By reading the topic you must have known what this article is about- self-doubt. Our bodies tend to safeguard itself from every kind of danger; be it physical or mental or emotional. Especially these days when we are constantly at our house, trying to figure out what is happening around the world, taking all the necessary precautions, be it, washing hands, wearing masks, using disinfectants and wipes. We keep doubting ourselves which results in our obsession with these activities, as we don’t want anyone else to fall ill because of us. Self-doubt is one such type of defense mechanism of our brain to protect ourselves from unfavorable situations. But when this aspect increases, it starts hindering our path to living our life to the fullest. So let’s get to know what exactly self-doubt is.
What is self-doubt?
Self-doubt is a normal emotion to feel but when you let it overpower your brain, then the actual problems start. When you doubt your own capabilities, judgment, and your worth it’s called self-doubt. It’s a mental habit of the brain that keeps creeping in. We all experience self-doubt but only a few of us can really overcome self-doubt. It’s more like:
- I’m not good as Ram in marketing…
- What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone…
- What if I fail if I do this XYZ work…
- What if people think of me as a loser…
- I am not good enough for ABC work/people
- What if I ruin my existing reputation…
- I’ll fail if I start…
So I hope you get the idea of self-doubt. It doesn’t have only a negative impact but sometimes it saves us from getting into trouble. And even some people use self-doubt to master their fears and grab the opportunity in the next go. Self-doubt is an inner-voice that acts as a critic. It’s totally up to us how we take that criticism.
Why self-doubt hit us?
We get to know what self-doubt is and how it creeps in. But the big question is- “WHY?”. So, let’s dive deeper and find out the reason we go through a thought process that doubts our own self.
Our brain throws thoughts at us all day long- positive and negative both. Self-doubt is one of such thoughts that comes to us by default. And it’s not that serious but when it comes from something that happened in the past like some bad experiences or mistakes or due to some traumatic childhood past or bully, then it can take a serious shape. No two people plagued by self-doubts are the same. As they have their own set of insecurities, past experiences, and thought processes. For one person it may have rooted from his bad past experience and for another person, it may have rooted from his fear of failure or new challenges. But let me tell you the plant of self-doubt needs maintenance. So even if it has originated from childhood or in adolescence, It will show up in your thoughts in adulthood if you keep watering that self-doubt. For example, for a person, it may have originated in his childhood as a result of being bullied but as an adult, constantly asking people for validation and reassurance is what’s maintaining it.
How to identify self-doubt?
For a problem to be solved, it needs to be acknowledged first. Similarly, self-doubt needs to get identified and acknowledged that “yes! I do suffer from self-doubt” in order to gain control over it. So, let’s peek into what are the signs of having plagued by self-doubt:
- Indecisiveness – It’s a common trait of self-doubt. We all do struggle taking tough decisions but if you do struggle taking decisions too often then it might be the initial sign of chronic self-doubt. It keeps the person busy in doubting, criticizing, and procrastinating and hence results in indecisiveness.
- Seeking validation from other people- A person who continuously seeks reassurance to validate his own identity is a major sign of not having enough self-confidence. And this could be the major reason for the unhappiness which is a by-product of indulging in too much self-doubt.
- Difficulty taking compliments and shortage of gratitude- If you do struggle taking compliments and hardly appreciate yourself then let tell you this is a major sign of doubting the self. Furthermore, the individual lacks enough gratitude. These traits are enough to make a person unhappy.
- Taking yourself and your achievements for granted- If you do not pat your back after doing something good or after achieving something then my friend, you lack self-appreciation, which is very necessary to succeed in any field. And lack of self-appreciation results in chronic self-doubt.
- Constantly feeling you are not good enough- Not believing in yourself is the worst thing you can do to yourself. And self-doubt gives birth to this thinking and attitude. And this obstructs the path of success and lowers the self-esteem level.
Ill effects of self-doubting
Source: mind set motivations.com
Believe it or not self-doubting can cause more harm than you expected it to be. It cripples your self-confidence and limits your ability to achieve something. Also, it restricts you from taking risks and new challenges in life which can be harmful to you in many ways. Furthermore, it damages your relationships with your closed ones and holds you back from living your life to the fullest. As you doubt your own capabilities and judgments, it can cause emotional instability which results in unhappiness, which is definitely not a good state to live with.
Tips to overcome self-doubt
1.Acknowledge and Embrace it
I know this seems weird to you as this is the first step to control self-doubt. But, trust me it works! There is a saying “Suppression leads to aggression” In this context, I mean to say that the more you fight with your inner critic and try to suppress it, the stronger it will be back again the next time. So, the solution is to acknowledge it first and embrace it- “Yes! I do have a feeling of self-doubt but I’m not going to run away from this feeling by dismissing it”. Admit it and refocus your energy on moving on with your work/life.
2. Doubt your self-doubt
Whenever your inner critic tries to overshadow your thoughts and brain, doubt that thought process. Remember not all thoughts make you ‘you’. Only the one on which we take some actions decides our character. It’s just a thought that is in your brain and it’s not the reality. Just let it pass and move on with your life.
3. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal helps organize our thoughts and gain better clarity over them. Once you get the clarity, try analyzing it realistically unbiased of any past experience or fear. Remember even if it doesn’t turn out well, you will still get the experience, and to grow as a person, the experience is essential.
4. Train your mind to practice self-compassion
The way you show compassion towards your closed ones, the same way you should talk to your inner voice after all your inner self needs compassion from you the most. You will never say bad and horrible things like- “You aren’t capable of doing anything” or “You are good enough for this work/person” so why do we talk to ourselves like that. Treat yourself the same way you treat your closed and dear ones and try to say nice and motivating words as a part of self-care to yourself daily.
5.Try seeking professional help
If you feel you can’t handle the matter of battling with your inner self and you just can’t stop the chain of thoughts of self-doubting then you may take some counseling sensations or therapy. At the end of the day, it’s just a thought, not any mental disorder. Therapy would help your thought process to get organized by rewinding the negative thoughts of self-doubt.
6.Cultivate your strong sense of purpose
Being a Potterhead let me explain this method in that context. Think about it: Did Harry skilled at eliminating self-doubt as a kid or he had a strong sense of purpose to defeat Lord Voldemort? I hope you get my point by now. All I want to say is if we have a strong sense of purpose, the self-doubting thoughts pop up into the minds but it gets diminished by the light of strong sense of purpose.
7.Do it right(comparisons)
Yes! You heard it right. I am suggesting you compare yourself not to other people but to the past version of yourself. This is much healthier than comparing yourself to others as your competitor is you only. This method is more like self-analyzing, which is quite necessary for personal growth
8.Spend time with someone who has believed in you
When you spend your time with someone who has immense faith in you and your capabilities then it sends off positive vibes to you and you feel motivated. And whenever you feel like doubting yourself talk to one from the tribe that has believed in you, and boom! You are all set to nail the game of life.
9.Reconstruct your thought
You have the ability to train your mind and reconstruct your thoughts. So, whenever self-doubt creeps in, restructure that into a positive thought For example, when you face failure and you start doubting your abilities then you can restructure it as “At Least I’ve tried and had a new experience now”.
10.Celebrate your victories
It’s a great method to appreciate yourself and be grateful for what you have. And this method helps you to believe in yourself. Just celebrate victories and achievements no matter how small it is. Just Celebrate!
11. Delve yourself into inspirational sources
Immerse yourself reading some quality books about self-love or just watch an inspirational movie or you can even listen to podcasts while driving back to you home in case you feel you don’t have time. Trust me this would help you overcome your thoughts of self-doubt.