Patrick wasn’t as educated as others, which is why he writes, “I blush and fear exceedingly to reveal my lack of education; for I am unable to tell my story to those versed in the art of concise writing” Further, his experiences in life were unusual, but he couldn’t turn back the clock and be different. He realized that his past shouldn’t make him doubt himself. Instead it made him unique and this is not a weakness but a strength. More educated, successful people never would have risked what he did in order to become a success in Ireland. He even had enough self-awareness to write, “Poverty and misfortune becomes me better than riches and pleasures.”
Keep a journal
Writing is helpful as a cathartic release and also as an intentional habit to examine the day and bring to mind successes. Writing is a good exercise in exploring the shape of each day and, eventually, of what sort of person you have been over the course of years. It’s also a way of declaring the sort of person you want to become. For instance, Patrick wrote his Confessions partly to admit his weaknesses but also to describe his qualifications to become a bishop. He allowed his writing to reveal the true Patrick. Self-doubt would not be allowed to define him.
Patrick writes, “I would not be silent because of my desire of thanksgiving.” He wanted to tell his story out of a desire to thank God. His habit of gratitude helped him to see all the ways God had worked in his life and all he had overcome. Practicing gratitude helps to overcome doubt as you realize all of the ways you have succeeded in the past, been helped by others, or found solace in God’s love.