Self-Doubt: the Silent Inner Killer
A small story:
A kindergarten teacher was observing the children, while they drew their art. She would occasionally walk around to see each child’s work. As she got to where one little girl was working diligently, the teacher asked what she was drawing.
The girl replied, ‘I’m drawing God!’
The teacher paused and said, ‘But honey, no one knows what God looks like.’
Without missing a beat or looking up from her drawing, the little girl replied, ‘They will know in a minute!’
How many of us can say we have such self-confidence? Most of us suffer from the pattern of self-doubt, which makes us second-guess every decision, question our own abilities, and go into deep suffering whenever something does not happen the way we planned it. It is that constant nagging inner voice which does not let us be at peace with ourselves – “I can’t do anything well”, “I am a loser”, “It is all my fault”, “I am just average” and on and on it goes.
The Disconnect Between Inner and Outer Image
The moment you create an idea about yourself based on past incidents when you felt powerless, you create what is called as an “inner image” for yourself – what you really feel about yourself. At the same time, you also project something else to others as “you” because you feel uncomfortable showing your low self image to others – this is your “outer image”. Whenever you create an outer image out of conflict and powerlessness, it is not aligned with your inner image. When you have a disempowering inner image and you project a very powerful outer image, you will automatically have self-doubt. Self-doubt will become a part of your very being. Doubting others, and life in general is also because of self-doubt. Because of your poor inner image, you do not trust that others will treat you nicely; you expect only negativity from others and from life. Feeling that something or someone is “too good to be true” is nothing but self-doubt.
When you fail at something, if you fall into low confidence, guilt and self-bashing it is like taking revenge on you. Self-doubt (atma sandeha) leads to self-revenge (atma droha), and self-revenge leads to self-destruction (atma hatya)! When you have self-doubt, no one from outside is needed to put you into misery. You will constantly be creating enough suffering for yourself!
The Goat Which Killed a Forest
Self-doubt destroys every possibility in you. Self-doubt removes all the higher visualizations which can help you. All possible higher visualizations get corrupted by self-doubt. They are nipped in the level of bud itself by the pattern of constantly doubting yourself. Self-doubt is like a goat which destroys the forest! You may think, “How can goats destroy forests?”. It is because they go and swallow all the trees when they are sprouting, when they are just starting! So, forests can never happen where goats are. Goats and forests can’t live together. In the same way, self-doubt and creation can’t live together.
Self-Doubt Versus Genuine Doubt
A person who does not doubt himself, will doubt the right things which need to be doubted, not the wrong things. A person who carries a deep self-doubt will doubt all the wrong things; but he will miss all the things which he should doubt.
There is a story:
Children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun had posted a note on the apple tray: “Take only one, God is watching!”
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table, was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. One child had written a note near this table: “Take all you want, because God is watching the apples!”
Carrying a pattern of self-doubt, you will doubt whatever should not be doubted, and you will not doubt what should be doubted. Doubt can really help you, if it comes out of the completion with self-doubt. If you don’t have self-doubt, even your doubt can create inventions! If you are filled with self-doubt, your doubts will only result in destruction, never creation.
Self-Doubt is a Cancer
Just like cancer is a deadly disease of the body, in which the body attacks itself, self-doubt is a deadly disease of the consciousness. It does not let you feel complete no matter how much completion you do (completion process is a powerful technique to come out of self doubt and other patterns). If you have thoughts like ‘If I complete is it going to help me?” and “When I sit in front of the mirror and start completing, I don’t think I feel complete”. This is the pattern which makes you question the very utility of the spiritual techniques which can help you get out of it. Self-doubting is a crime, because it is equivalent to atma hatya or suicide. Self-doubting makes you doubt everything. Actually self-doubting is the root cause of atheism; when self-doubting extends to the whole of existence, it becomes atheism.
Self-Doubt is Your Weak Spot
Self-doubt also makes you vulnerable to be exploited by others. Atheism is nothing but the collective expression of self-doubt. On the other hand, temples are the collective expression of confidence on the power of the consciousness! Atheist literature exploits your self-doubting pattern, your conscious weakness. Atheists often claim that religious leaders are exploiting the emotional weakness of people – actually it is atheist ideas which exploit your weakness and make you doubt the existence of God and the power of consciousness. Atheism makes you doubt the one who can help you come out of the pattern of self-doubt, viz. the Guru.
The Split Personality
The pattern of self-doubt destroys your ability to take any major decision in your life, whether it is about career, about your education, about the choice of life partner, or about gaining spiritual knowledge. It affects every aspect of your life. Self-doubt literally cuts you into pieces and destroys you. It is like there are two people living inside you. One is the doubter, the other is the doubted – and they keep fighting with each other constantly. They even change their roles! “See, today you doubt me, I‘ll be the doubted. Tomorrow I‘ll doubt you, you’ll be the doubted one.”
Whenever high emotions, excitement and feelings of power happen in you, you are taking a jump towards the space of God! At those times you are closest towards your highest existence! But many times you face a dilemma because of self-doubt, and are unable to make any decision. It can be any decision – the decision to marry the person you are in love with, the decision to leave your job and pursue your passion, the decision to take up sannyas and live a life of enriching others, at such crucial moments you find that you are unable to trust your emotions. “Will this feeling last? Will I be able to retain this same space? Will I regret this later?”. And you are back to the same old conflicted self, the split personality.
To Follow Your Heart…or Not!
If you distrust your emotions and don’t take any decision, it often leads to your whole life becoming empty and meaningless. However, if a decision is taken during those high emotions, it may also lead to failure. The solution is to build the intelligence to support your decisions during such high emotions by doing completion. You need to upgrade your intelligence to be able to meet any situation in life as it arises. When you make the decision after completion with all the self-doubts, that high emotion becomes eternal, e-Motion, Enlightening Motion!
Complete With Self-Doubt
Until you complete with your self-doubt, stability can never be brought in your life. Whether it is a kid, a college student, an employee, a householder, a sannyasi, a devotee, everyone must do completion with their self-doubt. Sit with all these self-doubting patterns. Pen them down. Relive and relieve them. Complete with them. You also need to look in and find out the first time you started having self-doubt. You need to remember, recollect the earliest memory of self-doubt, the first time you did not trust the words you uttered to yourself. Complete with the incident using the instructions for the *svapoornatva technique. Don’t doubt whether you have completed with your self-doubts; that will be one more doubt, at least complete with that! If you have self-doubt, complete with it. If you have one more doubt whether you have completed with your self-doubt or not, complete with that also. Go on completing with every self-doubting thought.