The Pretentiousness of Self-Doubt

Self-doubt, it seems, is insecurity cloaked in anxiety. It occurred to me one morning on my way to work this week that each time I witnessed someone in the throes of an anxiety attack, there was an underlying sense of grave insecurity that left them helpless to deal with even fleeting thoughts of burdens they couldn’t stand the thought of bearing.

This same pretentiousness drives me to write, or to ramble. This pretence that if I spew these words, it will relieve me of the burden of realisation that accompany them. It doesn’t. I read, quite uninterestedly, the numerous reminders about death. Reminders intended to spur us into action before that moment arrives when we stare inevitability in the face pleading for one more chance to do everything we always promised ourselves we’d do before we got old. But those reminders don’t remind me, they only taunt me.

They taunt me because they remind me not of death, but rather of my eager anticipation of it since my youngest years. And as I grew older, I grew more tired of the wait and the anguish of not knowing when. When I was 22, I revelled in the deep-seated certainty that I would not live beyond 23, and so I immersed myself in this promise of tomorrow not always holding true. Until I lived beyond that age and felt cheated out of the promise of peace.

But this is not about death. Nor is it about life. It’s about the lies we tell ourselves for so long that eventually we even convince others that it’s true about us. It starts out with a simple insecurity, or a simple doubt about something inconsequential, but usually larger than life because of the audience rather than the deed. It starts out when we’re unconsciously focused on how we’re to be seen by another, instead of how capable we are. That’s when the paralysing fear of incompetence sets in and convinces us that it’s safer to hold back, than it is to push forward because ridicule is far more painful than an insignificant success.

And so the circle of doubt is formed. There are many that nurture it to the point of debilitation, while others stop short at instant gratification. Instantly gratifying themselves with puny accomplishments and denying themselves the opportunity to excel beyond mediocrity. More than the debilitated ones, I pity the mediocre amongst us. They hinder us in our quest for excellence or fulfilment, because they’re always pandering to the accolades of the feeble minded. Meanwhile, their appearance of confidence in their mediocre endeavours feed that self-doubt until they reach a point in life when the lies are just not convincing any longer. That’s when the fear of being discovered lurks just beneath the skin of the faces of those pretending to be the shadow of their true selves.

Most of us will die never realising our true potential. Worse still, most of us will die not having anyone believe in our true potential. That we will die is inevitable. That we will live is highly doubtful.

My sincerest condolences to the sorry soul that can relate to the incoherent rant that I just attempted to disguise as a meaningful post.

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