Defeating Self-Doubt and Persistent Pessimism

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It’s the all too familiar story many tell of “I was told I’d never become a [fill in the blank].” While that statement may be a blow to many dreams, most claim to take it as a source of encouragement and are determined to prove them wrong. Good for them. I, however, find that statement very damaging and discouraging, and adding the pressure of not only succeeding but proving someone else wrong is intimidating and overwhelming to me. So I believed them and it forced me to give up on a dream.

This is happening far too often with parents, friends, extended families, and teachers who tell us to be more realistic and aim for a star that’s not far up in the sky but floating right in front of us right within in our reach. Those stars are boring, I’d rather have the one up in the sky. While some of us have the confidence to keep trying, many of us give up as the fear of failure and pessimism grows strong.

Pessimism because of self-doubt is understandable. Pessimism because of someone else’s negativity is not. Why do others feel it’s okay to crush the dreams of those around them? We seek others’ advice and opinions looking for some validation that what we want to do is worthwhile, attainable, and necessary. But when they respond in the negative, we leave our aspirations in the dust, locked up in a glued shut closet never to see the light of day again.

There needs to be another solution to defeating these pessimists other than the old showing up your critics by going out and proving them wrong. What’s the alternative? Destroy the persistence of pessimism.

We just need to ignore the comments and thoughts of others, and stop seeking them in the first place. Pessimism creeps its way into our minds because we let it. Don’t start the fires that burn your dreams. Stop telling them your plans. They don’t need to know, they’re not the ones working for it. Stop seeking their approval. The only one who you need approval from is the person looking back at you in the mirror. Stop telling them about your successes and setbacks. To your success they will only reply with a “Yeah, well ya got lucky. It won’t last,” And to your setbacks, the old “I told ya so. Why don’t you just become a [fill in the blank]?” Lastly, stop adding to your own self-doubt. That’s the most detrimental obstacle to achieving our dreams because many of us aren’t as confident as we should be, so anything that adds to self-doubt needs to be stifled right away, especially when it comes from other people.

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