“Doubt is a mental state in which the mind remains suspended between two or more contradictory propositions, unable to assent to any of them. Doubt on an emotional level is indecision between belief and disbelief.”
a feeling of uncertainty or lack of conviction.
"some doubt has been cast upon the authenticity of this account"
synonyms:uncertainty, unsureness, indecision, hesitation, dubiousness, suspicion, confusion;queries, questions; formaldubiety"there was some doubt as to the caller's identity"indecision, hesitation, uncertainty, insecurity, unease, uneasiness, apprehension;hesitancy, vacillation, irresolution"a weak leader racked by doubt"skepticism, distrust, mistrust, doubtfulness, suspicion, cynicism, uneasiness, apprehension, wariness, chariness, leeriness;reservations, misgivings, suspicions;formaldubiety"there is doubt about their motives"
feel uncertain about.
"I doubt my ability to do the job"
fear; be afraid of.
"I doubt not your contradictions"
Ah, doubt. The purgatory of the emotional state. That place that you can easily get stuck, and then spiral. You know that place. If you can honestly say “I never have doubt” I’d like a small dose of that delusion please!
Doubt has come up in my meditation practice, and as I explore that purgatory state from my curiosity, I thought I would share it.
My first question about doubt is this: whose voice is it? Is it actually yours, or is it someone else’s voice pretending to be you? Who planted those seeds of doubt? Who needs to be banished fully from your emotional energy?
My meditative practice encourages curiosity - and so I have become curious about doubt. It is less an emotion, and more a catalyst that either creates a negative spiraling or an intensification of positivity. Or so it seems.
I read somewhere down this rabbit hole that doubt is a psychological state that shows something is flimsy or unclear. It SHOULD create curiosity, respect & creative power.
“Doubt can only be removed by action” - Goethe
Yet, it often is the catalyst that freezes us.
As creatives, because this emotional purgatory is part of our process, this is why we often get stuck there.
We need doubt. Ugh, yes, I said it. We can doubt. We can be CURIOUS about doubt. There’s that “why” again! Asking why, not to be a shit-disturber, but to really question, to really seek an answer, to really want to go further and deeper and higher into the process of whatever you are seeking.
Doubt may be just what we need to expose the flimsy; that the emperor wears no clothes; that there’s more work to be done; But instead of reacting negatively, reacting PERSONALLY, we simply seek the curiosity to find more in order to move into and through and beyond.
A healthy mind simply seeks. Asks questions. Explores. A healthy mind is curious. Thrives in the challenges. Knows nothing is DONE; nothing is finished.
A healthy mind doubts, in order to stop and explore, not to get stuck in the indecision, the minutiae, the “black and white” of an issue.
Self-doubt does not need to cause a decent into fear, nor does it need to freeze you.
Start to ask the questions that create the doubt, or the questions to arrive at the doubt. Don’t make statements, ASK QUESTIONS.
Questions allow for curious discovery.
“I’m not good enough.” Statement. Doesn’t allow for movement. You are stuck. The doubt hasn’t even had an opportunity to move it around.
“Am I good enough?” Question. Answers can be more questions. Questions can then take the form of curiosity and move you forward, move you beyond that purgatory point.
“Good enough for what?”
“What is good?”
“What would make you feel more in control of that?”
“How would you discover and develop that?”
And on it goes…
So, the next time you freeze, the next time you dismiss, the next time you feel stuck - start getting curious. It could simply start with “why am I stuck?” or “What am I afraid of?” or “why can’t I decide?”
“I don’t know” is a valid answer to begin. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Doubt does not have to beget more doubt. What if doubt is simply acknowledging the curiosity you need to activate in order move through into your next?
Doubt is moveable. Doubt is not what the mind tries to make it. It’s slippery and will change form constantly. Knowing that allows us to see it as it appears and learn to recognize it more quickly, before WE create a place to hold it.
Acknowledge where you might be. Get curious about why. Start to explore, ask questions of self and others, and let those questions beget more questions, and then listening for the answers, in order to discover more fully. Get excited about your ability to be curious!
See how that affects you in the practice room, in the audition room, in the rehearsal space, while you are submitting for projects, while you are exploring in your lessons and classes. See how it affects your CHOICES in how you spend your day.
“Modest doubt is called the beacon of the wise”. - Shakespeare
Go forth, and DO your doubt.
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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