The Stupid Irony of Not Believing In Yourself

Right. Definition of irony correct? Check.

Still lacking self belief? Check.

So. Irony. Self belief. Go, Alex!

Oh god. I can’t.

Two weeks later

The thing about having no self belief, is that it’s not just that I think it. It’s that I believe it. It’s all well and good telling me I’m not terrible. But you won’t change my mind. Which sounds self-indulgent. But people have been telling me. Here and there. That I’m not terrible for a while. Or at the least, not stating I am. Which means they probably think it. Probably. Hmm. Maybe not. Shh, you. Anyway. The point is, even though I want to believe them. It doesn’t change my mind.

I will unabashedly state that trying to change my mind about this would be like trying to convince a Christian that there’s no God. Or convince an atheist that there is one. Either or. I don’t care. You get the point I’m making.

That sounds a little hyperbolic, right? I’ll elaborate.


Two more weeks later

Fucksake. I’m gonna focus on comparing this to Christianity. Not because I have anything for or against it in particular. It’s just the religion I know most about. I’m white and English. When I was a child I went to church. I went to a cathedral school. It’s the religion I feel most comfortable beating myself up with. Plus, frankly, I can’t be arsed to go and spend ten or fifteen years immersing myself in another religion just so I can potentially be flippant about it while telling you the myriad ways I dislike myself. I’d probably get it wrong anyway. Oh, and for the record, I’m not really an atheist either. I don’t care if there’s a god or not. I’ll not act differently either way. I guess I’m an apatheist. Or general heathen. If you prefer.

I think I’m getting a little off track here. Fucking hell I’m useless.

Go! Again! Go!

You can do it.

Nuh uh.


Ahem. The point I want to make is not that believing yourself to be worthless is exactly the same as being part of a religion. Because obviously it’s not. There’s no altar of self-flagellation. Or whatever it is one gets flagellated on. Or is there? Is an altar literally where one flagellates? Google is so far away. Whatever.

Anyway. It’s primarily the unwavering belief in something that makes the two alike. And before you get at me, I’m not saying that religious people never have doubts about their faith. Occasionally, even I delude myself into thinking I might be worth something. Pah. I know. Who the bloody hell do I think I am?

It’s the belief in something that I want to draw a comparison to. The belief that I’m incapable of anything. The profound influence it has on everything I do. When I think about this I’m reminded that there are some Christians out there that try to live their lives responding to life events with the phrase “What would Jesus do?“. Figuring out what they think it is Jesus would do. Then doing that thing. Ohhh, is that what that means?! Well, duh.

In my case, I respond to day-to-day things with a phrase of my own. The first part changes depending on the precise situation. But it always ends the same way: “fat waste of space“. I.e. “You can’t do that because you’re a fat waste of space.”

So whenever I try to do something. There’s almost always a variation on me being a fat waste of space that stops me. Sometimes it’s a lack of wings – Oh, to fly. But mostly it’s the first one. Again, I realise this way of thinking seems massively self-indulgent. But, it’s not a random thought. It’s a constant thought dictated by belief. However irrational that might be. And I don’t believe it is irrational. Though you might. Regardless, I need to get off. So here are some recent examples of how my belief has dictated my actions, or lack thereof:

You cannot read that book. You won’t understand it, because you’re a stupid fat waste of space.

You shouldn’t talk to anyone, because you’re a boring fat waste of space.

Don’t apply for that job. You don’t have the right skills because you’re a useless fat waste of space.” (please excuse the tautology)

Don’t apply for that job. You might be able to do it. Barely. But there’ll be someone better and more deserving. Because you are a fat waste of space.

You’ve gained weight. This is a shameful failure. So you’re not allowed to leave the house, or wash, because you’re a disgusting, fat waste of space.

And for what seems like the fifth time. I realise this is self-indulgent. That it seems absurd. That it sounds like a cop-out. If someone told me what I’ve just told you, I’d struggle not to think they were being ridiculous. Mental illness or not. Perhaps all beliefs are ridiculous. I don’t know. More importantly. I don’t know how to unbelieve it.

I have two more things to say. And I’ll let you go.

It would be dishonest of me to not mention that I’ve achieved or succeeded, albeit moderately, at a few things over the years. Do these go someway to prove I’m not a fat waste of space. No. Well, the latter part at least. But I believed this about myself when I succeeded at those things. Achievement changed nothing. I felt no joy from having overcome whatever the particular obstacle was. Even though I expected to fail. In the context of academia I feel like I cheated. I didn’t actually cheat. But I’ve never once felt deserving or pleased about those successes. Do other people just pretend to be happy about their success?

Unsurprisingly I didn’t wake up one day and decide that I’m a fat waste of space and wash my hands of life. It took many years of constant repetition from external sources for me to believe it. But that’s another story. The point of this post is that I believe it and have done for more than half of my thirty years.

And that’s the stupid irony of not believing in yourself. You believe it. Oh isn’t that clever?

I love your armpits. Yes, yours.

Hail Satan.

One thought on “The Stupid Irony of Not Believing In Yourself

  1. Dear Alexander,

    I never leave these sort of messages on blogging pages. I don’t know why I have the urge to change that now. I’m only here because it was the first website that popped up on google as I conduct research for a talk I’m giving on faith and believe.

    I want to start by saying I really feel for you and wish I could help. I’m not sure if I will be of much help but will offer some comments that you can take or completely leave – really happy with however you respond, even if it’s taking nothing I say on board, I’ll respect that!

    I think we’re all made to believe in something. If that’s not God, then it might be in science or a belief in love or in our self. An atheist’s belief in no belief is a belief system in itself. I think that’s true for agnostics too – although they may find it harder to define what exactly they believe in.

    The amazing news about the gospel of Jesus is that he accepts us, whoever we are, however we feel about ourselves. Jesus sees us differently, as a person made in God’s image. In every human being, there is a intrinsic value to them. Not because of anything they’ve done, their achievements or success in life. But by nature, because they were made to reflect God in this world. Of course, we don’t do that perfectly, which is why Jesus came to Earth, God coming as a man to show us what God’s like, chiefly loving the unlovable.

    Friend, we all feel the same way you do, I certainly know that I do on a regular basis. What keeps me going is knowing that Jesus loves me no matter how often I mess up. What enables me to do things in life now, isn’t so much having to do things to prove to myself how far I’m come, how successful I can be, or even how much God loves me. No matter what I do, I know God loves me because he died for me. I’m enabled to do things now because of a simple desire to live for God now because he was willing to die for me.

    I recognise that this was a relatively brief answer to a deep issue.

    All the best,


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