Doubt, Guilt and the Benefit of Confidence (inspired by Seth Godin)

I was going through some old emails and I came across a very thought-provoking blog post by Seth Godin, dated June 28, which I had saved but not yet read, and it inspired me to write.

The benefit of the doubt

Doubt is corrosive.

Someone faced with doubt rarely brings her best self to the table. Doubt undermines confidence, it casts aspersions, it assumes untruths.

Yes, of course you need to qualify your leads. And yes, we know that you need to protect against risk and to not waste your time.

But... if you're going to spend five minutes or five hours with someone, what happens if you begin with, "the benefit of confidence" instead? What if you begin by believing, by seeking to understand, by rooting for the other person to share their best stories, their vision and their hopes?

Perhaps you can manipulate someone by scowling, by negging, by putting on airs. But if you do that, you end up with people who have been manipulated, who are wounded and not ready to soar.

The problem with qualifying leads is that all the obvious ones are already taken.

The challenge with assuming that someone is completely imperfect is that you'll almost certainly be right. 

There's plenty of room for doubt later, isn't there?

I love this. "The benefit of confidence." Of course... we see what we want to see- or, we see what we believe. It may not be what we think we want to see and of course we are constantly projecting. We see others ultimately as we see ourselves or the parts of ourselves we choose to deny and disown. I'd much rather see that needy aspect in someone else than to own it! But, what if that neediness is just a mistaken belief about myself? And what if I let go of the all the doubts I have about myself and about all the supposed "ugliness" that I am constantly trying to hide? What if I made it all up? Can I change my mind and reveal my hidden (and deeply rooted) beliefs about myself?  Can I make a deliberate choice on how I see another rather than simply casting out the old projections and assumptions? When I approach another with the "benefit of the doubt", how am I approaching myself? Can I approach myself with the "benefit of confidence"?

This is a powerful possibility for healing our minds on a very deep level.

A few days ago something came across the internet while I was online- a website where you can find out all kinds of personal information about pretty much anyone. The suggestion by a few people who had done it was to put in your own name so you can see how much information is really out there about you. So I did. It took quite a while. It kept running through more and more information searching for different addresses, criminal records, financial records, etc., etc. I watched my level of anxiety rise. What would they find out about me? What awful things have I done or gotten in trouble for that I have forgotten about? What things am I being accused of that I didn't do? What terrible things are people that I don't even know thinking, believing about me?

It ran through the whole program- which took quite a while- and when it got to the end I was informed that I could now access the file for the mere sum of $27.95. Should I go for it, after hanging out for an hour waiting for it to finish doing its thing and unearthing every scrap of dirt about me? Yes, because there is bound to be something awful in there and I need to know what it is. Yes, Paypal. Boom.

There was nothing there. A few old addresses where I had lived over the past 30 years (and one where I hadn't lived- the address of my mother's lawyer). My educational background- not much information there!

What I did discover was my own deeply rooted belief that I must be guilty even if I don't know/remember what terrible sins I have committed. So, this turned out to be an incredibly powerful and revealing process for me. I saw a depth of fear and belief in my own guilt that I was not consciously aware of up to that point.

A Course in Miracles tells us, “When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself. As you think of him you will think of yourself. Never forget this, for in him you will find yourself or lose yourself. Whenever two Sons of God meet they are given another chance at salvation. Do not leave anyone without giving salvation to him and receiving it yourself. For I am always there with you, in remembrance of you.”

Over the past twenty plus years as a sound healing practitioner, I have played this song many hundreds of times for people who were moving through their own personal doubts and challenges. I guess I need to listen to it again myself... deeply.