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Every one of us goes through a time when they doubt themselves or question every decision they make. No phase in our life is without a tinge of self-doubt. It creeps into the little things in one’s life and makes us hold on to heavy and unnecessary baggage that you could easily do without. You cling on to sad memorabilia, dead-end jobs, and energy-sapping relationships because you fear that you cannot do better than this. If left unchecked, this doubt could take over your entire life and have you doing the bidding of everyone else because you don’t believe in yourself. Before you know it you have become a miserable and hollow shell that is living somebody else’s life. Understand how and why self-doubt affects a person and what you can do to overcome this.
Why and How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck?
There are a plethora of reasons why self-doubt creeps into your life. Past mistakes, your environment and upbringing, constant comparisons with others, or a fear of failure could amount to one doubting themselves at every step. Being told that you are good at nothing or being called ‘slow’, ‘dunce’ etc. as a child could shroud your confidence levels and set you up for failure from a very young age.
Self-doubt can be limiting and self-belittling in many ways. It compels you to believe that intelligence is a trait that is fixed and that you cannot do anything to change that. This coupled with fear of underperforming can lead to you refusing new responsibilities, downplaying large achievements, or even telling yourself that you are not good enough for the job. You start attributing any success to external factors like a good boss, or an excellent teacher rather than credit yourself with the win. This is known as the imposter syndrome were successful and deserving people have felt that they do not deserve their accolades. Over time this can lead to a toxic feeling of reduced self-worth and creates a cycle of poor performance and further failure.
Tips to Deal with Self-Doubt and Trust Yourself Again
Health and wellness require a stress-free mind. It is important to break the cycle of self-doubt and failure and nurture positive thoughts for a healthy and well-balanced life. Here are a few things that you could do to overcome self-doubt.
1. Stop Constant Comparisons
Do not constantly compare yourself with the people around you. When you look at the accomplishments of a colleague or a friend and aren’t quite there yet, you start to feel inadequate. Someone will always have something better than you. Better cars, bigger houses, higher scores, leaner figures, more well-behaved children, countless medals, quicker promotions, or fancier vacations. But remember that we each have our own journey and everything has its own time to fall into place. Also remember that there are scores of less fortunate people out there whose lives may never change.
2. Take Action and Monitor Progress Along the Way
That seed of self-doubt will blossom if you let your ideas and thoughts fester. Convert your plan into action and make sure that you chart your progress along the way. If you hit a snag, find a way around and continue on your path until you have reached your goal. Do not let your mind play the devil’s advocate by pondering over and rethinking every idea. ‘What if’ will always remain a plan if you don’t implement it. Also remember that if you are waiting for yourself to change before taking action, then you should remember the adage- tomorrow never comes.
3. Remind Yourself of Past Successes
Psychologists believe that focusing on past wins can boost your confidence and improve how you feel in the present. When you focus on past successes, it is important to remember the positive. If you dwell on negative feelings that you had during that success, you will be bound to fail in your current endeavour. Don’t always pass off credit for a win to external factors or the environment. Take pride in having persevered to succeed and recall the joy of succeeding.
4. Remember That What is Holding You Back Lives Inside Your Head
Fear is important because it prevents us from being over-confident and allows us to learn new things. But crippling self-doubt at work or fear of attempting something new can only hold you back and prevent you from ever discovering vast new possibilities. Acknowledge the fear but remind yourself that you can, and you will do what needs to be done. People achieve great things when they move past their fears.
5. Stay Positive and Choose to Be Surrounded by Positive
Surround yourself with believers. Talk to family and friends who always share positive reinforcement. This will help you remember that you are worth it and that you will do your best no matter the outcome. Think positive thoughts and talk positive words which bolster your confidence and your self-image.
6. Forgive Yourself for Your Perceived Failures
Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves for what we presume to be our failures. We beat ourselves down and don’t give ourselves another chance lest we fail again. Be brave enough to attempt once more what you didn’t succeed at. Be strong enough to accept that somethings can take more than just a single valiant attempt to crack. There are times when you are so close to success when you give up, but you wouldn’t know because you didn’t try again.
7. Meditate to Calm Your Mind
Meditation is a powerful tool that helps channelise your inner and outer energies. It can align the sub-conscious with what the conscious mind wants and help your body to be aligned to achieving it too. Use videos and podcasts specifically made for self-doubt meditation purposes to guide you until you can do it on your own.
8. Use Body language to Your Advantage
Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are deeply connected. If you slouch and frown, reading happy news could also be off-putting, and you will feel negative. Likewise, if you have a positive feeling, then the thoughts that accompany will be strong and healthy, and so will the consequent action or behaviour. So stand tall, straighten your shoulders and put those hands on your hips and say, I can do this.
9. Remember Each Adversity That You Lived through Successfully
Talk to yourself about all your lowest points in life and how you managed to sail through them. Remind yourself that you are a survivor and that you have managed to get past severe adversities to make it up to now and you will surely power through anything else that life throws at you.
10. Have a Learning Mindset
It is easy to have a mindset that is put off easily. It is much easier to give in that stay strong and fight. Remember, however, that if you switch to a learning mindset, then you will take feedback from every fall, not failure. You will give yourself credit for trying, working hard, and being in the game.
11. Reframe Your Confidence
Doubt is good, because it helps you ask the right questions and arrive at answers. Suspicion about your abilities is bad because it leads to sickness. Doubt yourself a little, but attempt everything anyway. Let not your self-doubt anxiety take away your confidence and charisma.
12. Read and Watch Powerful and Positive Material
Inspire yourself with success stories of common people. Surround yourself with books and videos that tell tales of ordinary people who achieved extraordinary feats. Such material can give you a positive boost and get your adrenaline rushing to conquer your fears.
It is easy to create a self-imposed prison through fear and lack of confidence. What is tough is, breaking out of your shackles and reaching for the stars. You may fall in the process, but dust the mud off and fly again.