Advice · parenting

The Devil is in the DOUBT

A skate park opened in Charleston this weekend (more on that in a later post). We took the kids on Sunday and all the boys had a blast. They skated non-stop for about 3.5 hours. I had to drag them out of there. Luke has been a skater ever since he was a kid. What was once viewed as a counter culture sport, is now pretty mainstream . . . ย don’t tell big Luke. He fancies himself a rebel. (By the way, he has read this and we both had a good laugh over it!) The skate park was full of families. My kids have been skateboarding around the neighborhood ever since they could walk. They’ve gotten nice skateboards for Christmas and go on rides with their dad often.

About 20 minutes after getting to the park, Fleet walks over and stands beside me. He says, “Mommy, I don’t know why that guy said this but he said,
‘That was an awful drop-in’ That wasn’t very nice.” For those of you who don’t know, “dropping in” is when you skate down a ramp or bowl. It’s intimidating. My kids have done a little bit of this at a small skate park on Folly Beach but this was their first time at a legit skate park. “Dropping in” is scary and I was super proud of them for giving it a shot. They ended up doing it over and over again throughout the day.

This comment had planted the seed of doubt in his mind. This mama was so mad! I wanted to find that guy and give him a piece of my mind. Seriously, who says this to a kid? Turns out that bigger, meaner kids do. (I am always talking to mine about setting a good example to younger kids. I would ground my kids for life if I found out they were being mean to littler kids.) Anyway, I digress. I told Fleet that most likely that person was talking to himself (we all do that, right?). I told him to just get back out there and don’t worry about what other people say. He was doing awesome and I was really proud.

Doubt. Where does it come from? From other people? From our inner voice? From all directions. We are flooded with doubt. Are we good enough? Are we working hard enough? Are we failing? Are we deserving? Do they like me?

I doubt myself all the time. I doubt my parenting abilities. Am I instilling kindness and self-confidence? I doubt my relationships. Am I supportive and honest friend, wife and daughter? I doubt my work success and creativity. Plus, I let others control my faith in myself.

But you know who gives me the hardest time? I do.

I am my worst critic.

Everyday I am raising these children to become adults. I hate to think about them doubting themselves. Because they are AMAZING. They are smart and gifted and worthy and kind. Hmm . . . where have I heard these things before? My parents. That’s right folks, our parents have been telling us this since we were born. “You can be anything you want to be.” Why didn’t we believe them? How am I going to teach my kids about overcoming doubt if I can’t do it myself?

As I focus everyday on the serious heart work of parenting, I am growing. I am learning to stop listening to that inner doubter. I am learning to move past negative comments and to stop comparing myself to others.

Today I want to share something that has helped me.ย I found this years ago and I still read it often.

Stop believing your bullshit. All that stuff that you tell yourself about how you are a commitment phobe or a coward or lazy or not creative or unlucky? Stop it. It’s bullshit, and deep down you know it. We are all insecure 14 year olds at heart. We’re all scared. We all have dreams inside of us that we’ve tucked away because somewhere along the line we tacked on those ideas about who we are that buried that essential brilliant, childlike sens of wonder. The more we stick to these scripts about who we are, the longer we live a fraction of the life we could be living. Let it go. Be who you are beneath the bullshit. – Kate Bartolotta, read her original post here.

So friends . . .

  • There will always be critics. Move right on by them.
  • Surround yourself with authenticย (those who will share their story) people who believe in you. Get coffee (or wine!) with them. Have lunch with them. Let them lift you up and always return the favor.
  • Surround yourself with people who are “better” than you. What do you value most in others; their business success, their faith and moral values, their parenting insights? My brother once told me that if you want to get better at tennis, always play with a partner who is better than you. Carry this advice over into all areas of your life.
  • Recognize that inner doubter. Silence her when you can and work to overcome her when you can’t.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Just don’t. No good comes from comparison. Think about this: do you compare yourself to your best friends? Probably not, because you know their stories and they aren’t perfect (this truth is why we love our friends, by the way!). We tend to compare ourselves to strangers. We don’t know their stories and if we did, we would probably stop comparing ourselves to them. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Use these same tips to help your kids overcome doubt. Talking to them is always the best thing you can do. Ask them how they are feeling and why? Talk through their doubt and give them these same tips. Share your stories with them. I’ve also found the book “What do you do with an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada to be a great story about overcoming doubt to follow your dreams.



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