As I sat down with my best friend some Mondays ago to have a heart to heart after so long, I realised I had a lot of hesitation, doubt and excuses in my vocabulary. I had been living with these thoughts for a while but didn't really pay too much attention to them but when I had an outlet, I poured them out.
I had a lot of doubt about a lot of things such as my future, the book I'm writing and potential relationships, I used sentences like "I don't know," "I'm not sure," "I don't think I should," "I don't think I'm there yet," etc. That's why I decided to write this blog post for me and for you just in case you need it! Hop on and let me show you some amazing ways to deal with self-doubt. Let's gooo!
Self-doubt can be a very strong voice that holds you back from living a better life. It is the reason many people are "stuck" doing things they don't like for people they don't like. Hanging onto self-doubt is like a fish hanging onto the fisherman's hook for safety. Self-doubt can lead to things like indecision, inertia, death of creativity, etc.
Causes of Self-Doubt
- Past faults or mistakes
- Childhood Upbringing
- Comparing Yourself to Others
- A New and Unfamiliar Challenge
- Fear of Success or Failure
How to Deal with Self-Doubt
Something that is very evident in self-doubt is fear, especially fear of the unknown. There's a likelihood that if we try something new, we may end up worse off than our current situation. For example, if we chase our dreams, we may end up poor.
Self-doubt acts like an amplifier or even a magnifier and makes a mountain out of a molehill of said fear and it turns into reasons why we should be hesitant, why we should stay put. In other words, self-doubt discourages us from leaving our comfort zones (see 3 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone Today!) Without further ado, let's get into how we can deal with such self-doubt.
1. Stop Yourself
Your doubts will always bubble up but it's importance to notice the moment they spring up like seedlings. When they spring, nip them in the bud as soon as possible or you risk these seedlings turning into full grown trees. Instead of ignoring the little voices of self-doubt, put them in their place quickly by talking back to yourself with more conviction and positivity.
For example, when your self doubt says "I don't think I can," say back to it "Oh yes, I definitely know I can!" if this happens continuously, over time your subconscious will pick it up and your self-doubt stop getting in your way as much.
2. Be Self-Aware
Self-awareness is one of the most powerful personal development tools in your toolbox. You cannot fight self-doubt if you're not aware of it or when you're doing it. You need to increase your level of self-awareness and try to understand what's mainly causing your doubts.
What kind of situations triggers your self-doubt? Maybe you don't think you're good enough in an area, try to get better then. For example, you may be afraid of public speaking, all you have to do is learn the techniques and practice them in real time, you can buy a course or even get a coach.
In the course of being self-aware, it is also important to be aware of your surroundings, the people you surround yourself with may be the reason why your self-doubt is on the rise, it can either be because they don't motivate you because they are not so ambitious or when you compare yourself to them you seem to fall short.
3. Be More Compassionate To Yourself
As Jess Glyne rightfully said:
"Don't be so hard on yourself, no
Learn to forgive, learn to let go
Everyone drifts, everyone folds
So don't be so hard on yourself, no..."
Just as it is easy to give advice but hard to take said advice, some people find it easier to show compassion for others than to themselves. When you keep criticising or doubting yourself, it can affect your mental health negatively, in the same vein, studies show that self-compassion can affect your mental health positively. So, please be kind to yourself because you're in the best position to do so.
The self-compassion evangelist, Dr. Kristen Neff, created a self-compassion test and it checks your reactions. How do you behave when you fail at something you care about such as a test? When something doesn't go right, do you try to keep your emotions in check?
The more self-compassionate you become, the thicker your skin. To improve your self-compassion, Dr. Neff advises a three-step process:
i. Notice your own suffering, especially when it's caused by your self-criticism
ii. Don't be cold-hearted toward yourself
iii. Remember that imperfection is a part and parcel of being human.
As Neff said, "Where's the contract you signed when you were born that said that you would be perfect?"
4. Stop Making Excuses
Self-doubt often makes us rationalize a situation to fit our emotional state. We may be afraid to fail, afraid to look bad, afraid to take on more than we think we can handle. So we become adept at making a lot of excuses for why an opportunity that presents itself isn't a good fit. As Steven Pressfield says in Do The Work! Overcome Resistance And Get Out Of Your Own Way, "The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can't/shouldn't/won't do what we know we need to do." Think back on opportunities you turned down. What reasons did you give yourself? Where these legitimate reasons or just excuses? Excuses are mental barriers we erect that hold us back. The best way to stop making excuses is to start taking deliberate action!
5. Celebrate Small Wins
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s a lame, overused figure of speech. Why? Because the answer is both true and timeless.
When you’re stuck in the pit of self-doubt, your attention is consumed by it. Even if it’s not true and not a big deal, you make it true and turn it into a big deal in your head. You create the elephant. And just like it took a series of small but important actions to sink to that level, it takes small but important actions to climb out.
Small wins are motivating because you see real progress being made, and the momentum built by those tiny changes adds up quickly.
How do you deal with self-doubt? Comment below! Like and Share this with your friends so they can avoid these costly mistakes. SUBSCRIBE to my blog to get my free e-books plus you'll never miss a thing. Follow me on Instagram (I post valuable videos there), Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. See ya next Monday!
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!