Well Woman Weekly: Sasha Glasgow on Navigating Self-Doubt and Leaning Into Self-Trust

Sasha Glasgow is the writer behind Frank + Feel, a creative business that inspires women to become their own top priority. As a self-proclaimed doubter and doer, Sasha writes about navigating self-doubt and still leaning into self-trust.

Her words are gentle, poignant, and ever true to her intention “to remind you of what was always there”. She hosts monthly #ThisIsJournalling workshops, shares periodic #RemindHers—some of which are available as prints—and hosts the weekly podcast This Is Your #RemindHer.

Sasha Glasgow

You’ve been very candid about creating Frank + Feel as a way to document your journey of starting an independent candle brand, with words only as an accessory to that. In a way, you’ve still documented your process with a creative venture, only with words at the center. What do you think it was about calling yourself a writer that terrified you?

I think that there is a definite confidence juncture that we arrive at, where we have to confront ourselves and consider the things that we do, and the things that we are. I can say that I write, and have it sound a bit frivolous, just like something I do in my spare time. It’s nothing for anyone, including myself, to take seriously. 

And yet, if I say ‘I am a writer,’ that changes things. I must then ask myself, ‘well, what does a writer do?’ I must rise to meet the title. And I think that comes with expectations, both that I place on myself and from others. What have I written? Where has it been published? Where is the evidence of this person that I say I am? I think I hid in the doing for a long time. To say you are something feels like you are standing on a stage, announcing it to the World.

To say I am a writer, a singer, a dancer, comes with the implied announcement, that I think myself to be some level of good at this in order to call myself that. But to say ‘I am’, isn’t an arrival at the destination. It’s not the landmark announcement that we think it is.

It is mostly a commitment to yourself that says, ‘I like this, I think I am good at it, and I am openly committing to learning about, sharing, and getting better at this craft come what may.’ 

A running theme across your platform is “though I doubt, I do.” What do you think are some of the greatest barriers to women leaning into self-trust and harnessing that to show up for their lives with fullness?

Our greatest critics will always be ourselves. The biggest barrier is often the mind-chatter and self-conversation that we have with ourselves. The places where we talk ourselves out of the lives we want to live. These conversations have been going on for so long, we may not even realize they are conversations. They feel like auto-scripts. 

Added to that is also a fear of being seen not knowing what we’re doing. We have been convinced that we have to know everything, and it all has to be perfect to start. So we procrastinate and wait to show up in the ways we want and for the things we want because we don’t feel they are glossy and perfect and ready. And because they aren’t perfect and instantly brilliant, we procrastinate and don’t start.

Our fear of being bad beginners can really prevent us from showing up with that fullness. Self-trust doesn’t mean instant confidence in the things that we want to do, but it does mean that we have enough confidence within who we are and what we want—to try. 

In what ways do you think the feeling of self-doubt can be strength? Are there messages to be heeded there before one embarks on the journey toward self-trust?

Doubt is often framed as a bad thing that paralyzes you and stops you from doing things. But the Latin root of the word doubt means ‘to hesitate.’ So if doubt is about hesitation, and hesitation is a verb, it’s an active element. So, when we think we’re standing still, paused, doing nothing, we’re actually in an important part of the decision-making and action-taking process. 

One of the definitions of doubt is to ‘delay momentarily.’ What could it mean to consider doubt as a pause, not the end then? What if self-doubt is in fact, a brilliant filtration system?  It can make you take a necessary pause to consider the things that you really need to know before embarking on something.

Self-doubt is a safety filter gone a bit awry at the end of the day. Its actions may not show up in a helpful manner, but the intentions have merit. I try not to fight with my self-doubt, and instead, hear it out, hear its concerns, and try to get to the heart of the matter, so I can move forward from a place of safety. It’s that safety within myself that fuels the action to do.

My journey to self-trust has been about tending and tuning rather than telling off or feeling shame about any self-doubt that I feel. I have found that self-trust comes from my body, and my self-doubt comes from the narratives cooked up in my mind. So learning to listen and tune into my body before my mind has been imperative and ongoing work on the journey.

I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of attending your #ThisIsJournalling workshop, but often journaling is primarily seen as a solitary activity that is designed to harness one’s intuition. What inspired you to create a space where this practice could be nurtured within a community?

I think because I write so easily and freely and it comes to me naturally, but I know that it doesn’t come easily to everyone. I also know what it’s like to make something so much harder than it needs to be. I wanted to create a space where I could encourage actively showing up for yourself through journaling.

People will often say with journaling that they know and see the benefits and intend to do it, but find the habit-building difficult. I host these online live workshops, so that intention can be turned into action. Each one is themed, so if the word or theme speaks to you, you can attend knowing that it speaks to everyone else who has turned up as well. That in itself is a quiet thread of connection before we even begin. 

You often talk about shedding the fear of being seen trying—I absolutely adore this notion even though it is one I still wrestle with sometimes. Why do you think it’s so important for women to not only allow themselves to be seen but to do so while trying?

Because effort is effortful, and our efforts and the energy that we pour into things deserve to be seen. The before and after has damaged our perception of the work that goes into things. This idea that everything needs to look effortless, is so full of effort in itself! And I refuse to hold up that pretense… no, that lie. I refuse to perpetuate it, when I know what I’ve been through. And also knowing that if I were to do so, I’d be making another person feel shit because they are then sitting there berating themselves for not being able to just do something that didn’t even happen that way for me! 

Yes, we can talk about things after the fact, and sometimes we should talk from our scars, not our wounds, but if we can, I believe in showing the real time effort, time involved, doubts and pivots, because it shows that these things don’t just magically happen, and it’s not just you that deals with all of this stuff. It’s honesty, really. And I think we need more of that.

Honesty is a catalyst that has the capacity to clear the way for more women to do the things they want to do. It lights the path with true experience, rather than perceived expectation.

Your platform has become quite synonymous with your love for potatoes, with living a life that is not half-baked in the same way that you wouldn’t eat a half-baked potato. Except some bits of life are easier to make a full, hearty meal of. What would you say to women who are struggling to make a full, hearty meal of the bits that are harder, that are not as easy to relish?

Firstly, I’m delighted that you got a potato reference into this interview! I read a Facebook post by Simon Sinek the other day that read ‘we find more meaning in WHAT we do, when we know WHY we do it.’ And I think that can help here. 

I think we can have this over-romanticized idea that the aim of all of life is to be happy 24/7. That sits along ‘good vibes only’ lines, and I don’t believe in any one feeling that precludes or overrides another. Some parts of life just need to get done.  

I heard the word ‘livelihood’ for the first time in an age the other day, and when I looked up the meaning, it read ‘a means of securing the necessities in life.’ And I thought, ‘yes!’ Because, for some people, that’s all a job is to them. A means to an end that ensures a level of safety by having our physiological needs met. Not everyone’s job is their passion, and that’s okay. All of that toxic positivity stuff ignores the real-life stuff that we live through—shitty relationships, rent that needs to be paid each month, jobs that don’t light us up, and things in the house that just need to get done. Some of our ‘have to’s’ require action without pomp and ceremony, but our why can help us through. 

Our wants on the other hand? Now that is where the fully baked, fluffy, butter-laden mountainous array of toppings comes into play. This is the place for the sign that reads ‘no half-baked potatoes.’ No paltry played-down desires.

You deliver such poignant periodic #RemindHers, what is one #RemindHer that you find yourself carrying more than any other right now?

I think it’s a question: what is the next right thing? I have lived much of my adult life as a perfectionist and a planner. What could go wrong if you have a plan, right? But my life has been frankly chaotic for the last year and a half. I ended a long-term relationship in a pandemic, moved twice, quit a job with nothing to go to, left another. My dad dealt with health issues, and I’ve set up a freelance creative business. I could not have foreseen dealing with one of these things, let alone all of them one after the other, and some at the same time. 

This former planner has learned to relinquish control that I never really had. I was trusting in all of these things that were meant to be secure: a job, my relationship, etc. I gripped onto them even tighter, when I felt them slipping out of my hands. The pandemic showed me one by one; that security isn’t an outside job, but an inside one.

Now that I am learning to be led by self-trust, I trust in myself, so I feel less need for 5-year plans because everything can change in an instant. I do zoom out and think about the rough journey, but what I’m finding supremely useful to actually get to the doing, instead of considering every option and doing nothing because I’m so overwhelmed, is to simply focus on the next right thing for me. Not the shoulds, not the expectation, not all of the dominoes that could fall as a result of that decision. Only focusing on the one in front of me, is helping me live a more true, full, anchored, and trusted life created for me and by me. 

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