It’s safe to say we’ve all been there at some points in our lives, grappling with self doubt once in a while. Questioning whether we are able enough, good enough, capable enough. It happens when we are feeling low in self confidence or have uncertainty around something that isn’t going to according to plan or something that is difficult to control. It can also be triggered by past experience, mistakes, your upbringing, fear of failure and comparisons with others.
An element of self doubt is good, it’s that little boost for you to strive to do a better job and do your best, however when it is persistent and getting in the way it can hugely affect your life. That little voice in your head can be incredibly persuasive and holds you back from grabbing opportunities with both hands.
I think we all have the tendency to believe that ostensibly confident and successful people never have doubts, they always know what they’re doing and what their next move is. This is where self comparison comes in, especially with the help of social media in todays society. Of course this is far from true. Self doubt is a human response, everyone experiences it. We are only human.
Whilst no one is immune to self doubt, we do have the ability to enable it to not shape our lives and reclaim the power it has over us. Here are some ways to not let that self doubt rule the roost and contribute to potential self sabotage…
- Identify and understand your limiting beliefs — knowing what your limiting beliefs are will enable you to identify what’s holding you back and empower you to change your mindset
- Alter your self talk — our words make our reality. Words that are said and thought. After identifying your limiting beliefs, you fight back. Argue with it, change the narrative, the dialogue the words you choose. Self doubt will then switch to self confidence
- Talk it out — if thoughts are left in your head for too long, they can materialize into an endless stream of negative chatter and end up larger than they need. Sharing your thoughts with either a journal or those around you who really listen will help you offload. Knowing you aren’t alone also helps as talking and sharing can also prompt the person you are sharing with to open up too
- Embrace the doubt and forgive yourself — acknowledge the self doubt and then refocus you attention and energy away from it. It will retrain your brain to not be reactive to the doubt. Self doubt is a habit, nothing more and nothing less and like most habits can be outwired
- Spend time with supportive people — friends and family in our lives who believe in us will always be on your side. They will remind you of your strengths, support you and show you kindness in the times you aren’t being kind to yourself. That’s what they are there for
- Start a self gratitude diary or journal — this is such a therapeutic thing to practice. Writing things down is such a good release and keeps things from spiralling in your head. Even seeing your thoughts on paper could also mean they aren’t as awful as you think and give you the clarity you need
- Take a break — exercise, a cup of tea, doing something different, watch an episode of something, have some downtime with friends or family. Sometimes when doubt gets the better of you a little distance can work a charm
- Give your inner critic a name and personality — our inner voice can be extremely powerful. You are not your thoughts. Separate yourself from the self doubt by naming them and giving them a personality. This gives a distinction between your thoughts and you
- Take action — whether thats a short term goal or just getting up and doing something, start small, take action and stop making excuses. The more you achieve from that point on will give you more confidence and hopefully get rid of self doubt for good
- Remind yourself of past successes and achievements — reflecting on times where things have gone well. It allows you to think back to a time where you’ve been in the same position and conquered it
Of course it is normal to doubt ourselves, but knowing that panicking for too long won’t do you much good. Remember, self doubt doesn’t have to hold you back.