Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will — Suzy Kassem
When I was growing up I never felt like I was good enough, athletic enough, and was generally lacking somehow in my father’s eyes. I stuttered at times, and he’d get angry and only shame me further. He openly admired other men’s sons and never let go of an opportunity to criticize or compare me with his latest “golden boy”. Despite this abusive behavior I sought his approval and if I played by his rules we managed to co-exist. Once in a while he’d be proud but mostly I felt discouraged and doubted myself. I didn’t realize then but mostly it felt like a competition and one that I instinctively knew I would someday win.
Although his words were hurtful I always lived with a conviction that I would one day prove him wrong and create the life that I secretly dreamed about. If anything, I was stubborn in nature, but often his words would come to haunt me, and my thoughts were consumed with doubt and insecurity. I would shrink from criticism and avoid situations to show the world what I could do. At times I failed to show up for my life and missed out on many opportunities. I was afraid of failure as much as I both feared and longed for success.
As I matured and began to create my own life, a lingering sense of doubt remained in my subconsciousness. It was always with me and holding me back. Relationships suffered and I was targeted by abusers. Great opportunities would show in my life, and I’d revert to defensive behaviors. I was continuously struggling with my insecurities and misperceived failures. The momentum of life pulled me along, but I was too afraid of creating a sense of self-awareness and kept my dreams bottled up and silent.
The years of abusive relationships continued, and in my twenties I was increasingly confused and despondent. Where did my resilience and once innate happiness go?
As my relationships and mental health continued to descend, I finally reached a point where I felt I couldn’t take it anymore and began to fight back. Somehow, I found a deeply hidden spark of light that ignited my long-suppressed happiness and fought back from the abuse. With a sense of knowing, I felt my spirit rise and I was happy in the present.
Self-awareness led to forgiveness which led to once again being happy with myself. With my newfound sense of clarity, I realized that it was my father’s own doubts and insecurities that he projected onto me. I was able to forgive him and become closer which only helped me better understand myself. I was the product of my upbringing and always struggled with my sense of authenticity and truth. I had learned to build walls constructed of doubt and never showed my true self. I lived for the expectations of others and repressed my true nature. I kept my dreams secret and close.
It took a lot of work and overcoming self-imposed obstacles to get me where I am today. The first thing I had to do was believe in myself and trust my instinct and intuition. I had to remove doubt from my mind and recognize self-defeating patterns. I created core values that I live by each day without fail. I actively seek more happiness in my life and for everyone around me. Empathy and gratitude are always in my heart and the last words that I tell myself at night.
Nothing was more important to me than using my pain to gain understanding and help others better navigate their lives. Choices are what defines us and choosing authenticity and living in the truth is the road to happiness and living without doubt. Trust yourself and know that all knowledge and happiness comes from within. Intention is the driver that takes us where we want to go.
THE BIGGEST LIES WE TELL OURSELVES
This may sound obvious, but the first step in becoming more authentic and removing doubt is to stop lying to ourselves and remember the impact that it has on our choices and opportunities in life. All of the following feelings are valid and important at times, but we must understand that they are entirely self-created and if unchecked can create unnecessary pain, self-doubt, and suffering:
1. Fear: Fear is a construct of our own minds. Fear is logical when it tells us to be safe or cautious but it’s also a construct that can bind us and keep us from being free. Most of what we fear for the future never happens and unnecessarily complicates our lives. Learn to live in the present and understand that risks are there to help us make better choices. Fear is a powerful tool that can destroy as well as provide momentum and growth.
2. Guilt: Guilt is a normal human emotion; it can help us have more empathy and understanding but it is also entirely self-made and often unnecessary and self-destructive. Forgive yourself first and make amends if necessary but know when it’s time to move on and get back to your life.
3. Shame: Nothing holds us back more than shame. Both the shamer and the target are to blame. Rise above victimhood and become your own hero. Shaming others is an act of aggression and deflection. Words have great power and shame is one that we can all forget. Hold your head up and walk happily through the fire.
SELF-AWARENESS IS THE KEY TO HAPPINESS
These days, I often hear people talking about living in their truth without realizing what this really means. To live in one’s truth is the ability to consciously practice self-awareness and have accountability for our actions. It’s living without doubt, being authentic, and always gaining wisdom. It’s standing up for who we are and showing up for our lives. It means to stop offering excuses and learn from our mistakes.
Self-awareness is truly knowing ourselves and removing doubt from our consciousness. Why not make the most of our flaws and imperfections and be the change in the world that we need? Self-awareness is a choice that gives us much more freedom and happiness in life. It’s the key to understanding ourselves and others. It’s the way to raise our vibration and find more peace in our lives.
These are great ways to start bringing more self-awareness into our consciousness:
-- Stop overthinking and remember that now is all that matters.
-- We never know what someone else is thinking. Don’t let them live in your head.
-- Trust yourself and listen to your inner voice or “intuition”. We always know the best path even if it’s the more difficult.
-- Take inventory of your accomplishments. What are you good at? Where have you succeeded?
-- Never stop being creative. Use your self-doubt towards something positive. Connect with other creative and happy people and watch your self-esteem rise.
-- Know that there is always someone like you going through something similar.
-- Don’t forget to ask for help. There is always someone out there that wants to help. I love to believe that helpers are always ready to step in and happy to serve others.
-- Live in the present. Most self-doubt comes from past experiences. These things happened and taught us great lessons. What have we learned that we will never allow ourselves to do again? Focusing on how it has made us better is the way to knowing our truths and showing up for our lives. It’s almost always our choice to be happy.
As The Happiness Warrior one of my joys in life is helping others realize their dreams, discover their hidden powers, and remove self-doubts. It may be genetic, but I always feel an overwhelming need to listen and help when others that need to be seen and heard. I believe that words have spirit and everything we say and think matters. The words we tell ourselves are the compass for our lives and define our choices and opportunities. We can set a path for greatness when we believe in ourselves. Doubt and the fear of vulnerability are often the only things holding us back from realizing the incredible and happy lives that we deserve and yearn for..
When we are fully alive we choose to live an engaged life that’s experienced to the fullest. We can choose to erase our doubts and live in our truth. When we can remove the stigma and shame of our doubt we can finally experience life on our own terms and conditions. Be your own happiness warrior and live your life doubt free!