the belly of the beast: self doubt
by Ms. Joy
Tonight I discovered a mug we have been missing for a few days. It’s a lovely mug, blue with a cheerful snowman on it. This missing mug had somehow landed on a speaker behind the couch and there it sat with about 3 inches of tea in the bottom. For the first day, I’m sure the tea was fine and remained largely unchanged. It wasn’t long before the sugar in the soy milk started to eat itself, growing something a little fuzzy and bubbly. This goo formerly known as tea clung to the sides, leaving them unchanged until I wiped them away with hot soapy water and a determined dishcloth.
Self-doubt is like that bit of tea in the bottom. It can start with something innocuous and take over. And it’s gross. So gross that when I googled the phrase “self doubt and” the autocorrect drop down menu came back with “self doubt and syphilis” as the second result. This doesn’t mean self doubt causes syphilis but take into consideration that your brain is mushing under your own negative thoughts.
We all feel this way. As parents, spouses and quite possibly every single role we fit into is met with some sort of nagging fear that we just cannot let loose of. Putting on your big girl pants comes with the knowledge that we bear the responsibility of doing our best. Sometimes it doesn’t happen or we need courage (or chocolate or plain ol’ sleep) to do better.
But we don’t suck. I don’t, though I say it a lot. And that is the problem. Those kernels of self doubt fester within and become part of the refrain. It’s easy to delve into the “I am an ass” list because that way you get cookies or whatever sinful delight you reward yourself with to simply feel better.
And then your mad about your thighs. The brain works a lot like that children’s book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, it goes on and on until you take your brain to the beach to find its long lost relatives so it will just be happy.
I see this with the kids all the time. They will be fine one moment and suddenly in the throes of a volcanic meltdown. At the root of it is that they were feeling slighted in some way, feeling hurt and they need a hug. It is scientifically proven that hugs work to keep humans happy.
Self doubt fizzles under brain hugs. It’s not enough that other people think you’re awesome (or me), we have to start thinking the same.
As an aside, not a clue how to do the brain hugs.