I think it’s normal to doubt yourself. Most humans do at certain points. However, relational trauma coupled with anxiety and spell disaster and cultivate paralyzing self-doubt. I try to combat my paranoid thoughts that pop up from time to time. Thoughts that I’m not good enough, that my friends actually don’t like me, that my colleagues see through me and know that I’m an impostor and on and on. I try to look for contrary evidence, but sometimes my brain doesn’t hear it or won’t accept it. Sometimes I’m so flooded it feels like I can’t think. I feel too overwhelmed to function or to complete the most simple of tasks. Luckily, this usually only results in a few hours or a days loss of productivity I spose. I have been lucky in that sense.
Being unapologetically myself is something I have always struggled with, but have gotten better at. I think the difficulty came with feeling out of place at school, being made fun of, not fitting it. I was easier to act how people wanted me to act, or to act passively, than to receive ridicule at the time. Now, I’ve been branching out and caring less about what people might think. That took 29 years. I’m not sure why, probably due to shame-related messages I received early on, but it has taken enormously energy to work to overcome some of those.
It is the worst feeling in the world to feel as though you can’t be yourself and if people really knew you, really knew XYZ, they wouldn’t like you. I’ve found it’s better to be honest and upfront. You may lose friends, but then at least you’re not living a lie.