Women are the worst culprits of self-doubt.
We second guess everything; our choice of clothing, how we raise our children, decisions in our relationships, our work performance, hell, even what we make for dinner. Over time this behavior can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Midlife, in particular, is a time when self-doubt goes full throttle.
We are already dealing with a myriad of issues; our children are growing up, changes with our marriages and or relationships, menopause, changes with friendships, and trying to figure out how to navigate the rest of our lives.
How many times have you caught yourself daydreaming about your life? Are you satisfied? Are you craving changes? All the retrospective thinking I’ve done since turning 40 is exhausting, I’m 46, and I still feel like I am no closer to a solution.
Midlife is a time when we are “supposed” to be at our happy place. Some people think we should have planned our lives out when we were young, so when midlife came, we’d be set with no cares in the world.
Wrong. We have spent the better part of the last 20 or so years putting the needs of everyone ahead of our own.
When you are on autopilot, you don’t have the time to sit down and plan the next 10 or 15 years. You have time to work, create a carpool schedule, plan your dinners for the next week, cart your kids to their various activities and try to squeeze in time for friends.
If you were a planner and are 100% confident with your life right now, I applaud you. That makes the midlife transition less stressful. If you are like the rest of us, pull up a chair and take notes.
I admit that I am guilty of falling into the self-doubting trap. Not a day goes by that I don’t beat myself up about something. My weight, my looks, my bank account balance, my lack of motivation, you get the picture. I find it ironic that I tell my daughter to believe in herself, be strong, know your worth, and love yourself, yet, I can’t do that myself. Isn’t that the perfect example of hypocrisy?
Why do we dwell? If things have happened in the past, leave it there. If we want something different for our future, change it right? That’s easier said than done. Overcoming self-doubt is a work in progress. The sooner you acknowledge and accept it, the sooner you can start doing something about it. I belong to several groups on Facebook, a few catering to the midlife community. I am amazed by the sheer number of women who suffer from this behavior, and they too don’t know how to escape these thoughts.
If you can relate to any of this self-doubt, please raise your hand!
In thinking of ways to kick self-doubt in the ass, I’ve come up with a few tips that may help get us on the right path:
Stop comparing yourself to others
Social media makes it easy to doubt your sheer existence. You see your friends take fabulous vacations, buy the homes of their dreams, buy the car you always wanted and have the Husband or Wife that is so sweet and thoughtful that it makes you want to barf. Keep in mind that things aren’t still what they seem to be. People will not post about how that amazing vacation set them back four grand and now they can’t afford to buy a new water heater, or the colossal fight they got into before they received that beautiful “just because” bouquet. You may not have all the money you want, the house that you want or the job that you want, but we need to focus that envy energy on the things that we DO have.
Embrace the suck
Being a Military spouse, I have heard my Husband use this term often. Again, we may not be where we want or think we should be, but we’re here to make the most of it. Let’s be the catalyst for change. Why dwell on past things that we cannot change? Rome wasn’t built in a day. Identify what we want NOW and take the baby steps that you need to move forward
Quiet that negative voice in your head
Okay, if you had someone in your life that talked down to you regularly, made you feel like crap, did things that made you lose trust in them or made you so mad you blocked them on social media, would you still want to be around them? Would you even consider them a friend? I didn’t think so. So why is it okay for us to allow our inner critic to do this to us?? Why do we believe it is acceptable to feel this way about ourselves?? Trust me; it’s not. We need to kick her to the curb. This is my number one issue. I let that Negative Nelly in my head all the time, and it affects all aspects of my life, from my marriage, work, parenting, and lately, my blogging hustle.
Surround yourself with like-minded positive people
This is a no brainer. If you are around negative people, you will start to have negative tendencies. If you have that friend that doesn’t truly listen to you, isn’t there for you, or makes you feel less of a person – dump them. My favorite? The friend that no matter what you are going through is going through it 100 times more, or compares everything that you say to something or someone in their life. Friendship shouldn’t be a contest. Time to reassess and dump the dead weight. When you are around people like this, you end up leaving the situation more confused and full of doubt than ever. This also applies to family members. Sometimes we allow the family to treat us like crap because of some time of loyalty or obligation we feel for them. Negativity is negativity no matter who is on the other end.
I have notebooks, post-it notes, and scrap pieces of paper everywhere. I also have a pen addiction, the colorful the better. I was never the type of girl that kept a diary. I would start and then give up after a few months. Either I had no willpower, or my life was so boring there wasn’t much to write about. I do like to write down my thoughts, or sayings that I find. It helps promote mental clarity. If you aren’t big on writing, take a screenshot and create an album on your phone. Give it a catchy uplifting title and refer to it whenever you are feeling down.
These tips aren’t an end-all cure-all, but following them will at least push us in the right direction.
Are you guilty of self-doubt?
Are you taking steps to change your ways?
Read More About Midlife
My name is Crystal Arzu. I live in Corona (Southern) California. I’m 45 years old, wife of 20 years, and Mom to an 18-year-old daughter. I work full-time in the Healthcare Management industry. My blog is called The Middle Years Journey. Blogging is something that I had always wanted to do, so I decided to start one! I chose the niche of “Midlife” as there are many changes we face in our second half of life. Empty nests, death, divorce, menopause, changes in friendships are just some of the issues midlife women endure. I hope to reach other women and let them know that they aren’t alone in their midlife journeys. I believe midlife is OUR time of reinvention, self-reflection, and growth. My blog is a continual work in progress, but I am enjoying it. I’m learning about myself in the process, and for that I’m thankful.