Belief, Doubt, and the Courage to Welcome Both
We all believe in something.
love, connection, kindness, brutality, strength, anger, chaos, respect, God, Gods, there is no God, science, facts, knowledge, faith, evil, hope, children, civil action, change, human rights, a purpose, that there is no purpose…
the list goes on and on. AND ON.
We believe in things, using them to build foundations. Those foundations often hold up our identities, balancing all of our actions, thoughts, and ideas atop them. A belief can offer a sense of purpose, that we’re living for something bigger than ourselves, and THAT is a strong motivator. It’s something worth fighting (even dying) for.
I’d argue the most courageous belief though…the one that takes the most bravery…is believing in yourself.
Believe you are a gift.
How many of you shy away when I say that? What would happen if you allowed yourself to believe it’s true?
There’s often fear in embracing our goodness, because we are also familiar with our own complexity and darkness. Plus, what if we embrace our worth, only to find evidence that we’re wrong? What if we step out into the light, only to be shamed back into our hiding places?
This wall of concern is doubt. It’s there to keep you as far from risk and pain as possible. At its worst, doubt freezes us up with shame and fear.
But if you turn it on its head, doubt can also help you to see yourself (and anything you encounter out in the world) with a degree of skepticism and logic. It can show us all of our shadowy pain and shame with stark clarity and brutal honesty. It shows us how imperfect we truly are. That knowledge can bring us to a grinding halt, and then we jump head first back into the shadows. It can be terrifying to look at all of our shortcomings.
As a result, doubt teaches us something about courage. Because truly believing in yourself means you can witness the whole picture, and still embrace it. You can allow all of the shame, doubt, anger, and weakness to exist next to the courage, confidence, creativity, and compassion inside. Belief means having the courage to see all of those parts of you, and loving them anyway. You are glorious, not perfect. And thank heavens, because perfection’s boring.
When we can learn to embrace the whole picture, the risk of shame diminishes. Belief in yourself naturally leads to confidence, humility, and grace. Not to mention compassion for yourself and others.
Believe in your complexity, and the beauty of it! Believe that you are on this planet, and we’re all better for it. You deserve love from others, and from yourself.
If you can’t see it, let’s talk. I’ll gladly hold up the mirror.