Every human experiences self-doubt every so often, so it’s important to know how to overcome self-doubt. It’s common to feel less confident in your abilities when trying something new, taking tests or making major decisions. Self-doubt becomes a problem when you begin to experience it frequently, and it negatively affects you in different aspects of your life.
People are not born with self-doubt; it’s something that we pick up as we grow up. Children have so much confidence even when trying out new things but lose this confidence as they become adults for several reasons. Let’s examine some of the reasons for self-doubt.
Reasons for self-doubt
1. Past experiences
The past has had a significant impact on people. Past failure could influence you into thinking that you’re not good enough. Previous poor decisions could make you think that you’re incapable of making good decisions.
Critiquing yourself is natural, but self-criticism can lead to unhealthy self-doubt. Some people tend to focus on their negative side, hindering them from seeing their strengths. It’s essential to overcome self-doubt to leverage our abilities.
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3. Fear of failure/fear of success
It’s possible to experience self-doubt because of previous success. For example, if you had a successful project, you might be scared that you can’t replicate that success. You could start to downplay your ability and attribute past success to luck.
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4. Attachment style issues
Attachment styles affect people’s thinking while relating to others and their confidence. People with insecure attachment styles have higher chances of experiencing self-doubt. It can stop them from networking, enjoying relationships or trying things that are beneficial to them.
5. Childhood upbringing
Childhood experiences heavily influence adult behaviour. Many individuals who grew up with parents who were difficult to please tend to be more self-critical. Additionally, if you attended schools that attached self-worth to academic performance and had similar experiences at home, you could have developed a habit of second-guessing yourself.
6. Comparison with others
One of the most harmful effects of social media is the excessive comparison with others. Seeing other people’s success in life makes us wonder if we’re ever going to get to those levels, have the kind of relationships we see on social media and doubt whether we’re good enough. People often focus on what others have without factoring in people’s different circumstances.
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How does self-doubt manifest?
1. Imposter syndrome
People experiencing imposter syndrome feel like they are undeserving of praise from others and opportunities. They have illogical fear that they’re not good enough and others will discover it.
2. Constantly seeking reassurance
People who constantly need affirmations from others suffer from insecurity. If you frequently need reassurance from those around you, that’s a form of self-doubt. Lack of constant reassurance affects such individuals negatively. They could lack motivation or act out in relationships.
If you’re constantly unable to make decisions, you lack confidence in your ability to make the right decision. The indecisiveness occurs in both small and major decisions.
Tips to overcome self-doubt
1. Identify the cause of your self-doubt
The best way to solve a problem is to identify its root. Take time to pinpoint the source of the limiting beliefs holding you back. Past experiences could have left you feeling like you’re not good enough; trace back to that incident and reevaluate it. Once you have identified why you’re not confident, take the needed steps to change your mindset.
2. Practice self-compassion
Many times, people doubt themselves because they’re too hard on themselves. Acknowledge you’re human, so you’re bound to make mistakes. However, past mistakes don’t have to determine your capabilities. Learn how to have kinder thoughts about yourself.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
The people you constantly interact with matter. Having people who affirm your capabilities and push you to go after your dreams helps you become more confident. Supportive people also help you forge ahead even when you have some self-doubt. Carefully choose your inner circle.
Writing down things helps you recognize your progress. Journalling helps you reflect on past success when you feel incapable of certain tasks. It could also help you understand the cause of the self-doubt you’re currently experiencing.
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5. Stop comparing yourself with others
Sometimes comparing yourself with others can serve as a motivation to do better. However, many times comparison with others has negative effects. People feel like they’re in competition with others without examining how people got there. Remember, social media only shows one angle of a situation. Hardly do people show what they went through and the sacrifices it took to get that job, marriage, car or house. Acknowledging that people have different paths will help you stay true to yourself as you find ways to succeed.
6. Take action to overcome self-doubt
Self-doubt prevents people from taking action. You’re unable to start on a project because you think it will not be good enough. Just start. Pick a course of action and keep going. You can always make modifications along the way.
7. Consume positive content
In a world where we consume so much content, choose positivity. Listen to a podcast, watch a video, or read a book that nourishes you with positivity. Exposure to positivity triggers you to have positive thoughts too and boosts your self-esteem.
8. Seek professional help to overcome self-doubt
Severe self-doubt could lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, indecisiveness and emotional instability. It is sensible to seek professional help when you can’t handle it yourself. Be open-minded to receiving external help to help you overcome self-doubt and its effects on your life.
Even the most successful people experience self-doubt, but the difference stems from how they deal with it. It’s best to deal with thoughts undermining your self-confidence swiftly before they become your dominant thoughts and prevent you from reaching your full potential.
Also, check out
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