Self-Awareness 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
In this episode Willard responds to a viewer's question regarding skills to deal with feeling skeptical. Willard shares his belief that all emotions can act as an "internal guidance system" and can be a call to awareness.
Today we are going to discuss how to deal with being skeptical.
Recently I was engaged in a conversation with one of the members of the forum and he had just completed watching the video on how to feel deserving. After watching that video, he had a question and posted it in the forum, “Is there any skill or strategy that you could share on how to deal with being skeptical?” I wasn’t really sure of what he was searching for so I asked him if he could give me some specifics, and what he replied with were three examples.
The first was example he gave of being skeptical was getting the job that you have dreamed of, but as soon as you get it you begin to get scared that you are going to get fired or maybe that you don’t deserve the position. For someone else, it may be that you don’t believe that you actually have the abilities to fill the position even though they believed enough in you to hire you.
He also gave the example of getting into a relationship, and as soon as you get into this relationship with this person that you are so attracted and connected to, you start wondering when its going to blow up and start looking for things that are “wrong” with them or the relationship.
The third example he gave was moving into a home in what he referred to as a “high traffic area” and believing that you’re going to get robbed.
As I looked over his reply, one of the first things that I thought about was that all of these experiences involved a person stepping outside their comfort zone. It seemed to me that he was describing someone going into an area that was completely new and unknown. The feeling that he was describing he labeled as being skeptical. As I read his examples and thought about it, I didn’t really align with the term being skeptical as I would define “skeptical”. I interpreted what he described as something that I would label as uncertainty, fear, uneasiness or a few other possible terms. And when I looked at what skills someone would use to deal with them, I thought to myself, “These emotions are quite natural, they are a part of what we all experience when going beyond our comfort zone.”
When you are starting a new job, there is often uncertainty that comes with that experience. It is a brand new experience, even though you may have done something similar in the past, it is still new for you in this moment. It is natural that there are questions and uncomfortable feelings that come up. I guess the question that I ask myself when that happens to me is, “How much power will you give that uncertainty?” I think it is important to ask yourself why you think you may lose the job in the future. Is it a past experience that you had where you did get a job that you loved and then maybe the company downsized, and it wasn’t too long before you lost the job? Or was it a position that when you started out you held such high expectations for yourself then maybe you didn’t fully live up to them?
I believe that feeling of being skeptical is really a call to awareness. It is about stopping, being in the present moment and asking yourself, “Ok, something doesn’t feel right. What is happening? Am I scared? If I am, what’s this fear about? Is it a fear based on something that happened in the past? Or is it fear because I do not know what is going to happen in the future? Is it a limiting belief system that I have? Is it a limiting belief system about myself? Is it a limiting belief system about other people? Is it a prejudice that I have?”
I believe that being skeptical, in the manner he labeled it, is really a call to take a specific action. It is your “internal guidance system” telling you to stop, become aware and be present in that moment.
It is natural reaction to question yourself when you are moving into a new area of your life. The question I ask myself when that kind of emotion comes up is, “Will I use this to inspire me in the sense of learning what I need to learn to move forward? Or am I going to allow it to stop me? Is this feeling going to prevent me from taking steps that may dramatically change my life?”
Now there is another possibility with this. Sometimes when that internal guidance system is going off, it is doing it for a very good reason. Sometimes the reason you feel these things is that whatever is happening is triggering the response telling you this is not the right position for you to be putting yourself in. Even though you may want it, it is not the right job for you because it doesn’t align with who you are at your core. Your instincts may be telling you that it is not the right relationship, even though you may have this fantastic perception of this person. And this feeling of being skeptical can lead you to really stop and examine what is going on, because you already know deep inside that if you are honest with yourself, being with this person is not the right place for you to be.
I can give you an example from my own life in regard to a relationship. Several years ago I met a woman online and we began dating. We were really spending a lot of time together and moved very quickly through the dating process. Within a matter of months, we were engaged and moving in together. As we were discussing getting engaged, I didn’t feel right about it. It didn’t feel right at all. But I ignored those feelings. I kept thinking to myself, “Well that’s just your fear of commitment. This is the biggest step you have ever taken in a relationship. You’re just scared.” And I pushed through believing that I just had to face that fear. But the feeling didn’t subside. If I would have paid attention, I would have realized it was trying to tell me something that was going on much deeper.
Less than a year later, after living with her for about 9 months, the relationship deteriorated and became very unhealthy. Ultimately it ended in a very messy way for not only the two of us, but also for her two sons and my daughter.
As time passed and I looked back on that experience, I realized that the resistance I had in the beginning wasn’t just a fear of a commitment. It was that even at the earliest parts of the relationship I knew that what she wanted out of life, who she was as a person and what I wanted out of life and who I was as a person were not aligned. But I wanted a relationship so badly that I wasn’t being honest with myself about these things. I was clueless to what I was truly feeling because I wanted the “relationship” and I was so focused on that, I was not able to be honest with myself about who I was and who she was. It was the idea of the relationship itself that I was attracted to, not the person.
I am not faulting her on that experience and I’m not faulting myself either. What I’m saying is I did not pay attention to my own internal guidance system. I didn’t step back and honestly look at why it was going off and what it was trying to get me to recognize.
There are going to be times when you feel that uncertainty, you feel yourself being skeptical, and it is totally unfounded. It is a fear that has no basis in what is really happening, or it’s a belief system that really doesn’t serve you. Then there are going to be other times where it is your awareness saying, “Stop, take a look at this from another perspective. It may not be the best choice for you, even though you believe it is. You may believe it is your dream job. But at your core, it doesn’t align with who you are.”
So is there a skill or strategy for dealing with being skeptical? I don’t know if there is a specific step-by-step process. I think the skill to apply is when you do feel yourself being skeptical, stop and make an honest assessment of what you are feeling. A friend of mine used to say, “When in doubt, do nothing.” When you aren‘t certain, when you are being skeptical, when you are feeling fearful; stop, and take a look at it. Ask yourself these kinds of questions. Why am I feeling this way? Is it fear? What am I judging about this? What do I believe about myself? What do I believe is potentially going to happen and why? Look at it from an objective point of view. Be the humble observer that we talked about in one of the other episodes. Don’t judge it, just look at it. And ask yourself, “Is this a fear? Is it a belief system? Is it just that its something new and I’m feeling uncomfortable?” Look at it from every possible angle; from every possible perspective and in doing that, you will learn a lot about yourself that is going to help you grow and move forward.
So rather than taking the “bull dozer” approach and thinking, “Well I need to push through this no matter what.” Use those feelings of being skeptical to practice lessons of becoming more self-aware.
I look forward to learning what skills you use to deal with being skeptical.
Choose the next Episode you would like to watch from the list below:
Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: You Always Have Choices, It's OK To Say No
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Questions To Ask When You Overcome An Obstacle
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations and Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode