Start Doubting Yourself

Lauren Sullivan
3 min readSep 1, 2021
Photo by Md Mahdi on Unsplash

We live in a world that praises decisiveness. Feeling uncertain is associated with being weak. As if lacking conviction holds you back from self growth and long-term development. Why is it that we envy people who rise to every occasion with unwavering confidence? Why is doubting ourselves conceivably bad? And being certain is inherently good?

Society presents it simply — if you doubt yourself and your decisions, then you don’t know what you want. If you’re riddled with questions and speculation, then you lack the confidence to make any real progress forward.

What always bugs me about this narrative is that it is so one-dimensional. Like making decisions is like waking up in the morning — you just do it the same way every time. But decisions aren’t so simple — especially the important ones. Each decision is unique in the fact that there are different circumstances and impacts around each one. Some decisions affect hundreds of people and real lives. Some have financial impacts. Some can alter the course of your own life. Some can shift long-held opinions and perspectives.

If we approach each circumstance in our life with absolute certainty, we will miss out on the learning that comes with self-reflection in the face of pressure.

The process of sitting and contemplating our own belief system around important decisions helps us make better decisions in the long run. In simpler terms, doubting yourself is not as bad as society makes you want to believe.

With that being said, there is a difference between doubting yourself and not trusting yourself.

Doubting is the process of slowing down, re-evaluating, and sitting in uncertainty for a moment. (Key words — “for a moment.”) When we are unable to trust our own intuition, we let doubt takeover for more than just a moment, and because of this, it skews our ability to execute. Doubt becomes a hindrance if we welcome it in for too long. The magic happens when we can welcome doubt in to let it guide us for a moment, but then shoo it away when its’ job is over.

As human beings, we are wired to use our surroundings to evaluate potential risks and weigh possible gains when making difficult decisions. We should trust this innate ability — not hold back from it.

Acting with pure conviction 100% of the time is a quick way to make a fool of yourself. Are you evaluating each option? Are you weighing the potential risks? Are you considering if other people are impacted in the moment? What about another creative route that can be taken? Have you considered that?

If we make decisions too hastily, with too much conviction, what will that mean for our future? If we don’t accept what we don’t know to be true, what will we ever learn?

Lauren Sullivan

A millennial living in Manhattan, eating too much sushi, and writing until 2am.