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Dealing with Self-Doubt

My entire life I’ve struggled with something I think almost everyone deals with – self-doubt. In the midst of being a second semester senior in college, I’ve felt a whirlwind of self-doubt. I recently applied to grad school for my masters in social work but have been putting myself down and questioning whether I’m good enough. Something about putting myself out there to apply for grad school despite doing so well in undergrad scares the hell out of me. Sure, we can all look at our past accomplishments and what we’ve done but when it comes down to the really big stuff, like grad school, it’s hard to actually believe that you are good enough to accomplish it. That troubling self-doubt voice is the voice that holds you back, and can make you think you’re nothing.

I’m writing this as a mantra for myself and others, to look at their inner self-doubting voice to take action and notice when it’s holding you back. Throughout handing in my applications and anxiously awaiting the colleges’ responses, I’ve had to learn to say stop to that voice inside my head. I’ve been trying to teach myself not to listen to it, because how many chances and risks have I taken thus far in life and been okay? How many scary decisions have I made where the end result is better than great? These voices are holding us back from going outside our comfort zone and doing good for ourselves–because we’re scared of failure. Another element of this self-doubtful voice that I’m hearing is the infamous comparison. I look at everyone around me and say, “Oh, I’m not as smart,” or “I should be as good as her…” It’s a trap of comparison that goes nowhere. We have to remember that we’re our own people and that we are enough.

At the end of the day, I’m scared of stepping outside the box and failing. But, failure is a way to dig deeper inside ourselves and rediscover what we really want and who we are.

So what if I don’t get into the grad school I want? Does it mean my life is over? Does it mean I’ll never get the job I want or the life I want? No. It simply means: my life is about to take a different path. I have to give up the life I’m planning in order to have the life that’s waiting for me. I’ve had countless sleepless nights over what’s in store next year for me, but I haven’t given myself credit for how far I’ve come. How proud I should be of myself for how strong I am, how I made a life for myself, and how smart I’ve been throughout college.

So, instead of beating myself down, I’m going to bring myself up. Be proud of myself for how far I have come. For going on to get my masters and for never giving up on myself despite everything. Overcoming self-doubt will allow me to unlock my full potential and be the best me I can. After all, doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

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Living every day to the fullest and trying to change the world
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