What is authentic success and legacy? What would happen to our doubts, worries, fears, insecurities, grievances, goals, if we measured our days not on rewards gained, but rather, on love given? What actions and choices would you and I continue, release, adopt? How would we feel?
How would we live?
Why is self-doubt even a thing?! For all the ways our body protects itself from sickness and injury — all that effort to remove toxins and things that impede our efficiency to survive — self-doubt sure seems like a major mental obstacle. What gives?! We’ve all been there. And we’ve all been on top of the world! And then back down. And then somewhere contently in between.
I had an acting teacher once say to the group “don’t tell yourself you can’t. Cause that just wastes time.” He was a badass.
Those are my ruminations for the evening.
Keep writing your wonderful WONDER. FULL. words. We all drink them up eagerly.
Thank you for your thoughts and your extraordinary praise.
Darling friend, we have, indeed, all been on top of the world, only to tumble to the bottom.
And often, the view and sensation from the top of the world are so stunning, they are sly distractions from the main point of the endeavor: the path climbed. Who you were and who you became during the pursuit of your goal.
In overlooking the importance of the path is how we then, soon, find ourselves tumbling to the bottom of the mountain. To then trudge back up, only to fall again. Excellence as an actor, like excellence in any role, relationship, job, or skill, is about being present — responsive vs reactive, being authentic, audacious, resourceful, flexible, humble, and fully available. The moment we slip into doubt, we stop being present, halt forward movement, and spiral down.
My love, self-doubt isn’t the culprit, an ailment, and certainly, not a weakness in the definitive sense. I don’t see any trait, be it vanity, insecurity, arrogance, cynicism, or self-doubt as being a “weakness.” I feel each is a piece of information, in the same way every trial we encounter is an opportunity toward growth and deepened awareness. Be it a challenge or a personal shortcoming, every experience or insight is preparation towards our highest, strongest self. These data points invite you to explore your inner world, your larger story, to help you become more aware and surefooted in your present self.
Self-doubt, like all forms of suffering, stems from a feeling of scarcity. Scarcity is the misunderstanding that neither you nor the world is abundant. It is the belief that you don’t have enough, that you are or have less than someone else, that the world, genetics, the Universe, or God, or another person has withheld from you traits, blessings, love, attention, rewards, financing, or other resources that are “unfairly” bountiful in someone else’s life.
There is a form of doubt that can be useful — the curious, questioning sort that indicates an area of yourself, your work, or your skills need improvement. However, at times, the roots and reasoning of your doubt may be tangled — marking the difference between healthy self-critique and unhealthy self-punishment.
The punishing kind of doubt can be triggered and exacerbated by clutter, be it physical, environmental, emotional, psychological, or mental clutter. These different sorts of clutter muddy and obstacle our path. We lose sight of the true purpose of our journey — that we climb not to arrive but to grow. We start to feel frenetic and imbalanced. Thrown off our inner compass, we start manifesting our suffering in our own special ways. We each have a talent for a specific suffering. Some are outstanding at being angry. Others are exceptionally excellent at being melancholic, petty, mean, woebegone, or cynical. Whatever our unique specialty, there we spiral. Our kaleidoscopic sufferings vary, extending from each person unique set of wounds.
So, our task is to identify our personal sources of clutter, and then, ways in which we can clear the path. Explore the roots of your self-doubt. What are your triggers? Fatigue, unhealthy habits, poor nutrition, or toxic people? Deadlines, authority, collaboration, rejection, competition, comparison, resentment? To what or whom is it attached? When you begin spiraling, where does you mind go, what is the particular tone of your self-doubt? Meaning, does it sound like “I am not smart enough”? Or, I am not attractive, thin, rich, accomplished, educated, or gifted, etc, enough? These will clue you into your deepest wounds and fears — prime real estate to plumb for deepened awareness and growth.
Then, find a way to clear and cleanse, to return to a positive state of gratitude and abundance.
Whenever I begin doubting the inalienable abundance the world and I hold, whenever I feel like I lack the inner or external resources to achieve my goals, I perform a simple ritual: I pour, fill, and drink a glass of water.
My ritual begins by taking a deep breathing, walking over to the nearest sink, and pouring myself a glass of water. I then say, aloud, Thank you. For there was a time, six years ago, when I did not have access to clean, running water. I breathe, remembering living in a sailboat, then, a WV van, then, a construction site. I meditate on that year in my life, repeating, Thank you, for everything learned during that sacred, challenging year, for everything sacred and challenging I’ve discovered and created since. I then bow to the fact that at this very moment, there are millions of fellow human beings who do not have access to clean, running water.
I breathe again. I remember, with unquestionable faith and gratitude, that I am deeply lucky. I remember that the things I truly need, faith, dignity, resilience, self-respect, love, awareness, compassion, and talent, are my responsibility and are sourced from within. I remember life has given me all the necessary trails and adversaries to become inventive and resourceful. It has given me countless mentors and angels. It has and will always give me such abundance. Anything that appears to be an absence is actually an invitation; our task is to fill the open, beckoning space. Therefore, I then honor our fortunate bounty — I give.
I give something, anything. It may be a text sent to my mom, saying, “I love you. Thank you for being mine and letting me be yours.” Sometimes, the sentence “I love you” is the biggest boon we receive or can offer, and a perfect way to realign our spines. Or, the offering in that moment may be something “bigger” like calling or writing a long love letter to a faraway friend, or financially supporting a valuable humanitarian or creative cause online. If I’m not near a water source to literally pour myself a glass, I imagine I am. But the act of giving, I don’t imagine. I fulfill.
Whatever the action, it helps me remember and shift. I remember my suffering, like all suffering, comes from self-focus, the unhealthy kind. Petty thoughts about myself, life, or someone else all stem from my wishing to gain something, be it attention, resources, applause, money, or beauty. These vile thoughts hinder my path— I stop ascending when I begin resenting. But the truth is, I am already wealthy. And the purpose of my time on this planet is not to gain but to give.
It begs the larger question, What is authentic success and legacy? What would happen to our doubts, worries, fears, insecurities, grievances, goals, if we measured our days not on rewards gained, but rather, on love given? What actions and choices would you and I continue, release, adopt? How would we feel?
How would we live?
Then, I drink my glass of water and resume my ascent.
My love, we live with fierce faith for to live without is excruciating; it will parch our hearts and deplete others. Therefore, cultivate your faith in the abundance you, we, all of us embody.
Pour yourself some love. Fill another’s glass. Drink to our limitless wellspring.
I love you,