More Self-Doubt, Please

Yesterday, while stupidly making the mistake of engaging with a known troll – yeah, I know, don’t judge me, we’ve all been there, and huge thanks at this point for all the supportive messages that flooded my inbox all evening – while marveling at the apparent confidence with which that person cherry-picked the crumbs to support their own horrible confirmations from a statement that in its entirety conveyed the exact opposite, I once again realized that people who display not a smidgen of self-doubt seriously scare me. By which I don’t mean that I’m frightened of them, but as a person mired in self-doubt more often than not, I simply can’t relate, and I also believe in the necessity of that particular emotion.

I’m not talking about the crippling kind of self-doubt, the paralyzing conviction of your own insufficiency, the certainty of a failure so profund, it will keep you from creating anything at all. I don’t think anyone needs to discuss how that kind of self-doubt is unhealthy.

Fact is, doubt, as a whole, isn’t necessarily negative. Just take the simple sentence “I doubt this is a good idea.” That sentence surely prevented more than one enterprise, invention or other endeavor. But I bet it has also saved countless lives.

Doubt makes us question. It makes us consider different aspects. It makes us reconsider potentially stupid decisions. It opens the door to reassessment, to a closer look from various angles.

If we translate all that to self-doubt, the result is this: Self-doubt makes us question ourselves. It enables us to change, to improve. It makes us consider ourselves from various angles, which ultimately opens the door to empathy. If I perceive myself as the pinnacle of creation, immune to faultiness, other opinions will be meaningless to me, or worse, without basic rights. Sympathy, understanding, or even simple appreciation of diversity, will be beyond me. I will regard anything as beneath me, and nothing will interest me.

That’s what scares me.

I wish you all a healthy dose of self-doubt.



About angelikarust

My name is Angelika Rust. I was born in Vienna in 1977. These days, I live in Germany, with my husband, two children, a despotic couple of cats and a hyperactive dog. After having tried almost every possible job from pizza delivery girl to HR consultant, I now make a living knowing English. No, I haven’t yet figured out what I want to be when I grow up, whenever that may be. In the meantime, I write the occasional book.
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2 Responses to More Self-Doubt, Please

  1. Diane says:

    Spot on with that post. I simply do not understand it either. I think confidence is a wonderful thing, wish I had more tbh but this complete faith in one’s infallibility or even one’s ‘humaness’ is I think verging on a mental illness and I don’t mean that flippantly – it is unreasonable and must surely lead to a reduction in quality of life because all the time one must be angry at the lesser people one is surrounded by. Anyway, you seem to have survived the onslaught well done. I trust you have now done what the rest of us did and blocked them. I like to think of them screaming into the void. have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • angelikarust says:

      Thanks for this – it’s always uplifting to see my little corner of naive reality is inhabited by other people as well. ❤ And yes, I did block them finally. Third person I ever blocked.


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