Monday, August 8, 2011

Searching for faith

In whom or in what do you have faith?

I don't mean faith in a religious connotation, though that absolutely is an element of faith for many people. For you as a person, where do you find or put your faith? The calm certainty that says, "this is good" or "I am enough."

I've been struggling lately with the idea that I'm sorely lacking in faith in multiple areas of my life, both inside and outside. Perhaps instead of finding the few places where I put my faith, maybe it's easier to list the places where I know it isn't

I don't have faith (or enough faith) in my ability to become a published author, lose another 20 pounds, and go after my dreams. But even more, I don't have faith in my ability to be "enough" for those I care about. Funny enough. Understanding enough. Normal enough. Caring enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Independent enough. Talented enough. 

Enough, already! 

By doubting myself, it feeds the vicious cycle where I then doubt the sincerity of people who have faith in me. That is so unfair to them and I should give them more credit! For example:

My friends aren't going to ask to read my 250+ page proof copy because they have extra time and don't know what else to do with their month. No, they're busy but still want to read my book because they care about me and want to celebrate my hobbies and successes. Why is that so hard to believe?

The guy isn't asking me over for dinner just because he feels obligated. No, he's asking me over for dinner because he wants to do something nice and enjoys my company. Why is that so hard to believe?

I feel like I'm waiting for everyone to jump out at me and yell, "Surprise! We had you fooled! That book sucks!" Maybe that's the real fear, looking like a fool, especially after I've opened myself up to possible ridicule. Growing up, I hated to be teased. Maybe this is just the grown-up manifestation of that same feeling?

Is lacking faith a direct inverse to having an abundance of doubt? And if so, is the solution to feeling like I am not "enough" to simply eliminate the doubt? 

Lol @ "simply eliminate the doubt." Sure, take two of these and call me in the morning. No, I know it's not that simple but I still want to know:

How does one create faith in themselves? 


  1. You've hit on some difficult questions, TL. It's probably not possible to eliminate doubt, but you might be able to give it less emphasis.

    "I've opened myself up to possible ridicule"

    Ridicule will come regardless. Accept some as the 'cost of doing business.' Most of the ridiculers just aren't that important in the end. :)

    Maybe focusing on smaller goals, rather than the end "enough," would make you more able to see the progress.

  2. "Most of the ridiculers just aren't that important in the end."

    Amen, Hektor. Thank you for the perspective. I like the idea of smaller goals. Maybe instead of a brand new story, maybe just some world building and character development in the next month. Baby steps. Work on things that are good enough for me.

  3. Yeah, maybe what Hektor said about small goals. I've found that successes, even small ones, build faith for me. It hits a maximum saturation point, and I'm ready to move on to slightly bigger successes (backed by larger amounts of faith).

  4. I doubt all the time that my writing is any good. Even when someone tells me they like what they've read I still think they're just being nice. In some ways doubt is good, though. It makes us question things and work harder.

    What's amazing is how things change once you start taking risks. That's where confidence comes from -- surviving the risk regardless of the outcome.

    Channeling Yoda today, I am.

  5. I'm afraid I can't give you any help because I'm chronically self depreciating. I'm 100% certain that everything I write is horrid. Why do I keep writing then? Well, I just can't help myself. Blogging helps though. Every time someone says they like something I write it makes me feel great, even if on the inside I am certain they are mistaken.

  6. You're not alone, TL. Faith in ourselves can be a hard-won battle. I think it comes from picking ourselves up time and time again, when we're not sure how to move forward, but we feel something larger calling us, so we rise despite all our misgivings.

    I'm a big believer in quotes, and I think these two are very fitting:

    I also find comfort in songs like Billy Joel's Vienna, which remind me that we really do have time to figure these things out. :)

  7. Argh! Get out of my mind!

    The best part about opening up about this is the realisation that all of us, at one time or another, feel the same. And you know what? We're still trying anyway. Because, whether we succeed or not, storytelling matters to us. It's who we are. And LG is right - get out there, take some risks, and laugh at whatever happens!

  8. @ Margo - I like the idea of a "maximum saturation point" where I can then graduate to bigger goals. Maybe I need to work on a series of smaller personal successes, first.

    @LG - "That's where confidence comes from -- surviving the risk regardless of the outcome." Ahh, this is something for me to chew on. Taking risks that don't pan out won't kill me. According to most everyone, taking risks makes me stronger, regardless of the outcome. Very interesting.

    @Sarah - "Every time someone says they like something I write it makes me feel great, even if on the inside I am certain they are mistaken." This absolutely made me laugh as if you and I are kindred spirits. Clearly, people didn't understand my blog if they think it's good, right? I mean, c'mon. I'm not a good writer... (insert continuous self doubt here)

    @Nicole - thank you for the quotes and the recommendation to the Billy Joel song. I can't believe I don't know that one!

    @Jen - I think that's what prompted me to write the blog. I thought if I got a bunch of replies from people saying they had no idea what I was talking about, that it would be a sign I was in the wrong part of hobby land. I figured someone somewhere had to be struggling with their faith as well.

    Thank you to all of you who have commented! It's so inspiring and helpful to know I'm not alone. *warm fuzzies*

  9. You are so definitely not alone. From the comments I can tell I'm not the only one who gets frequent period of intense self-doubts. And I say period, but it never really goes away, even when I feel great about my writing.

    That voice in my head saying I won't make it will never leave. I know it won't. Thankfully, it prompts the Competitive Voice in my head to wake up and say "Screw you! I'll show you what I can do."

    And I love Margo's saturation point image. :)

  10. This is something I struggle with often...not so much about me because if anything I usually tend to have more faith in myself than I should; but my hubby is the opposite. He never thinks he does anything right - so how do I *give* that to him? It's something I work on/with every day. I'll let you know if we find the magic answer! :-)


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