The Doubt I Feel

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
~Karim Seddiki

A significant obstacle I face when I think about developing this blog, or when I sit down to write a post, is doubt. I do not fear the judgments of potential readers. I do not fear criticism or refutation. What troubles me is the inescapable question, “What makes me so special?” What is it about my life, my perspectives, and my insights that would interest or help others?

Part of me is able to shrug this doubt off as an irrelevant worry. After all, I enjoy writing and putting my observations on life into words. If anyone reading these words should glean an iota of benefit from those observations, then all the better.

A more confident, passionate part of me wholeheartedly believes in the value of what I express on this blog. On what foundation does this confidence lie? Well, like many young people I’ve felt the harrowing distress of loneliness and isolation. I’ve felt the terrible friction between the world as I imagined it, and the world as it was. The anguish I’ve felt pushed me to the precipice of suicide. But then I came back. I climbed out of the darkness. And upon the rubble of an incompatible paradigm, I constructed a new one in harmony with the life I was living.

I forsook many of my own cherished beliefs about love, success, and happiness. I dismantled my identity. I rearranged my priorities. I struggled with the dissonance between what I wanted to believe, what I’d been taught to believe, and the reality in which I was living. I accepted a reality whose quiet, steady insistence could not be denied. I struggled with creating meaning on the blank canvas left over when all my faulty assumptions were torn up and churned under.

What gives credence to my worldview is that it was built deliberately, brick by brick, based on my own experience, not on the suggestion of other people. I spent an immeasurable amount of focus and energy on modifying the landscape of my psyche from one of consequence to one of design.

Where I once saw hopelessness and regret, now I see beauty and opportunity. Where once was apathy, now there is purpose. Where once grew narrow-mindedness and hostility, now blooms acceptance and understanding. I used to be a slave to emotional vicissitudes. Now I greet emotions like the temporary visitors they are. I sit quietly with anger, stress, and frustration. I celebrate with joy, happiness, and euphoria. I console sadness, woe, and sorrow. My approach to life has become sanguine, lighthearted, and empowered. And I think others could benefit from my insight.

The keystone piece in the arch that supports this towering conceit is that my belief system does not undermine the validity of others’. Each of us experiences only a tiny fraction of objective reality. The wildly varying perspectives on that reality are perfectly understandable even when I hold an incompatible perspective myself. We are all shaded by the environments in which we grow. The ability to recognize that, and not to blithely assert the preeminence of my own belief system, is at the heart of my conviction.

Finally, though, there’s the part of me that wonders if the way I see the world is too far removed from most people’s to be of any use. Perhaps my views are too abstruse. Perhaps others cannot navigate using my moral compass. Maybe I’m blissfully insane, living in a delusion only applicable to my life. But then again, maybe we all are. Since reality is what we make of it, and since I do well for others and for myself, then what does it matter if this fear is realized?

Many times I’ve come to the conclusion that my doubt is unfounded, but still it binds me. The thought that I’m writing into a void is daunting. And it’s possible the doubt will never subside permanently. Doubt is a weed that must be routinely sheared. Otherwise it’ll choke the life out of all my creative pursuits.

Finally, in response to all the imagined naysayers, the critics and detractors, who would belittle my content and insult my style. In defense against all their toxic aspersions and heated denials, I would only reiterate my humble intentions. I write to share what I’ve learned about what it is to be human. I claim no superior morality. I mandate no immediate acceptance of my ideas. And I do not demean any other way of being. I offer only my perspective, inspired by experience, certified by intellectual honesty, and distilled through self reflection.

Thank you for reading.

-C

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