Sometimes we hit a certain period in our life and we are restless and curious to seek out new things. Sometimes we can feel we need to move, change, grow. We get to a place where we can see if we stay in how things are it will eventually kill our spirit.
Sometimes we have an idea. The idea excites us, energises us, feels like the right thing to do. We feel drawn to it with all of our being.
And then someone objects.
Maybe they have good reasons and maybe they don’t but their objection usually brings us to a sudden halt and then we begin to question ourselves. We begin to doubt.
Questioning ourselves is a necessary, constructive thing.
Doubting ourselves is not.
When we know something, know it from deep inside, we need to acknowledge it. When we do so, our spirit soars. When we don’t, our spirit droops. When we allow other people’s objections to stop us, we hurt our spirit sharply.
Think back to when you were little and you wanted to do something. Think of a time when someone approved of and supported what you wanted to do. How did it feel? What was the outcome?
Now think of a time when someone disapproved or objected. How did it feel and what was the outcome?
Sometimes your child wants to burn matches, climb a high tree, mix paint on the sofa. She is inspired in that moment, she is expressing herself – but it’s not safe or wise and it’s your job to keep her safe and well so you must stop her from doing those things. HOW you stop her will affect her spirit.
“What a stupid thing to try and do! What were you thinking? I really thought better of you. You can die that way or get us all killed! If our house burned down it would be your fault.” Shutting her down by telling her she should know better and that’s she’s stupid to even consider doing it will make her spirit droop and she will trust in herself less. (Familiar self-talk anyone?)
“Oh I can see you are in the mood for trying new and exciting things. When you explore, remember it’s important to also ask yourself if what you want to do is safe and good for everyone. So, what do you think about the matches / tree / paint idea now? Is there a way you can explore it in a safer / less destructive way? Can I help you find a way to mix the paint / burn the matches / climb the tree safely?” Acknowledging her truth and her inspiration and helping her think about it even more comprehensively will empower her and give her tools for operationalising her inspirations successfully later in life.
Here’s the thing: Being blocked from our path in a way that makes our spirit droop and invites doubt usually means the person blocking us is afraid. Their fear may be about all sorts of things but it’s always about themselves – it’s not about us.
Maybe they are afraid of how much it will hurt them if something bad happens to you. Maybe they are afraid you will grow and change and leave them behind. Maybe they are afraid they won’t like the new things you bring into their life. Maybe they are afraid they won’t manage. Maybe they are afraid they will lose themselves in the face of your path…
There are so many ways fear shows itself. Bringing someone else down is one way.
When someone tells you “Don’t be ridiculous”, know that they are afraid of what you want to do. Same goes for “That’ll never work” – unless they back it up with concrete reasons and give constructive suggestions towards how you can make it work. When someone tells you that you are “too much” in any way – too emotional, too sensitive, too energetic, too loud, too opinionated, too anything – know that is their fear speaking. It’s not about you.
Yes it is good to question yourself. To be aware, to be conscious, to question if you are loud as a defence or because you are joyful; opinionated because you are afraid to listen to others or because you are following your soul truth; emotional because you are giving away your power by trying to get them to meet your needs or because you are deeply moved by something. Question yourself all the time – but never doubt yourself. And don’t allow other’s fear to make you doubt yourself. Their fear is their journey.
Your self-doubt is yours.
Loads of food for thought here, Eilat! Thank you!!! This one goes so deep and so subtly (or not so subtly sometimes…) becomes projected onto my children.
Last night I was waiting in a line to perform two songs in front of a group of guitar students and song writers. My heart was pounding so hard and I was about last in the line. The Christian guy next to me, who seemed so incredibly calm and confident, said something so spot on in that moment. He said: “It is only if you are too hard on yourself and expect too much, that this will cause your nerves to get the hang of you. Be good to yourself” . This is the self doubt that you are talking about, I think. So when I started singing, my heart was racing, but when I closed my eyes and started feeling the song, a calmness came over me that felt much better. So good to get right into that heart space, that emotional space, just to be able to tap into that even when so many ears are hearing and eyes are watching. It is about sharing, I think, not about what others think, hey? I loved this blog, thank you!
Ilse how amazing! Thank you for sharing your experience. I almost felt nervous along with you! I’m so glad it went well. Congratulations for stepping out there.
I love what he told you. HE wasn’t trying to bring you down, he had no fear about you going out there and shining. Thank you Mr Man for giving us this live example of how it looks when we are supported in getting bigger. Seek out those willing to share the shine – not seek the approval of those who resist it. And now I shall try to take my own counsel.