybe I should have..." statements that run through my head constantly. It's exhausting. I question every professional choice I've made going all the way back to freshman year of college, which was more than eight years ago.
I even ask my boyfriend, "Do you think I'll be a good social worker?" He tells me "yes" every single time. He is honest with me, so I know he'd tell me the truth. My supervisor tells me what a great job I'm doing and so do the school staff. Except I don't tell myself that because of my low self-esteem and bouts of impostor syndrome. I've never been good at being nice to myself and that's the problem. I've always doubted myself. I am not a good friend to myself and I need to change that.
The truth is, I am where I'm supposed to be. I'm good enough, I will be a good social worker, I am enough. I am no better or no worse than anyone else. I'm capable, I'm strong and I'm still learning. There's nothing wrong with the fact that it is taking me more time to get my masters. At least I'll have finished it and I didn't give up - that's what matters. There's no reason for me to doubt myself because I'm good at what I do.
If you're full of self-doubt, remember that it's your insecurities that are overpowering your mind. That negative voice inside of your head is lying to you. Some ways to overcome self-doubt include writing down all of the good things about yourself, such as your good qualities and accomplishments, doing something you're good at, or going to therapy to work on your self-esteem.
Don't let self-doubt win.
"Believe in yourself, your abilities and your own potential. Never let self-doubt hold you captive. You are worthy of all that you dream of and hope for." -Roy Bennett