Doubt is a non-issue in the animal world. A bird learning to fly never considers the possibility that it could fail, that it may not be cut out for soaring over the trees. It simply follows the course of nature, spreads its wings, and goes for it. Within the first few hours of life, a foal will take its first steps without ever wondering if it will be successful or not. It may fall down a dozen times, but eventually a healthy foal will walk and gallop alongside its mother. Animals are not stifled by doubt. They are programmed for survival.
It seems that human babies start off with the same drive to grow and change. While it takes considerably longer for a baby to take its first steps, a baby born without any physical limitations will eventually walk, run, skip, and jump no matter how many times it may fall in the process of learning. Yet, why do we begin to doubt our abilities as we get older?
In the biblical chapter, Shemot, God speaks to Moses through a burning bush and tells him that he has chosen Moses to end the suffering of the Israelites and lead them out of Egypt. Moses protests, bringing up all kinds of reasons why he is not fit for the job. In his last appeal to God, he points out his speech impediment, a detail the Creator is well aware of. God’s faith in Moses is not enough to initially inspire confidence in him. Moses doubts that he can live up to the great task God places before him and protests. He continues to resist even after the Creator reassures Moses that he will guide Moses’ speech so that it is not affected when carrying out the word of God.
With the guidance of the Creator, Moses transforms from a shepherd to one of the greatest leaders history has known. Each of us holds the potential to make huge leaps of transformation. But self-doubt can negatively impact our ability to grow. As Michael Berg points out, “Doubt will always present itself as a choice. In fact, the greater the miracle may be, the more room there will be for doubt.” Our purpose in life is to create change and make the world a better place—no small task. So, how do we achieve this when faced with self-doubt?
Our faith in ourselves starts with our certainty in the Light of the Creator. Despite how much darkness may be surrounding a situation, remember that life isn’t about getting what you want; it’s about getting what you need. So, your boss asked you to give a presentation at work and public speaking gives you hives? This may be more than just a job task; it could be precisely the hurdle you are meant to overcome in order to grow spiritually. “When our experience and our preconceptions don't match up, we open the door to doubt,” says Michael Berg. “But when we see ourselves giving in to that doubt, we can remind ourselves of the portion of Shemot. We can bring Moses to mind and benefit both from his mistakes and from the miracle of freedom that he was able to bring forth for his people.” Set nervousness aside and give it your all. You may even surprise yourself.
Your own negativity may be the hardest to combat. We can be our harshest critics and our worst enemies if we allow self-doubt to take over. When you feel negativity begin to sneak up on you, counteract it with compassion. Change negative self-talk to words of kindness. Remind yourself about your strengths and positive qualities. As Michael Berg suggests, “Any time we have doubts about what we can do—doubts about our worthiness or our ability to help ourselves and others—we need only think about Moses. If we truly understand this teaching, we will see that we are up to the task. No limitation should ever make us think we are not enough, for any one of us—even someone whose ability to communicate has been compromised—can become one of the greatest leaders of all time.”
Surround yourself with Light
Enthusiasm is contagious, so when you’re having a hard time mustering up enough positivity to overcome self-doubt, turn to those who bring the most Light into your life. We are not meant to get through challenging times alone. Friends and family can be a tremendous source of positivity and can reassure us when we need it most. Voicing your self-doubt to others can help diffuse it and give you a better sense of perspective. Engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. By positively shifting the energy around us we can begin to have more confidence in our actions and ourselves.