I recently watched the documentary “Tea with the Dames” with Dame Judy Dench, Dame Joan Plowright, Dame Maggie Smith, and Dame Eileen Atkins. Apart from this being lovely to watch, there was one thing that particularly stuck with me. The ladies were asked what advice they would now give to their younger selves and I loved Maggie Smith’s reply, which is the headline of today’s letter. It is as simple as it is brilliant:
We are so used to thinking logically, analysing everything, to overthink things that even if our instincts or our gut screams at us we cannot hear it anymore. Or we just forgot how to listen. We are being constantly overwhelmed with an overkill of information, we are brainwashed with hideous propaganda, we forget to even think for ourselves, and if we dare do it anyway, we are to be shamed into submission.
“To doubt everything, or, to believe everything, are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.” — Henri Poincare
Especially in the past three years of Covidmania, so many were in doubt of what we were being made to believe by the media, the pharma industry, as well as by our elected governments. I know of so many that had this nagging feeling of doubt but wouldn’t listen. All doubts were pushed aside in favour of „freedoms“ for which many are paying a very high price now. The promise of being able to travel, to go to restaurants was so appealing to most, that they were willing to do almost anything, even at the risk of their health and well-being, and often displayed a feeling of superiority over those who listened to their doubts and didn’t play along – and many still do.
“There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds.” — Alfred Lord Tennyson
One significant example in my life, when I did not listen to the nagging doubts was my marriage. I married my boyfriend of four and a half years in my mid-twenties. I had doubts if it was the right thing to do. Everyone saw us as THE couple and our names were always mentioned together. Logical to get married, right? It turned out – in retrospect – that he had doubts as well. We could say that our excuse was our youth but it would be just that, an excuse. We knew better and just did not listen to our doubts, to our gut. So we got married! I will spare you the details but it was a very short marriage. Thankfully we are still friends – even if it took a while – but that again is a different story. Essentially we could have spared one another great grief and the stress of going through a divorce if we had just listened to the doubts we had and communicated with one another. It wasn’t that we did not love each other, but we were simply not ready for the commitment of marriage. It wasn’t even a big wedding and his mother would most likely have been thrilled if we would have called it off. Again in retrospect, I can say that even if I had my doubts and knew I was making a huge mistake, I went through with it. Of course, I told myself it was just wedding jitters, that I was a nervous bride, and that all would be alright in the end – we were in love after all. At the time I was still worried about what others could think or say – something I, fortunately, put aside a long time ago.
“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.” — Anais Nin
I mentioned in an earlier post that we make decisions out of love or out of fear and I believe that doubt plays a huge part here as well. We often are too afraid to listen to the doubts we may have when making decisions. We miss out, let the things that would probably be good for us pass us by, and stay in our so-called comfort zone – albeit it is often all but comfortable. I think they should be renamed into habitual zones – that’s what they actually are.
“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.” — Paul Tillich
There were many more situations in my life where I pushed my doubts aside and surrendered to my situation. The older (and perhaps wiser) I get the more I listen to my gut feeling. I have said many times, that more years lie behind me than are ahead of me. I am determined to make the very best of my remaining ones and let it not be determined by fear but by love.
“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.” — Voltaire
🎶My Song of the Week
Is by two artists that to me are inseparable – Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa with Sinners Prayer.
📚My Poem of the Week
Is by Mary Oliver (1935–2019)
A Voice From I Don’t Know Where
It seems you love this world very much. “Yes, I said. “This beautiful world.” And you don’t mind the mind, that keeps you busy all the time with its dark and bright wonderings? “No, I’m quite used to it. Busy, busy, all the time.” And you don’t mind living with those questions, I mean the hard ones, that no one can answer? “Actually, they’re the most interesting.” And you have a person in your life whose hand you like to hold? “Yes, I do.” It must surely, then, be very happy down there in your heart. “Yes,” I said. “It is.”
A stunningly beautiful morning view from my balcony ☀️
To begin any kind of transformation, you have to know what your story is before you can navigate to something better and write a new story, becoming the best possible version of yourself. This is what the Enneagram and I can do for you. I would be happy to take the time for a speed coaching call that you can reserve right here go to my website or simply hit reply and get in touch with me directly.
What influence has doubt had on your life? When did you listen and when did you not, and what were the consequences?
If you enjoyed this post, leave a ❤️ and a comment! I wish you an amazing weekend and look very much forward to your feedback and comments.