A Little Self Doubt Goes A Long Way

Last week I had a weird moment of self doubt. I wish I knew what triggered my dip in confidence, but I can’t be sure- I think it was a result of a few trivial situations. If you pay any attention to me on Twitter you might know that K and I have been watching The West Wing on Netflix. Honestly, I think watching people excel at their jobs and carry themselves so professionally sent me into a weird tizzy about my own self worth. Is that weird? (I know it’s just TV. I know.) A friend told me that after bingeing on Game of Thrones she felt more violent so I feel like that’s kind of the same thing…

Maybe not. Whatever.

I was listing all the ways I felt like I fall short to K one night and he finally stopped me and said, “Why are you being so mean to yourself? You’re smart, Audrey. I don’t understand why you’re suddenly questioning that.”

Personally, I value intelligence. If someone asked me to described myself with three (positive) words I would say intelligent, passionate, & creative. Now, I know there are people 10xs more creative than me and I’m totally ok with that, but when I start to question my own intelligence I just totally break down. (I’m annoyingly passionate so there’s no room for any doubt there.)

So last week I started reading more. I printed off an old/practice copy of the LSAT and took it, time restrictions and all. I revisited my college transcripts and my GPA. All of this just to prove to myself that I’m book smart. (In the process I also proved that I’m a weirdo.)

In my long list of flaws that I rattled off to K I mentioned how I hate my awkward tendencies as a conversationalist. I complained about my learning style; I tend to need to read and write things down verses take verbal direction. I take a minute to think about what someone has told me and I worry that the slight pause makes me look clueless or stupid. I’m a quiet learner- I don’t talk things out. I just listen and analyze.

“I was questioning a trait that I strongly believe defines me.”

All of this doesn’t matter. And I know you probably don’t care. That’s totally ok. My point is that last week I was questioning a HUGE part of myself. I was questioning my life choices over the last 10 years. I was questioning a trait that I strongly believe defines me.

I think that a lot of people experience this kind of self-doubt. For some it lasts a minute & for others it affects them their entire life. It’s such a poisonous little bug.

I eventually snapped out of my depressing black hole. First of all, it helps that I’m married to someone who knew what I needed to hear. Secondly, taking a hot shower and counting my blessings (as well as my strengths that I wasn’t doubting at that moment) really helped.

I think there will always be someone or something that shakes our confidence. I don’t know that there’s a surefire way to always stay strong. I share my grief and embarrassing moments and likes and dislikes with you, so I thought I’d share a little doubt, too.

We’re all in this together, friends. Don’t let the little things get you down.

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29 thoughts on “A Little Self Doubt Goes A Long Way

  1. I really needed to read this today. I’ve been doing the same thing recently, and I really needed to know I wasn’t alone in this. So thank you for posting this, dear.
    Also, I too, have printed out old tests and retaken them just to prove to myself that I’m still smart, even though I can’t yet afford to get back into school to finish my degree. So, you’re not alone in that! πŸ™‚

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    1. I’m glad it resonated with you, Meagan πŸ™‚ I think it’s really normal for us to see our own flaws as our defining characteristics. I’m guilty of it on more than one occasion, and for some reason I was just feeling really down on myself last week. Don’t let those wandering thoughts get too deep in your head! Good luck with all your future schooling! Thanks for the comment!

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  2. I can TOOOOTALLY relate to this and I get it. I tend to be a quiet learner as well. I just like to soak up all of the information that’s coming at me without asking a million questions right away. Since I’ve been in the market for a new job and have been rejected SO many times after reaching even the third interview…I totally start questioning myself and my ability/intelligence. It’s rough!

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    1. I’m positive the perfect fit will come your way soon, Emily! I definitely know what you mean about questioning yourself- it’s such a weird pressure when you HAVE to impress others like in a job interview. I told my husband that I’m so afraid I look simple or clueless when I wait to reply. (It’s actually something I learned to do in college instead of saying “umm” or “uh” while I think.) Someone will definitely value that in you, though, so keep on keeping on!

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  3. I was just sitting here nodding along with everything you said. lol! I have had those moments and it’s so weird when you are totally fine and then you have a moment and then it’s like hole just swallows you up. I hate those moments. But you are such a wonderful person and I don’t even know you in person and I’m saying this so keep your head up! Be encouraged my friend!

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    1. Ugh, some times my confidence is SO high and I feel like a million bucks… but when it takes an unexpected dip I feel like the rug is pulled out from under my feet! It’s really, really nice to know that others feel this way, too, sometimes. (Although I wouldn’t wish the feeling on anyone and I think that all the folks agreeing with me are WONDERFUL people.) Thanks for your sweet words, Faith! Hopefully someday we DO meet in person πŸ™‚

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  4. I love your honesty in this… especially because I think we’ve all been there.
    its so easy to doubt yourself in this IN YOUR FACE world of all these ‘perfect’ people who have it together (yeah, right) … I’m glad you have a husband who helps get your mind back where it needs to be. & now you’re stronger for the next time that doubt creeps in. You are AWESOME!

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    1. I actually doubted myself when I went to hit “publish” with this one. (So much doubt! Geez!) But I’m so glad that others could relate and help me to dust off the weird pressures of society. I know it’s totally normal to stumble once in a while, but the light that shines from other (like you!) is so encouraging and helpful πŸ™‚ Thanks, Rebecca!!

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  5. yes. I go through this a few times a year. I call it my quarterly demise. but you know what, I always try to remember that the things I see as flaws, some people wish they had. so like your tendency to stay quiet and take things in, I wish I was able to do that. but I always feel the need to fill the silence, so I’m awkward and too talkative most of the time. I wish I had your ability to take a breath when someone told me something. all that to say, I’m glad you are able to work this stuff out here, because it’s so nice to read and say, “me too”!

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    1. That’s a ridiculously good outlook, Erin. I feel like when I read your “real life” posts I’m always sitting there nodding along and mumbling, “preach, sister!”, so I’m glad this post resonated with you, too. I think you’re awesome and I love that you’re comfortable talking things out and conversing with people! Thanks for the pick-me-up πŸ™‚

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  6. thanks for keeping it real, i feel that too. i think almost all of us do and it presents in different ways for each of us. glad you have a partner who knew just what to say (we picked good people to spend forever with) and i am glad you bounced out of it! i have found that i’m super empathetic not just to people but songs/tv shows/etc. so i’ve found that i can’t listen to or watch certain things because it puts me in a bad zone.

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    1. We did pick good forever-partners πŸ™‚ Sometimes it takes a while to bounce back but this time I felt a little more motivated than depressed. I totally agree with you on watching/feeling TV shows and songs and movies… I don’t watch Grey’s Anatomy because all the drama was making me anxious and grumpy. Similarly, I refuse to even start “Making a Murder” because I know it will screw with my mood and I’m just not willing to subject myself to that. (I can’t give up TWW, though. It’s just too good!)

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  7. Girl, this happens to me all the time. And one of the biggest things that I doubt about myself is my intelligence as well. It usually takes someone asking me something at work to realize that this stuff comes easily to me and not to everybody. Then I gain a little confidence back.

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    1. I hadn’t thought about it that way, Charlene! People at work constantly ask me about computer issues so I guess I have some “expertise” there πŸ™‚ (At least as far as page numbering goes…)

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  8. True story, I had a mini crisis like this last night. I quit my job when my daughter was born. I was really good at my job and I liked it, and it kind of took the place of getting good grades in school. I’m no longer untangling legal cases, so I question my intelligence all the time since it’s no longer being tested on the job every day. Plus, there was a whole thing about my peers making lots of money and buying huge, gorgeous houses (some days I need to stay off Instagram for my emotional well-being) and I started to feel like I was failing at life. I had to remember that success isn’t just a career, but so many other things too.

    Anyway, the point is I GET IT. Also, The West Wing is incredible and it makes all sane people question their intelligence. Josh Lyman forever.

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    1. Ok, I need you to know that I love everything about this comment. First and most importantly, I feel like I need Josh and Sam to be my best friends. Honestly, I feel like with some law school under my belt I could totally hang with them. (Or so I tell myself. That’s how I built my confidence back up, ha.) Also…. the Season 1 finale and Part 1 & 2 of season 2? I cried for AN HOUR.

      Ok. Back to the original topic. I understand 100% your post-employment emotions. Gosh, I just totally get it. I see people from hs that I ranked in front of and just behind go on to be lawyers and doctors and scientists and I wonder if I screwed up. (I know that ranking in hs is silly and I know that I would NEVER want to be a doctor or scientist, haha.) Success is WAY more than a career and you’re so totally right. But it’s nice to know that someone gets it. We’re smart and successful, girl! We’re just also well-rounded and creative and ambitious in other pursuits πŸ™‚ (You’re in Columbus, right? I feel like we should be friends in real life, haha!)

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      1. Don’t tell my husband, but I developed a hardcore crush on Josh’s brain. Does the sound weird? I feel like you’ll understand. I had been chewing on applying to law school, but that show made me want to RUN to law school. Had I not gotten pregnant, I would’ve. I swear.

        I totally get it!! Yes! Sometimes I am stunned by how well so many of my classmates are doing, and I feel all twitchy about it and feel like I haven’t lived up to my potential. Plus, I was never the girl to climb the corporate ladder, and I know that. But I LOVE using my brain and critical thinking and all that jazz. It’s so hard. I need to find some kind of balance. We ARE well-rounded!!! That’s so true πŸ™‚ WE ARE GOOD AT LOTS OF THINGS. Ok. Moving on. YES I live in Columbus!! Let’s be real life friends!

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  9. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. You are intelligent, creative and lovely (I have the memory of a goldfish) I am very, eerily similar to you. Waaaaaay over thinking and do you know what, it just means we consider our actions before we do them. Funnily enough, just tonight I took one of those personality quizzes and it’s fascinating how things we see as weaknesses are in fact incredible strengths… http://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test

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    1. Oh man… we do tend to over think things 😦 Thank you for the quiz link! (I took it- I am INFJ… and I’m pretty sure that’s what I get on other personality tests) I definitely identify with the results. I really, really do love that everyone is different with different strengths and weaknesses… sometimes it’s just tough to be a little different πŸ™‚

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  10. Awkward conversationalist and everything else social anxiety related gets me down on the regular. That’s so me. I need an ‘in’ to show people who I really am.

    I’m glad you have a husband who can help you out of your slumps and that you were able to count your blessings too.

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    1. YES! Once I have that ‘”in” I feel so much more confident! I’ve been at my job for 2 and a half years and I’m finally a little more confident with speaking and offering my opinions. (I’m good at my job and I understand my job, it’s just the social part that I struggle with for a while.) I’m glad you understand, Mattie. I really do believe there’s strength in our quietness πŸ™‚

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  11. I’m really intelligent. For example, I got a perfect 36 on a part of the ACT (and a generally high score) and was in the top part of my graduating class in law school.

    But I went to a boarding school for high achievers in high school, and there is NOTHING like a skinny nerd boy taking Physics with Differential Calculus in the 10th grade to make one feel insecure. πŸ™‚ I smile only because I realize that I am intelligent compared to some, but my short-comings are vast.

    We can be good, smart people and still not be West Wing worthy. That’s okay. And isn’t it a relief to know that?

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    1. Dang girl- good for you on the ACT! I scored high with my strengths and middle of the road with math. Ha. But that’s awesome! And you’re totally right. I can read my brother under the table but when it comes to math I’m still solving for x while he has y, z, q, and t figured out πŸ™‚

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  12. I think many of us go through these moments of reckoning as we become adults. I mean, I always thought I’d be a librarian or an author or something, and here I am doing public relations for food processing equipment. Is it the life I imagined I would have? Not exactly. But life leads us into weird places and sometimes we can’t fully see the road when we’re walking down it. I don’t think my boring sounding job implies that I’m not creative or intelligent or anything… and I suspect most adults would know that. Just like I suspect that many adults know that being quippy or fast-talking isn’t a sign of genius. Still waters run deep, you know?

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    1. I like that outlook, Cat πŸ™‚ I try to remember that if we all became authors and dog shelter owners right away there’d be no one to run PR for food processing equipment or write appraisal reports. And those things need done by people that are capable to do them. So one day when we write that novel we’ll know that we’ve made more than one impact on the world πŸ™‚

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  13. I gotta tell you: this hit me hard. I actually had to stop watching West Wing because I was so stressed out about how hard those guys worked….it’s not human.

    You are so smart. And creative. And just….good enough. Of course we all have moments of self-doubt but you should know that from where I’m sitting? You look damn wonderful.

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    1. Ok, you’re too nice. Plain and simple.

      Thank you for assuring me that The West Wing doesn’t just give me a complex… I mean, how does Josh’s brain work and can I please have some of CJ’s quick witted, thinking-on-the-spot talent? That show is amazing but I can only stand 2 or 3 episodes until I start comparing myself to everyone… UGH. Why do you do that, brain??

      Thank you for all your sweet words, Ashten! I’m a big ol’ fan of your brain and all the musings and art that come out of it!!

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