Doubt. That feeling that the ground you’ve been standing on for so long is not as solid as it was before. That you don’t know what you’re doing or where you’re going as clearly as you did only recently. The sense that things are changing and you don’t quite know who you are any more.
When I was younger it freaked me out. I felt as if I was doing everything wrong and then I wanted to escape from it all because I had no idea how to handle it. That’s what doubt does – it makes me feel unsure of myself.
Many times I threw away the project I’d been working on to start another one because the doubts got the better of me. Many times I was plunged into days or weeks of confusion, feeling as if the world was falling apart around me.
It all seems rather dramatic now. I see other people telling themselves the same kinds of stories and I want them to understand that this is a good place to be, just somewhat unnerving.
We experience doubt when life is shifting up a gear. What we were doing and who we were before is no longer enough for where we’re going. As the old part of us becomes increasingly obsolete there’s a time when the new version hasn’t settled in yet. That’s when the doubt arises. We can’t do things the old way any longer but we have no idea how to operate the new way. So it feels as if there’s no solid ground to stand on.
I usually recognise the signs these days. And one of them is doubt itself. If I start to feel doubt I know things are moving in a good direction. I need to be patient to let the new patterns establish and create a more solid sense of who I am again.
It’s a time when I feel especially alive because I have to trust and listen more than usual. I can’t rely on old habits. I’m curious about where I’m going. There’s a sense of fragility inside that makes me more open.
Soon enough I’m going to be in a new pattern that will hold for a while. I’ll feel more sure and more secure – until the next time it shifts.