Everyone has faced crippling self-doubt at some point in their life. After a horrible term report, or before going to a new school, or when someone spread a nasty rumour about us. Most people find a healthy way to deal with it or overcome it when that phase is over. But for some of us, this phase persists. It takes the form of another person or an alter-ego that is always doubting us, criticising us and bringing us down. It’s dark and negative. It’s the self-critical voice in your head. It’s your mind being mean to you. You can’t be happy if someone is always being mean to you. It’s a feeling you cannot describe but it is always there. The worst part is, many of us can deny doing this to ourselves.
Is my best good enough or not? How do I know that although my loved ones have faith in me, the marks in my report card still reflect my limitations? Are the harsh remarks of my parents something to be dismissed, or cold hard facts? Do people really look down on me and avoid me?
We all do this to ourselves. Sometimes overthinking everything - our class presentations, looks, way of speaking, walking and behaving, to the last bit. I’m not smart enough, or hard-working enough, or confident enough. I’m stupid, so stupid and am such a big loser. I’m the biggest loser I’ve ever seen. God, I hate myself. So much. So, so much. It would have been so much easier if I had been him or her. Or at least been like him or her. I wouldn’t be so ashamed of myself. People around me won’t be so ashamed of me.
This is when self-doubt turns into anxiety. This is when this sort of thinking messes with our basic functioning. In doing so, we hurt ourselves, bother ourselves, and in the end cause irrevocable damage to our own self. To our confidence, our self-esteem, our beautiful sense of self-love. Most importantly, we begin to wonder what to believe. Whether or not to believe these extremely negative and dark thoughts in our head. Most of the times we give in and choose to believe them, after feeling mentally exhausted from all the self-abuse.
And now my friends, I would like to ask you; Would you ever let anyone else talk to you the way you talk to yourself? Would you remain friends with someone who was toxic to you in this way? Would you believe someone else if they said all these mean things to you in such a ruthless way? I don’t think so. You wouldn’t let anyone talk to you this way. You wouldn’t believe them for a second. You would rather go down fighting someone who made you feel this terrible about yourself. You would eventually distance yourself from a person so toxic to your mental health.
Sadly, we do not have the luxury of avoiding our own thoughts. We have no option but to control them cautiously. Stop is the one-worded golden rule. Stop being ruthless. Stop being unkind. Stop criticizing things about yourself you wouldn’t criticise in others. Stop doubting yourself. YOU have to stop it. You have to stay alert and stop yourself from being harsh.
We all know how it sounds when someone tells you to fix yourself- your mental health issue.
“I feel like I am drowning. And you are standing three feet away, screaming at me ‘LEARN HOW TO SWIM!’”
It is extremely hard to change this. It is hard because we do it so involuntarily, without a second thought. It is like second nature to us to mentally abuse ourselves. We are so used to it that we only notice it when it reaches an extreme after already living with it for years.
But sadly, you are the only one who can control the way you communicate with yourself. You are the only one who can fix it, and that too in the most effective way. Your life is liable to be unfair and unkind to you. The whole wide world is likely to doubt you. But you are the only person rooting for yourself. You are completely dependent on yourself. You are the only one who is going to stick with you through thick and thin, till your very last breath. And so, it is very important for you to not doubt yourself, to instill confidence in yourself, and finally, to love yourself - especially when there is no one else to love you.
Your mind is complex, my friend. But always remember that the mind will always believe what you tell it. Feed it faith. Feed it truth. Feed it good thoughts and most importantly, feed it love in abundance.