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Dealing With Self Doubt

Recently, I have been having quite a lot of issues with my identity and personality. I would try to be as natural, human and plain as possible, that’s the essence of this article in the first place, right?

First of all, this challenge I am referring to did not just start, it has always been there. Always sneaking up on me when it feels like, and then I end up feeling really depressed and questioning everything about me.

Let’s rewind to a couple of years back, when I used to be among the first three in class, a shining light among my peers. And I don’t mean this with respect to people’s perception of me, which I will still talk about later on, but I am referring to actual results.

I can still remember some of my childhood pictures where I was “the movie star”, the guy who was called upon to read his article in front of the whole school, the lead singer. I was scared of only two things – height and water (These two make death look like it is right in front of you).

I was confident enough to wrestle my younger brother (physically) to get to the drums first during service. I was bold enough to face any crowd, answer questions and ask them.

What changed?

I am still not sure I can answer this question adequately. Hopefully, at the end of this article, I might find the answer I really need.

When I was in Junior Secondary School, our teacher asked for representatives from each row in the class to debate a topic. Since no one was going to stand up for my row, I decided to be the little saviour, to avoid being beaten by our teacher who threatened to do so if nobody came forth.

There I was, in front of my mates, my points well thought out – I had already finished the debate in my mind, and probably won as well (lol). But I could not go past my first line – which was the topic of the debate by the way.

I mean, I kept repeating those words over and over again – “Teachers are better than Farmers”. I was so blank, I might have forgotten my name as well. This was definitely not the same person that could stand in front of the whole school to give a speech, sing a song or act a drama.

I wonder, does fear and timidity increase as we grow older? (I would really love to hear your thoughts on this).

On my Dad’s 40th birthday, we had not more than 15-20 persons in our small living room. I was going to sing for my dad. Halfway through my song, I ran out in tears.

Lol… I fear I am having more questions than answers. But then, what makes someone who was so confident in himself and his ability suddenly lose that confidence?

A lot of people still have the perception of me being really smart, confident, talented, amazing and all. But I have had to question all of that lately. I have had to compare people’s perceptions of me with my reality, and I question them in my heart.

I wasn’t top of the class anymore, I had issues with facing a crowd, I am not as successful as I hoped to be, I was not the perfect boyfriend I had planned to be, I was not even the Christian I was meant to be.

But this is where it gets interesting (maybe some hope, lol). Deep within me, I also knew who I was. I knew that I was better than this, but I was so drowned in my failures that what I knew did not matter anymore.

I am a junkie for results. It does not matter the effort you put into place, if the results are not good enough, the efforts are just a waste of time. Or so I thought.

I became so results-driven that I forgot about processes, and that some processes take longer than others to produce the results I want to see. Like most people in my generation, I wanted to see these results almost immediately. They call us the Noodles Generation. Interestingly, noodles is arguably my favourite meal.

I wanted people to hear my voice and be blown away that instant. I wanted people to be wowed by my designs, words (written or spoken). So, when I did not get the reaction I was expecting IN CLEAR TERMS, I would feel I was not good enough.

What I was really looking for, was what I could see when what was more important was what I could not see. If I could not understand something I was reading at that instant, I would give up on it and move on to something else.

If I prayed today and did not see the answer I was expecting tomorrow, I would feel that God did not hear me or He did not really care about me. I had become so realistic with my experiences that I ignored the things that I could not see.

“The things that we see are temporary, but the things that we do not see are eternal”. This is one of my favourite statements ever.

We can focus all day long on what we expect to see in order to validate ourselves, but we would miss out on the most beautiful experience of discovery which is happening right under our eyes but we cannot see it.

Is it starting to look like I am talking about you? Nah… I am still talking about me, we just have similar experiences. And the longer we stay in the rot of self-doubt, the longer it would take to find the hidden treasures within us.

“The treasures have been kept in earthen vessels”, Paul says. In other words, what we are looking for is where we least expect them to be; within us, not outside of us.

I am still a work in progress with regards to this as you can see, but it is not one that has been abandoned. Eventually, I will see the results that I desire to see, but I will not ignore the process. I will not neglect the difficult lessons along the road. I will not push aside the pains from the thorns I step on in this journey. I will not close my eyes to the pitfalls like they never happened.

Rather, I will embrace my story and pursue my destiny (destination). My story is not just for midnight tales with my kids or grandkids. It is for generations who are going through similar experiences.

Trust the process.

Share what you learned with me in the comments section.

What do you think?

Written by Temitope

Temitope Durotoye is a Hope and Self Discovery Advocate. He is proudly African and loves to see young Africans be the best versions of themselves.

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