Self-doubt has nothing to do with mental fortitude, inner strength, spiritual soundness, willpower, or free will. It is based on your ability to trust others. We are affected by it only because we do not understand its mechanics and purpose of it. And validating our feelings of being hurt can make it exponentially worse. Why?

Humans are unique in that we have pride. Pride ( simplified as the knowledge of who we are) causes comparative judgmental criticalness. It is the expression that another is not right, is not doing right, does not look right, or is ignorant of these facts as observed or known by the other. We hear this on the playground when our developing brain’s “Shame Pathway” located in frontal lobe is starting to become developed and we notice others are not ourselves, and differences between us.

Once heard, the brain’s frontal lobe (medial and inferior frontal gyrus) which is responsible for higher reasoning ( specifically, the shame pathway, a part that houses knowledge of our ” best self”) tries to make sense of the new information in relation to what the hearer knows of themselves, what they know to be true, and what they know to be right for them to do and to feel and to think.

The influence of the words of the speaker is immediately accepted into the subconscious before one can stop it and the subconscious mulls on it in the background. Not “influence” in the aspect that one agrees to it, but that the words are accepted into the brain and can not be unheard because we humans are created to have an influence on and receive information from each other to live prosocially.

What happens next depends on the level of trust the SPEAKER has established IN the hearer; NOT the trust that the hearer has FOR the speaker. The hearer can doubt, but believe the speaker has their ” best interest at heart” or ” is an expert”. Think of this as two expanses: one trust, the other fear; how much does the hearer believe THEY SHOULD trust or fear the speaker based on what they know of the speaker.

If the hearer has more reason to fear than to trust in the speaker, and the content does not align with the information, it is discarded, but remains in the central nervous system unless given back to the speaker through for-give-ness.

If the hearer DOES trust in the speaker (with only a moderate reason to distrust, question, fear, or be cautious of the speaker due to a stronger sense of self-identity in comparison to the speaker for instance), and the content DOES NOT align with the information, it remains neutral in the central nervous system.

The new, opposing information can be expounded in the central nervous system and the new information can be believed even if the information is false.

Even if the information is false, the brain’s full mental and emotional capacity for knowing who we are will remember and give weight to it unless we give it back to the speak by for-give-ness.

AGAIN: Even if the information from the speaker is completely false.

These opposing thoughts in the brain’s shame pathway is Self-doubt. It manifests as anxiety and fear because the part of the brain that knows who we are, how we feel and how to be and what to do or think has two opposite pieces of information.

AGAIN: self-doubt is opposing thoughts in the same part of the brain that is tasked with higher reasoning. Our internal voice that lives there states them both as truth.

The new information is tied to our central nervous system through neurochemicals based on the relationship ( fear and trust) we have with the speaker. This is why information is processed by how much weight we give to the speaker in our lives. If we desire or believe we need to submit our empathy to protect the relationship, we will hold more tightly to the information even if it causes us harm.

More fear= fight or flight

More trust= more self-doubt and more submission to the information and to the speaker

NOTE: If the speaker’s words even allude to the fact that we were harmed by someone else that we trusted (especially if it includes any element that we were unaware of or ignorant to the harm but trusted and loved the one that harmed us), the self-doubt can make us rely on the speaker more than on our own selves. This is the basis of Stockholm syndrome where the hearer becomes fearful of interactions with the one that they previously trusted and loved and instead clings to the one who spoke the opposing, new information.

When presented with two opposing thoughts of ourselves, our free will does not know what to do, or how we should be. Please do not confuse this with self-confidence- which is the ability to accomplish, or to make a decision. One must KNOW what is right or best, in order to decide. One may be confident on the ability TO decide or to do, but not know WHAT to think how to feel, or HOW to decide.

Because the central nervous system controls the body, one can experience stomach pains, digestive illness, heart palpitations, flushes of heat, shivering, sweating, needing to hide, or making ourselves small.

Self-doubt can be felt as a panic that one has done wrong or a sense of doom.

It can emotionally paralyze.

Left unresolved, it leads to poor decisions and avoidant behavior, and eventually what we refer to as ” depression”, apathy for life, emotional shutdown, and condemnation that one is not worthy, valued, accepted, or loved.

This is the basis for emotional control over another.

Please know you are whole and complete. What you experience is normal. You are not defective.

If you are a Christian, please see in Genesis where God first asks ” who told you that you are ______”.

And the ANTIDOTE to self-doubt? Seek the root of the ” new information” that caused your self-doubt. And seek the counsel of, not one, but two or more people who have known you a long while and who love you unconditionally as you. The counsel of one can unknowingly lead to self-doubt.

If you are making major life decisions, such as negotiating a sales contract for the purchase of your home. Please understand how self-doubt will affect your decisions without you being aware of it, or hire a real estate broker who understands it.

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