For years I have battled with self-doubt. The thought that I was never good enough because I lacked some type of training or know-how or that my background was not extensive enough to merit anything of good quality. To be honest I’m not exactly sure when it started. I think I can speak for most that when dealing with self-doubt we cannot pin point when our self-doubt begins. I used to preach and teach the Bible in my early twenties in fact I used to be a youth pastor. I remember being able to teach with confidence. I would see the leadership that was in charge of the youth ministry and think I could do better than them. And in some ways I did do a better job, but when the hard times of ministry would hit that’s when I felt like I was in over my head and my confidence began to dissipate. When I became a youth pastor in another church the same thing happened. I would start off with lots of confidence and then I slowly but surely start to lose it as soon as things got hard. I also started comparing myself to other leaders and speakers and I’ll tell you one thing, comparison kills confidence.
I had a few other stints as a leader but I decided it would be better for me be someone who stood behind the scenes because I felt that that was the safe place. I didn’t have the full responsibility as the leader but just enough to be known as a leader. Since then I’ve never really jumped at the opportunity to take the helm of anything that has to do with leading. I usually let someone else do it and just try and support. But when I did that I would feel regret and sometimes resentful because I felt I could do better. But I held back because I didn't want to get myself back into that mindset of self-doubt and comparison.
I have to confess though that even in the area of photography I tend to have self doubt in my work. I look at other photographer’s work and then look at mine and think “man I suck”. I see how others get jobs in areas that I wish I could and get envious and jealous because I’m working in a place that I don’t want to be at. There are also people who shouldn’t even be in this business and yet they are the ones getting all the work. (That’s a story for another blog). I digress.
I compare too much. I look at others social platform and then look at mine and think “what the heck”? Yet I’m not out there creating content like I should. Then I complain and my poor wife has to hear it all. Speaking of my wife, she is my biggest supporter of my work and what I do. She tells me I do great work and tells me that people are out there that love my work. I have friends who tell me I do great work and see how I’ve improved over the years. And yet I still fall into the hole of self doubt.
So what do I to combat this thing called self doubt. First of all I need to stop comparing. Know that everyone has something different to offer and has their own unique way of displaying it. Stop seeking approval and know that only those that matter to me are the one’s I need to worry about and value their opinions. Stop looking on social media and comparing my work to their work. One thing I learned is that there is always someone better out there, but to not compare myself to them. Too often I forget that and the self loathing and doubt sink back in to my mind.
I took this photo about 2 years ago when I was challenging myself with a 365 day photo project. Needless to say I only made it a couple of weeks.