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Even Judy Dench Doubts Herself

Dame Judy Dench, arguably one of the best actors in the world, has primarily played sure-footed women. She was being interviewed on National Public Radio to introduce her latest series, “Cranford,” as I wrote the first draft of this chapter. One of the things she said of her acting career was, “Those characters are not who I am. Everything I have done has brought up such anxiety, so much anxiety.”

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Dame Judy was anxious because she had to wrestle with her doubt that she’d do a good job. It seems that no one is free of doubts and critical inner voices. Self-doubt seems to be part of the human condition (except in psychopaths and people who blame others for everything), and it is impossible to eradicate completely. As a great actor, Dame Judy is an example of someone who clearly knows how to deal with her anxiety and move forward judi depo dana.

Even when we have done the work of facing painful feelings and restructuring self-defeating beliefs, many of us continue the habit of questioning ourselves unnecessarily or turning against ourselves when something goes wrong. Self-doubt is a habit that no longer serves a protective purpose. It only undermines our efforts to build self- assurance and a new outlook by uncentering us and thus disorganizing our sense of ourselves. We must see that self-criticism and shame are not based on the reality of who we are but rather are attempts to control our pain without dealing with it directly.

If our old sense of self is based on self-criticism and self-hatred, we must be emphatic in treating ourselves positively in order to build a stance based on self-love and a realistic appreciation of our worth. It isn’t overcompensation. It simply feels that way if we’ve had a taboo against being on our own side. Valuing ourselves is not just a nice idea. It is crucial in order to turn away from those deeply grooved pathways of self-doubt, second-guessing, anticipating disaster, and despair. We cannot wait for circumstances to pop self-confidence over our heads like a new sweater. We must train minds to see ourselves as valuable and precious. Joy is not an externally induced event, which actually is a great relief. Our joy is not dependent on events or other people. Even if it feels as though we’re breaking taboos, and the wrath of all the gods will pour down on our heads for doing so, we can choose to invest in a true, positive sense of ourselves.

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