What Is Self-Doubt
Sometimes in life you may find yourself in a situation you didn’t expect wondering if you really can accomplish what it is you set out to do. This thought process is something known as self-doubt, and while it may not be a big deal when you encounter it every now and then, if it is left unchecked, it can cause huge problems in your life and in your future.
Whether self-doubt is a feeling that is new to you, or you feel like you and self-doubt are incredibly well acquainted, it’s time that you learn more about why people experience this feeling and what you should do when feelings like this arise. This way you will be able to stop self-doubt in its tracks and live the life you dream of.
First and foremost, it is hard to figure out if you are suffering from self-doubt or not, if you don’t even know what self-doubt is.
Self-doubt is a lack of confidence or a thought process in which the thinker doubts that they will be able to accomplish something that they set out to do. When a self-doubter comes across a task, whether it’s and new experience or something they’ve done before, they will find themselves questioning their abilities.
Sometimes, someone experiencing self-doubt may find themselves inexplicably torn between two decisions, and this could be because they don’t trust themselves to make the right one, or maybe one that those around them would appreciate. And the fact that they are looking to others for approval indicates that they are doubting their own self-worth.
Experiencing self-doubt every now and then is a normal part of life, but if you aren’t careful, self-doubt can become your life, and this is where the problems begin. This is why you should do everything in your power to stop self-doubt, or at least evaluate it, the moment you notice the symptoms in yourself.
How Do You Know You Are Experiencing Self-Doubt
Because occasional self-doubt is a normal part of life, it can be difficult to spot the symptoms and to know whether you are truly experiencing self-doubt or not. It’s also critical that you learn how to recognize the symptoms of when you do experience self-doubt so you can work quickly to remedy it before it becomes a bigger problem.
Thinking You Can’t Do A Task
The thought that you can’t complete a certain task is not only a sign of self-doubt, but it is also a self-filling prophecy because the mind truly is a powerful tool. If you constantly think that you won’t be able to do something, then you won’t be able to do it, it’s as simple as that. This symptom is the most common when it comes to experiencing self-doubt, but it is also the most easily remedied.
Thinking You Don’t Deserve Something
This next sign of self-doubt is much more serious than the one above. This is because thinking that you don’t deserve something is a sign of self-doubt that is more deeply embedded than a one-off occurrence. When you find yourself faced with a happy or joyous prospect and instead of being happy you are thinking there is no way this is meant for you, it is definitely time to address your self-doubt.
Feeling Like You Aren’t Worthy
This final symptom can be a little harder to notice, and that’s because it’s more of a feeling than a thought. Do you constantly feel as if you have to serve others to make yourself worthy of their attention? Or do you feel like you need to be better in order to make someone else happy? These are definite signs that you are wrestling with self-doubt and it needs to be addressed because it is affecting other parts of your life as well as your emotional health.
Are you constantly apologizing to someone for every little thing you’ve done wrong? Even if you haven’t done anything wrong, but maybe because you are afraid you haven’t done enough, you might apologize. In either of these instances, this is a sure sign of self-doubt, and behaving this way around others is no way to live. You should conquer your self-doubts so you are able to live a normal life without having to apologize for every little thing.
Being Overly Critical Of Yourself
It’s okay to be critical of yourself and your choices every now and then because this is how people improve. But when you criticize every little thing that you do as well as every thought that you think, this is where it begins to cross the line. When was the last time you were truly proud of yourself and thought you had done a good job? Has it been a while? Then it’s likely that you may have let self-doubt take over and you’ve become too critical of yourself.
If you are reading this list and find yourself agreeing that you feel these symptoms, then you need to work to find out how often you are feeling them, as this is the next step to deciding if your self-doubt is beyond normal levels and may be reaching the point where it is dangerous to your success.
Why People Experience Self Doubt
There are several reasons that people experience self-doubt, but the truth is, every single cause comes from an inside source. Things other people may say can increase or decrease your self-doubt, but unless you do something within yourself, you will never be able to overcome self-doubt.
This is because what self-doubt really stems from is low self-confidence or a low sense of value for oneself. So, if you want to battle self-doubt, you must first work to improve your self-confidence, and you can do this by removing some of the triggers of self-doubt from your life.
Below some of the most common triggers of self-doubt are listed and explained. But remember, you cannot blame these causes for your self-doubt, because only you control your feelings when it comes to your self-image. But knowing some of the common triggers of self-doubt can help you to eliminate them from your life and work towards improving your self-confidence.
5 Common Causes Of Self-Doubt
1| Negative Past Experiences
Facing challenges or difficult times are a normal part of life, however it’s also important to leave these times behind once you are past them. Some people can find this an almost impossible task, their mind constantly flashing to a time when they may have failed—thus increasing their self-doubt.
Additionally, sometimes the way people are raised carries over into their adult life. For example, if your parents were perfectionists, and were therefore critical of everything you did, this can lead you unconsciously wanting perfection and developing a fear of failure—so much so that you doubt your ability to complete even the simplest tasks.
In either situation, you need to learn to let your past go and perhaps seek help for engrained attitudes from your childhood. This way you will remove this as a causing factor of your self-doubt.
2| Constantly Comparing Yourself To Others
Comparing yourself to someone else is another common aspect of being human. But you should never derive your self-worth from your comparisons with others. This is because every human is truly unique in the journey they are on, and thus there will never be a person who is exactly like you that has experienced all the things you have. You are the only one just like you, and you need to realize this so you can stop comparing yourself to others.
Self-doubt through comparisons with others often come about when you discover that you do something differently that someone else, say a coworker, and then immediately doubt your way of doing things. You can battle this self-doubt by reminding yourself that you are unique, and that there are a million ways to arrive at every conclusion, so perhaps you’ve just discovered another way to do so.
3| Fear of Failure
One of the most common causes of self-doubt is actually the fear of failure. And this is quite funny because if you are constantly fearing failure, then you will indeed fail because you will never try at anything. Thus, this type of self-doubt is actually a self-fulfilling prophecy.
People often fear failure because they have failed in the past, or because they hold themselves to an unreasonable standard of perfection. To be human is to make errors, and thus you should expect to fail at certain points in your life. You should never doubt yourself because of past failures, instead you should resolve to learn from them, remind yourself that you are human, and try again.
4| New Challenges
When you are faced with a new challenge, it is common to feel a little bit of self-doubt—after all, you are facing something you’ve never faced before. But when this self-doubt stops you from trying something new entirely—well this is where it becomes a problem.
The point is, trying new things should make you feel a bit uncomfortable for a moment, but once you try the new thing, you should feel great having overcome your self-doubt.
On the flipside, you will feel absolutely terrible if you let your self-doubt come between you and an activity, because there is no resolution then, no feeling of having conquered your own doubts, and this can make you doubt yourself even more.
5| Trying To Be Like Someone Else
As mentioned above, every single human on this earth is unique, so if you try to make yourself exactly like someone else, this will breed self-doubt, mainly because no matter how hard you try, you will never achieve it. Look at it this way, it’s like taking the same test over and over again only to be disqualified every single time for putting the wrong name on your paper.
You will never be exactly like someone else, and if you keep trying, your self-doubt will take over because you will begin to question your abilities as well as subconsciously wonder why you aren’t good enough to just be yourself.
Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck
So maybe by now you’ve realized that for whatever reason, you are experiencing way too much self-doubt in your life. But you may be wondering, why does this matter? Why should you even care that you are constantly doubting yourself? Well, as it turns out, wallowing in self-doubt can have several impacts on your life.
First of all, when you are always doubting yourself, this typically leads to you hiding who you are. This can make it difficult when it comes to the social parts of being human. You will have a hard time making friends, a difficult time keeping friends, and this will inevitably lead to lots of time spent alone.
And while some time spent alone is good, humans are social creatures and need interaction to help their mental well-being. This creates a vicious cycle which causes you to self-doubt more when you are alone (because you doubt yourself because you have no friends) but then this keeps you from going out and making friends. See the problem?
Not only that, but if you have goals you want to achieve, there is no way you can get anywhere with them while you are wallowing in self-doubt. This is because you will second guess every decision that needs to be made (or maybe not make it at all), wonder if you are the right person for the goal, and then be too doubtful to take the risks that need to be taken.
And if you do somehow end up successful in spite of your self-doubt, you will probably have feelings that you didn’t earn or deserve what you made of yourself and may start to display destructive behavior when it comes to success.
According to WebMD and Huffpost, although it may seem like self-doubt is only a problem if the mind, remember that the mind is a powerful thing and it can indeed affect your entire body. Research has shown that people who battle self-doubt long term tend to develop mental problems such as anxiety and depression, that are difficult to stop.
And when you spend a long period of time suffering from anxiety and depression, this in turn effects other parts of your body, which can lead to other unpleasant side effects such as weigh gain, chronic fatigue, and heart problems such as high blood pressure. This means that these feelings of self-doubt are more than just feelings and should be addressed immediately.
Therefore, when it comes to self-doubt, it isn’t just your thought process that you are trying to save yourself from, but rather a whole host of ailments that come with self-doubt that you let run rampant. And if you want to be successful in life, there is simply no way you can do so while you are suffering from the grips of constantly doubting yourself and your decisions.
Steps To Stop Self Doubt In Its Tracks In The Moment
Now that you know how dangerous self-doubt can be, it’s time to discuss how you can stop self-doubt in its tracks. Do note that this will take some time, and some practice, so don’t be surprised if you aren’t able to permanently vanquish self-doubt on the first try.
1| Recognize When You Start To Self-Doubt
Before you can even begin to stop self-doubt in its tracks, you have to identify that what you are dealing with is self-doubt. And this can be easier said than done, as self-doubt can often pass through your mind without you even noticing.
The best way to recognize self-doubt in your mind is to look through a list of common thoughts that indicate self-doubt such as “I don’t deserve this” or “I can’t do this” and train yourself to watch when variations of these thoughts pop up in your mind.
Most people find that they have a common thought process that arrives with self-doubt and it can be helpful to spend time in with yourself either in meditation or journaling to learn to recognize this thought process. This way you can stop self-doubt before it happens.
2| Don’t Blindly Push Away Thoughts
When you first start out on your ending self-doubt journey, it may be tempting to push away the bad thoughts when they arrive. But this doesn’t solve the problem, it just pushes it away until later. Rather than disguising or covering the self-doubting thoughts, you need to take the time to disarm them.
For example, if the bad thought that pops in your mind is “I will never be able to do this” you need to respond by thinking “This is hard right now, but I’m new at this. I need to try again; it will be better the second time around.” See how this gives you a solution to the self-doubting thought rather than just suppressing it? This is what you want to do when the thoughts of self-doubt begin to swirl in your mind.
3| Remind Yourself Who Is In Charge
When you are self-doubting, it can be difficult to remember that you own that little voice in your head and that you can make it say anything you want, but you can! This means you have to be ready to take control over self-doubt. Besides just providing yourself the solution as mentioned above, you also need to have a chat with that voice in your head, letting it know that you are an amazing and unique person and that you don’t need self-doubt in your life.
It can help to list for yourself all of the awesome things you have accomplished in life—as this will help you to remember that you don’t need self-doubt because you truly are capable. And you are in control—if you decide self-doubt will not enter your mind, it won’t.
4| Talk To Someone
Just like when you talk to someone about a nightmare you had and it feels less real, in the same way, if you talk to someone about your self-doubts, they will seem less real. It can help to have a good friend that your trust to talk about these things with, or if you don’t, speaking to a professional could help you to feel better as well.
Ways To Change Your Life To Stop Self Doubt
All of the above methods have to do with solving self-doubt the moment that it already in your mind, but there are several ways you change your life to stop self-doubt before it arises. This is because self-doubt typically steps from a low self-confidence, so if you work to raise your self-confidence, this will help to lower the times you struggle with self-doubt.
1| Engage in Positive Visualization
When it comes to having a low self-confidence, this usually stems from having a negative view of yourself. Make an effort to engage in positive visualization each and every day. See yourself achieving your dreams and conquering challenges along the way. And if there is something you are afraid of, visualize yourself overcoming that as well.
2| Challenge Yourself
Remember that when you overcome challenges or face your fears that this can help you to feel proud of yourself. This is why you should face challenges on a regular basis—so that you have something to feel proud of in your life. And these challenges don’t have to be huge, it could be as simple as trying something you were previously too scared or self-doubting to try.
3| Develop Affirmations
While you are learning to disarm the self-doubtful thoughts in your mind, you should also take the time to develop affirmations. These affirmations should be unique to you and encourage you when you are facing a tough time. They can specifically deal with your self-doubt, or they can deal with fears or whatever other thoughts you need affirmations to deal with.
4| Learn To Be Ok Being Yourself
Life isn’t always going to be comfortable, and anyone who tries to tell you that it should be is wrong. You need to be prepared that sometimes you won’t be just like everyone else in the group, and this is okay. This is what makes it fun to meet new people—because everyone is different!
5| Take Care Of Your Body
When you treat your body like a garbage can, you will feel like a garbage can, it is as simple as that. So, start by changing the way you eat and spend your time. Instead of eating junk food and sitting around on the couch, try to stay active and eat a variety of healthy foods. This will help you to feel better, improve your self-image, and lower the chances of self-doubtful thoughts arising.
Journaling is a very powerful tool when it comes to changing the thought processes of your mind. Keeping a journal can help you to process emotions, discover where they come from, and develop the antidote for negative thought patterns. You should aim to journal on a daily basis, preferably during the end of the day where journaling can help you to work through the things you experienced during the day.
It’s important to always be yourself, as this will help you to build self-confidence and crush your self-doubt. But you can’t do this if you don’t know yourself and how you think. The best way to get in better touch with yourself is by meditating on a regular basis.
Lots of people think meditation is hard, or takes practice, and it does—but anyone can start meditating at any time! You don’t need any special skills. To achieve results, you should make meditation part of your daily schedule and aim to do it for 15 minutes every day.
8| Eliminate Relationships That Make Your Doubt Yourself
And last but not least, as you are changing your life to lower your feelings of self-doubt, you need to eliminate any people in your life that lead you to doubting yourself. Or if it is a family member, severely restrict the time you spend with them. You deserve to build self-confidence, and it will be difficult for you to do so if they are constantly reminding you of your self-doubt. As you are severing ties, just remember that you are the person you will be spending the rest of your life with, so you need to be happy being you, and if someone doesn’t make you happy, then they don’t deserve a place in your life.
Self-doubt can present itself in many ways, but when you have feelings of self-doubt, you will constantly find yourself questioning yourself when it comes to decisions and your actions. This isn’t healthy at all, because if you constantly doubt yourself, you will be unable to move forward in your life to achieve success.
And dealing with self-doubt long term can lead to more serious issues like anxiety and depression that aren’t easy to overcome.
If you want to put a stop to the feelings of self-doubt in your life, then you need to address the thoughts the moment they arise in your mind. You also need to make changes to your life to improve your self-confidence so that you will be less likely to have self-doubting thoughts in the first place.
Once you learn to live a life free of self-doubt, you’ll be able to make decisions with ease, conquer challenges with a smile on your face, and achieve the life you’ve always dreamed of. So do everything in your power to stop the plague of self-doubt in your life!
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