Are you caught in a  self-doubt trap? Are you sitting in your chair right now watching you life spiral out of your control?

The story is told of how trappers cruelly caught monkeys in the forest. They would put a piece of fruit in a small-mouthed jar and tie it to a tree. It was just a simple thing really. Just get a clear jar with a small enough opening for the monkey to be able to fit his paw in. Cut a piece of fruit – any fruit monkeys are known to eat, place it into the jar and tie the jar to a tree. The trappers would then leave the jar in the forest overnight. 

A monkey would come along during the night, notice that there was a small piece of fruit inside the jar and put his hand into it to retrieve the treat. When he tried to get his closed fist out of the jar, he would realise that he was stuck. In order to be released from his captivity, the monkey needed to let go of his fruit – but more importantly – release his fist. However, not being able (or sensible enough) to give up the treat – thus making his hand smaller –  the monkey becomes trapped and caught and killed the next morning by the trappers. I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this tale, but it was told to me as non-fiction.

Are you caught in a self-doubt trap?

caught-in-a-self-doubt-trapimage source   

How can you build self-confidence when you’re hanging onto the very thing which makes you feel bad about yourself? How can you free yourself when you refuse to give up the very thing which enslaves you?

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself if you’re caught in a cruel trap of self-doubt

  • What are the things that are holding me back in my life
  • Why do I feel trapped
  • How do I get out of feeling this way
  • What’s the one thing I haven’t been able to let go in my life
  • Am I trapping myself, or is this being thrust upon me
Unlike the monkey, you’re sensible enough to know that the fist you’ve made holding onto your doubts will never free you from them.
Unlike the monkey, you understand that treats can sometimes be short-lived, especially if they’re given for free.
  • Self-doubt can come dressed in all types of faces. Usually, if you find an easy way to build your confidence (to be fulfilled), it’s not robust enough to last.
  • Easy ways out never lead to the exit. They lead to more self-doubt because of all the failure you encounter wallowing in them.
  • You’re caught in a self-doubt trap perhaps because you can’t let go of what you think isn’t a fulfilled life but it’s ‘safe enough’ for you.
What’s the answer for getting out of the self-doubt trap?
  • Understand that confidence is a journey, not a destination and be willing to take your first step.
  • Be willing to let go of your past and look towards the future.
  • Accept that it will not be easy to get out of the present state of self-doubt. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But they’re always, always worth it in the end.
  • Gather friends and family and ask for their help. You need support for your journey and in your time of need.
  • Let go, let go, let go of that thing, that negative person you’re holding onto. Release your grip and your hands will un-trap itself from the jar.
  • And in the mean time… learn to make lemonade with the lemons life has given you.
Now it’s all about you. What have you had troubles with lately? How are you going about solving it? Do you have any advice for people reading this who’re battling with self-doubt at the moment? 
Please send ‘Caught in a self-doubt trap’ to someone you think may need it today.

33 Responses to “Caught In A Self-Doubt Trap”

  1. Lol oh my God Anne, I love this post. The use of the monkey analogy really hit home with how we need to let go of certain things such as our past in order to release ourselves from our own entrapment.

    Self doubt is a limiting belief that is very destructive and must be LET GO in order move forward with life. But just like you mentioned, confidence is a journey, not a destination. The first step to gaining self confidence is simply accepting yourself for who you are and being willing to let go of all the baggage that holds you down.

    Great post Anne!
    Maurice Lindsay recently posted..You Grow Through What You Go ThroughMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Thanks Maurice. It’s true what you said, but so many people find it hard to achieve. So many people are unhappy because they can’t let go of something holding them down. I just wish I had a magic formula to share 🙂

      Thanks for the visit.

  2. Wow, what a wealth of information Anne! I love each of the tips you’ve provided here – I’d have to say my favorite is understanding that self-confidence is a journey – because that can be said of all personal growth.

    I would like to add that I believe strongly in the power of self-motivation. It’s terrific if you have close family and friends who are willing and able to support you, however not everyone does. I’ve know far too many people who have become mired in negativity and dispair and use the excuse that there is no one to support them. The truth is other people are not always going to be there for us when we need them – if we really need to hear words of encouragement to get ourselves going, we have to be willing to say them to ourselves – and BELIEVE them 🙂
    marquita herald recently posted..The Secret to Better Writing is …My Profile

    • Anne says:

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, Marty.
      And I agree – sometimes the very people you need aren’t there for you in time of crisis. Sometimes they’re battling their own demons at the same time too. It’s important to learn how to motivate yourself. After all, internal strength is always better than the external variety.
      We have to always be prepared to learn from the hard times in our lives. They are the ones that build us up.
      Anne recently posted..How To Set Up A Home-Theatre For KidsMy Profile

  3. Steve Borgman says:

    There are two things that help so much in moving forward with our journey of self confidence: acting and thinking. You correctly tell us that we can’t conquer self doubt without taking action to face the thing we fear. I would also add that, once we’ve faced our fears, we reflect on how our action felt and write new affirmations to bolster our new, more helpful beliefs about our new-found confidence.
    Steve Borgman recently posted..How To Carry On A ConversationMy Profile

  4. Hi Anne

    Love the story, never heard of it, well sad for the monkey. But yes, we have this horrible habit of not picking up the pieces and moving on. We dwell far too much on what we should have or shouldn’t have done.

    Constantly have to check myself on this one. Let go, move on, what is is and there is nothing I can do about it now. These words are what I have had to use to move to the other side of doubt.

    Your right is a journey and it isn’t always easy.

    Mary Stephenson recently posted..Perception of IdeasMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Yes, sad for the monkey, Mary.

      I’m so glad you could stop by. For some reason, your lovely comment went to my spam box. Good thing I looked in there this morning and fished it out! 🙂

      I’ve pretty much moved on (as you can see here: but it was a really long road, with lots of hard work – using the stumbling blocks to build stepping stones.

      • Well thank you for fishing me out!
        I wonder if that is what happened with a few other people that I have connected with. Yikes and I was beginning to think the worst!
        Maybe I should visit their sites again and tell them about this through their contact page?

        Mary Stephenson recently posted..Perception of IdeasMy Profile

        • Anne says:

          It’s worth a try, Mary. Some big bloggers never check their spam folders. Askimet is really good with this blog. I don’t get much spam mail here (which is why I do check). However, on my other blog I get a huge amount, so never check my spam folder.

          I’m thinking that there must be a lot of genuine comments going in there.

  5. What a wonderful post Anne!

    Self Doubt! Oh boy, when I think of that I have the vision of a person that is caged. I love the tips you have given here. Self doubt is something that can stop you in your tracks and prevent you from growing. I know, I have been there as a kid.
    It did take a lot of work to overcome it and step out of my comfort zone, but I am grateful that I learned that early in life.
    Does it ever go away? No! I call it the critic in the mind. If you have self doubt and do overcome it, it will creep up on you now and then. But as long as we recognize it as just that critic from the past, we do have the power to stop that thought.
    Great post!
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Overcoming OverwhelmMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      HI Donna. Glad you could pop by.

      You’re right about being stopped in your tracks. I’ve seen people who are really talented (who can really do the job) but they get brought down – not by others, but by themselves. NO matter how much external encouragement they get, they’ll always destroy their chances because of nagging self doubt.

  6. mitz says:

    Hi Anne
    This is a great post! Really interesting.

    I love this topic and I often try to analyse how and why I turned out the way I did. The only answer I have is that my parents thought that everything I did was great!
    mitz recently posted..Is it Easy to Upgrade Your Web Hosting With Hostgator?My Profile

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Mitz.

      I think parents have a lot to do with how we see ourselves, but I also think we have a choice (no matter how small) in the matter too. I refused to believe all the negative things I was told about myself. I’m sure a measure of them hit home, but mostly, I’ve gotten rid of them.

      Like your parents, I make an effort to support my kids through all they do and like doing. I’m hoping this would make a positive impact for their future. I want to give them the best start possible.

  7. Hi Anne,

    I agree, “How can you build self-confidence when you’re hanging onto the very thing which makes you feel bad about yourself? How can you free yourself when you refuse to give up the very thing which enslaves you?”

    When something comes along in life that rocks your boat and that does not match your vision, don’t make a big deal of it. Do not let it throw you overboard. Remember, the obstacles that show up are life’s gift to support you in bringing what you want closer to manifestation. It is important that you acknowledge the progress you have made. Seeing your progress gives hope, encourages you to move forward, and nurtures your life enthusiasm.
    Patricia Anderson recently posted..Great Interview on Real Talk TVMy Profile

  8. Nice post. I will come here again.

  9. rabwah says:

    Wow, what a wealth of information ! I love each of the tips you’ve provided here – Thank you.

  10. Self doubt can be a very destructive thing. I would encourage anyone with self doubt to get on the path of bringing up your confidence. Raising your confidence can help suppress your self doubt.

  11. Anne

    I rarely suffer from self doubt but if I do I seek help and advice. I’m never concerned about asking for help.

    Andrew Rondeau recently posted..How Etiquette Has Changed For Online InteractionsMy Profile

  12. Cheryl Ragsdale from respect says:

    Hi Anne,
    With regard to letting go, I’ve always found that to be the hardest step. Now, I practice really seeing who I’m giving my power to. If either I don’t have respect for that person’s behavior or conversely, it that person isn’t respectful towards me, then it’s time to stop playing this game. It’s isn’t easy, but sometimes, it helps me “drop the banana” just long enough to pull my hand out of the jar.
    Cheryl Ragsdale recently posted..Get Respect From Friends Who Borrow ThingsMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      I liked the way you expressed your comment, Cheryl. [“drop the banana” just long enough to pull my hand out of the jar]. I also have a problem with letting to sometimes. I read somewhere that holding a grudge is like having someone rent a room in your mind for free. This can also be applied to us when we’re holding onto things and people in our past who’re not worth it.

  13. Not sure about self-doubt, ‘cept everybody has their story, their rationalization. But confidence, I believe, comes not from not fearing to be wrong. Feel the feat and do it anyway. All it takes is action – best by NOT mimicking monkey action -:] – and action builds confidence.

    • Anne says:

      You’re right. Actually doing the very thing you’re doubtful about will bring confidence in it. Sometimes it takes time (doing that thing over and over) – it all depends on the individual, but action DOES build confidence.

  14. Wendy from Counselling says:

    Anne, some really sound advice and information, thanks for sharing. I guess we can all suffer from self doubt in some areas or at some times in our lives, and it doesnt mean there is anything wring with us, as you say its a journey!

    And I love the analogy of the monkey!
    Wendy recently posted..How does it feel to be labelled?My Profile

  15. AnneV. says:

    Hi Anne,

    You are right that self confidence is a journey, and many people who need who need to make this journey cannot for various reasons. Having some one the help guide them into changing how they see life and their circumstances if vital. It is only when you believe in yourself that you can make positive change.

    Great post and love your website!


  16. Debbie says:

    You are right Anne, self confidence comes from doing and doing again and again. It is no different then learning to make a good pie. (Which I can’t do), but if we keep trying and keep making that pie, sooner or later we can make the best pie.

    love the story about the monkey. You do have to let go and move forward. When others try to destroy my self confidence I just say to myself, “Watch me” anything can be done with the right attitude.
    Thanks Anne, good work.
    Debbie recently posted..Top 15 Reasons For Having KidsMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Great advice, Debbie. Thanks for making your input. The right attitude is indeed one of the first ingredients to doing things we think/feel we can’t do.

  17. Dear Anne –

    What a great writer you are. It’s like discoverig a new gold mine.

    You can be sure you’ll be on my must read list.

    I am defintely one of those monkeys. I hang and and hang on and refuse it give up.

    But learning is part of the Journey.

    You have to be braqve to let go.
    Corinne Edwards recently posted..NOT IN LOVE WITH YOU ANYMORE – From Love on the Rocks – on AmazonMy Profile

    • Anne says:

      Thank you for your very encouraging comment, Corinne. You’re most kind. Learning is definitely part of the journey. It takes a lot of strength and determination to let go, but I’m sure we can all find this within ourselves. Strength – like muscles, take time and effort to build up.

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