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Overcoming Doubt

Updated: Mar 28, 2023

Overcoming Doubt - Blog by Xandra Hawes, Soul Essence Wellness Center

This article is based on our podcast episode, Make Magic: Overcoming Doubt. Listen to the full episode here.

When we find self-love, we open up to a more satisfying life. Sometimes it's easy to view progress as a constant push upward and onward, always getting better. We get trained that a successful life is a straight, diagonal line. In actuality, life is a spiral. We often come back to the same things over and over, but with more understanding and awareness every single time.

It can be easy to get overwhelmed and wonder, “How did I work with it last time? Will I be okay?” On the path to finding self-love and trust, we will always encounter doubt.

How Is Doubt Close To Joy?

In Buddhism, wisdom is really close to confusion. When you're confused, you're actually very close to getting where you need to be. They are part of the same coin. Confusion is the root experience that wisdom grows out of. We often think of our emotions as islands, disconnected from one another. This is not true. They often intermingle and impact one another. When you are confused, you begin searching and you step onto the path to wisdom. Doubt and joy are also linked in this way. When we are making a change based on negative reinforcement, there are often three stages: pain aware, problem aware and solution aware. Although experiencing pain may not feel like change, it is the first step before we address the problem, or how and why something is happening. When we understand the pain we are feeling and why it's happening, we can then choose to do something different. This is the solution. Hence, they are all connected and part of the process of change. When you dive into self-love and trust, old doubt naturally arises. If you haven't forgiven yourself for things that have occurred in the past and you try to love yourself, discomfort might arise. When we trade in our doubt for trust, our bodies detox and we feel uneasy. Embracing discomfort is actually part of the healing process. It is part of the path.

Joy doesn't necessarily have to equate to happiness. For me, joy is about accessing gratitude, creativity, and being aware of who we really are. We all have an inner essence, and when we are tuned to that space, we experience love because we are made from it.

Purpose comes from being present in our soul essence. And when you're really present, there is so much joy.

Healing Through Sharing

By sharing our stories and what we've been through, we get to see other people more deeply and understand where they've come from.

And so, here’s my story about how I went through a huge period of doubt.

The evening before I was to present my master's thesis, I found myself doubled over on a couch next to my advisor. I had a massive stomach ache. Throughout my life, I’ve seen dozens of doctors about my gut. Pills, herbs, exercises, specialists - you name it. Nothing took away the pain that came with eating. I was used to it. But this day, I hadn't eaten anything in hours, so I was confused by the growing ache.

Out of my advisor's concern, I walked to urgent care a block away and explained the symptoms I was having. They immediately referred me to another urgent care with technology that could diagnose me. By this point, the pain was making it difficult to drive. When I arrived at the second urgent care, they told me they couldn’t help me, and I should go to the emergency room.

In the middle of the waiting room, I almost collapsed from the pain. The receptionist asked if they should call an ambulance, but I told her I would drive myself and hobbled out the door. It started down pouring rain and I sat in my car, unable to focus.

There's never been a moment in my life where I physically couldn't take care of myself. But the pain was so bad that I froze. And I fell completely into doubt. Luckily, I called my partner at the time and he was able to come pick me up. I was rushed in for an emergency appendectomy at 10:00pm. For several months post healing from the operation, I was full of doubt. I had several occurrences where I applied for jobs that I was turned down for. When I became a team leader for an elder care company, many of my clients with Alzheimer's and dementia struggled with doubt. It seemed like my whole world with interlaced with it. I couldn't see myself accurately. It took several months of telling myself over and over, "This is all a part of the healing process. You are learning how to trust yourself." When I began to realize that pain is part of the healing process, I began to more accurately see how the path to joy includes doubt. Trust grows out of doubt when we learn to experience the emotion of doubt and don't get lost in it. I believe that I've carried a lot of doubt about myself my entire life and that my appendectomy was a catalyst for coming into contact with it. By embracing the discomfort that it brought up, I actually was simultaneously trusting myself and my body. I trusted that it was detoxing out old stories. And it was. And it did. And I am eternally grateful for the person I have become from it.

Re-Connecting To Your Energy Creates Joy

Whenever I feel disconnected from myself, I know that I am also disconnected from my joy. I fully believe that the heart of each one of us is love and joy. So not experiencing these core emotions means I am not connected to my energy medicine. It has taken years for me to realize that when I am disconnected, I need to slow down and back-up. Reconnecting to myself is almost like searching a string of Christmas lights for the burnt out bulb. If I don't address the root cause, the entire string doesn't light up. I'm the type of person that has quick-start energy. I can easily dive into a project and often love the adrenaline rush of hopping around from thing to thing. This is not necessarily a great strategy when you are disconnected. Doubt is often the root light bulb that is burnt out and is based on past and prior experiences.

If you are experiencing a wave of doubt, you are actually on the path to finding more trust and joy in yourself. You might feel lost in the doubt, and this is part of the pain cycle I described above. You might have to take some time to really feel the doubt and ask yourself, "How old is this doubt? Have I always felt like this? Why is it coming up now?" Often, we are really brilliant souls, taking on big lessons and challenging ourselves without evening realizing it. Healing requires embracing discomfort. When a difficult emotion is coming up, we have the opportunity to stay neutral to it, remind ourselves that we are healing, and release it.

The Power Doubt Holds Over Us

Doubt is one of the biggest blocks to intuition and trusting what we're sensing or seeing. If we have a hard time trusting ourselves and we fall into doubt, we shut down our ability to see things beyond. Doubt can be a root cause of depression. It can make you mistrust your abilities, what you have to offer, your purpose, and feeling good about yourself. Doubt can feel like a block to joy, unless you see it as the first step to finding it.

If you're feeling doubt, oftentimes joy is waiting on the other side. When we take a step back and connect in with ourselves, we can shift doubt to joy. If you sense who you really are, you will be flooded with you, the true you. Sometimes you shift out doubt just by asking where, and what age, it is coming from.

Feeling doubt in the moment often has nothing to do with the present. Doubt is created from life stories where we tried something, failed and created a negative story about ourselves and abilities. Doubt is a messenger telling you that an old part of you wants healing and to shed the old story. When we lean into self-trust and joy, we get the opportunity to write a new one.

A Ray Of Joy

When you embrace discomfort and release doubt, you will be rewarded with trust and joy. It’s the cherry on top. Joy is the ability to realize that even though you’re going through a hard thing, you are doing it right because you are connected to your core.

No matter how hopeless it may feel in the moment, remember that joy is always accessible if you are connected to your soul essence. I like to think of my Soul Essence energy as my highest self. It is the energy, the intuition, the guide inside of me that is connected to source.

Think about falling through ice: Most people immediately start flailing and splashing around. In reality, your body actually needs breath and a second to get used to the shock. And then, you let your body float up naturally so you don't waste energy.

There are lots of ways to get through doubt. I learned the hard way that thrashing around, panicking and piling more negative self-talk on myself doesn't work. Only when I recognized I wasn't plugged into my own joy and saw doubt as the first step to healing did things start to shift. There's a level of surrender, but it's not giving up. You are surrendering to the energy that's coming through. When you do this with love and kindness, joy will find you more quickly. If you want support in transforming your doubt into joy, you can set up a discovery call to gain Xandra's advice. For deeper emotional and trauma support, Xandra also offers Contemplative Psychotherapy services. Learn more about this here.

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