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

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
An Open Letter to Preppers: How to Conquer Self-Doubt

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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.

Open Letter to Preppers: How to Conquer Self Doubt | Backdoor Survival

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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Below you will find the items related to today’s article as well some of my favorite prepping items.

The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster:  There have been so many great books released this year that picking the best one for gift giving was difficult.  I have selected Prepper’s Blueprint because it represents a soup to nuts approach to preparedness while at the same time sets aside both fear and panic.

All New Square Foot Gardening: Even if you currently do not have a garden, you should learn about how to start one. It does not have to be large.  I follow the practices I learned in this book and  put in a small Square Foot Garden of my own.

Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: This 99 cent eBook will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!  Also available in print.

Solo Stove_21

Solo Stove:  I personally own three solo stoves.  They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass.  This is one item that you should gift to yourself if you do not have one already.

Ticket to Ride:  When it comes to board games, this is my favorite.  (It helps that I usually win.)  This is fun for the entire family.  Warning, you and your gift recipient will become addicted and will often ask the question:  Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?

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LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a a high flow rate and weighs only 2oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive but effective.  There is also the LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour.


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15 Responses to “An Open Letter to Preppers: How to Conquer Self-Doubt”

  1. There are two areas that are very important to me: eating an all organic, low sugar, freshly ground grains for flour diet…..and a steady attempt to live a stocked up, prepared life. However, I have a quote that helps me not get out of balance or off-center: “Sometimes I just want a cookie or a new thing.” Sometimes I want to eat junk….or decorate our home with something trendy and unnecessary. We have plenty “stuff” but sometimes I merely let myself have more stuff… This gives me a greater sense of control over all of it and keeps me from feeling “left out” of the rest of society. Works for me….and that is what counts!..

    • That is a fantastic quote. Sometimes DH tells me that I just need to “do it to stay human”. It is, at times, all too much to be prepper-centric 24/7.

  2. Dear new prepper. You are not alone and you’re not paranoid. Take a break now & then, and follow Gaye’s advice because she’s a sensible prepper. There’s lots to learn. Look at it as a functional hobby. One that may save lives some day. Listen to the Legacies and the kids too. Since Big Guy & I have been through our share of sorry situations we know the value of prepping. It’s a smart thing to do. It also helps you value and organize your every day life. Enjoy your good time. Be prepared.

  3. Gaye, I have been down this road for decades. I started in the early 60’s when the mid west had the tornado out break. 3 tornados went around us by just blocks. I was about 12 years old. I started then with every allowance I bought a knife, flash light, matches, something. In 1963 I joined the Red Cross and as time went on I became a 1st Aid Instructor and when I turned 18 I was doing local disaster relief. I left Red Cross after 40 years of working disasters on the East coast, Gulf and Mid-west. When the hurricanes came and washed away everything, when the tornados came and blew everything away it was the folks who learned to be ready from their parents and grandparents that saved the day. I spend 25 years as a volunteer with Emergency Management in my County, we suffered flash floods , tornados, snow storms and more. It was the folks that prepared that help out the neighbors. I am in my 38th year as a Volunteer Firefighter/ 1st Responder, here in Idaho we just had several forest fires as well as snow storms, extreme cold weather and such. It is YOU the Neighbor who put back a little extra, learned 1st aid, had a spare flash light, loaned your generator around the neighborhood to keep the food cold or frozen. It is You who loaded livestock and took them to safety at someone else’s ranch.. You are not nuts or consumed by being ready, it is YOU who someday will save the day. Neighbors, friends ,family or yourself, it is YOU that will be there before the Rescue Unit can show up. I was a TTT and Commander of our County CERT, get it started in your neighborhood. Get involved with emergency services and be the HERO in yourself.
    I even got a baby named FORD after my 4×4 ford truck that made it thru 36″ of snow to his moms house during the blizzard of 1978. Nothing moved but me a Green Beret Medic- I do gun shot wounds not babies,
    but it all worked out. I did talk with GOD the whole time, but all in all I delived 7 healthy babies in the storm, scared to death, but we ( GOD and I ) did it because, I was trained and prepared and GOD loves kids.
    If you think your nuts, I am off the chart by 50+ years. I might add learn CPR, 7 out of 11 heart attacks survive that I was involved with. What you do to help others in need will come back to you, Christmas Eve 2012, My heart stopped due to me being given the wrong meds. Some well trained Firefighter/1st Responders showed up and repaid me for my past in helping those in need. Soon to be 65 and still prepping for the what ifs.
    Enjoy life, it is too short. Be Prepared – Be Prayerful – Be Thankful – You are an American
    North Idaho

    • I am so glad to see you again, Ranger Rick. You are a blessing. Keep mentoring the newbies. Time will come when they’ll need all the prep whether food, fire or skills. I encourage the newbies every chance I get. I may be a Nana, but I’m still here and prepping. Thanks, Gaye, for another inspiring advisory. You made my day.

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