Self-doubt is something that haunts a lot of us on a daily basis. Perhaps, more than we even realise.
Yes, it is good to challenge your perspectives and broaden your horizons, but it often gets muddled in with second-guessing yourself. We have become silently reliant on other people’s opinions, and stick to our own with less conviction.
Why is that, though?
Why do we expect other people to know what the ‘right way’ is to live our life? No one has ever, nor will ever, live the EXACT same life that we are personally living. So why do we put so much weight on what other people think we should do, or not do? Why is it habitually easier to trust the opinions of other people than we tend to trust our own? Especially when it comes to our own abilities?
I often turn to my best friend and say to her “sometimes, I think you know me better than I know myself!” And vice versa. But if you think about it, surely I am the one person who should know myself better than anyone? After all, I’m the one who’s been with myself every single second of my existence. But why don’t I feel I know myself the way I think I know the people around me?
She can give me the exact same advice I’ve given her previously – word for word – yet when I hear it coming from her, it has more influence over me than when I heard myself say it out loud in the first place. Sometimes she’ll turn to me and say ‘well, what would you say to me?’ To which I respond by grunting, rolling my eyes and shouting “I don’t knowwww!” But actually, I do.
If there are so many contradicting opinions out there on the same one matter, what makes you think yours is the least valid? Why do we incessantly need a multitude of other opinions to back up ours, if deep down we are the ones who know ourselves the best?
“We do not receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us” – Marcel Proust
Have you realised how there are no new philosophers? Henry David Thoreau made a good point in his book ‘Walden’ way back in the 1800s. “There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live.”
Philosophy basically translates from Ancient Greek for ‘love of wisdom’.
Are we not considered to be wise anymore? When did being a philosopher stop being ‘a thing’? Can I be a philosopher?
If a philosopher is someone who practices philosophy, and philosophy is a way of thinking about the world, the universe, and society etc, then I can be a philosopher too, right? Because I also have thoughts about the world, universe and society etc.
Yet more often than not, I still use other people’s thoughts, opinions and perspectives to validate my own. I use the perception of others as the ‘benchmark’ against how I should live MY life – my life, of which no one else has the same experience as I would have.
“Every life is an unprecedented experiment” – Glennon Doyle
I’m here to remind you to have faith in yourself, and your own capabilities. Because you are wiser than you give yourself credit for. You know yourself best; you just have to give yourself a chance. You are the leading role in the story of your life, so make sure you are the one leading it!
Glennon Doyle put it nicely in her best-selling book ‘Untamed’:
“No one has ever lived or will ever live this that I’m attempting to live, with my gifts and challenges and past and people”…
“So I’ve stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been. There is no map. We are all pioneers”.
In the same way that really, in some way or another, we are all philosophers.