Stop Second Guessing Yourself

by | Mar 6, 2022 | Research | 0 comments

Are you constantly feeling stuck while you are writing?

Do you know what leads many radical scholars to feel stuck? We don’t always feel like we are enough.

Here are some of the ways I see it showing up:

We constantly second-guess our research ideas.

We feel miserable about our research.

We feel like we’re constantly anticipating other people’s critiques of our work.

Feeling stuck is not a symptom of what we are often made to believe—that we lack writing or analytical skills.

It’s not you!

You might be feeling this way because:

Your past experiences with academic oppression are playing out in your current reality.

Maybe you received an exceptionally critical review from a journal, colleague, or administrator who was not skilled enough to fairly evaluate your interdisciplinary scholarship?

Maybe your colleagues or administrators repeatedly undermine your research, radical critique, or commitment to activism, abolition, or decolonization?

Or maybe you are overwhelmed with email and all the extra labor that falls on women, queer, BIPOC scholars?

What can you do?

Listen to the signs of anxiety and overwhelm.

You don’t have to work while your nervous system is under assault.

You have options. But it takes time and practice. There is no magic fix to histories of systemic violence.

To build up our confidence, first we need to recognize that we are having these thoughts and feelings.

Explore how it feels physically when you make yourself smaller than others or give their critique power over your sense of groundedness, confidence, and self-love.

Explore when these feelings tend to come up. What are your triggers?

Next, acknowledge the past experiences that may be shaping your current thoughts and feelings.

Ask yourself if you are reacting to experiences with oppressive systems that you don’t fully believe in or align with in the first place.

Finally, reground yourself.

Take stock of whether you are reacting to what you think others are thinking about your writing or analysis or if you are grounded in the well of your collective resources?

Don’t judge yourself.

There is no shame in noticing what is happening internally.

Feeling stuck is your nervous system trying to communicate with you.

I believe we all need a practice to reground ourselves in the presence of our inner and collective power. I call mine SAKINA.

In academia, we are always doing, doing, doing.

Yet there is immense power in stopping and pausing.

Noticing your thoughts and emotions is an act of self and collective care and love.

You can’t stop second-guessing yourself if you don’t know what is holding you back.

Author: <a href="" target="_self">Nadine Naber</a>

Author: Nadine Naber

Nadine Naber, PhD. is a public scholar, author, and teacher from Al-Salt, Jordan and the Bay Area of California. Nadine has been co-creating connections, research, and activism among scholars of color and social movements for the past 25 years. She is author/co-author of five books, an expert author for the United Nations; co-founder of the organization Mamas Activating Movements for Abolition and Solidarity (MAMAS); co-author of the forthcoming book, *Pedagogies of the Radical Mother* (Haymarket Press); and founder of programs such as the Arab and Muslim American Studies Program at the University of Michigan and the Arab American Cultural Center at the University of Illinois.


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