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Photo by Nick Grant on Unsplash

What to do in the Face of Self-Doubt?

How to Create in spite of the Voice That Whispers You’re Not Good Enough

It happens to you, doesn’t it? You get the inspiration to work. You open the draft and you can hear the muse whispering. You’re ready. You know you’ve got this.

Then it hits you.

“Who do you think you are to tell anyone what to do?

What make you think you know anything?

You’re not good enough!”

What can you do to hit publish in spite of this? How can you rise above and tell you your story?

When it comes to this whole creative life, I feel like I have not even started. I’m not trying to be self-effacing. No. I just realize every, single, day, that the more I learn, the more I have to learn.

And mind you, I am super aware of how much progress I have made. Or at least, I try to remember that when self-doubt tries to affect my mood — which happens to be consistently.

I know I am moving forward. I know because I have a long list of people I learn from daily and can see how much they’ve helped me get the skills and attitude to make progress in whatever I choose to pursue.

I know because I have people leaving comments, private and public, to let me know they’re watching/reading/listening and they are with me.

This creative life I would do even if no one watched. I love it too much. I have this strong feeling, growing each day, that it’s how God wants me to share His love.

I published a video today where I shared the 5 things I wish I knew before I started writing.

As I was editing the video, I had this thought:

“Man, I sound so arrogant. What do I really know about writing? What do I know about anything?”

I recognized that voice: the one that has always stopped me from asking questions.

“Man, how do you think people would see you if you ask such a stupid question?”

The one that stops me from apologizing even when I’m wrong.

“Man, are you that weak? You don’t need him. You don’t need her. Let them apologize to you!”

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Photo by Prince Akachi on Unsplash

It all happens in my head. It happens before a draft. Before I publish. I can hear myself convincing myself to take the easy way out : the anger, arrogance of knowledge, fear of failure, incapacitating doubt.

Yet, each time I go ahead and do it anyway, I feel relief. Each time I choose to take a chance and learn from whatever “mistake” I may have, I win.

It seems, in the long run, that as much I am aware that I know less and less about this area that fills my world, I am also learning to grow with it all.

I am learning that you can become who you want to become.

You can become kind. You can become vulnerable. You can become more creative. You can become even the kind of person that no one has ever seen.

Will that voice go away? Probably not. Will you learn everything you need in life?

Definitely never.

That voice? It’s there to guide you. To give you a chance to grow.

Each time you choose the hard path: forgiveness, learning, apology, empathy, love, kindness, you reduce the weight of that voice.

Each time you do the hard thing, it gets easier to do it again.

You gain the courage you need as you remind yourself of how even in the face of fear, you did the right (hard) thing.

That voice is not you. It’s everyone who doesn’t believe in the power of change.

That voice is not you, it’s other people’s expectations based on their experience of life.

That voice is NOT you, it’s the fear that protected us from the wild thousands of years ago.

The voice may never go away. Neither would your power to overcome it.

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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