I’m going to tell you something that might sound revolutionary, but it isn’t.
Doubts are okay.
We live in a society that assumes “doubt means don’t.” We live in a world where the phrases “listen to your heart” and “trust your instincts” are often thrown around. Well-intentioned as these may be (and they definitely do have some value), often, we apply these precepts to the wrong things.
There are two places in your life where you might experience doubt and they just happen to be the focus of this site:
Love and travel.
Doubting Your Travel Path
When you’re setting off to see the world, perhaps for the first time, it is not at all uncommon to experience waves of doubt, fear, or even dread. While some might suggest these feelings indicate that you’re making a “bad” or “wrong” choice, psychology says it isn’t so.
What is doubt really? It is awareness.
If you begin feeling hesitant about your upcoming travel plans, chances are, it is simply because you are anticipating the unknown. So many of us, myself included, crave control in our lives. Travel is quite often the very opposite of that. Schedules are unpredictable, you may not know what to expect in a foreign country. You can book your hotel and plan your itinerary, but your travel experience is out of your control in many ways.
So, it makes sense to experience some doubts. Doubts are “what-ifs”. When you start to notice a doubtful thought creeping in, observe how it is an entirely concocted scenario. You’re doubting that your choice is right. You’re doubting the financial investment. Perhaps your doubts go deeper. But these doubts are all based on outcomes that you cannot control or foresee. Doubts are normal when we are taking big steps into the future. Travel can be a giant leap.
Why You Should Travel
If you’re feeling doubts about traveling, you’re probably close to making a decision or you’ve already made one or even set off. Again, these doubts, even if you experience them while traveling, are completely normal.
You’ve made a decision to embark on a journey, both physical and personal. Traveling changes you. Perhaps that even scares you. Change is frightening. It’s the unknown.
But, the best things in life are always achieved when we break out of our boxes, throw our doubts aside, and take action that really means something to us. This involves being vulnerable and trusting the process, but I can tell you, it is so worth it.
Doubts in Love
Doubts about your relationships or your feelings can appear even more significant. If you love someone, you should feel 100% certain about your feelings and your future together, right?
People are multi-dimensional, fascinating creatures with many sides, moods, and states. Feelings are inconstant, and move through us like tides. It is unreasonable, first of all, to expect your feelings to stay exactly the same all the time. So if you find you’re not feeling as “in love” one day as you were the one before, is this a sign that it’s over?
Before you give in to those natural doubts, realize that love is so much more than feelings. Feelings ebb and flow. Love is an action. Love means acting lovingly, giving unselfishly, and tending to your partner’s needs. It means reaching out in kindness even when what you’re feeling is anger. Thus, love has little to do with your momentary feelings.
If you suffer from anxiety in any way, these doubts can seem much worse. Folks like myself are prone to over-analyzing every thought that comes into our heads. But this is actually a good thing. It means we are aware and sensitive and care deeply about making the right choices.
When doubts arise, I know it is just my attuned brain and heart looking out for me. The doubts don’t mean anything is WRONG, they simply mean that whatever I’m doubting is a complex subject that I am thinking deeply about. I am examining a situation, such as a relationship, from all angles. This may be a signal to me that something inside me needs attention, but more often than not, it’s nothing to do with the thing I am doubting. It’s fear of loss, worry about lack of control, and hesitation about the unknown.
Relationships and love, those are big deals. It would be more odd if we didn’t experience the occasional doubt when making major romantic decisions. Although mainstream society has drilled a fairy tale image into our heads, that is not the reality of life. And when we discover that, disappointment sets in for our unmet expectations. But, the beauty is not in the overwhelming feelings society claims you should have (nonstop butterflies, fireworks, etc). The beauty is in the fact that you can accept doubt as normal, see it for what it is, and realize it does not have to rule your life.
Have you experienced doubt in travel or in love?
If you do suffer from relationship doubts or fears that are impacting your life, I’d love to recommend the e-courses by the brilliant Sheryl Paul, including her newest Break Free From Relationship Anxiety.