Incurably Curious

On Awful, Paralysing & Totally Irrational Self-Doubt

Self-DoubtI left university in 2010, probably the very worst time to be fresh out of education with zero experience. Every day brought more gloomy news: that graduate employment was at an all time low, that the vast majority of internships now didn’t even cover expenses, that Vodafone had received 3500 applications for every place on their grad scheme. To us and – apparently – our potential employers, graduate was a dirty word.

To make matters worse, the vast majority of my friends at university were on four year courses. Not only was I jobless and broke, but I was also at home on my todd while all my mates continued to party on at university. It was, I imagine, how ghosts feel watching their surviving friends and relatives from the netherworld. The friends who had graduated alongside me were among the lucky few who had managed to scramble themselves onto the first rung of their chosen career ladders. A couple had surveyed the barren job market and hightailed it back to university to do Masters degrees. Whatever everyone was doing with themselves, their good fortune was smeared all over Facebook for me to see. And because I was so jealous and bitter and miserable, I couldn’t tear myself away.

It was torture.

Eighteen months on and I’d found a job I liked very much. Then, one grey Monday lunchtime, my boyfriend broke up with me. By text. Two days before our second anniversary. I was sent home early from work and spent the afternoon sitting on a bench in the rain. The next day, Valentine’s Day, I drove seventy miles to his house to pick up my stuff. I remember wondering when things had started to go wrong. Things hadn’t been working for awhile, but what I didn’t know was that he was seeing somebody else. A girl five years younger than me, who he then went on to start a relationship with three days later.

Aside from anything else, nobody expects to be dumped for someone half a decade younger than them aged 22.

Six months later, I made a mistake at work that snowballed into one of the biggest clusterfucks I’ve ever known. The problem was with a girl on the client’s side who was trying to make a scapegoat of me, and although my own company was very supportive, I was a nervous wreck. I cried in the toilets every day for a week. I wanted to resign in disgrace. I felt it would be better to quit than continue with something I was so blatantly not able to do. Confidence was at an all-time low.

I pick out these three examples because they are the worst things that have happened to me in the last few years. Nothing very dramatic or unusual; these are things that will also have happened to everyone who reads this. And I know that I am very lucky that this is as bad as it’s been. I know people who have lost parents and brothers to disease and disaster, people who have been robbed blind in the night. There are those whose marriages have fallen apart and whose homes have been flooded beyond repair. Across the world, there are people held against their will, raped, mutilated and murdered. I know I am fortunate.

That said, this post is about self-doubt, and how our own fears – some rational, some not – paralyse us. The three things I’ve described had a profound effect on me. Waking up every morning in the summer of 2010 with literally nothing to do, I’d experience an overwhelming sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. I remember wondering who would come to my funeral if I died. I’d apply for some jobs, then lie brooding why none of the previous hundred or so employers had even acknowledged my email. I’d go over and over my CV, swapping out buzzwords for other buzzwords, trying to explain to someone so far removed from my own personal reality why they should take a punt on me over the hundreds of others desperately vying for their attention.

I imagine it’s quite stressful, processing job applications in a recession.

I got my present job in the end by sending an application to a recruitment agency with a cover letter promising not to “give them any bullshit I heard last night on The Apprentice“, which was written late one night in a violent rage at the injustice of it all. (It’s a better story before you know the letter didn’t actually make it to my employer, but at least it got me an interview.) Once I got the job, of course, I felt vindicated. All the self-doubt that had built up with every rejection – or rather, every application I’d thrown into the void with no response – burst into a great wave of relief. It washed over my self-esteem, by then sore and red-raw, like a balm.

Although the job hunt was depressing, I knew it wasn’t just me. The unemployment pandemic affected millions of people, of which I was but one. It was hard not to take the other two things personally. Of course, almost any break-up is devastating; I bet you’ve got some horror stories too. It is never nice to be rejected. To be dumped is to be told you’re not enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough. In my case of my ex-boyfriend, I felt I wasn’t as good as the new girl. In the case of work, I felt I wasn’t good enough for the job. Whether it’s personal or professional, anything that slams into your confidence that hard will start to affect your overall self-perception. You begin to question your worth. A creeping malaise steals into your life and everything you do disgusts you with its pathetic inadequacy. This feels like an identity crisis; everything good you thought you knew about yourself is called into question, and all the bad things you always secretly suspected are amplified until everything positive is drowned out.

A couple of years on and I know the girl at work only tried to dob me in to save her own skin, and the reason why my ex and I grew apart wasn’t because of shortcomings of mine, but shortcomings of his.

This is what I try to remember now whenever I am stricken with fear and doubt. We place greater emphasis on our failures – and yes, everyone fails spectacularly sometimes – than our successes. Why was I in pieces over one incident in the office when I brush off everyday good works like they’re nothing? And why did I allow a rejection from one person to so deeply affect my self-worth? It makes no sense.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t learn from things that didn’t work out, even if the experience was harrowing and painful. After all, life’s most valuable lessons often come from the most colossal of cock-ups. But perhaps we should cut ourselves some slack and give equal weight to both our triumphs and disasters.

When was the last time your confidence was in crisis mode? And what do you do to keep going?

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156 comments on “On Awful, Paralysing & Totally Irrational Self-Doubt

    February 17, 2014

    That’s a wise one.
    It’s funny how self-doubt can creep into the most self-assured of hearts, isn’t it? like an automated mechanism of self-destruction. but then I have heard somebody say that self-doubt was like a screensaver of our mind, once we’re not busy doing what we love, it goes up. so once we start feeling self-doubt, it’s nothing but a sign to stop pausing. pretty powerful positive thinking, hm?
    Have a great week :)

  2. Caroline
    February 17, 2014

    I’ve been in one of these situations recently. I spent a month crying, feeling sick and generally being a bitch to live with because I felt so helpless.

    Three months on, and after deciding between being a victim or taking control, I am happy. I can’t change what happened but I my response to it. I’ve had to deal with the situation but I know the problem was with someone else, not me.

  3. pseudonymalreadytaken
    February 17, 2014

    As a final year (final term!) student, I think I’m experiencing self doubt now, after reading about your employment struggles! But it sounds like you got through it ok, which is a plus. Reading your post, it strikes me as odd how everyone seems to go through the same feelings just provoked by different things.
    It’s good to know that things have worked out alright after these problems!

  4. segmation
    February 19, 2014

    I hope by now you have a great job! I bet you do. In crisis mode, I do yoga and breathe. I know this is just a hiccup and better things will come. You will see this soon, I hope!

  5. charliecastor
    February 19, 2014

    I’m relating to a lot of what you’re saying here. I graduated recently, and I’ve hit a bit of a confidence crisis myself. It is hard to remember times when we have succeeded during a confidence crisis. I hope that things are going better for you now. You’re blog is certainly taking off, which is an achievement. :)

  6. P Bobby
    February 19, 2014

    That must have been a long drive on Valentine’s Day (meh). We’re usually not as great as we think, nor nearly as bad – just somewhere in the middle. It takes time to get that right perspective.

    • Vikera
      February 27, 2014

      I like that second sentence. :)

  7. aminutewithmama
    February 19, 2014

    My confidence waned when I lost everything. My home. My relationship. My happy stay at home mum life. I lost all ability to believe in myself, and the confidence to be the person I was meant to be. I questioned everything around me. Myself, my relationships, my worth. The only thing that kept me going was A – prayer and lots of it, and B – knowing that I needed to keep going for my children. They didn’t ask to be sh*t on. They didn’t deserve to be thrown out into the cold for no real reason at all. Long story short, I survived this. I came thru it. I worked my ass off to not be another statistic of a lost person. This was almost 2 years ago. Today, I’m not a SAHM any more, but I am gainfully employed. I am working towards building my own house. Things always come around. It may not seem like it at first. But I am a firm believer in that if you hit bottom, the only thing to do is come up from it.

    • Camera&Colors
      February 23, 2014

      Totally agree! Happy for you!

    • Anonymous
      March 27, 2015

      That is just how I’m feeling as a SAHM who’s children are getting older. Totally lost my confidence. However have my first job interview in many years next week. Hopefully this is the way back for me now. Reading your post gave me hope.

  8. obzervashunal
    February 19, 2014

    wonderful post! Thanks for getting me back to a space of gratitude for everything I do have. I can share that I ‘stepped into the void’ not very long ago and in doing so, came face to face with so much ‘newness’ it threatened to overwhelm me… Dare to make critical changes in life, to do what the masses are not, to take a huge risk and you may find friends and family and the like falling away from you like dead leaves from a tree.
    I make it a point to do exactly what you so brilliantly touched upon: acknowledge the things you got RIGHT, the good choices you made, the times you had courage and faith and hope enough to push on… thank you for this!

  9. Ellen Hong
    February 19, 2014

    “Whether it’s personal or professional, anything that slams into your confidence that hard will start to affect your overall self-perception. You begin to question your worth. A creeping malaise steals into your life and everything you do disgusts you with its pathetic inadequacy. This feels like an identity crisis; everything good you thought you knew about yourself is called into question, and all the bad things you always secretly suspected are amplified until everything positive is drowned out.”
    My favorite!
    And also, I guess we emphasize so much on our failures because we have such high expectation of ourselves, always, probably pressured by our surroundings and the comparisons we make between us and others, or the past us.
    Good work! Thanks for sharing!

  10. theliteraryelement
    February 19, 2014

    I’ve had this feeling so many times and in so many different circumstances. When relationships failed or expectations weren’t met/ mistakes were made at work or in life, I’d fall to pieces. I’d always feel incompetent, like I was incapable of successfully doing anything and everything was always my fault. This, however, is life. It’s flawed and shared with everything.

  11. Jennifer May
    February 19, 2014

    Great post. I graduated in 2011 and didn’t do much better for the first while either. So lovely to hear it from someone else and realise it wasn’t just me!

  12. suzie81
    February 19, 2014

    Fabulous post!

  13. Soul Walker
    February 19, 2014

    This is of course spot on. I wonder why I don’t give much thought to my triumphs…

  14. carissacarnahan
    February 19, 2014

    Reblogged this on Not so Magical Adventures and commented:
    Lovely post. It is important to keep moving and not give into the malaise that tries to steal you life away.

  15. heleng03
    February 19, 2014

    Reading your post has just made my day just a little bit. I’ve been out of university for a year and I still cannot get a job. My confidence is at an all time low even though I know I will be amazing at what I do, given the chance. Reading this post just made me remember that there is other people out there in the same situation or that have been and that it will get better….eventually. :)

  16. awax1217
    February 19, 2014

    I guess the worse was when I let go by the college I worked at as an adjunct professor. They let me go because I gave a student a C even though he did not deserve it. In fact he deserved an F but I was told by the dean to do so and then when it came up he denied it. I was left holding the bag.

  17. hemmingplay
    February 19, 2014

    Reblogged this on Hemmingplay and commented:
    I love this woman!

  18. I'm Gonna Cook That
    February 19, 2014

    I think we’ve all been here, but you’ve articulated it so well. Thank you for this!

    • Vikera
      February 27, 2014

      Took the words right out of my mouth!

  19. tinablogsalot
    February 19, 2014

    This is perfection. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you.

  20. thelegalcareergirl
    February 20, 2014

    This is a great post and I think it’s a really important topic. It’s funny how sometimes even the smallest things can shake our self-confidence and make us doubt ourselves. I think it’s only natural to experience self-doubt to some extent, but the important part is being able to take a step back and pull yourself out of that place.

  21. The Inside Seat
    February 20, 2014

    Really good post! Very true. The most damaging part of self-doubt is when it creeps into other areas, as you said, that were previously unaffected. Everything good becomes questionable. It was an interesting read, thanks!

  22. Sara (Turning Pages: Of Books and Life)
    February 20, 2014

    Great post! In psychology it is accepted that our negative thoughts about ourselves are so powerful that in order to counter the power of the negative thoughts one must have positive affirmations at a 4:1 ratio (ie. 4 “good” things for every 1 bad). Perhaps this is why it is so easy to spiral into a vortex of self-doubt rather than a triumph of self-congratulation! In any event – you are not alone in ANY of these feelings! Thanks for sharing, it reminds the rest of us that we’re not alone either. :)

  23. 1stpeaksteve
    February 20, 2014

    I went through a huge upheaval many years ago and got through it with a lot of sacrifice. Then a few years back it happened again.

    To this day I am still struggling to get myself back on track but I know there are countless others who are in the same boat or worse. I am working and although it is not my cup o’ tea; it is helping to right the titanic.

    I did do something rather unusual. I remembered all the people I helped during my career and how it made me feel. So I volunteered at an agency/food pantry to help other unemployed folks who lack a solid foundation with computers. The unemployed guy helping the unemployed get back to work. The people thanking me lifted my spirits and now that I am back in the workforce, I still have one day that I wake up early and put in a few hours still helping others out.

    How you deal with the down times defines you more than how you act when times are good.

  24. alm383
    February 20, 2014

    وبشر الصابرين ان الله لايضيع اجرمن احسن عملا

  25. cittycostas
    February 20, 2014

    Nice blog! Read mine:

  26. heatherparady
    February 20, 2014

    Life will be good to you. Great things are on their way!

  27. silversun008
    February 20, 2014

    I’m in a similar situation right now, going through my final semester of college and struggling with the reality of having to find a job when I have never had one before. The stress of this is overwhelming.

  28. Rohini
    February 20, 2014

    Excellent post- I had a 2 year period of the same crippling self doubt- I quit my job to moved to NY 5 years ago. It was the peak of recession and I didn’t find a job for 2 years. I was in new country, I had no friends, and with no other options I went back to school. All the stress also added a world of pressure to my new relationship.
    I got a lot of advice from friends and family, but nothing that I could apply.
    A few things I did based on some online articles was to find something I am passionate about like art, sport and spend an hour or two a day to focus on something positive. Although it doesn’t solve the problem, it definitely makes you more confident.

    Good luck! Don’t let it get life get to you- find the silver lining.

  29. bristlehound
    February 20, 2014

    Without black there would be no white. Without night there would be no day.without grief there would be no love. The sweetness of your future victories will see you humble and content. We have a business and one of the big issues is bills. Our way to deal with what could be a negative is to say ‘ Bless your bills because it means your in business’. So bless your grief because it tells you that you can love. Got to be happy with that. Good luck.B

  30. Risty
    February 20, 2014

    That’s what i felt… You described it very well. Brilliant!
    its mine, pls read

    • Anonymous
      February 21, 2014

      I read your beautiful poem.Well done, you captured a feeling so nicely.B

  31. susipet
    February 20, 2014

    Great blog!

  32. Rachna
    February 20, 2014

    Low self esteem, no confidence, fear, self doubt – I have felt it all – in the past few years. On professional front mostly and personal here and there. Initially, I couldn’t understand being rejected because of “over-qualification” when I would literally take anything that comes my way. Once I did, I couldn’t stop cribbing about slogging at a place I was so undermined at. Then again, I couldn’t bear to look at the ever so falling pay. Want to write a lot more but in the public arena it makes me a little uncomfortable. I have been swinging from forcing myself to feel okay to crying myself to sleep. The worst part is people coming up to me and saying, “You are as lucky as they come”. But no matter what, I know one thing for sure, I will be back. And your post helped me make that back – BACK. Thanks :)

  33. elizabethweaver
    February 20, 2014

    So well put & great perspective. I highly recommend the TedTalk re: Superbetter, in which one needs several more “power ups” to balance something hard. It’s shifted my focus from the things I’m struggling with to what strengthens me. Your post reminds me of this. Thanks for sharing this and you are so much better off without your ex! Good luck with the job. They’re lucky to have your mature outlook.

  34. Pingback: Did I say career driven woman? | Dear sister. . .

  35. andy daly
    February 20, 2014

    What can I say? Probably not much use then … Or now. But I know of someone who has always had faith in your abilities.

    • andy daly
      February 20, 2014

      Ooops. This is embarrassing. I should read things properly … Very good post, still.

  36. Nadia
    February 20, 2014

    Self-doubt always creeps in when things are tough, when we feel that we’re not good enough. But then something validating comes along, and it’s all forgotten. I think if I can start remembering that feeling of validation and give myself that validation, the self-doubt might not be such a blow.

  37. minimalistlifestyle
    February 20, 2014

    I have had moments of paralyzing self debt/low self esteem. They come and go. They are mostly in the area of relationships. Once I let go of the “need” to be in a relationship those feelings went away. Great post. Very open and very vulnerable.

  38. philly89
    February 20, 2014

    I had a very similar experience myself. Great article, you’re definitely not alone.

  39. wallcrawl
    February 20, 2014

    This is very inspiring. I feel like I’m living my life all wrong. I guess you’re right I’ve been burying myself with all my flaws and trying hard to vindicate myself from the harsh words of people around me that I tend to forget that God also blessed me so much. Thanks a lot! It’s true, and kind of funny…why do we only see the single dot vividly on a white and clean sheet of paper and not the massive perfection of the whole paper? I feel like I’ve just been slapped… more power! :)

  40. ashokbhatia
    February 20, 2014

    Harrowing times indeed. When you look back at them, you suddenly realize that you have emerged stronger. I have had a great fall in my career and life once but with family’s support and friends’ positivity I could rebuild my self confidence and go ahead in life. Great post.

  41. dorothychiotti
    February 20, 2014

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! … Life is a constant stream of lessons which, if we refuse to learn from them, we are doomed to repeat. I lived in terrible self-doubt for most of my life until I checked myself into therapy. To know the true root of our individual self-doubt is, to me, the most important step to healing. Please check my post of today which highlights this topic (posted before I discovered your Freshly Pressed ~ and deservedly so ~ post.) … Be well, Dorothy :-)

  42. F. Ifram
    February 20, 2014

    I am relating to most of what you’ve said! My confidence has also been hit with the whole unemployment pandemic. Really makes you doubt yourself. thanks for an excellent read! i’ve touched on very similar topics on my blog. feel free to have a read:

  43. L
    February 20, 2014

    I thoroughly enjoyed this entry and can relate because we all have to go through life’s roller coaster for as long as we’re breathing. Don’t take life too seriously though because it is a gift and meant to be enjoyed.


  44. heavenly1
    February 20, 2014

    The job market sucks, relationships suck but through it all God is good. The perfect job awaits you as well as the opportunity to create your own lane through entrepreneurship. That great relationship is also on the horizon. Believe it or not it does get better and better to absolutely loving your life. God Bless.

  45. Pingback: Curb the Self Doubt | katehobson

  46. Ankur
    February 20, 2014

    Brilliant post, I believe we all have been there, the only trick I have is to hang in there, and keep telling yourself that this too shall pass.

  47. Adelemm
    February 20, 2014

    I think describing my early – mid 20’s as a shit storm of self-doubt and depression wouldn’t be too far out. What I realised coming out the other side (at about 27) was that your 20’s are a HUGE learning curve in handling adult life. You expect yourself to be able to hack it, like the rest of the grown-ups, but fuck it’s tough. No wonder self-doubt creeps in. I’ve seen younger friends going through the exact same pattern as I did. I’m in my 30’s now and LOVE my life. I just wish somebody had told me about that 20’s learning curve, instead of letting me labour under the illusion that all the other 20-somethings were having their best years and I had somehow failed that decade.

  48. Claudia :]
    February 20, 2014

    I’m so glad this post was on Freshly Pressed. I recently finished with my Associate’s Degree and this “semester” I’m not doing much, just impatiently waiting to start school again in the fall. I’ve done what you did–submitted endless job applications (and scholarship applications) and felt rejected even though most of the time, I don’t get a response back. I’m currently doing occasional tutoring, but it’s not enough, and these sort of things hit people personally. Like you say, we don’t feel good enough. Your post reminded me that I am enough, some things take time.

    On a different note, pleaseee consider voting for my design at

  49. A.L.B.A
    February 20, 2014

    I like your post and I empathize with you. I started my blog with a post entitled ” A Frog in a Well” with the intention of sharing a moment where I too felt a crisis of self confidence. I am an expat in China, that changed jobs four times in three years. Not a one ever seemed to be the right one. After the last one I seriously started to question my self-worth. This series of events eventually led to the moment I decided to take things in my own hands and go into entrepreneurship. It has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

  50. openureye
    February 20, 2014

    Self motivation is just a lame term during such times. Hold on to your hopes , even the bad things in life has an end.

  51. Candice Major
    February 20, 2014

    I am in a point in my life right now where I question everything that I do. I’m glad you got through your crisis coming out the other end more positive. I hope I get to that place to. Thanks for sharing this.

  52. littleredfrench
    February 20, 2014

    This is a really great read, such a relief to know other people are wary of that self-doubt creeping in and are conscious to fight it, that it’s the norm to feel that way and not just utterly crazy. I think it’s important to take some time out and reflect on your strengths as sometimes our focus is too much on how we could improve and not why we’re already great! I write down one thing I’m grateful for or proud of everyday so that it’s the freshest thought in my mind the following day x

  53. Pingback: This Is Your Life, Are You Who You Want To Be? | A Sober Head Full Of Confusion

  54. krismasinlondon
    February 20, 2014

    Great post and very well written! I’ve definitely experienced my share of self-doubt in the past few months and you described exactly how i was feeling throughout my job search, moving to a new city and failed friendships. I was focusing more on the negatives than all that I had accomplished. What I was able to learn from the whole experience is there is always a silver lining and a reason things happened as they did, even if the reason isn’t always clear right away. Now i focus on the positives of each day! Thank you for this post! It’s so relateable! :)

  55. revgerry
    February 20, 2014

    Great post about a universal experience. At 72, I relate to the “I remember wondering who would come to my funeral if I died,” and my Valentine breakup happened 40 years ago when I was 6 months pregnant and my then-husband “fell for” my childbirth coach. LOL now, but at the time it was pretty hard to take. I believe happiness is a choice, and it comes about by being careful to focus on the blessings every day and let go of the past.

  56. viraj03091988
    February 20, 2014

    my gf broke up with me and also am searching for a new job……same story…..nicely written and felt good after reading your blog

  57. bibitzw99
    February 20, 2014

    Hey. My name is Bianca and i’m from another country but i love America and your language. Maybe i dont speak very good english but i try to. I have a little blog and nobody is reading it… can u help me please there a little bit? I want to show people my life and i want they to make me understand with some senteces….please….

  58. officiallychan
    February 20, 2014

    Insightful piece, very well written and heart-warming. How do we survive, indeed? For me, it is simply these three things: life is short; nothing lasts forever and tomorrow is another day.

  59. beckysaysthings
    February 20, 2014

    This is a beautifully written, very poignant post, and I know EXACTLY what you mean. I felt exactly the same when I graduated from university in 2006. I know the feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, isolation, fear, that you talk about. And I’ve had crises since then – some so emotionally straining that I’ve been reduced to panic attacks and depression – but what I always try to say to myself when things get bad is ‘This is shit now – but it won’t last forever’. And it won’t. We will all go through some unfathomable shite and some incredible, muscle-stripping doom, but it won’t last forever. Like with your break up and job crisis, you can now look back and realise what really happened. The shit didn’t last forever, and something will happen that will slowly start to rebuild you :)

  60. authoraamir
    February 20, 2014

    I wish you ever success in life, good health and great times. Never give up. The best is yet to come. Always have #faith and #hope. : )

  61. missloisloves
    February 20, 2014

    I liked this :) great blog post. Keep remembering all of the success you have on a daily basis, positivity!! X

  62. janeykylescott
    February 20, 2014

    Repeat after me…”I AM ENOUGH” ….. taped to my computer, this has saved me on many doubting occasions. I am good enough, pretty enough, clever enough, dedicated enough, patient enough, …I AM ENOUGH!!! and so are you :)

  63. lilyamaranth
    February 20, 2014

    Well aren’t I glad to have come across this beautiful and heart-warming piece of writing! I can relate to almost all of it, most of all the unemployment story which I’ve been living since 2011. Thank you for letting me know I’m not alone, we’re not alone. Keep your heart up! Lily

  64. akaimiko
    February 20, 2014

    It’s really comforting to know that I’m not alone in this. It’s not addressed enough in some communities and cultures even, people need to talk about this kind of stuff more.

  65. absentfather
    February 21, 2014

    Great post! Self doubt builds pragmatism, patience and a sense of humour and as you rightly point out, it makes us appreciate how lucky we are in the end. I really enjoyed reading this, thanks.

  66. lonkarsapana
    February 21, 2014

    Woow…. i am soo amazed that i have gone through exact same incidences that you have gone through your life and still in the deepest corner of my subconcious mind its soo deeply engraved that even today i sometimes wake up from sleep starled with fear…. I think its time i confront it to myself… thank you so very much for putting it down in words

  67. exploringthedepths23
    February 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on exploringthedepths23.

  68. elkee
    February 21, 2014

    I can totally relate girl. I recently left the university I was at and I pretty much had to start from scratch, looking for a job etc. It’s tough but I just have to keep going forward. Thanks so much for sharing your story. It’s nice to know that people can come out of that same kind of slump. -Christine M.

  69. truth42
    February 21, 2014

    It doesn’t get any better. Ian xxx

  70. ellesmalling
    February 21, 2014

    We’ve all been there. Thanks for sharing.

  71. travellingdede
    February 21, 2014

    It’s almost like seeing myself in a mirror when i read your story. Great post!

  72. elliott001
    February 21, 2014

    Having just gone through therapy for OCD, I can completely empathize with how difficult dealing with crippling self doubt is. After all that is fundamentally what OCD is, a crippling doubt about everything you know, coupled with a fear for the unknown. It took me so long to get help, and I spent 4 years getting further and further into this self doubt. For anyone really struggling and unable to find solace in articles and positive thinking, I cannot recommend CBT therapy highly enough. It is definitely one of the best experiences of my life.

    Visit New Gen Journo for unbiased opinions on everything

    • CuriousEmily
      February 21, 2014

      Thanks for your comment – it really adds something to the conversation. I’m glad you’ve managed to find a way to manage your OCD though – it sounds like you’ve had a real struggle.

  73. generationarise
    February 21, 2014

    Thanks for writing this. Self-doubt is something I often struggle with.

  74. Tarek Elbakry
    February 21, 2014

    Reblogged this on Tarek Elbakry's Blog.

  75. luiscruzpassion
    February 21, 2014

    What an inspiring post. The most difficult step is realizing how special and incredibly powerful we truly are. I commend you on your new found self awareness. Thank you for having the bravery it takes to share su h experiences. Have an amazing day.

    • CuriousEmily
      February 21, 2014

      Thanks Luis! :) I totally agree, it’s a big step to take but definitely the most important.

  76. SRoy
    February 21, 2014

    I really needed to read this today and I am so glad I did. Thank you for posting x

  77. Emma
    February 21, 2014

    What a brutally honest yet beautiful post. We all suffer from self-doubt at one time or another, but it’s always reassuring to be reminded that you’re not alone in this affliction. Thank you.

    • CuriousEmily
      February 21, 2014

      Thanks Emma! It’s good to remember we’re all in this together sometimes.

  78. harrystrider
    February 21, 2014

    Thank you for writing this….I am reading it at a perfect time. I’m glad you wrote and shared it. wish me luck

    • CuriousEmily
      February 21, 2014

      I’m so glad it resonated with you – best of luck with whatever you’re going after.

  79. Charmania
    February 21, 2014

    This is why it is far more important to prepare for failure from the start and that way all success is a bonus!

    The secret to combating self doubt is not to blame others, but to nourish your soul with activities outside work and relationships so when something goes wrong you have something else to hold onto. Singing, dancing, exercise, charity work, playing an instrument, juggling, anything that is fun and gets you out and about. Do you know people in your street? Do you nod and smile when you pass people? Try it, it makes you feel more at home.

    Get off facebook. It will make you boastful when times are good (even if you don’t mean to be) and jealous when times are hard.

    It is natural and normal to feel dreadful when bad things happen, our bodies weren’t built to deal with all the stresses of the modern world. So learn to look on the bright side and don’t believe you are only worth what others judge you to be worth. Don’t have delusions of grandeur but develop your heart and soul to combat negative feelings. Some form of spirituality is useful to fall back on. You in yourself are enough, but it will take a lifetime of hard knocks and kindness to teach you how to be yourself truly and not worry what others think of you.

  80. robertlampros
    February 21, 2014

    A priest told me yesterday that we shouldn’t be surprised when our crosses come. “In this life we’re constantly being crucified and resurrected,” he said, “but in the next life, there will be no crosses.” I have to agree with him. Our circumstances ebb and flow like the tide. God’s Love is steadfast and eternal.

  81. moonbug2013
    February 21, 2014

    Wise words. Something I should remember

  82. TheCelestialEquation
    February 22, 2014

    Thank you so much for writing this. When things seem about to crumble down on top of you and you’re trapped, desperately holding life at bay and bouncing between depression and rage… It’s a buzzkill. And then some. You show the, like, cage… perfectly.

    Shameless self-advertisement here: I wrote a book, it’s on my blog for free, and I’m trying to get some imput. I’d even appreciate someone telling me it’s awful; the uncertainty is eating me away. If you have the time, really, thank you so much.

  83. thedogwalkinggardener
    February 22, 2014

    Very strong positive blog .. and uplifting. For anyone in any stage of life!!

  84. thedogwalkinggardener
    February 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on In a word – positive words for today and commented:
    I found the positivity in this blog to be very uplifting ..and just wanted to share ….

  85. dshah96
    February 22, 2014

    Your post is very inspirational. Most of my posts are too:

  86. haridasgowra
    February 22, 2014

    Different picture its say something about that article and i read this nice thoughts!
    Thanx 4 this post!

  87. lmat2014
    February 22, 2014
  88. iampoetjfk
    February 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on IAmPoetJFK Blog.

  89. elainebeare
    February 22, 2014

    Thank you for this article. I too have suffered from self-doubt on many an occasion. The great thing is that it passes and hopefully we make the right choices while experiencing it. I know I have learnt from my choices, some of them mistakes, but more importantly lessons that I apply to future choices. I also learnt it is not always my fault despite how I feel at the time.

  90. karabou711
    February 22, 2014

    Thank you so much for posting. I think a lot about how self-doubt snowballs, especially in terms of poverty and homelessness. When people say that they don’t understand why the homeless don’t “just go get a job”, it bothers me quite a bit. It can be so depressing to wake up without anything, and easy to feel you don’t deserve something once you receive it. I’m really grateful for you posting this.. your experiences might not seem so dramatic or remarkable to you, but they are in that so MANY people can relate to them. Good luck with everything <3

  91. undeniablyandi
    February 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on Undeniably Andi.

  92. wytherwytch
    February 22, 2014

    I can completely relate to this. I graduated in 2009 and couldn’t get a decent job. The good positions told me I didn’t have enough experience, the not-so-good ones told me I was over-qualified. I ended up in a job that I didn’t have to go to university to get. At first I really enjoyed it but I do work for a company without any kind of graduate scheme, the training and progression is very slow moving and I work like 50 hours a week which doesn’t leave very much time for personal development never mind job hunting. The pay is rubbish considering the responsibility you are shouldered with. I don’t find my managers very encouraging. I have recently asked to drop to 40 hours per week but this request has been ignored more weeks than it has been taken on board when it could have easily been provided. When you make a mistake in this job, which you do because you are human, it destroys whatever is left of your self worth. I have shed a lot of tears of it all but I am not one to spend too much time having a pity party. I am hoping that the weeks I am on only 40 hours a week that I can build towards something else. I want to find a new day job but I am considering setting up my own business. I might even go back to university and do a PGCE but I don’t feel ready for that yet. Time will tell I suppose. Meanwhile, thank you for reminding me I am not alone even though some days I feel it!

    • blackbutterflyeffect
      April 17, 2014

      Stay strong. I have definitely been in the exact same professional space you are. What I did was use my anger and frustration at my current job situation as fuel to create a change. It was very difficult, but I would stay up to like 2am and look for work. I just decided to channel my frustration to stay up late and apply for work. This was before the current recession/depression. Good Luck!
      You can do it!

  93. Diane Corriette
    February 22, 2014

    When our confidence is knocked it can be hard to get back on track. having no focus or direction can add to the confusion. The recession nearly knocked me out. It certainly knocked me for six. 2013 was a year of no direction and no sense of purpose as I wondered what the future held for me and which direction to take. Then in November I told myself it was time to pick myself up and carry on. When I made that decision everything changed. You are right. Our biggest ‘cockups’ can become a biggest teachers.

  94. Diane Corriette
    February 22, 2014

    Reblogged this on Feel & Rebuild Your Self Confidence and commented:
    When life knocks us down how we react and cope with what happens determines what happens next. Even I have had my confidence knocked recently but because deep down I believe in myself I was able to pick myself up and carry on. It is part of life to have spirals when things do not go to plan and what we learn from those moments can really help us grow.

    I love this post about that very subject – picking yourself up and moving on.

  95. patriciacoleen
    February 23, 2014

    I’ve gone worse. I had no job, my parents didn’t have one too and we live in an expensive cost of living society. But during those desperate moments. I’ve learned about Jesus’ love for us. Little by little, I started to see good improvements in my life, now I have a high paying job, so does my mom, and now I can bless other people too. Its just amazing when you look back at those devasting years, you’ll eventually realise you’ll soon make it. Just trust in Jesus. Get to know him more :) xx

  96. patriciacoleen
    February 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on I'm starting off for real and commented:
    It captured and broke my heart off. You’ll realise, you’re not the only one going through tough time. Everyone does.

  97. ekandza
    February 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on bifalo.

  98. Camera&Colors
    February 23, 2014

    Love that this post is all about self-doubt. That’s something I have lived with all my life, and still do. But I’m trying to help myself now. And while trying to do that, I realized that Oh, we only think about all that’s ‘not so good’ about us, all that we cant do, or all that we think we lack.Why not the other way? I quit my job which was way too stressful for me because of many being bullied at work(I did try to be strong and confident but it became a such a struggle on a daily basis), the heavy amount of work which I was capable of doing, buy my mind kept doubting whether I could, etc. However, when I look around I see that everybody goes through all this, and although things will make you sit and cry, panic, or even hate the word ‘work’, its still okay… because in the end you’re getting something back for all this struggle.. not only that, there’s more hope because someday surely you’re going to look back at these days of struggle with a sigh of relief because you’ve made it through. Now, in that hope.. I’m looking for a new job. :) Guess this post came at the right time.

  99. michalei
    February 23, 2014

    This resonated with me.I guess the greatest harm that self doubt does is that shakes the foundation of our identity.Sometimes we hold fast and other times we break.There have been times when being shattered was my new identity and the act of remoulding yourself is terrifying.I don’t know if this is true for all but everytime I fix myself I miss who I was.Good or bad when its about surviving you don’t always get to choose which pieces of yourself stay.

  100. michalei
    February 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on Findingfrankensteinblog.

  101. lifeofbree
    February 23, 2014

    Still remaking myself, I could relate. Here’s a bit of my own experience:

  102. Sandra
    February 23, 2014

    At 57, self doubt still nibbles at me, but I remember I’ve made it this far and conquered. I always think everyone is smarter than me, better looking than me, more loved than me, but then I take a deep breath and think “but I like me’ and thats all that matters.

    • CuriousEmily
      February 23, 2014

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for your comment – it’s great to hear from someone of a different generation and that you’ve (mostly!) conquered your self-doubt. :)

  103. fluxforum
    February 23, 2014

    This is a fantastic article; I think you really took the words out of most of our mouths. The worst part about self-doubt is that it doesn’t have to be valid or reasonable for it to be completely over-powering. And it never lacks for fuel. Thanks for sharing =)

    Flux: Encountering Adulthood

  104. Ellen
    February 23, 2014

    I’m in the same “self-doubt” bubble now with job hunting. It’s difficult living in an area with about 6 universities all shelling out graduates left and right and not knowing what sets me apart from the others.

  105. jaalyncharles
    February 24, 2014

    Reblogged this on jaalyncharles.

  106. soyeonniee
    February 24, 2014

    Your boyfriend sucks!! That’s so disrespectful… two years deserves a lot more than a text :'( He should’ve at least had the courtesy to drop your stuff off for you..

    And that scapegoat situation must’ve been horrible. I understand how it could feel like you had no control over what was happening and life is unfair.

    Now getting into the more serious things, you have no idea HOW MUCH I understand you. A lot of my own entries are about self doubt, and i recently wrote about WHY I doubt myself (I suffered from depression and wanting to kill myself a very long time ago) Like you, I also wrote about how it could be worse. that “I am fortunate”, but that it doesn’t stop my mind from being fucked up every now and then.

    “It is never nice to be rejected. To be dumped is to be told you’re not enough. Not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough…….. You begin to question your worth. A creeping malaise steals into your life and everything you do disgusts you with its pathetic inadequacy. This feels like an identity crisis; everything good you thought you knew about yourself is called into question, and all the bad things you always secretly suspected are amplified until everything positive is drowned out.”

    HOLY SHIT. I want to hug you. Or something. Recently, I had to stop associating myself with somebody because he made me question my worth, all the time. Non stop. I’d be feeling okay and then he’d say one thing and I’d doubt literally the existence of every achievement in my life.

    “But perhaps we should cut ourselves some slack and give equal weight to both our triumphs and disasters”. This. This is how I make myself sane in those moments where I feel like I am being suffocated by anxiety and uncertainty. I remind myself that I have come a long way, and still have a long way to go.

    Thank you for writing :)

  107. lkummet55
    February 24, 2014

    Thank you for voicing what I think almost every 20-something (especially females) has felt at least a little bit! Self-doubt can be completely debilitating, and while the “cure” seems simple, it’s much deeper than finally getting a date, or a job, or more followers online. It’s funny how much just believing you’re worthy of good things will attract good things to you.
    Keep up the good writing!

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  109. thepanicpersona
    February 25, 2014

    I liked this post because it is all too relatable. I have been in very similar situations. Well written, and a valuable lesson to remind everyone, “Hey! You’re just focusing on the bad and blowing it way out of proportion! Give the good its due focus!!” That said, thank you… I needed to hear these things and so did a lot of us.

    • CuriousEmily
      February 26, 2014

      I’m glad it was helpful to you! I think perspective is really important in staying upbeat and confident in one’s abilities. Not just compared to other people (because, when all’s said and done, I find it very difficult to relate properly to a starving person hundreds of miles away, or someone else with problems so huge I just can’t comprehend them), but also compared to the very best and worst we can be. Sure, we way not be living up to the ridiculously high standards we’ve set ourselves, but we’re almost certainly doing a million times better than our very worst self. (I hope that all made sense – it’s pretty late here and I’ve got brain fuzz!)

  110. nitsi25
    February 25, 2014

    Reblogged this on nitsi25.

  111. redsunflower
    February 25, 2014

    I’m just happy that i’m not alone, frustration and stress adds to depression. Sitting on your couch, feeling that all is lost and nothing worth the trouble, just drowning in a sea of negativity. The choices are there, to stay where you are or to get up and fight for a better tomorow for yourself.

    • CuriousEmily
      February 26, 2014

      Absolutely, it’s a really vicious circle. Sometimes to break the cycle you just have to be really forceful with yourself and make yourself move. It’s always tricky, but once I get over the ‘neg hump’ (technical term, haha), it’s easy to start feeling optimistic again.

  112. lipglossmaffia
    February 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on lipglossmaffia's Blog and commented:
    Low self confidence is a killer! Anytime my confidence is in crisis mode,I just take a look at a picture of my mother, if she could it, there should be nothing stopping me…XO

  113. Jenni
    February 26, 2014

    Anxiety especially when related to self worth is a right barrel of monkey fun. It makes no difference that you know that others have had worse or that you are taking things out of context. Your brain might know this but your feelings take a great deal of convincing.

    I think in part it is because we live in a world where to be proud of ourselves and to acknowledge our skills means we are self absorbed or narcissistic. So when we do hit these moments of self doubt we find it very hard to bolster ourselves as deep inside we feel it’s wrong to metaphorically pat ourselves on the back.

    It has taken me far too many years to understand that acknowledging what I am good at and accepting that I deserve to be happy or proud of something I have worked for doesn’t mean I’m suddenly turn all meglomanical.

    Even so there are far too many times when I find myself thinking just who do I think I am having this blog and pushing my thoughts out onto other people. But if I let that insidious little voice make choices for me I would end up doing nothing at all in case I failed.

  114. couplestylo
    February 26, 2014

    Uggghhhhhhhh, I know the self-doubt you speak of all too well. I have so much to say that I don’t even know what to say. But thank you so much for sharing and for posting this, and let’s do our best to dig out of our respective pits of despair. Because UGGGGHHHH! (eloquent, aren’t I?) –Angela xo

  115. anxiousandworried
    February 26, 2014

    Thanks Emily a good read and I could totally relate…

  116. wanderfulpeople
    February 27, 2014

    It’s so hard to climb out of that chronic I’m Not Good Enough state of mind. It eats and eats but then one day you feel like nothing can eat you up anymore and it’s aaaalll up from there! (and then you plateau and sink a little, but that’s life, a roller coaster!)

    • CuriousEmily
      March 5, 2014

      It really is! Sometimes even everything can go right, and if things go too well – like if you have a load of dividends pay out at the same time, or a really flukey run of good luck – then you find yourself doubting your abilities to live up to your past achievements, or even questioning if you deserve the good things that have happened to you. It’s so ridiculous, isn’t it? I think partly our extended identities online have made the concept of failure even more terrifying than it is already.

  117. punkfiddler
    March 1, 2014

    Reblogged this on punkfiddler.

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  119. guantedeseisdedos
    March 10, 2014

    Reblogged this on guante de seis dedos.

  120. Bruce R Franklin
    March 21, 2014

    As you are discovering, there are no guarantees in life. We develop a plan. Implement it. Then use feedback to modify the plan according to status reports of progress made to or from the goals set. Times change and so must we all. If I were to yse one word, I would say resiliency. out your inrellect back to wirk doing endeavors that are currently in demand. Find a need. Then fill it. That is how it all works. You may need to reeducate yourself again. But, stay in touch with current events by following the news and financial events of the most of day. They will foretell that which is ahead. Life is exciting, challenging, messy and dangerous. There is great satisfaction in overcoming these common challenges. It cannot be done without building raphor with people. People are worth it. People are the key. Smile and collaborate. Learn the system in use. Then implement procedures to make it work to your benefit. Live well. Be happy.

  121. hoboun
    April 15, 2014

    Reblogged this on hoboun.

  122. Manish
    April 19, 2014

    Very nicely written post, a great read. When looking back at things in my life that haven’t gone as expected that’s when I’ve realized that its the expectations I have in my mind that cause the self-doubt and low self-esteem. However how about thinking of it as a method of self-justification of a situation. Having lower expectations and the ability to confirm its okay to be okay helps a great deal.

  123. nlanders
    May 10, 2014

    You’re a great writer. I’m really enjoying your posts and can totally relate. It’s so hard to keep telling yourself your good enough when you get kknockbacks, especially in today’s envirnment. Can’t wait to read more of your stuff

    • CuriousEmily
      May 12, 2014

      Hello! Thanks so much for all your Likes, I got the notifications of these when I was hanging out of my hoop on Saturday morning and it absolutely made my day. :) Yes, I think we experience knockbacks ourselves but we’re also much more sensitive to the accomplishments of other people thanks to the internet, which can make us feel inadequate. Gotta fight through! x

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    June 26, 2014

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This entry was posted on February 17, 2014 by in Big Thoughts, Lifestyle and tagged , , , , , , .


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