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How To Overcome Self Doubt and Self Deprecation? 

How To Overcome Self Doubt and Self Deprecation?

This is it. I managed to write for ten weeks, without dying. Well, death is relative in my book, but I did it nonetheless, in spite of constantly feeling like I was not qualified enough to do this task. There might be someone more qualified to do this, but I should not use that to discredit me, a person living my experiences day in and day out. Witted Roots has taken me on a journey. I was not remotely prepared for this but felt up to the task to tackle it each week. In fact, have you ever taken the time to really look at the Witted Roots landing page?

“A continuous, witty exploration of the core foundations of the Self.
A platform for witty, creative millennial women to analyze their mental and emotional wellness.
A safe space for raw and honest conversations about fear, anxiety, depression, vulnerability, etc.
A commitment and/or declaration to place one’s Self as a priority, worthy of love, belonging, care, and kindness.”

Witted Roots is committed to the development of the millennial woman of color in a time where we are learning to speak out and stand up, being proud of who we are regardless of all the negativity that is pushed our way — whether that negativity is internal or external.

In Spite Of Self Doubt

Self-doubt and self-deprecation have always been firm traits of mine. There has been an amalgamation of things and events that have solidified these traits as my story’s main antagonists. In one moment, I could tear myself down before ever having a second thought. Somehow I managed to step from underneath their shadow and try to reach towards something I’ve always wanted; writing, and to a public audience at that.

Self-doubt and self-deprecation is a topic that my Witted Roots family has touched on repeatedly because, sadly as millennials, we are stuck trying to find ways to overcome these demons. Despite our parents or loved ones trying desperately to teach us that we could be anything, do anything, and conquer anything, we somehow managed to become bombarded by these feelings of inadequacy and imperfection. In retrospect, I do not think I believed them when they said it then, but I was hopeful. After all, they were grown-ups — they were supposed to know a lot, if not everything.

How to overcome self doubt and self deprecation. It has always been firm traits of mine due to an amalgamation of things and events,

The Development Of Self Doubt

For me, self-doubt and self-depreciation are the hardest lessons to unlearn, because the negative words and thoughts are easy to say. They are also capable of appearing even when I think I am in a good place with my self-esteem. Self-doubt appears in many forms. Many times we do not realize that we’ve begun to fall into the rabbit hole. The professionals are of the assumption that it tends to develop from being exposed to a lot of harsh criticism in our early years.

As people of color, we all have had our fair share of experiences with the previous generations telling us just how we are not meeting their expectations and standards. In fact, this is something Twitter has taught me. While I scoured the internet for empirical evidence that supports this phenomenon, I came up empty. Nevertheless, we all can think of moments where we felt as if we were not meeting the standard set for us.

Some of us are capable of moving on and not allowing something like that to break us down. Then you have people like me, who sit and frolic in the idea of not meeting expectations. I ruminate on how damaging it can hypothetically be to my future standings with any human being I might interact with who may possibly have the same expectation of me. It is exhausting. Once you have entered that state, it is difficult to find the energy to do anything else. It can make matters worse once impostor syndrome sets in.

Feeling Like An Imposter

Imposter syndrome, or impostor phenomenon, was first postulated in 1978 and was thought to be felt mainly by women (go figure). It has since then been proven that both genders can be afflicted with the feeling that they are not worthy of their success. Valerie Young, an expert on the Impostor Syndrome, in her book The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women highlights that people who suffer from this syndrome also experience Imposter Feelings. She breaks them down neatly into five categories:

  • “Perfectionists” set extremely high expectations for themselves, and even if they meet 99% of their goals, they’re going to feel like failures. Any small mistake will make them question their own competence.
  • “Experts” feel the need to know every piece of information before they start a project and constantly look for new certifications or training opportunities to improve their skills. They won’t apply for a job if they don’t meet all the criteria in the posting, and they might be hesitant to ask a question in class or speak up in a meeting at work because they’re afraid of looking stupid if they don’t already know the answer.
  • When the “natural genius” has to struggle or work hard to accomplish something, he or she thinks this means they aren’t good enough. They are used to skills coming easily, and when they have to put in the effort, their brain tells them that this is proof that they’re an impostor.
  • “Soloists” feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and if they need to ask for help, they think that means they are a failure or a fraud.
  • “Supermen”, or “superwomen”, push themselves to work harder than those around them to prove that they’re not impostors. They feel the need to succeed in all aspects of life—at work, as parents, as partners— and may feel stressed when they are not accomplishing something.

After reading all of these impostor feelings, I had an almost gif-able moment. My life has been filled with varying degrees of each of the five categories — and my writing internship with Witted Roots was no exception. People who are prone to these feelings are, of course, those who likely suffer from some mental illness. The world is round. There is some degree of hope, as more and more ways of tackling this ugly habit of self-doubt are being developed and honed.

How To Overcome Self Doubt?

Self-empowerment is the first and most important thing. How we view ourselves, our work ethic, and our influence is very important. While we might all agree, or know for a fact, that we are the bee’s knees, we ought to recognize that not every day will be this filled with positivity. For me, I might start my day very positively, but once faced with the first challenge that I feel that I cannot power through, I cannot even function as a normal human — I regress to grinch mode.

Shanice explores the power of changing how we speak and gives tools that I try my best to practice, particularly when I am in the mindset to be mean to myself. My friend Nas (self-appointed “draper-of-my-good-shirts”) was one of the first persons to point out just how warped my speech patterns were when it came to me working on my writing. The power of speech is still a highly debated topic today (but do we really need a bunch of scientists to provide physical proof of something we live daily?).

I will not lie, it is hard to remember to be diligent with it, and it is so much easier to be a blood pumping ball of negative energy. However, my life this phenomenon improves when I am not being this way — just look at all the articles I have managed to produce. Words are powerful; Witted Roots is proof of this; my life is proof of this. Adding that to a positive mindset when approaching tasks, whether daily ones in your work, life goals, or simple activities will no doubt help us to get one step closer to improving our lives.

Living up to the expectations of those around us would be nice, but what about what we want for ourselves? Have we met that standard? Or are we too holding ourselves to some unrealistic standard? It’s hard to relax when you think you should be doing more and achieving more. Sometimes we just need to take a break to reset, to be better able to see the bigger picture.

Listen to me, you deserve a break every now and then. It is important for your mental health. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but we must. My self-doubt has a way of popping up when I am about to make important life decisions or embark on something that may change me for the better. My self-deprecating is rampant when I am making points that will affect my own life. Witted Roots was no exception.

From start to finish, my bad habits fought me tooth and nail. However, I can stand at the end of this article and say I am a stronger woman. I have learned a lot, overcome a great deal, and actively commit to battling these demons more aggressively. I have the tools; I know the way.

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