Hesitation pulls you down into water. A hand reaches out for you and your hand freely slips away. You float down. You can swim back up, but disbelief keeps you from kicking your legs back for air. As you slowly descend you lose your grip on reality. The dimness releases conjecture of time. Things become dark and the situation becomes clamant. You are deliberately drowning. The essential moment goes pitch-dark.
In another situation, you fall in the water and you grasp onto the hand to pull you out. You get your bearings, breathe a sigh of relief and walk away.
Lastly, you fall into the water and the hand never reaches for you, because they know you won’t make it. They stare down in the murky water, waiting to see if you arise.
These are schemes of doubting yourself, others and ultimately people doubting you. It leaves you with wreckage in your head and you plummet from the lack of confidence and true potential. It’s time to cease and learn how to silence your doubts and doubters before it become an impairment.
So now what? Why do we have doubt? What gives us these shortcomings that we aren’t capable. Why do people find splendor in doubting others? It’s an endless a loop of situations. We have sealed can with can’t. Far worse, there are people who stand idly by waiting for us to fail.
You can prevail.
You can silence doubt and turn it into hunger. Inflict fire into your eyes and with every particle of your being burn doubt into ashes. When the whispers begin to buzz brush it away. Leave doubt in a desolate pool of thoughts, because you can end it.
For me, I’ve been clouded in self-doubt my entire life, yet I knew I could use that to my advantage to show myself and others that I can fight to prove myself and others wrong. It’s made me strong-willed and I tell myself that I’m worth it. I can walk out every day and say to the sky bring on the stormy weather because I’ve drowned too many times. This doesn’t mean a bolt of lightning won’t hit me, because it does and continues to.
When I laid in the hospital and they told me I could die, doubt came over me with grit that I wouldn’t make it. I languished for survival and refused to shut down and take those words as certainty. My persistence kept me talking as they transported me to another hospital. I joked with the paramedics. My disbelief would not darken my light because I did not come here to die. I don’t remember what transpired the rest of the night, but I was told by my doctors they nicknamed me sunshine because despite what was trying to destroy my life, I persisted with a smile and positivity. You see I sacrificed the innate doubt that comes to anyone in dire situations. As I laid for days before my massive surgery, I could question that I would lose the ability to move, speak, be normal, or have laughter. My survival pushed that doubt away. I was determined to remember my name, where I was, the date, why I was there, moving my arms, kicking my legs up to prove that I didn’t have deficits. If I had given up and crawled into that dark space of doubt, I would not have found the willpower to answer all those questions on the hour.
The next doubt that slinked its way into my mind was the day of my surgery. As I’ve stated in my previous posts, my neurosurgeon, while compassionate, is a straight shooter. I asked the question, we all do- could I die? Her answer was frank-yes there is a possibility. My doubt led me to get all my affairs in order, so my husband knew what to do. When they came to the door and told me they were ready, I hugged my loved ones and cried not knowing if I would come back. While I was carted down the hall for my close to 11-hour surgery, the desire came back. I told myself that I will survive, I am strong, and everything is going to be alright. Once I entered in the operating room, I smiled at everyone, made a joke, took a deep breath and made my doubt grow weak.
Many things transpired surgical wise, especially my second one, but my doubt grew quieter. My biggest challenge was becoming sharp again. I experienced a sudden weakness, like I was drowning, and I couldn’t do basic functions like type. Trust, the first time I did, it was a disaster. Next, I worried if I would be able to work again and know what I was doing? At this point I could’ve crawled in a ball and cried while drowning myself in tears that my life was going to be different. I looked in the mirror and I recognized that this was doubt at its highest level. I was terrified. I didn’t know if anyone would trust the I would be the same person.
To combat my worries as I recovered, I took that doubt and turned it into “I can”. I did everything possible to get my mind trained. My memory grew stronger by the day because I didn’t throw in the towel when things got difficult. I pulled out every single medical book I had at my disposal and ordered more. I wanted to turn my doubt of doing my job into something more. I wanted to know the physiology of diseases and processes and outcomes. I began to think of ways to be innovative. I wanted to take this setback and make it into something more.
What takes 6 months to a year to recover from my rare stroke with ruptured aneurysm I was able to reclaim myself back quickly. My second Surgery was in March and I returned to work in April. I had zero doubts about returning. Since I censored those doubts, I picked up like I never left. I felt like I had a clear head to conquer anything thrown at me. Most recently I started physical therapy. My first session was a mess. I wobbled, couldn’t do many of the exercises given to me. I didn’t realize that my ability to walk distances was off. However, I didn’t let that first session turn into doubt. The next visit I got better, and with the next I had more stamina. Each time my legs wanted to give up, I stared at the wall with determination that I had this; this was not going to tear me down.
I will take you outside of my medical journey for a moment, with doubt and doubters that I have faced. I worked hard in school. I had strong voice, devoted to history, law and politics despite those who wanted to silence it. There were times, where I doubted myself on how I would do in college because my convictions didn’t align, nor did I have the financial means. That doubt led me to pass opportunities, and I decided to become street smart and self-sufficient instead. I was skeptical that I could do that. Again, I was hungry to prove people wrong, and I made it on my own. I worked day and night learning how to manage myself in the real world. One day I stumbled into the medical world something that I was not familiar with at age 20. I quickly began to learn the ropes of every facet of how a medical facility operates. This led me to an eagerness to go back to college at 27. I didn’t know how I would accomplish this since I worked full-time, and I was scared that I was rusty on educational knowledge. I pushed that doubt away and enrolled. When I arrived my first day, I felt old and awkward. I used my doubt as power in this instance. I wasn’t going to let it stop me. So, through many tears of wanting to give up because I was burnt out working my job all day, going to school at night and homework the remaining hours, I gave up sleeping for years. I didn’t let that stop me though, and I finally got my degree. I achieved this because I pushed back all the doubt and used it as power. I remember a teacher doubting me on writing a paper one day. I still have that paper I wrote because on it she wrote that it was the best that she’s come across and wanted me to consider publishing it. You see, all this doubt I had in my life was worth it because it was a life worth fighting for.
Next, I wanted to do more with my life. I had a comfy job that felt like a family. I doubted anyone would take a chance on me. With a lot of will power I got the nerve to write my resume and send it off. When I was called in for an interview I was shaking because I doubted myself. Then I silenced it again and got the job. It was scary to leave something that I knew for so long to something completely different. My first day at my new job there was so much that was foreign to me. I wanted to cry when I got home saying I wasn’t cut out for this job. Again, I restrained myself from feeling defeated and went in the next day determined to learn as much as I could whether it was frustrating or not. It worked well for me, because I knew that I can’t grow unless I was placed in an uncomfortable position. Again, something worth fighting for because I didn’t let doubt get the best of me.
Centrally we all go through different phases of life or encounter different situations in life that are difficult, and hard to cope with. These instances will make doubt fester inside you and grow. It will push you into the water watching you drown. There is no way to avoid it, no matter how hard you try. You can silence and immobilize its power over you, however. True strength is not freely given to us. We learn strength when we are placed in difficult situations by outmaneuvering it. So next time you feel doubt and you can’t manage something, remember you have the virtue to silence it and press forward. It will get easier each time you knock it down. Become dominate and don’t drown by your own volition.