This article is about something we can all relate to: having doubt and fear. We have all been introduced to these little 'safety mechanisms' and have probably dealt with them for a long time. They are part of the human existence.

In fact doubt and fear are not only something we share with each other, but they are seemingly caused by each other. No, I am not blaming my doubts and fears on you. Would I do that? Please trust me for a moment and stay with me...

What I am saying is that my doubts and fears are based on my want or need of approval from you. I am afraid to do something because I think you might not approve or you might not like me. I doubt myself because I think I may not be good enough for your approval. I also have fear and self-doubt because I think you might be better than me. Sometimes I have them because I think I am better than you but I see you growing, and I think you might outgrow me, so I feel threatened.

Can you relate?

When I am motivated by my doubts and fears, I take action, but this action does not represent the real me. It is instead nothing more than a stage play. I act in whatever way I think is necessary to gain the approval that I need, and sadly after doing this for a long while, I become an impostor in my own life and I eventually forget who I really am. I stand by helplessly as my actions become completely ineffective because I am striving so hard to obtain this approval that I think will bring me happiness, but it never does. This scares me even more and makes me doubt myself even more than I did before. I feel confused and lost, and I am in fact a bit lost--at least the REAL me is.

Have you ever been here? I definitely have and on more than one occasion. And sometimes when we get here, we decide to blame our fellow human beings for our situation. After all, they are the ones who make it so hard to gain approval or to fit in. It feels like they are against us, always judging us. We feel alone. However, this is not the truth. The truth is that we are all in this together! WE are all human beings of equal value and significance. Each one of us has a unique contribution to make that we all may benefit from each other. Our relationship with humanity is not a contest. We are all on the same team. The goal is not to find approval with each other. The goal is to show up, to be our best, and to contribute in our own significant way, so that ALL may benefit.

So, how do we get rid of this doubt and fear that 'keep us safe' from our true selves and from finding happiness and fulfillment? A wise man named Abhijit Banerjee answered this question with this comment:

"Doubt, fear and confusion can be minimized by action which is not self-motivated. As long as we place ourselves first, they will continue to trouble us."

Taking ACTION for the growth of humanity instead of to gain approval is the answer! As I learn to stop acting the way I think I should be acting and instead just take action on serving humanity, I find freedom from doubt and fear! I find a new courage and inspiration that I never knew before as I measure my success by how much I help others. I find my REAL self as I discover what talents and gifts I have to contribute and share for the good of all. My confidence and happiness grow as I am able to live an authentic life AND help my fellow human beings simultaneously.

I see now that acting in a way that does not represent me serves nobody (including me) and is not effective, but taking action on the desire to improve the lives of all is very powerful both for humanity and for me! The best part of all of this is that the approval I once sought after usually comes when I stop seeking it and instead seek to serve. Yet, it is now just icing on the cake and a way to motivate others to stop acting and take action as well!

Author's Bio: 

Linda McPharlin is a teacher, speaker, and writer who is a BIG BELIEVER in the positive potential of human beings! She shares this message through a paradigm called the Power in WE. Please visit to learn more!