Paralyzing Self-Doubt, Perfectionism, and Privacy: The reason it took me over a year to reveal my blog

I let them get the best of me. I let them hold me back. I lacked trust. I lacked faith. I lacked confidence. The “them” I’m talking about are self-doubt, perfectionism, and privacy.

Honestly, I was hesitant to make a blog. I was too private for that. I never wanted attention, I was too insecure for that. I didn’t want for people to see my work. My writing was not perfect enough for that. Yet here I am, with a blog, writing for everyone to see if they so choose. In the spirit of transparency, it is very difficult for me to do this. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and I have so much I want to say. The difficult part is sharing it, it feels like a violation to share my thoughts and feelings with everyone. But God calls me to be greater than my insecurities. He has called me to share even though I would prefer to hold it close. My comfort is not His goal. I am uncomfortable but I am full of joy and excitement. Ultimately I am at peace because in my discomfort is where I will grow. I am being pushed to do more than I am inclined so that I am able to handle more in the future. This blog has been ready to go for over a year but I never made it available to the public. I let a lot of things delay my progress but I haven’t let them stop me. Before I could move forward, I needed to get over self-doubt, perfectionism, and privacy in order to reveal this blog.

How to Avoid the Traps I Fell Into:

When you don’t believe in yourself it can be destructive. When you lack the confidence to know that you were put on this earth for a reason and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God (Psalm 139) you may believe all types of lies about yourself. Lies from the enemy, lies from the world, and lies that you tell yourself may seem like the truth.

It’s easy to say “believe in yourself, everything will be okay!” but that may not be the truth. I’m not here to perpetuate cliché pleasantries. So I’ll be real, it’s hard to believe in yourself and it’s hard to have confidence, especially if you’ve been rejected or put down before. A few ways that I have effectively combatted self-doubt is 1) believe in God’s power to work through you, even if you don’t believe in yourself. The amazing truth is that where we fall short, God will make up the difference! If you turn to him and ask for his grace, he will show up right on time. 2) Express your feelings to someone you trust (friend, family, therapist) and talk out your worries and fears. Sometimes all it takes is openly expressing your concerns to someone with your best interest at heart. It can make a world of difference to hear a different perspective and receive some much needed encouragement.

Nothing and no one but Jesus Christ is perfect, so we all might as well let that notion go. I used to believe I could achieve perfection but that belief just set me up for disappointment and failure. So what’s the harm in trying to be perfect? The main reason is that it can be paralyzing as it was for me. If you always wait for the “perfect” time, you will be waiting forever my dear. I have consistently waited or not pursued opportunities because I wasn’t perfect yet or the situation wasn’t perfect, which ultimately led to me missing out and deferring possible blessings.

The ways I combat perfectionism is 1) by reminding myself that no one on this earth is perfect. 2) Also by remembering that imperfect people can still achieve great things. Don’t believe me? Think of the person you most admire or the most successful person on earth. Now I dare you to tell me that they are perfect... you can’t because I know they’re not. We all fail, we all make mistakes, and we all get rejected. What matters is not the failures but how you react to them. Will you keep going and try again or will you give up? Will you move forward even though everything isn’t perfect or will you stay paralyzed by fear?

I can hear it now, “Steph, what’s wrong with being a private person?” well there’s nothing wrong with it. However, it is a problem if you let it control your life, when you become so guarded that you can’t let anyone in, or when you let fear and inadequacy fuel your need for privacy. I let all of those things happen to me and trust me, you don’t want to get to that point. When you are private and guarded to that extent in becomes nearly impossible to even let the good things into your life and it only leads to isolation and loneliness.

This type of guarded privacy can be brought down by 1) practicing openness. It seems simple and it honestly is but give it a try! If you share simple, innocuous information more regularly, you are developing the skill and eventually you will be able to share more personal details as time passes. 2) Start building trust in people. The main reason people are guarded is because they lack trust so if you start building trust, you will feel more comfortable opening up. Believe it or not there are some trustworthy people out there! When you find them, keep them close and allow yourself to confide in them.

Action Steps: If anything I mentioned applies to you, I hope you find my suggestions helpful! I challenge you to try them out and see if they work for you. If they don’t, I challenge you to seek wise counsel from an elder, pastor, or parent you trust. There is help out there, we don’t have to combat these things alone!

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