The Seed Of Doubt
“Once the seed of doubt is planted it is hard to uproot” that is my takeaway from analyzing the impact that doubt has had in my life and undoubtedly yours as well. In this new series, The Lies We Tell Ourselves I will go face to face with the reasons we create the false narratives that are responsible for shaping the negative parts of our lives and what we can do about it. In this monthly series, I will share stories, experiences, and advice about how we can take ownership of our story once and for all and speak truth back into our life. I couldn’t think of a better topic to discuss to get us started than where a lot of our narratives start to be re-written: The Seed Of Doubt.
Flowers From The Seed Of Doubt
I want to share a story that came to me while working with a client not too long ago to help them understand how simple and organic it can be for us to plant the seed of doubt without even recognizing it.
Let me introduce you to John and Cathy, a happy young couple who are in the early stages of their happily ever after. As a young married couple their love burns bright for the world to see, full of hope, opportunities, and passion. The couple met in college and quickly fell in love and became the definition of the one for one another over time. Their love is built on mutual understanding and selfless acts that allows the other partner to always know that they are a priority to the other.
Everyday on his way home from work John stops by the same gas station during his long commute home to top off the tank and every day he buys Cathy gas station flowers. It’s a simple gesture but it’s a way for John to let Cathy know that he is thinking of her every single day. Upon arriving home to present Cathy with her flowers John is met by the same exuberant reaction as if it meant the world to Cathy that John brought her flowers that day, and that’s likely because it did. Neither one of them ever brought up the flower tradition, neither one of them ever let it get stale, and neither one of them ever let it diminish in its meaning. This was one hell of a way to say I love you without those words having to escape their lips.
It was a Tuesday afternoon
and John was at work when all of a sudden he started to get one of those spotty vision headaches that derail your ability to function. He had a long commute home and knew that he needed to try to get home as quickly and safely as possible and get some rest. The ride home was a bit rough but he knew when he got home he would be able to find some relief and be with his loving wife who always brought a sense of comfort to any storm he faced.
Subsequently, and unbeknownst to John while he was battling his double vision migraine his wife Cathy was dealing with a headache all of her own. On her way home from a prenatal check-up appointment; Cathy And John were expecting their first child in just under two months. Cathy was taking the same winding country roads she has driven since she got her permit in high school and just like any day she had the windows down and the radio blasting as she performed a one-woman show to the soundtrack of Hamilton belting out every word, never missing her shot to be confused with a slightly pitchier Alexander, when all of a sudden in the blink of an eye she saw a truck coming right at her in her lane as they attempted to pass a tractor in the other lane. She immediately swerved right, sending her into a ditch. Shaken and a bit rattled Cathy sat there silently shell-shocked as the music played in the far distance while the realization came to her that she narrowly avoided death.
Understandably in shock, Cathy started to sob uncontrollably as she thought of what could have happened, of losing her and John’s unborn child. She was able to pull herself together and set out for home and thought to herself, John will be home before you know it and I will have the loving embrace of my husband and the smile I look forward to every evening with those silly gas station flowers.
Cathy pulls into the driveway surprised to see John’s car already in the driveway and when she walks into the house she is met by the sight of John passed out on the Couch. An ounce of anger surprisingly creeps up inside of her for some reason and she wakes up John to see why he is asleep on the couch hours before he should even be home. John in a half daze responds with an “I don’t feel good” and plops his head back down never once even opening his eyes.
Cathy scans the room and immediately notices the absence of new flowers and like a stone, her heart sinks to the bottom of her feet with disappointment. She lets John Sleep but all the while the conversation she starts having with herself takes center stage. How could he sleep when I need him to be there for me right now? Why on the day I needed those flowers of all days would he forget those flowers? Why didn’t he tell me he was coming home? He doesn’t care about me anymore, He Doesn’t love me.
When John woke up that evening he saw Cathy reading a book but he could tell she had been crying. When John asked her what was wrong she simply replied “nothing” but her body language would say otherwise. John realized at that moment that he forgot to get Cathy flowers and apologized to Cathy saying “I’m sorry I didn’t grab you flowers today, I started feeling sick at work and I just wanted to get home.” to which Cathy replied “It’s fine.”
It clearly was not fine and a surprising anger crept up in John and inside his head John started a soliloquy of his own. I told her I don’t feel good, I get her flowers every day and on the one day I am not feeling well I am the bad guy. I didn’t realize these flowers are an expectation they are supposed to be a fun playful thing, does she even care that i dont feel good or is she more concerned about not getting stupid flowers. She doesn’t care about me, she just cares about those stupid flowers. She Doesn’t love me.
Harvesting The Seed Of Doubt
If by now you have had thoughts where you sympathize with John or Cathy, or maybe you see yourself in them, or maybe you see your story play out as you read this one. Then you my friend, have experienced what every single person alive, dead, who has ever and will ever walk this earth experienced. Doubt. Before we jump into unearthing The Seed Of Doubt let’s first look at what Doubt itself is.
Dictionary.com defines Doubt as:
to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe
Based on this definition and what we know about Doubt it is not a clear cut case that Doubt is always a bad thing. Doubt is like our very own detective in our mind that analyzes any given situation, makes a hypothesis, and then communicates its findings to our conscience to act on. But here is the issue, when we are in moments of great stress, heightened emotion, fear, or any other multitude of situations or feelings that keep us from being in a rational state of mind ( I am basically describing the human condition) then Doubt acts as a defense mechanism and bypasses the investigative process of a hypothesis and determines the outcome to be congruent in favor of whatever narrative doubt is concluding.
The Inside Out Of Doubt
Disney Pixar’s Inside Out is one of my daughter and I’s favorite movies. It tackles the world of emotions in a way that few can explain. Now Imagine in addition to the characters of Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Fear, and Bing Bong there was a new character, Doubt. Now one could argue that Doubt is a reaction that each of the aforementioned characters might have as a response to or in light of new information but for the sake of our imagination, Thanks Bing Bong; play along. Now Imagine that Doubt’s character is played by Inspector Clouseau, the famed detective from The Pink Panther. For clarity’s sake, your decision on choosing to visualize Peter Sellers, Alan Arkin, Roger Moore, or Steve Martin says more about you than it probably should.
But I digress, the point I am trying to make is that when met with emotion in the foreground the only picture that doubt will be able to see is the narrative that plays to the root of said emotions. So when a bumbling detective-like doubt stumbles on the case full of tunnel vision the case is closed before it begins and it’s almost always a wrong conviction except for when it’s not.
In the immortal words of the poet JAY-Z
“ They giveth and they taketh, life is cruel that way
But even a broken clock is right at least two times a day”
Things like intuition or that gut feeling are what make it near improbable to be 100 percent certain about whether we abide by the advice of our doubt or dismiss it with extreme prejudice. Knowing when to do which takes a level of clarity but it is a clarity that can be reached by anyone when you do the work to understand how you think and operate.
When to Water The Seed of Doubt
It might seem counterproductive to talk about when we should let doubt play a part of our narrative in an article about how the seed of doubt quite literally can be the root of the lies that we tell ourselves but the universe is one of duality and we must recognize the benefits to learn how to cautiously use this powerful instrument of change.
Here is a not so exhausted list of when watering your seed of doubt MIGHT be beneficial:
- When questioning the authenticity of new information, beliefs, or authority that is presented to you.
- When examining the intention of others- This is by no means to say that you should prejudge or always be on guard questioning others motives
- When examining your own intentions- Let me be abundantly clear, I am not talking about self doubt in the sense of questioning your value. A healthy dose of understanding why you do what you do will allow you to make decisions with confidence and clarity
- When taking risks- When there is a level of danger or something to lose, Doubt can act as our counterweight to analyze and assess a situation so that we make the best choices possible
Simply put human advancement would not be possible without doubt. It’s through these words of Gautama Buddha
“Doubt everything. Find your own light.”
that we realize that we are the light-bearers of the world we create and only we get to decide where we live in that light or become consumed by its absence into the darkness.
Weeds from The Seed Of Doubt
Some self-talk and doubt is inevitable, it comes as natural as the air that we breathe and it will steep until potent if we allow it to. So let’s talk about the reason you made it this far into the article when doubt can be a destructive force taking control of the proverbial pen that permanently marks our book of life.
Again here is a list that is far from exhausted about when The seed of doubt should be buried in cement:
- We doubt how others will perceive us- Stemming from a fear of unknown perception we create a doubt that others will see us how we want to be seen with a simple question, What if they don’t (fill in the blank)
- We doubt our ability to accomplish and achieve what we set out to do- A frequent occurrence with self-doubt is when we start any conversation with ourself with, “what if i can’t”
- We doubt our ability to change our narrative or overcome our past- We get so rooted in the comfort of our pain, so much so that even though it may be the cause of the rest of our pain we comply with it because nothing will ever change, sound familiar?
- We doubt other people Intentions- As mentioned this is definitely a tricky one because there are times this is beneficial but when its a constant thought or if it has outright become your armor for human interaction, you my friend are bound to let that armor take you to the bottom of a sea of doubt
- Doubting our decisions- Failure is only failure if we don’t learn the lessons that accompany it, and sitting in doubt questioning ourselves without owning the failure for what it is; an opportunity to succeed next time will almost ensure failure will repeat itself as a vicious cycle.
- We Doubt Our Appearance- A mirror will never portray how the world sees us, in fact, we really have no way of being able to understand how others see us so you can stop taking 100 selfies to find the one that captures your essence just right because while we try to manufacture the response from others through how we see ourselves they are busy worrying about how they appear and sadly in our swipe culture of filtered rose-colored glasses we have become so desensitized to actually noticing people anyway. Don’t believe me? What color shirt was the last person you talked to wearing?
- We Doubt our Strengths and Weaknesses- Am I really strong enough for this? I’m not strong enough, brave enough, smart enough to do that. We doubt our gifts because as humans whether we want to admit it or not we require validation and if our actions and our intentions through our abilities are questioned just once, it will send us into a tailspin of an ever-flowing freefall of disbelief.
- We doubt because of false facts- someone, somewhere, most likely, but probably, sorta kinda, maybe, thought something that made us feel less than who we are and before we knew it somehow we gave that power away willingly.
Uprooting The Seed Of Doubt
By now you likely have a lot of thoughts and feelings and you may even begin to dislike me because it sounds like I am calling you out. I am here to validate you in those thoughts, I am absolutely calling you out but rest assured, I am calling myself out too. So let’s talk about how we smother the negative seed of doubt like the no-good F*$#ing P$&@e of $%!* that it is!
- Remember the Good Ole Days- Go on a fact-finding mission wherever doubt creeps up on you. Can you find examples in your life to prove or disprove the thought that you are having? Can you identify that you are telling yourself a lie because you know from specific examples the story you are hearing is not the true story?
- GRACE, GRACE, GRACE- If you have read any of my other articles you will know that an overwhelming theme that runs through all of my coachings is that you need to be kind to yourself and give yourself space to be human and take your regular dose of Grace as often as needed.
- Your thoughts and feelings are validated- If you feel doubt creeping in especially when it is paired with other thoughts and emotions it’s important to recognize the fact that you are feeling this way for a reason. Rather than yielding to doubts heavy hand however I want you to slow your mind and walk back to how you got to these thoughts. Reverse engineering the process will allow us to get to the root of the feeling and hopefully give some understanding to why we feel the way we feel which gives us just as much information as any other fact that could sway the narrative.
- Talk it out- If you have a friend or support system that you trust, talk your thoughts out so that you can bring them to light and unravel them. If you don’t have anyone you can open up to or that you trust, try writing out your thoughts because again the act of structuring your thoughts will help you to understand where the doubt is coming from.
Find Help- If doubt is an ever-present part of your life it is absolutely a justifiable reason for you to seek the help of any sort. I am not a mental health professional nor do I claim to be able to help with matters of mental health. But I am someone who has been there and has dealt with my own journey of mental health as well as facing demons and giants as big and bigger as doubt. I would love to work with you and help you rewrite the narrative that supports the life you were always meant to live. You can sign up for a FREE Consultation here: https://calendly.com/michaelrolon/coaching-consult and if you are looking for or need help with a therapist I have some amazing resources I would be happy to share with you
I hope that through reading this article you have a better understanding of the effects that doubt can have on our lives and maybe realize that you are not alone in how you encounter doubt. I say this with confidence that there is a warrior inside of you ready to fight back against any doubt that does not serve you. If you are ready to embrace that warrior visit our website warriorofimpact.com and check out all of the different ways that you can join our tribe and that we can serve you.
Warrior Of Impact
Michael Rolon is the Owner/founder of Warrior Of Impact Coaching and works directly with individuals looking to find their purpose in life and he helps them make a greater impact. As a Full-Time single Dad and Entrepreneur, Michael is passionate about serving single parents, current and would-be entrepreneurs, and current and future leaders. For more information or to schedule a consult check out our contact page: http://warriorofimpact.com/contact/