How To Deal With The Instant Loss Of Faith In Yourself(?)

lossoffaithinyourself How To Deal With The Instant Loss Of Faith In Yourself(?)
It always starts with something minor.

A tiny mistake. And somehow it shatters your world. For a second, for a minute, you just sit there, stunned by what seems like overwhelming incompetence at the time.

For me, it was managing to mess up the title in the test article I just submitted as part of a hiring process. Somehow it slipped past me. When I noticed(after I had already sent it of course) my heart sank, and I suddenly utterly lost faith in myself, and my ability to do something worthwhile with my writing.

I think it’s something we all experience at times. Contrary to this article that blew up like crazy on Lifehack, I don’t believe that mentally strong people are without flaws. I missed a last point where the writer pointed that out, and further mentioned that their biggest positive is their ability to bounce back quickly after they made any one of the mistakes they are claimed to not do. But it does serve a great job as an ideal to follow. A reminder of things to avoid doing.

So what do you do when you suddenly lose faith in yourself?

Do Something. Anything. As Fast As Humanly Possible.

Even though I know that this train of thought leads to nothing productive, my first instinct is to just sit and dwell. This can go on for a pretty long time unless I do something, I feel compelled to just let it run it’s course. Until it inevitably sours my mood and slows down my progress.

But today I decided to just sit down and write this post. To teach myself that the best thing to do is just keep going, I’m just keeping it going.Today is the first time that I conquered this rather irrational emotional response, and it will set a precedent for how I deal with it on further occasions.

What You Should Do

Writing seems to have done the trick for me. It enabled me to focus on the possibility of improvement, even if I were to have some very prevalent flaws in my writing at this moment. I have a suspicion that writing might work in other situations too, but I think perhaps the best thing to do is get back to work on whatever it is you lost faith in. For example. If you lost faith in your ability to lose weight, work out as soon as you can.

MrNelsonB writes: “The easiest thing to do is to wallow in the negative feelings. This is also the worst thing to do because these feelings increase. I’ve found that forcing myself to think about anything else helps. You really are “what you think about”.”

I’m not trying to establish myself as some kind of mentally strong person by writing this. I’m pretty mentally unstable to be honest, but I am trying my darndest to change. And I am starting to see some minor progress.  I just hope that if someone that struggles with self-doubt reads this, they can take comfort in knowing that it is possible. That you can change. It’s a long and challenging road, but hang in there. Eventually you will become better at dealing with your railing emotions.

Remember That Life Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

A lot of personal development material is focused on grasping the moment. Living in the present. But sometimes it can help to remember that it’s not all there is. As long as you keep trying, you will eventually manage to change your lot in life. And the sooner you get back on track, the sooner you’ll get where you want to be.

Even if you give in to the feeling, and spend the rest of the day wading through the darkest recesses of your mind, looking for flaws and likely finding too many, it’s not like all is lost. To snap out of a rut, you often need to accept it as a normal part of anyone’s journey, as beating yourself up over the time lost will likely only lead to more counter-productive behavior.

Keep moving forward.

Have You Experienced It?

Have you ever experienced the instant loss of faith? If so, how did you tackle it? If you’ve experienced it more than once, and always succeeded in bouncing back, please share the how with us all in the comments. Will add all responses to the post itself, with links to blogs as thanks for contributing.

P.S. To everyone who’s receiving this directly to your mail box, I’m terribly sorry for writing a bit too many posts as of late. Sometimes an idea just takes over and… what I’m trying to say is that it’s not my fault. But forgive me anyway.

The picture is of the giant Buddha statue inside Tōdai-ji(東大寺 basically means large eastern temple) in Nara, Japan. The temple itself is supposedly the largest wooden building in the world, and the statue is overwhelmingly large. Some tourist locations in Japan are very overhyped but I enjoyed visiting this temple both times I went. My only regret is that I was way too big to crawl through a hole in one of the columns for good luck. The first time I was there a grown woman struggled for 5 minutes to get through.

9 Responses

  1. jamie flexman December 19, 2013 / 5:14 pm

    A lack of confidence in myself is something I’ve struggled with for years. Whenever I make a mistake I tend to think about it for far longer than is probably healthy but I also think that because of this, I tend to make fewer ‘silly’ mistakes than I used to in the past. That cautious side to me comes in handy sometimes..

    I still make colossal, idiotic mistakes though. But what the hell, that’s half of the fun of life isn’t it?
    jamie flexman recently posted…If The Answers Aren’t Frightening Enough Then You Need To Start Asking Scarier QuestionsMy Profile

    • ragnar December 19, 2013 / 7:05 pm

      Hey, I’m not sure anyone is as confident as they seem. I seem pretty good at faking it at certain times, and I am the most confidence challenged individual I know.

      I guess adopting a healthy degree of self deprecation is good. For instance when I twisted my ankle I couldn’t stop laughing. I had been running down some stairs for no reason, and then messed up somehow. It was hilarious to me, I don’t really know why. I just felt so stupid. I guess if I could always channel that part of me then I would constantly be having a great time.

  2. MrNelsonB December 25, 2013 / 1:02 pm

    The easiest thing to do is to wallow in the negative feelings. This is also the worst thing to do because these feelings increase. I’ve found that forcing myself to think about anything else helps. You really are “what you think about”.

    • ragnar December 26, 2013 / 4:28 pm

      Yeah, it’s funny how counterproductive some of our instinctive reactions can be. Because wallowing in the negative feelings won’t get you anywhere.

  3. Evan December 28, 2013 / 10:05 am

    Ragnar- You are such a good writer and I am just meeting you tonight but every article I’ve read of yours has hit home in one way or another. You”re writing style combines humility with depth, and a tremendous amount of insight and courage and honesty. I am very impressed. I could just leave it at that but I wanted to point out the change you made may have been a long and challenging road but there is no truth in that statement, some people will have no trouble employing your advice and others may continue to stumble for a bit. Great job, though.

    • ragnar December 29, 2013 / 3:13 am

      Damn, thanks for your kind words. I hope to keep living up to the standard that I seem to have set for myself. The humility is probably a byproduct of the self-reflection I am forced to do when I am trying to examine and improve myself and my life.

      Thanks again, and happy new year!

  4. Steve December 31, 2013 / 6:00 pm

    Oh man, I’ve made that mistake before. I was writing an essay for a job and I was under a lot of pressure. I was given the essay topic and had to write on it for 30 minutes. After I finished it, I realized that something I was referring to was incorrectly worded. It wasn’t a huge mistake, but it made me look sloppy. Still, I passed the essay portion. So just because you make a mistake like that doesn’t mean you can’t do well in the end.

    But yeah, I think everyone has had those moments when doubt creeps into your head and you lose faith in yourself. It’s a part of life, isn’t it? The trick is to not let it knock you down permanently. To use a tired cliche, you have to get back on the horse when you get knocked off.
    Steve recently posted…The Importance of Doing What You Say You WillMy Profile

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