I recently added Self Work to my podcast subscriptions. The fact that Dr Margaret Rutherford has over 25 years of experience as a psychologist made me think that what she has to say is probably worth listening to. And so far, just a few episodes in, I have not been disappointed. She explains concepts in a really clear way and uses her own experiences which (in my opinion) makes her voice so much more relatable. And this episode I found a lot of comfort in knowing that someone like her also faces self-doubt. Often, when we are in the midst of our own doubt, we don’t appreciate that others also face it – and to think that a person with as much experience in this stuff as she does still works on herself is inspirational to me.
In this episode, she worked through a framework on how to face self-doubt by Margie Warrell, with her own experiences sprinkled throughout. Here are the steps:
1. Embrace doubt as part of being human
2. Doubt your doubts
3. Call out your critic
4. Make your mission bigger than your fear
5. Build a tribe of believers
6. Train the brave – daily
I encourage you to listen to the episode (link below) but for today I thought I would focus on step 3. As a part of her explanation of “Call out your critic” she mentioned naming your anxiety – hers is named “Bob”. This concept really caught my attention. She talked about how you can then refer to your anxiety by that name and it creates a detachment to it – making it possible to look at it more objectively – and call it out without it feeling as aimed at yourself.
This lead to me deciding to name the part of me that feels the need to please everyone else. Well, me being me, I couldn’t think of a name. So, true to my nature – I decided to research it. Of course, a Google search for “name for submissive person” was not the right way to search for what I was looking for…
Instead, I searched for “naming your anxiety” and ended up with more helpful results. I read a bunch of articles and blogs about it and there were many suggestions. If you are visual – try to imagine what this looks like. What colour? Do they look like monsters? Or perhaps an animal? Do they have teeth? Thorns? All very helpful, but I’m not visual. Usually,. my intuition comes to me as just words – a knowing. As a result, I decided to ask similar questions but just let the words come to me.
I’d like to introduce you to Mary. The image that comes to me is the little girl from Monsters Inc. My Mary is super cute and curious about everything. She wanders around exploring but then when she ventures too far out of her comfort zone, she runs back to hide behind safety. As with many little kids, she gets her cues of what she should or should not do – she looks to those who are bigger than her – especially her parents. Mary is naïve – she just hasn’t seen enough of the world – but she makes inferences based on what she has already seen. Sometimes that works out – other times she makes mistakes. But that’s part of learning, right? She does best when she is spoken to with kindness – so that’s how I’ll have to speak to her.
Have you tried this technique? I would love to know its name and how you have felt the experience has helped, if at all! Let me know in the comments!
Here is a link to the episode, so you can check it out for yourself.