The 9 doubts that most of us keep private
Each of us might be directing our own life’s stageplay, with different settings and characters and plots – but are we really all that different underneath it? Despite our uniqueness, many of us graze at the same smorgasbord of doubts and uncertainties and, because we’re often indulging in these in private, it can seem as though we’re quite alone. Here are nine ‘secret’ insecurities that I come across in my coaching conversations with clients often. These aren’t special. They’re not unique. They’re run-of-the-mill to the point of epidemic, and I’ve felt several of them too.
Am I good enough
“When will they work out that I’m not 100% sure of what I’m doing? Sometimes I feel like a fraud. I don’t know how I landed this job/relationship/life. Any minute now I’m going to be found out…”
Do I belong?
“Everyone else seems more confident/knowledgeable/capable. Are they out of my league? Do I really fit in?”
Why do other people find it easier?
“I seem to be the only one struggling with normal stuff! How do others find time to do everything? My relationship isn’t as good as theirs/my house isn’t as tidy/I’m less fit/I’m more impatient with the kids. Why is it such a struggle?”
Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but I really can’t be bothered
“Where’s my motivation gone? How do other people stay so enthusiastic? Am I in the right job? I don’t even know what my ‘calling’ would be if I had one. I’m only doing a lot of this stuff to please others, or because it gives me some significance, or helps me avoid other problems. I’m really not that enthused!”
Gah! I’m dropping the balls
“My grasp on life seems to vary from slightly out of control to complete chaos! It might look like I’m handling things well but you should have seen me yell at the kids this morning. There are times when I cry in the toilet at work, because I can’t keep doing all of this anymore and pretending I have things more under control than I do.”
Why do I waste so much time?
“If you really knew how much time I spend procrastinating, daydreaming, absently scrolling through my Facebook news feed and generally avoiding what I have to do, you’d be horrified! The worst bit is, I’m completely overwhelmed, and scared that what I produce won’t be good enough. Sometimes I put in far too much work in an attempt to get it perfect. I’m not performing at my full potential, and I’m letting myself down.”
I’m stuck in a rut
“There’s a big part of me that is just going through the motions, wondering if this is all there is to life. I’m only pretending to enjoy my job, my relationship isn’t as crash hot as it looks and the truth is I’m bored. I thought I’d be ‘further along’ by now in many ways.”
What if I’m not the great parent you think I am?
“I’ve yelled until my throat hurt, been impatient, cried, said things I regret, forgotten crucial items or appointments, compared my kids with others, longed for a break and let my kids down. Then I’ve felt guilty about the people I know who struggle to have children at all, or who have children who have challenges my kids don’t, and I’ve wondered what is wrong with me.”
I worry that I’m never satisfied
“The grass is greener, it’s easier for others, we don’t have enough money, I’m not thin enough, successful enough, patient/interesting/clever enough. I put conditions on my happiness: ‘I’ll be happy when …’ and, even when that happens, I’m still unsatisfied.”
The solution to all of this is a little too complex to unravel in one post but the first two steps are quite simple:
- Acknowledge that what you’re telling yourself may seem authentic, but it is nevertheless an unresourceful internal dialogue.
- Understand and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone in thinking these things. A trainer of mine used to put it this way: ‘I’m not the only freak in the room!’ What a relief!