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What It Means To Live With Self-Doubt!


Photo by Chris Lawton

Let's talk about mental health.


I have been battling self-doubt for a long time now.


Beginning of this year, I've witnessed a strong storm of self-doubt that turned around my world.


Since I started my work at the theatre, I have been directing and spending long nights on stages performing and putting shows in front of people.


I was working hard to impress others... Trying to prove a point…


That point was: “I Matter”.


This meant that until I have proved that point, I would have to continue to “Not matter”.


Consequently, I started my battle with self-doubt, which later turned into a war lasting for almost a year and a half.


I was in deep shit. They call it "Imposter Syndrome".


My self-worth diminished. Its survival was dependent on me winning this battle against self-doubt. I did everything I could to ensure that I increase my chances of winning back my self-worth...


Skipped meals.

Sacrificed hours of sleep.

Lost countless of healing breaths.

Put my relationships with the people I love at second priority.


I became obsessed with wanting to prove…. “the point”.


Self-Doubt Attack


Meanwhile self-doubt crept in...


First, it took over my mind. It planted thoughts in my mind that…. "Maybe, I am not good enough."


As this seed grew up inside my mind, it became fully occupied with self-doubt. The space in my mind was not enough. So, it spread over to my body, like cancer.


My body, being weak at the time thanks to all my sacrifices, did not even try to fight that cancer.


It welcomed that self-doubt as a good friend.

With it, anxiety and stress came in.

Every muscle in my body was out of control.

Every bone was aching.

Waking up with random bruises.

Catching a new illness every other week.

My twitching eyebrows were screaming for my attention.

I was so stressed that my body would conspire with my mind to deprive me from sleep.


Quitting Everything


The battle kept going on.


It extended into its second year. I reached my fatigue and my point of collapse.


So, I quit my full-time job to be able to take care of my health, my mind and my body.


And then, I started my own company right afterwards (beginning of this year). I started freelancing on my own attempting to make an income from my passion for theatre and training.


After quitting my job, I had more available time on my hands, which meant I had more time to confront self-doubt.


For the first three months after quitting, I kept myself busy with my business until I realised that facing my self-doubt was the only way to “win that battle”.


Three months after quitting my full-time job, I added another tactic to my strategy…


I quit what I love doing, theatre!


I stopped performing and directing for an indefinite time.

I woke up one day and stopped going to the theatre. I did not tell most people that I am quitting. I just stopped showing up.


I just walked away, for two reasons:

1- Because my self-doubt was fuelled by the environment and the people.

2- Because I wanted to have more time to sit with self-doubt.


Making Love To Self-Doubt


For the following five months, I have been sitting right next to my self-doubt, making sure that I am head-to-head with it hugging it and loving it.


I turned my relationship with self-doubt from “War” to “Friendship”. Our story became a story of appreciation, understanding and love.


I came to understand that battling your own fears, anxieties and worst nightmares is the worst way to heal yourself!


It is like battling your own self.. or shooting yourself in the foot (and in the heart... and the mind… and the soul too).


Who wants to harm themselves? Nobody.


I decided to love myself, and to love that self-doubt that took over me.


Over the last five months since April, my self-doubt shrunk in size and influence. Its voice stopped becoming my guiding mentor.


Where Did It All Come From?


I came to the realisation that self-doubt was never created over the last two years. It was created long time ago over my first year since I was born. And all what the theatre environment did was to trigger that self-doubt and bring it back to the surface.


Battling it,

Suppressing it,

And burying it…

Meant pushing it back to where it came from (my childhood).


Befriending it,

Acknowledging it,

Seeing it,

Understanding it,

And loving it…

Meant allowing it to float to the surface.


To where it could be seen and loved like a little child who constantly attempts to impress and seek the approval/love of their parent/s.


Once things come to the surface, they find no other place to go to, but vanish into thin air and set themselves free.


You see… Self-doubt never wanted to be with me in the first place.


It wanted to escape and exit me!


But I was the one keeping it anchored and making it come down to the bottom. Mainly because I was afraid of losing part of myself. I was afraid of seeing part of me dying.


But, now that I've allowed it live with me like a friend, it wasn’t shy anymore to come the surface and acknowledges itself as a dying story that was leaving me.


Once it has left me, I was left with the rest of myself. I was upgraded to a new version.


All I have lost are the parts that were attached to me to maintain me and protect me from feeling the hurt that I felt when I was a child.


I am so grateful and thankful for being able to be aware of this.


The last eight months were extremely difficult and tough. I can't tell you how difficult it was to get out of bed everyday.


I felt worthless.

I felt nothing.

I felt like a piece of shit waiting to be flushed in the toilet.

I felt like my achievements were all frauds.

And that I was fake.

And that everything that I have done meant nothing to me... all those shows, events, projects, and workshops I've created meant nothing to me.


It's different now. I am different now. I can't say that I'm fully healed. But I can say that big part of this old story has died. and was sat free after floating to my surface.


I'm now looking forward to my next story. While navigating it, I'm expecting other battles to arise.


As those new battles come up, I promise myself to be wiser... To turn those battles into friendships, so I can set any more dying parts free.


And to allow myself to navigate my next story with the fullest expression of who I am.


Yours in Magic,

Naser

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