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When Self-Doubt Gets The Best Of You

I’m sitting in  my living room at 5:30am per usual, reveling in the silence and basking in the golden light of the Theralight I have sitting on the shelf above me. It gently caresses me with it’s beams, giving me the sensation that it’s summer and warm and maybe when I look outside it might not be an icy tundra. It works for a moment, till I remember that, yes, I live in Maine and it’s the dead of January and it’s been below freezing and windy for the last week or two and it’s not going to end anytime soon.

I then remember that school starts tomorrow again and all of my free time will once again be wiped away by papers and reading and discussion posts and also obsessive checking of assignments to make sure I don’t miss anything even though I know I’ve already gone over the syllabus 1,000 times and wrote all due dates in my calendar – and double checked that about 5 times already, too.

All this comes flooding back into my memory – all this also means that I am going to be living in Maine for the foreseeable future – at least another year and a half, which means another cold winter, and more time that we probably won’t buy a house.

“What am I doing?” I ask myself. “Why did I choose this again?”

These thoughts so easily creep into my mind; it’s amazing how my mind play tricks on me – that evil, toxic self doubt seeping into the recesses of my mind, triggering self-doubt when I simultaneously know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be – even more, I made all the choices to get here.

I researched the schools, I applied, I decided to get married and live in Maine and willingly did so – and still, this evil alter-ego, or more accurately, my ego, has done it again.

“KateLyn, you should be living in a warm place again – why are you stuck in Maine? You messed up everything. You hate school and you shouldn’t be in school – it’s annoying and takes up all your time and now you’re stuck on this path that is going to take you years to get where you want. What were you thinking? You are a no good fuck up, you keep messing up your life, why do you never learn? You should have become a travel blogger and should be living in Bali or something. You are an absolute disaster.”

WAIT A MINUTE.

Who is this inside my head talking to me? It’s shocking how the thoughts come, the lies that I tell myself, when I know that none of them are true.

The minute that things get hard, there’s that little voice, the disease inside my head, that makes me question EVERYTHING. It makes me wonder why I decided to do what I’m doing, even though I know that I chose all of it and I also know where it’s going to get me – I also know that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and still, I question myself. 

Self-doubt is toxic and it can really mess with your mind, your confidence, your self-worth, happiness, joy, and your actions. I’ve been here before, and I realize what’s happening, and thankfully, I have the good sense to stop it this time. To kick it out of my mind because I KNOW what’s happening here. I used to let this unwelcome creature into my mind, but not this time.

I breathe. Long, deep breaths, in through my nose, longer out through my nose, and feel my nervous system immediately calm down. The chatter quiets and I start to rationalize. I’ve learned to self-soothe, to widen my window of tolerance through years of training my mindset and bodywork to calm myself when I feel I’m in danger.

I look back to where I’ve come from and realize how perfectly imperfect every moment in my life has been. How every moment, every decision I’ve made, has brought me to this moment. The traveling, self-discovery, the years of anxiety and depression and pain of being alone, of wondering what the meaning of life is, of seemingly aimlessly floating around the planet.

But I know, a deep knowing, that none of it was random or wrong and I was never lost. All of it has brought me here, exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing – even though sometimes it’s hard. Because the end goal, the long game, is exactly where I know I want to be, and I know it will feel oh so good when I get there.

There are so many things to be grateful for, experiences that almost broke me, but in the end, made me stronger, made me into who I am. Without those experiences, I wouldn’t be in the most loving relationship imaginable, to be on a path to self-discovery and forward movement, to be able to move through emotions like they’re air instead of mud – I’ve become – I’m becoming – the person I always knew was hiding in there and all the hardships and struggles helped me to get here.

Sometimes we question our choices and do need to make a pivot, to change our course of action – but often, we’re just in the journey of it, we’re exactly on the path we’re supposed to be, and having that ability to move through that self-doubt and criticism, to see they light at the end, is crucial.

If you’re in this, I see you. You can do this. YOU can. WE can. You are a powerful being and don’t EVER forget that. <3

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