Many targets of bullying have been bullied so long that they become full of self-doubt. Abuse has a way of resetting your default mode from self-assured to self-doubt and once that default has been changed, it’s hard as hell to change it back. This is one of the reasons why bullying is so devastating for a target. Once you’re bullied, it changes you- it either turns you into a scared, helpless victim, an angry and bitter monster, or an empty shell.
Once you are bullied for an extended amount of time, you’re never the person you once were. Even if you do the inner work, get to know yourself again, win back your confidence, and manager to heal, you’ll still never be the same again. You’re stronger, yes. You’re a winner, yes. But I’ll say again, you’re still never the same as you were before you were bullied and there will be times when you’ll feel self-doubt creep back in and have to fight it.
I can tell you this because it happens to me too and I have to fight. You don’t just conquer bullying, get confident again and say, “Whew! I won! I’m glad I don’t have to worry about self-doubt or bullying again!” Because you will at some point. There will be times when that unwelcome and uninvited guest, Mr. or Ms. Self-Doubt will quietly try to slither their way back. Situations in life will trigger it and you will have to fight it.
It’s an ongoing battle. You might experience lulls, where you feel so self-assured that you don’t believe you could ever doubt yourself again. These feel-good periods may last days, weeks, months, even years…but! Circumstance will arise and unsavory people will come into your life to bring that old devil back again. And, once again, you will have to fight with everything you have to kick that pesky, uninvited guest out.
Self-doubt comes with many symptoms- lack of confidence in yourself, your appearance, your abilities, and your potential. Lack of self-belief, in general, which breeds lack of self-determination or, Learned Helplessness. It also comes with anger, sadness, depression, feeling of jealousy, and later, regret.
Giving into self-doubt is dangerous because it has a negative affect on your life- a huge negative effect. And it can absolutely destroy your future. So, how does self-doubt effect your life? In several ways:
1. It zaps your motivation and inspiration. When you think you can do nothing right or can’t be very effective, you won’t want to try at anything because you’ll be so fearful of failing. Without motivation nor inspiration, you’ll either never do anything at all or you’ll do just enough to get by and that’s it. Instead of living, you’ll only end up existing. Instead of being successful at life, you’ll only squeeze through it by the skin of your teeth. You end up in toxic relationships that don’t fulfill you. You’ll bust your tail in dead-in job after dead-end job, and, in the end, you’ll have nothing to show for it.
2. It causes you to miss opportunities. When you have self-doubt, you’ll be blind to your chance opportunities, and you’ll let them pass you by. This will only lead to a mountain of regret later.
3. It gives you a defeatist attitude. Self-doubt can morph into the acceptance of failure, and it can cause you to give up. You’ll see no point in even trying at anything anymore, which will only bring about more failure and defeatism. Finally, you’ll end up with the attitude that you can never reach success, that nothing meaningful or positive can ever come your way. You’ll fill as if God has cursed you, is punishing you and that His will is for you to suffer without ceasing.
4. It stunts your growth, and you’ll feel stuck. You don’t believe in yourself; therefore, you can’t grow as a person. You feel like a victim of circumstance and, as a result, you feel helpless to change any of the things you don’t like about your life. You feel that no matter how hard you try, you can never accomplish anything nor succeed.
5. It causes you to procrastinate. Because you think you’re going to fail anyway, you dread even trying. So, you put off everything, and keep putting off the things you know you need to do. As a result, you let it all pile up until the problem becomes so big it overwhelms you.
But I want you to know that no matter what bullies or anyone else tells you, no matter how many times you’ve screwed up, and no matter how many times adversity has happened in your life, overcoming self-doubt is something that is and always will be doable. It may take a while to get there, and you may fight many battles and need to work hard. But you can overcome it.
Know that you have the power to change your belief in yourself. If there have been people who grew up in extreme poverty or abusive homes and later went on to become doctors, lawyers, famous writers and inventors, then that power is within anyone and everyone- including you!
And I promise you that, if you put in the work and endure the discomfort to change your self-belief and eschew self-doubt, it will completely change your life!
With knowledge comes empowerment!