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I have a lot of
doubts. Some of them are about me and things I do.
Others are about other people and the things that they do, and
how they'll affect me. Most of the doubts hurt me, for
they make it difficult for me to trust in myself, in others,
in God, and in life in general.
I don't know the source of
all my doubts, but I don't think that's as important any more
as it used to be. What's important right now is what I
do with them, how I act when they surface, the extent of the
effect that I allow them to have on me.
When I doubt my own ability
to get something done or my own potential, then I'm setting
limits on myself, often subconsciously. My doubts then
can keep me from reaching my potential, from accomplishing
things that are well within my abilities. More
negatively, though, the doubts can keep me from even trying
something, so I'll never know whether I can do them or
not. A great example of this for me is in
relationships--I can't tell you how many times I haven't
called someone up to ask them to do something because I
doubted they had any interest in doing something with me, only
to find out later that they had plenty of interest. I
doubted my own value, and I doubted other people's perceptions
of me, and I paid a price--and this is a price that I'll never
know the true level of, because I'll never be able to talk to
all of the people that I didn't try to make friends with.
When we doubt other people,
we're sending them a clear signal, even if it's not a
completely visible symbol. If I doubt that one of my
students can pass a class this semester, then the way I treat
that student will change subtly, and study after study has
proved that our doubt of someone else's ability often proves
to be a predictor of that person's performance.
Sometimes we even doubt that
life is fair, and we put ourselves in a position in which we
see ourselves being treated unfairly. If I don't think
I'm going to be treated fairly, though, I start to act like a
victim. Once I act like a victim, then things start
happening to me that make me more of a victim. It's not
life being unfair that causes those things to happen,
though--it's my doubts in life's fairness that's keeping me
from feeling the objectivity of life.
Most doubts serve little
purpose, especially when they're doubts of our selves or of
other people. These doubts limit us, as they define us
in tight little spaces that we may never be able to get out of
as long as we doubt ourselves. Watch an athlete sometime
after he or she had suffered a serious setback--a serious loss
or an injury--that causes him or her to have doubt in his or
her own ability. Usually, you'll see one of two
things: either a great ability to push doubt out of
one's mind, or a sub-par performance caused by the person's
own doubts. Doubts nag at us, and they keep us from
exploring new possibilities and new ideas and new ways of
On the other hand, there is a
positive side to doubt. Doubt can lead us to new heights
when we're able to doubt the truth of other people's claims,
especially when those claims seem to be based on out-dated,
outworn information or views. Columbus doubted the
conventional wisdom that told him the world was flat, and he
set out to find out whether the claim was true or not.
Einstein doubted that the explanations of physics offered by
his contemporaries adequately explained the nature of physics
and the world, and he was able to visualize things on a much
deeper level once he moved past their limitations.
This type of doubt can lead
at least two ways, though. If I doubt my faith in God,
that doubt can lead me to explore the concept of God and come
up with my own answers by looking at works from sources I
might otherwise never have read, or it can lead me to reject
the concept of God completely, never exploring it fully in
ways that could be beneficial to me and to others.
Where will your doubt lead
you? What will you do with it? How will you allow
it to affect you? The most important things we can do
with doubt are to acknowledge it, and then to put it in its
place, somewhere over there with our fears and our old
nightmares. Doubts can provide us with a valuable
service for ourselves, or doubts can keep us from reaching our
own, almost unlimited potential. What are you going to
do with your doubts?
doubt and fear. The members of this unholy trio
are closely related; where one is found, the other two are close at
If you would be a real
seeker of the truth, it is necessary
at least once in your life to doubt, as far as possible, all things.
never encounter a mountain greater than doubt. Doubt is a deceiver.
It is as a thief in the night. Remove it, do not let it come nigh your
|There is no greater hell than doubts.
Doubt is really a groping ignorance.
Doubt comes in the window
when inquiry is denied at the door.
Who knows most, doubts most.
Doubt is nothing but a trivial agitation on the
surface of the soul, while deep down there is a calm certainty.
|Our doubts are
traitors, and make us lose the good
we oft might win by fearing to attempt.
who have conquered doubt and fears have conquered
failure. Their every thought is allied with power, and all
difficulties are bravely met and wisely overcome.
not discourage us if we are full of doubts. Healthy questions
keep faith dynamic. In fact,
unless we start with doubts we cannot have
a deep-rooted faith.
One who believes lightly and unthinkingly has not much
of a belief.
One who has a faith which is not to be shaken has won it
blood and tears--has worked his or her way from doubt to truth as one
who reaches a clearing
through a thicket of brambles and thorns.
Our own doubts
are our greatest
barriers in any endeavors. We are
free and able to accomplish
what we think we can. When doubt
defeat is not far behind.
However, that principle is just as
strong in reverse. When we believe
in ourselves, nothing can hold us
when we've developed
the habit of self-assurance.
are the messengers of the Living One to the honest.
the first knock at our door of things that are not
yet, but have
to be, understood. . . . Doubts must precede every
deeper assurance; for
uncertainties are what we first see when we
a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.
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|Doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother.
Doubt is a foundling unhappy and astray, and though his own
mother who gave him birth should find him and enfold him,
he would withdraw in caution and in fear.
The first key to
wisdom is assiduous and frequent questioning. . . .
for in doubting we come to inquiry, and by inquiry we arrive at truth.
me the benefit of your convictions, if you have any,
but keep your doubts to yourself, for I have enough of my own.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
|To find oneself
living in an age of doubt is not such a curse.
There is a kind of reverence in undertaking the quest for truth,
even before the first scrap has been found.
doubt is a crucial to faith as darkness is to light. Without
the other has no context and is meaningless. Faith is, by
uncertainty. It is full of doubt, steeped in risk. It is
not of the known, but of the unknown.
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