16 Sep An open letter to Self Doubt
Dear Self Doubt. We’ve been spending nearly 25 years side by side and together we’ve been through a lot. I’m grateful for all the times that you’ve been there for me and never left my side, but lately I’ve been feeling like it’s not working out between us anymore.
I don’t understand why you keep complaining when I’m telling you to shut up. All you ever talk about is how useless I am and how I’ll never succeed with anything in life. I used to believe you, but I’ve come to realise that the problem is not me – it’s you. If you weren’t there all the time with your negative, repetitive chatter, I’d already be bathing in success and self acceptance.
It’s time we face reality – we’ve grown apart. Our views on life have become extremely different.
I’ve decided to spend more time with Self Belief instead. Amongst many things, we’re planning adventures, art projects, chilling out and to continue the exploration of love and relationships.
I simply neither have the time, nor the desire to hang out with you anymore. I wish you all the best and hereby set you free. I understand we might bump into each other again, but in that case I’d like to keep it at a smalltalk level.
I hope you take some time to think through your actions and your whole existence, now that you’ll have a lot more time for yourself.
Thank you for the time we had,
Don’t contact me please. In case you really need to, only email.
I imagine Self Doubt to be about 6 centimeters tall, wearing a black t-shirt and lots of mascara that has been smudged under her eyes due to occasional crying. When there’s new material for doubt coming our way, she starts whining while recording it. Then, she puts the recording on repeat, staring at me apathetically while blowing bubbles of pear-flavored gum. Once she finds something better to whine about the process is repeated.
An unexpected response
After sending this goodbye letter I thought I had finally managed to get rid of Self Doubt. But just as I was about to pop the champagne bottles and celebrate, I got an answer back from her. Like an annoying ex, she ignored my request to only answer by email, of course. Instead, she had thrown herself back into my thoughts. But since I was curious about how she would respond, I tried to listen to her this time. I was surprised as to what she had to say.
“Alright, Amalia, I get it. It’s time for us both to be more clear about how we want our friendship to develop. I forgive you for trying to dump me and you don’t need to say thank you for me staying and saving your life.
I feel like I’ve been misunderstood by you. I’ve been trying to get your attention for years but you’ve simply pushed me away without listening to what I have to say. You have no idea how much work it’s taken me to get you to finally listen to me!
First of all: Please, stop calling me Self Doubt. I don’t know where you got that name from but my real name is Fear. Remember that time in Australia when you saw a deadly snake and ran away from it? Yeah that was me saving your life. Or that other time when we were hiking and you were standing way too close to a cliff? Yeah. You’re welcome.
I think you get it: It’s my job to keep you alive! I calculate risks and talk about them, and I’ll keep going until we both get old and grey, so deal with it.
Secondly: Self-acceptance is not about denying or ignoring parts of yourself that you don’t like. It’s about making friends with them. Also, everyone fears in life. It’s not like the people you find “successful” are completely fearless. (Whatever the heck “success” means to you anyway?) They’ve just managed to build a beautiful, trustful relationship with their own Fear.
You’ve been extremely boring lately – you haven’t done much that is new or exciting. As a result, I’ve had to calculate risks of things that normally wouldn’t be a threat. Don’t blame me for being repetitive! That’s just a result of your boringness.
I think it’s a great idea that you hang out with Self Belief. Finally! We might actually get some action going again!! Don’t mind me – I’ll stick around and make sure you’re both safe. Trust me, when there’s real danger facing us you’ll know I’m serious.
I’ll be here for you whenever you need my advice.
Want to know how this dialogue continues? Sign up here and I’ll message you once I’ve gotten back to Fear.