Strange Gifts – Self-Doubt

doubt: Are you sure?

me: What do you mean by “Are you sure?”

Do you mean am I, as a being, sure = a safe, stable, both feet firmly planted on the ground person


Do you mean am I sure, certain, about something… perhaps something I have just said to you?

doubt: I’m not sure what I mean anymore…

me: Were you ever?

doubt: …?

me: Were you ever, in all your long lifetime of doubting others and infecting them with your doubt, sure about your own meaning? Are you sure?

doubt: Of course, I’m sure! I’m the surest sure there is… if there is one thing for sure it’s me!

me: *looks doubtful

doubt: Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste, I’ve been around for a long, long year, Stole many a man’s soul to waste…

me: *puts on the Guns N’ Roses version of Sympathy for the Devil

doubt: Really?? That’s the version you’re going with!? *makes a scoffing sound

me: I like that version…

doubt: Do you now, but will you later, after I’ve mocked you for liking it, dismissed your pro arguments as ignorance, condescendingly instructed you in the right way of thinking, of listening, of tasting, which is my way of thinking, listening, tasting, and my way must be right because it is mine, and your way must be wrong because it is not like mine, not of a like mind…

me: I still prefer that version even if it is considered wrong to like it, and nothing you say can change my mind…

doubt: Are you sure?

me: *tempted to return to the top and repeat… but no, as we’ll be going around in circles for ever.

doubt: Are you intransigent?

me: No. I’m open to listening to your way of listening, thinking, tasting, it is always interesting, I might discover something new, a new way of listening, thinking, tasting…

doubt: But…?

me: Hmmm…



doubt: In their efforts to get rid of me, people go to great lengths. That’s what I rely upon, as their determination to be sure, certain, confident in their position and statements creates more doubts, not for them but for others as they fight against others whom they see as the doubting-diseased, their sure-footing stomps on anyone who questions them trying to impose their fixed view on everyone to make it so, their ever-narrowing mind closes everyone out until all they see is nothing, and their blindness spreads far and wide as more people join in the debate, each person determined to find a rock they can cling to and bash others senseless with…

me: Your grammar is a bit off there…

doubt: I know, isn’t it delicious. Have you ever watched someone having an apoplectic fit because of a typo, you’d think a sinkhole had opened up in the ground and had swallowed their home, family, savings, and was about to suck them in too. They think they’re saving the world by correcting one typo at a time wherever they see it, eradicating the stupid with intelligence, but instead they’re spreading doubt, making others afraid of sharing a view, thought, feeling in case they misspell it, are misunderstood, are attacked, are annihilated.

me: But…

doubt: But I’m not as bad as people are convinced that I am. I actually serve a vital purpose, and once a person gets over their fearful hatred of me, which is hard for them to do because it makes them feel forceful, they get stuck in it, it becomes an uncomfortable comfort zone, becomes a fortress which in turn becomes a prison, but if they were to open their force field and step outside for a moment… they can access the skills which I teach.

me: What are those skills?

doubt: You sound doubtful

me: I’m not full of doubt, just curious…



doubt: What does doubt make you do?

me: Umm… let me think about it for a minute…

doubt: Exactly! I make you think about it, about yourself. I make you question what you think you know.

me: And that’s a good thing?

doubt: Yes. For instance, if you think you know that you’re ugly – Are you sure about that?

me: I just have to look in the mirror…

doubt: A mirror is an unbiased and impartial observer of reality is it?

me: Yes, it’s a thing, it doesn’t judge.

doubt: But what about the person looking in the mirror, are they a thing which does not judge?

me: Oh… I see…

doubt: Indeed. And who taught you what to see when you look in the mirror?



me: I…

doubt: Pfft! Before your eyes looked upon yourself, there were other eyes looking at you and telling you what they saw, and those eyes taught your eyes what to see, how to see yourself.

me: Come to think of it, when I look in the mirror I do find it hard not to see myself through the eyes of others.

doubt: Do you know what you actually look like, if you were to see yourself without any thought to cloud your view, without the memories of what others have told you about yourself, without knowing what you are supposed to look like, without bias, without a subjective perspective, without any filters added by your family, friends, frenemies, enemies, social circle, neighbours, community, culture, society, by fashion which is fickle and may suggest that you cut off a toe to fit perfectly in its glass shoe, by scientists and other professionals who study and measure beauty with rulers, microscopes and machines, dissecting it into components all of which a surgeon can alter with a sharp knife after a sharp tongue has sliced you up in preparation and you’ve anaesthetised yourself to the pain by telling yourself no pain no gain, no guts no glory…

me: You’re losing me, I’m getting confused…

doubt: Exactly! It’s easy to get lost in the confusion, to lose yourself in the crowd of voices all telling you who you are, who you aren’t, who you should be, who you shouldn’t be, what you must do, what you musn’t do… and what about them, these bastions of knowing it all?

me: What about them?

doubt: All these people who have made themselves experts of your ugliness, are they beautiful?

me: Well…

doubt: How do you know, how can you be certain, how can you be sure… that what they are telling you is right?

me: Because…

doubt: Because they told you they were right? Because they made themselves the kings and queens of everything, of anything, of you?

me: *reminded of another song



doubt: One of my cousins helped her write that song, you know…

me: Shut up!

doubt: Rebellion…

me: Get out of here!

doubt: I introduced them, she had to go through me to get to her.

me: Go away…

doubt: Are you sure?



And over to you!

Do you have the strange gift of self-doubt?

What has having this skill taught you?

And who has doubt introduced you to?


Optional reading: a great postΒ  – A little into myself by sparksfromacombustiblemind – and I’m not just saying that because my blog gets a nod and a mention, but thank you very much,Β Embeecee, for sharing πŸ™‚



  1. I like the idea of these things being “strange gifts”.

    Do you have the strange gift of self-doubt? Yep. Negative self talk is another hat that trait wears sometimes.

    What has having this skill taught you? In the day that I wasn’t good enough and nothing I ever did would be good enough, and for a time I bought it. I was the worst version of myself. Thankfully something in me refused to stay there.

    And who has doubt introduced you to? A lot of people whose acquaintanceship I truly regret. It also introduced me (in a strange way) to my better, stronger self.


    • Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      It is intriguing to explore the things we assume are bad for us to discover the good things they’ve inspired in us. Self-doubt often seems to lead to a stronger sense of self.


  2. This post is brilliant! πŸ˜€ I love how you developed your piece as a conversation, which of course, is exactly what we do with doubt. I also love how you turned it around, showed both sides of this particular coin. So well done.πŸ‘

    Anyway, I am a poster child for self-doubt. I’ve fought with it, appeased it, argued with it, gotten mad at it, tried to go no contact with it … it took me a long time to get that it has its place.

    Thanks for sharing such a great piece of writing and thinking. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I had fun writing this. I usually chat with my self-doubt, so this is pretty much the sort of conversations me and doubt have, at least nowadays that’s how we interact. I find chatting with doubt helps to alleviate the other aspects of it, and move it onto something more productive like finding a new perspective.

      I used to let self-doubt beat me up, knock me down, wear me out, etc. Then I began fighting back, rebelling – which helped me to do the same with the narcs in my life. I tried doing some of those getting rid of self-doubt with positive affirmations practices, but that was more like sticking your fingers in your ears and going lalalalalalala. Doubt can come back with a vengeance when you do that. Eventually we had a conversation about our relationship and doubt pointed out that it wasn’t quite the villain I thought it was, and that I could learn a lot from approaching it differently. Self-doubt has taught me how to use doubt to question ‘certainties’ which can cause the more painful versions of self-doubt. It trained me in how to deal with the doubts the people outside of us cause for us with their ‘certainties’ about us, etc.

      We kind of came full circle, me and doubt. πŸ™‚


      • Good point about the affirmations. It is like ignoring it, pretending it doesn’t exist, and then it really gives you a wallop.

        It’s important to doubt “certainties.” There’s so much that we don’t know that we don’t know. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I grew up in a house where two overt narcs ruled over one covert narc, one overt narc and one somatic narc. In other words: a dysfunctional family whose grandparents charged over me, my mom, aunt and uncle. Every Sunday my Grandma would ask: “Is this spaghetti ready” and one would answer “No, it is sloppy/raw/overcooked” and she would answer, “Yes,I know, it is al dente – perfect”. The other day my grandpa would say “Don’t expect to go to Graduation party even if you have the highest grades”. Then you have the highest grades and try to negotiate “You can go if you get back by 21h” you make plans to get a cab or a ride at 20h30 “I told you you coudn’t go, it is very dangerous after sunset” and so on. So yes, I am pretty sure who/when/what/how the self doubt seed was planted in my much fertile system!


    • Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      That’s one hell of a narcissist super sandwich! The bread/gluten suffocating all the delicious goodness out of the meal!

      Narcs tend to be afraid of everyone and everything, and their fear is aggressive, invading and infecting, controlling and dominating, passing on the wound, trying to get rid of it, hoping for a miracle cure but never accepting any healing because it’s suspicious, doubtful, and what would they do if they weren’t sick, who would they be?

      If you get overloaded with doubt, you eventually suffer a complete system breakdown, and on re-boot you may just say – eff it, if everything is potentially harmful, might as well live as I please πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I doubt myself all the time!!!! But how I get through it is I talk to myself. I call it “thinking outloud” but I’m really talking to myself, which I think is becoming more accepting now than back in the day lol. I even pray out loud lol. But by talking it out loud it gives me a better perception of my thinking process instead of internalizing it. Sometimes, my self doubt can be debilitating because I’ll back myself into a corner especially if it’s something I want to embark on, which is many things. For example, I’m writing a book but (haven’t written consistently since becoming pregnant, can’t form a decent sentence to save my life lol) can’t help but think if it’ll be readable, would others like the storyline, how hard self publishing would be etc. I get my “brave” days when I don’t take no for an answer even if it’s myself or I learned to not exacerbate my self doubt by not disclosing my goals or dreams to anyone(sometimes I tell my hubby{he’s very supportive} and sometimes not lol). Self doubt is a good thing it’s just how one manages their own.


    • Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Frankly those who think talking to yourself is a bad thing, a sign of being crazy, etc, obviously have never had a chat with themselves or they have and they didn’t like it, it went horribly wrong, they didn’t tell themselves what they wanted to hear, and they decided that no one else could do it either because if they can’t do it, are afraid of it, feel threatened by it, then it must be bad… right?

      Self-doubt can indeed be debilitating… but we recover from that, don’t we. That paralysis inspires us to…?

      Best wishes on the book… writing a book and self-publishing is a Herculean labour. The first one is always the hardest, the learning curve is the north face of the Eiger.

      And don’t worry about the pregnancy dumbs – I’ve never been pregnant – btw, congratulations! – but I’ve heard that the physical side of it often results in temporary stupidity. Hormones, perhaps or your baby wants you to focus on it – which is kind of sweet!

      You come across as being not only very intelligent but intelligent with your intelligence – enjoy the pregnancy, and let all your creations unfold as they do, when they’re ready to come out, be published, they will shine!


  5. How does self doubt come? Do you see this apprehension in babies and small children? There is no self doubt when they want to take that first step to some coveted item or person. Then, gradually, as they meet reality of pain in falling or pain in being repremanded for exploring too far they become shy or withdrawn. By elementary school, you may spot a child in third grade who *dares not approach anyone.* Where is the balance? The bold brassy kids get the most attention, but are they always liked or right?


    • There is a balance eventually. Life offers it to us as we live it, and we may go out to seek it – so the self-doubt may be the spur which pushes us out as much as it may push us in.

      It is an important element in childhood to realise that maybe you shouldn’t be jumping off the roof of a building, that maybe you’re not going to bounce, that maybe you’re not immortal, and it’s kind of necessary for parents to reprimand a child if when it learns to run it does so in the direction of a busy road.

      Being withdrawn isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing to be, or experience. Bears hibernate. Trees drop their leaves and slow down growth for winter, waiting for the right time to come out again.

      Being shy is not always a sign of shyness. And shyness isn’t always what those observing it think it is.

      The bold brassy kids, that’s their way, they need the attention, and thrive in it. As for whether they are always liked or right, that’s not necessarily what being bold and brassy is about.

      We all have our rhythms, and some of us discover our balance through being unbalanced, swinging to and fro until we find our sweet spot. πŸ™‚


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