What does this frog have to do with doubt? I'll get to that in a bit...
noun: doubt; plural noun: doubts
1. a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
Yup, that about covers it. Doubt is my constant companion. It sits next to fear at the dinner table. The only reason I think about it any less than fear is because I believe it stems from fear. Therefore, Doubt is the daughter of Fear. Hmmmm...that is a good and accurate phrase to write down. Let it sink in.
I don't ever admit to having doubts about life, ability, etc. I hide my doubts like I hide my fear. Once, a woman that I ride with said to me after a particularly stressful trip through the woods - you can't be as scared as me you always seem so calm when we trail ride. And I assured her that she was just not close enough to hear my heart beating. Mind you, this is something I have to work hard to control while on a horse. You can hide that shit from people. But, not a horse.
But, back to daughter doubt. I believe that doubt is formed from true experiences. Do we doubt love when we are born? Do we doubt people or ourselves? Surely not. We are a clean slate. We LEARN doubt. We learn it because we equate it with truth in a given situation. When one's doubt is verified by a situational outcome, then it becomes valid. Early, we learn to equate it with validation because if someone else doubts us or a situation, they voice that doubt and then their opinion is verified by what actually happens, doubt must be valid. What is valid is true. Hence, we have learned that doubt is to be trusted and immediately taken as the truth. Then, we are learning to doubt ourselves. There soon is no need for anyone to voice doubt to us, we will automatically do that, even if just inside our own thought process. So, we become doubters of ourselves, our abilities, of situations, etc.
It is mathematical really. 2+2=4. Doubt+Outcome=Verification.
Since I've doubted all kinds of things in my life and have had to fake the fact that I don't doubt a damn thing, people don't know I'm a doubter. People laughingly say - oh, just tell her she can't do something and she'll make it work. Or they believe me to be super capable and entirely independent. In truth if you tell me I can't do something my first thought is normally - yeah, he's probably right. Followed by a lot of other conversation in my brain that isn't the least bit productive. And I virtually NEVER feel either super capable OR independent. Some days I feel barely functional and like I should thank the gods I ever managed to get out of bed.
But, I fake it. And in faking it for a lifetime, some doubt gets beat back to the point where it sits in the damn corner like it should and shuts the eff up until it is really needed for life-saving purposes. Stuff like - Um, hey lady I doubt you can drive 80 mph on that country road and be home in three minutes... Stuff like THAT I appreciate.
Doubt is a holder backer, the slacker of the soul. Doubt is sort of like that toxic friend who just hangs around to drag the whole group down. Doubt never sees possibility, potential or even a chance. There is no "look at the positive side" to doubt. Doubt doesn't have time for that because it is too busy, well, doubting. Doubt is so invasive and so draining that it consumes your every thought if you let it. I have literally been paralyzed by doubt, unable to move and even speak, my brain simply frozen. Doubt will drain you of confidence and continually assure you that you are less than you are. It can be counted on for those things for certain, but not much else really because if you have the use of half a practical brain you can generally work your way through the scenario in the last paragraph without any great help from doubt.
I think of myself like the frog in the picture when doubt takes over. There I am perched on a small, sort of uncomfortable landing, thinking about possibly dipping my little toe into the water just to see if things will work out, knowing full well that I should simply jump because I CAN swim, but instead I sit there...thinking about how maybe if I stretched my leg out far enough I could get a whole foot in the water and that might be more safe... And on and on it goes, until the moment, or opportunity, or decision is taken out of my hands. So, in fact, I have still failed. The difference is that doubt has succeeded in making sure that I didn't even really try.
So, having faked NOT having doubt for a literal lifetime (because I was a really sensitive kid, a dreamer and that combination without a ton of encouragement can be problematic) I have a really great poker face when it comes to hiding doubt. All the "stuff" is still going on in my brain and body, I just have certain things that I do when confronted with doubt that assist me in mostly hiding it. Our coping mechanisms are amazing really, as is our ability to adapt and learn that in this world, doubt is rarely productive.
I'm sort of starting to think that my life on my own at this point has become a necessary experiment against doubt. With every little thing I DO take on, accomplish, or simply get through to the point where I can look back and say - see that wasn't all that bad - I am defeating doubt. So, on I march. Sometimes I'm tired, sometimes I'm afraid, unsure, insecure, quaking in my vegan "this product was constructed with man-made materials" boots, but I keep going. Some days I barely make headway and others I'm very surprised by my own confidence. Those are the days I live for, without a doubt.