I have been lucky enough to have had many good and wise friends. One of them was a Sufi Retreat Guide and Psychotherapist. She was, and is I hope, an invaluable support during very difficult times and a wise woman. One of the things she said to me as I wailed in emotional agony beside her as we took a walk underneath Hay Bluff was ‘doubt is not your friend’.
I have always struggled with a lack of confidence, not apparent on the outside but visible in the safe choices I made regarding work and family. I doubted myself, my ability to manage, to cope or to thrive. I did not believe that at my core I was a strong person capable of much more than the limited ambition of a life spent in front of the TV in the evenings and the trips to the supermarket and garden centre at the weekend. My aims were quite low actually, unless they were wild jabs or jumps in the dark that sometimes paid off but often didn’t because they weren’t sustainable or planned out.
I knew at my heart, at a very deep level that I was not trustworthy. Not to others since I seemed to operate from a different moral sense with them. But to and with myself I could not be trusted. I would betray myself for a fleeting sense of being liked in an instant. I would sell my future, my ambitions, my dreams for the allure of a romantic gesture and turn a blind eye to the casual day to day hurt and disregard for my needs. I would hitch my star to anyone’s wagon who seemed certain which direction to go in. I would ignore my self preservation instinct, labelling it as being difficult, picky or just plain awkward.
This doubt that is not my friend is the apparent voice of reason that interjects between my visceral and emotional response to a painful or untenable situation and tells me that I need to consider all points of view and not just my own or that my expectations are set too high and I need to compromise. This doubt will propel me into saying yes when I want to say no and no to the things I want to say yes to. It has led to debt, homelessness, separation from my loved ones and loneliness. It is not my friend.
This writing has no conclusion except to say that a small revolution is taking place in my psyche. I am befriending myself, and pledge to remain trustworthy and loyal to my aims and ambitions. I will allow myself to upset and annoy others by my desires, actions and ideas if necessary. I will survive and more than that.
I will thrive.