Living With Doubt
Have you ever observed that doubt has a voice? “I can’t do it. This is too hard. What if there are nuts there?”
Seeing, evaluating and acting are important skills for every food allergy survivor to practice and master, but what do we do with the constant burden of doubt? How do we right-size it?
When doubt arises, we’ve found value in taking a moment to name it and look at it carefully and objectively. Not to react, but to create a small space to see clearly.
Doubt, linguistically, is a string of letters and words in the mind that is associated with fear and resistance to something that we perceive as harmful. It works beautifully to keep us safe in some circumstances and not so beautifully when it obstructs our ability to live a life of freedom as we navigate with our food allergy.
When we can say, “I am doubting this” and name it, we create just enough space to not get involved in the story of what we are doubting. We don’t retract like a turtle into our shell. This simple naming practice actually transforms the doubt into a source of awareness.
Our co-founder Lily has learned to do this beautifully. She will say, “This place doesn’t feel safe to me. I need to take a minute outside to check out what I’m feeling.” Taking a minute returns her to the present moment where she can unhook from the story of the doubt which usually is “there are nuts in here that could kill me.” She then assesses the situation, very calmly makes a decision about the risk and then takes action. The doubt serves its purpose as an indicator of danger but loses its power to cause her to retract and suffer.
She has become very skillful at naming the experience and staying free of doubt pulling her into moods of suffering. She has realized that states of mind are always temporary. Even the joyful ones. As food allergy survivors, we are always at risk of being seized by fear. Naming doubt helps us realize first hand that states of mind, feelings and emotions usually last no more than fifteen or thirty seconds if we learn to not attach to them. The point of this doubt practice is to help us grow in understanding, compassion and freedom.
Please share with us how you deal with your doubt.
Father and Co-Founder