Everyone inevitably experiences self-doubt. The critical point to remember here isn’t that you doubt yourself because you will, but what you’ll do about it. I’ve doubted myself and learned that being proactive is the only way to turn that around. Here are some of my powerful ways to deal with self-doubt.
Self-doubt isn’t an automatic sign or precursor to declining mental health. Nor is it the killer of goals or success. Giving up is, however, on both accounts. It will make all the difference between being proactive with your mental health and allowing it to deteriorate through inattention.
Self-Doubt: Powerful Ways to Deal with It
The first step to finding ways to deal with self-doubt involves recognition. If you recognize that what you’re feeling is doubt, you can take proactive steps to overcome it. While each person will need to find what works best, here are some of my general tips to help get past the crippling paralysis that self-doubt can bring about.
Deal with Self-Doubt: Avoid Self-Denial
It makes no sense to deny what you feel. As with any emotion, it only becomes more profound when you try to shove the present emotion or feeling aside. Instead, acknowledge your doubts about yourself and your abilities or capabilities. That’s the first step in getting past it.
Accept Self-Doubt as Normal
It seems you’re alone in this experience, especially in the thick of it. I know I felt that way when doubting my abilities. However, accepting that self-doubt is normal, that it isn’t unique to you, and that everyone has it can make the experience less discomforting.
Never Wallow in the Emotion
Never give in to self-doubt. If you do, you’ll never accomplish anything worthwhile. Your goals will slip away, you’ll become bitter and disillusioned, depressed, and life will seem less hopeful and productive.
Research shows that self-doubt and self-worth are linked. If you need help overcoming low self-esteem tied to concerns about competence, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques may be appropriate.
Stifle that Hypercritical Inner Voice
Here’s what happens when you’re worried you won’t measure up:
- You’re afraid that you’ll fail.
- Or you’ll be unable to meet the challenge you’ve set for yourself.
- You’re engaging in the futile act of listening to your harsh inner voice and endlessly worrying about self-criticism.
This is the one who always warns you to be cautious, reminds you that your ideas aren’t the best, and laughs at your attempts to succeed.
- I used to hear a voice that told me I was a failure. It played like a broken record until I broke that record.
Stop and think, though. Did that hypercritical inner voice do you any favors when you listened to it? You can’t think of one, can you? So, tell yourself that you know better than that annoying and utterly wrong inner critic. That’s another positive step to learning to deal with self-doubt constructively.
Deal with Self-Doubt: Remind Yourself of Past Success
Now is an excellent time to recall that you’ve had doubts before and were able to rise above them. You found solutions and techniques that worked then and will do so again.
- For example, I believe in lists as a tool for getting things done. When I have a list, I always know what my goals are. I can adjust them, mark them off as complete, and enjoy the good feeling of success.
Reminding yourself of past success in similar situations is a great motivator when encountering something that makes you question whether you have what it takes this time.
Learn to Identify Self-Doubt Triggers
When self-doubt cropped up in the past, what triggers did you recall occurring? Raising self-awareness about the emotion helps you understand what’s at the heart so you can reassure yourself that most of it is fear-based and not grounded.
- My triggers are fatigue, sorrow, hunger, pain, crushing disappointment, and anger. Once I learned to identify them, I could craft strategies to prevent them from launching self-doubt.
Envision a Positive Outcome
While it might be tough to do now, concentrate on a positive outcome. Be hopeful of one. I know I’m good at what I do. So, I do it as often as possible – with zest, anticipation, and confidence.
- The dynamic of what happens here is that you’ll position yourself for success by capitalizing on your strengths and working to overcome your weaknesses.
- This will occur despite the presence of doubting yourself.
See This as a Growth Opportunity
Granted, it doesn’t seem like it. Could it be that something you’re worried about is holding you back? Yet, look past your fears and regard this as an opportunity to grow.
- This situation where you feel such anxiety and doubt didn’t happen without warning.
- Were you as prepared as you could be?
- Does this show you that planning, practicing, and lining up resources may be a better way to push past self-doubt?
- Brush up your perseverance skills and you will succeed.
Self-Doubt: Forget What Others Think
Understandably, everyone has opinions, yet not all are coordinated with yours. However, the culture of sameness, where only specific ideas and sometimes only the views of certain people are entertained, is not helpful to productivity, let alone trying to overcome doubting themselves.
- You don’t want this for yourself or your future, so forget what others think.
- At the very least, please don’t put too much faith in their criticism.
- You need to own your future.
- That means thinking for yourself and having the self-confidence to know that you’ll make good decisions.
Embrace Self-Doubt to Enrich Life
The most straightforward and practical advice is to embrace the emotion. When you do this, you’re better able to overcome the disabling effects. You will also enrich your life in many ways. Embracing self-doubt strengthens your resilience and makes you more self-confident.
- For example, once you successfully overcome self-doubt, fear of failure no longer troubles you.
- While you recognize that you may stumble, you’ll still learn valuable lessons. You’ll become more robust, able to see past obstacles, and ignore unwarranted criticism and hostility.
- Furthermore, a pattern of success increases self-esteem and self-confidence, which are integral to good mental health.
- While you cannot predict when things may go awry, you feel confident to weather life’s challenges. This is another sign you can use powerful ways to deal with self-doubt.