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March 15th, 2003


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06:48 pm - Self-doubt
skykid posted this Washington Post article to gameshows. The first sixteen paragraphs are about discrimination on The Weakest Link and are interesting in their own way, but it's the last three paragraphs which spoke out to me.
People who chronically question their own judgments are more likely to become anxious, sad, suffer wild mood swings and avoid thinking about difficult problems, according to Herbert L. Mirels, professor of psychology at Ohio State University.

Mirels led a team that developed a questionnaire to measure self-doubt, and then administered it to 105 OSU students. They found that people who scored high on self-doubt also had low self-esteem, chronic anxiety, higher levels of depression and a tendency to procrastinate, Mirels and his former graduate student Paul Greblo reported in a recent issue of Personality and Individual Differences.

Mirels thinks that people develop confidence or doubt in their ability to make judgments when they are children. They sense how their parents react to decisions they make. As they grow older, self-doubters tend to put off decisions in order to postpone feelings of anxiety -- which helps them in the short run, he said, but also leads to more feelings of uncertainty.
I recognise a lot of that in myself and I think I recognise a lot of it in some of you, too - some of you who I like very much. If it's helpful in identifying a possible source of a lot of your worries and reassuring that it's not just you, or not just me, who has these sorts of feelings then it's got to be of some sort of use. I'd be interested in further resources about overcoming self-doubt.

I'll write more about this later, but not immediately. In a twist of fate so self-referential it can only be true, I'm trying to write about my feelings on a number of related issues (for this is the "tricky entry" I've thought about and made reference to on and off for about a month now) but am finding the right way to express myself very difficult to come by.
Current Mood: the article really does help
Current Music: wav files of game show music nabbed from tapes - "Lovee" now

(12 comments | Leave a comment)

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[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 15th, 2003 11:04 am (UTC)
(Link)
Ten Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt & Fear
IF YOUR SELF-DOUBTS AND FEARS STOP YOU FROM GETTING THINGS DONE, HERE ARE SOME TECHNIQUES AND PROCESSES THAT CAN HELP YOU BREAK THROUGH THEM.

1. Make a list of your fears. Only by admitting that they exist can you seek solutions.
2. Write down how these fears affect your life.
3. Become aware of the voices in your head and write down those negative messages.
4. Start building a support system of friends and eliminate people from your life who foster feelings of negativity.
5. Join a support group of people who have similar issues.
6. Change each negative message to one that is affirming and constructive.
7. Read books that help you feel better about yourself.
8. Be aware of your past, and be willing to let go of it.
9. List your goals and the actions you need to achieve them.
10. Take one of those actions every day. Each time you do something that brings you closer to achieving your goals you will feel better about yourself.

When fears and self-doubts come back, and they still do, I break through them by using the tools and skills I've learned and now teach. They work.
Any volunteers to join my #5?
[User Picture]
From:moonstruck4rjl
Date:March 15th, 2003 12:43 pm (UTC)
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I'm 100% with you on #5.

Do you ever wonder if that's why Harry Potter appeals to some of us so much? Because he's this kid who doesn't think much of himself and doesn't really think he can do anything right? And even though he thinks all those negative things, he always succeeds, he always comes out on top, somehow. But at the end of the day, he's just a great person who doesn't see it at all. He's riddled (no pun intended...hehe) with doubt.

I know I can relate and I suspect that's why my interest in the Harry Potter books feels so emotional and personal and intense.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 16th, 2003 04:54 pm (UTC)
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Hadn't thought of it like that in the past, but I certainly see your point.

#7 suggests it's good for us to keep reading and keep thinking about it! :-)
[User Picture]
From:j4
Date:March 17th, 2003 03:27 am (UTC)
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Hmmm... This sounds like one of those things that people keep telling me I should do. You know, the sort of things that "YOU OBVIOUSLY JUST DON'T WANT TO GET BETTER" if you don't do them. :-/

1. Make a list of your fears. Only by admitting that they exist can you seek solutions.

List-making is one of the main ways that I procrastinate... I try not to encourage it too much.

4. Start building a support system of friends and eliminate people from your life who foster feelings of negativity.

Ouch. So that means when your friends are depressed, you ditch them? No thanks.

7. Read books that help you feel better about yourself.

I don't think I've ever found a book that helped me "feel better about [myself]". There are books that make me feel happy, and books that make me feel like somebody understands where I'm coming from, but I don't see how a book can make me feel better about myself.

I'll feel a bit better about myself if I actually manage to finish a book at all this month.

9. List your goals and the actions you need to achieve them.

More procrastinating from actually doing anything...

10. Take one of those actions every day. Each time you do something that brings you closer to achieving your goals you will feel better about yourself.

This seems to imply that the "goals" are very tiny and localised, and/or that the actions required to achieve them are the sort of thing that you can knock off in a lunch-hour. Some of the actions required to reach some of my goals will take months, maybe years -- they're not so much a set of discrete actions as a process. The last thing I need is to feel worse about myself because I can't do one of those "actions" every day.

Any volunteers to join my #5?

It depends what you mean by a "support group"... I don't generally find that sitting in a circle with other people saying "Yes, I have self-esteem issues too" does anything for me except to make me feel like I've found yet another way to waste my life in the pretence that I'm doing something useful. Support between friends is a good thing, but I don't think it should be combined with formal group therapy -- I think they're different tools for different problems.

Feeling ill now. I should know better than to look at "self-help" stuff. :-(
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 17th, 2003 08:42 am (UTC)
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Ouch. So that means when your friends are depressed, you ditch them? No thanks.

I'm convinced that that's not the intention. It's a bit harder to put what I think the intention is in words there, but I suspect you have to buy the book (? etc.) to find out what was meant in more detail. :-/

These issues are difficult. Sorry that they made you feel ill and I hope that you're feeling better now.
[User Picture]
From:green_amber
Date:March 15th, 2003 11:27 am (UTC)
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Yes. I identify a lot with that. My best friend is very like me intellectually but almost completely wel adjusted and what she can't understand is the running commentary i my head as to whether what I'm doing, saying, feeling is right, wrong, going down well, helping me towards better mental health etc etc. I'm so used to living like this I can't imagine not: she's the reverse.

But as usual with all counselling insights, recognising that you're prone to a certain behaviour does not actually stop you doing it. This is why , fundamentally, drugs are good, and psychotherapy is useless for anything but short term exogenous depression.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 15th, 2003 11:56 am (UTC)
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That's a conclusion I'm certainly well prepared to believe, though one that I don't particularly like. And of course it's a conclusion that you can't stop churning over and over and over in your mind in self-reflexive overanalysis, whether it's a conclusion you're happy with, one you're prepared to accept or so on. If you've found some drugs that have helped you, though, that's got to be a good thing and it's nice to know at least one person for whom those drugs, whatever they were, have been the right solution in that situation.
[User Picture]
From:green_amber
Date:March 15th, 2003 12:08 pm (UTC)
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I must go out, but - yes, I probably suffered with depression from my late teens I now think in retrospect, and good friEnds, good counselling, Nnumerous academic achievements etc etc, dind't shift it much till about a year and a half ago when I finally found my way into the Prozac nation. I'm not saying everything in my life is solved (hardly, in fact _ I am aged and single!), but the sense of robustness, of having a centre not a void still at times feels quite remarkable. I quietly regard myself as living in Year One And A Half. (Now the side effects though - that's ANOTHER story.. So who needs sleep after all?)
[User Picture]
From:j4
Date:March 17th, 2003 03:31 am (UTC)
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But as usual with all counselling insights, recognising that you're prone to a certain behaviour does not actually stop you doing it. This is why , fundamentally, drugs are good, and psychotherapy is useless for anything but short term exogenous depression.

A good therapist will help you learn to change your thinking (and thus your behaviour) rather than just pointing out where you're going wrong. Psychotherapy can help deeper forms of anxiety and depression (sometimes in conjunction with drugs), but a lot of it does depend on getting a good therapist -- and sadly that seems to be quite unlikely on the NHS. :-/

Also, I'm glad if drugs have helped you, but they are NOT necessarily "good" for everybody.

(Sorry if I have no right to disagree with you when I don't even know you... please feel free to ignore this.)
[User Picture]
From:avalons
Date:March 15th, 2003 08:43 pm (UTC)
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I found this to be extremely interesting and made me wonder if I, and possibly others, have been trying to "fix" the wrong things. Focusing on the depression, or anxiety, without realizing exactly where it stemmed from.

Because while I found quite a bit of myself in that I never consciously thought of it as self doubt. It's given me quite a bit to think on.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:March 16th, 2003 05:04 pm (UTC)
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I do know what you mean, but equally I'm not sure that self-doubt isn't a symptom and something else isn't the cause! The idea of there being one single thing at the centre to conquer is attractive, but I don't know if there's any truth to it. Of course, I can only speak for myself here.
[User Picture]
From:avalons
Date:March 16th, 2003 08:02 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure that self-doubt isn't a symptom and something else isn't the cause

It can be a bit like chasing your tail.

For me,I highly doubt there is just one magic thing that if fixed will cure all that ails me. It is a nice idea, but it just doesn't seem very realistic. I'm sure the reasons why I feel the way I do about myself, and other things, are multitude. which leads me to believe that any attempts to change that will need the same diversity.

But wouldn't it be nice if there was a one size fits all fix?

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