An Open Letter To Preppers: How To Conquer Self-Doubt

An Open Letter To Preppers: How To Conquer Self-Doubt | question-self-doubt | Preparedness\Survival

There you are, going about your business, when it strikes.

The cashier rings up your purchase of sale items and you realize you just spent the equivalent of a car payment on canned food.  Or you realize you have more net worth in beans and silver coins than you do money in the bank. Or, after you spent all of this time, energy, and money prepping…and nothing happens.

Sometimes you start to think, “Maybe I’m crazy.”  You might begin to feel like you’re wasting your time.  The crippling self-doubt creeps in, and you begin to feel completely alone.

The other day I received an email from a person who is a new prepper, and it really got me thinking about this. The letter reads:

I began prepping a few months ago, buying books, silver coins, and extra canned food and have just moved on to our BOB’s, I am starting to doubt myself wondering if I am being silly and wasting money prepping. Is this a normal reaction?

This isn’t the first such message I have received, not by a long shot. I believe it’s a perfectly normal reaction. So much so that I want to respond to this message publicly because I’m sure that there are many out there who feel this way but never ask the question.

Here are some strategies on how to conquer self-doubt and get on with the business of life.

Dear Friends Who Are Doubting Themselves:

First of all, let me tell you that you are not alone!

Even people like me, who have been at this for a long time, sometimes stop, look around at all of the stuff they’ve amassed, and wonder if they’ve gone off the deep-end.

Not only has there been an investment in money, but also of time and storage space. It is never ending, or so it seems.

Your reaction, to wonder if you’re being silly and wasting your resources, is quite normal.  It is tied to what I like to call “What If Nothing Ever Happens Syndrome.” And it can be contagious, creeping in and spreading across everything you are trying to accomplish.

Here are a few strategies to help you conquer self-doubt so that you can get back to the business of preparing.

1. ) Look at the other ways you protect yourself. There are all sorts of ways we look after ourselves that are about “what if” and they only make good sense. For example, you spend hundreds if not thousands per year on car insurance but probably rarely if ever use it.  However, if you got into an accident and totaled your new, paid-for truck, you would certainly be glad you had spent the money on premiums each month. Prepping is much the same. You have your preps stashed away, but hope you will not have to use them.

2.) Most of your preps can be used for other purposes besides disaster. If nothing bad ever happens, you can still eat the food your store, go camping and enjoy the equipment, and have fun with some of the gear. So, unlike car insurance, you are not sending money down a rat hole.

3.) Remember that you aren’t only prepping for the end of the world.  Lots of folks think about disaster only in the most epic of terms: an earthquake that is off the charts, a hurricane that wipes out part of a city, a financial collapse that results in riots in the street, or some other event worthy of a movie with dramatic special effects. But the truth is, a disaster that causes your preps to come in handy can be as simple as a power outage that lasts a few days, a winter storm that makes travel unsafe, or a water main break that leaves you without running water for a few days. It can be as individual as a job loss or an unexpected large expense that makes shopping for groceries and necessities unaffordable.  Those kinds of things can happen to anyone, anytime, and none of the scenarios is at all far-fetched.

4.) Do something fun. It’s a sad fact that some preppers don’t realize the value of fun. Don’t be one of them. Sometimes you need to get out and spend the afternoon doing something enjoyable with friends or family. Go camping, go to the movies, have a picnic, go for a hike. Forget about prepping and disasters and just focus on the present.

5.) Hang out with like-minded people. It can be very refreshing to spend time with some people who don’t think you’re nuts.  Get your mojo back by doing some preparedness activities with people who are equally enthusiastic. Take a trip to the LDS cannery, repackage food together, go hiking, or have a prepper movie night. even sitting down for a cup of tea and chatting with somebody who is on-board can give you a much-needed feeling of kinship. If you don’t have any friends locally who are on the same page, visit a forum or Facebook group for a healthy dose of like-mindedness.

6.)  Read some books. You might find inspiration in learning more about a preparedness topic.  There are some excellent guides on the market, like The Prepper’s Blueprint, that walk you through preparedness from the point at which you are just starting out all the way through total self-reliance.  You might prefer something more topic-specific, like a book on gardening or food storage. Even prepper fiction can be motivating. No one can read a classic like One Second After without feeling compelled to get ready for an EMP.

7.) Sometimes you just need a longer break. Finally, when you become overwhelmed, realize that you may need to get away from it for a period of time. Even someone experienced like me can become weary.  On occasion, I take a prepping break during which I follow these rules:

  • I don’t add to my supplies
  • I don’t read prepping sites or books
  • I only give the news a cursory glance
  • I get away if I can, even for a weekend trip

You’re not alone.

So, please remember that you are not alone. No matter how long we’ve been at this, we all have moments of self-doubt, where we wonder if we are actually nuts or if we are doing the right thing.  Remind yourself of the benefits of what you are doing, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a little break to rejuvenate yourself.

Hang in there! You will be fine!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation! 

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About The Author

Gaye Levy, also known as the Survival Woman, grew up and attended school in the Greater Seattle area. After spending many years as an executive in the software industry, she started a specialized accounting practice offering contract CFO work to emerging high tech and service industries. She has now abandoned city life and has moved to a serenely beautiful rural area on an island in NW Washington State. She lives and teaches the principles of a sustainable and self-reliant lifestyle through her website at At Backdoor Survival, Gaye speaks her mind and delivers her message of prepping with optimism and grace, regardless of the uncertain times and mayhem swirling around us.

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