Have you felt incapable of doing the things you want to do? Have you experienced that feeling of being lost, like you’re uncertain of which direction in life you want to take? Chances are, you have. We doubt ourselves whenever we don’t feel confident enough about our capabilities and experiences. We often hear it as the voice that asks the dreaded “what ifs.”
To a certain extent, self-doubt is good in raising self-awareness. Because of it, we know what aspects of our lives we need to improve on.
Too much self-doubt, however, is unhealthy. Sadly, this is often the case for most people today as they try to keep up with peers, meet deadlines, and worry about their future.
How Self-Doubt Prevents Success
Picture this: you always wanted to write a book. So you pick up a pen or open the word processor to get started, and the doubt starts creeping in. You stop and start to question if you can even write at all.
“Can I even write a book?”
“What if no one reads it anyway?”
Self-doubt paralyzes us to the point that we can’t take the first step in achieving our dreams. Instead of being busy with our endeavours, we’re busy worrying and questioning ourselves. We often don’t realise just how much this consumes and wastes our precious time and energy.
And as we continue to think that we’re incapable or inadequate, we become convinced of these thoughts as the truth. Since we’re convinced that “we can’t,” we lose our drive and passion. We exert less effort and eventually lose the quality of our work. This is when self-doubt becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Our goals become harder to achieve as we wallow in our fears and uncertainties.
How to Overcome Self-Doubt
With self-doubt, we engage in procrastination, hesitation, and self-sabotaging just to avoid failure. These are very harmful behaviours and limit our full potential. Thankfully, there are simple but powerful ways to beat self-doubt.
1. Be kind to yourself
We hear this line on social media a lot. But what does it take to be truly kind to yourself? Accept your flaws with an understanding heart. This prevents you from judging yourself harshly and liberates you from the pressures of other people’s expectations. Then, you’ll be more open to change and improvement.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
Whoever you surround yourself with has a great impact on your self-esteem. A kind and supportive peer group will encourage you to take the great leap forward. They’ll also boost your self-worth and go out of their way to help you achieve your dreams.
3. Focus on your strengths
Your strengths will be your confidence booster. Be fully aware of the things you’re good at, and invest time and energy in honing them. When you focus on your strengths, you become less fearful because you know that you have what it takes to succeed.
4. Stop comparing yourself
Theodore Roosevelt once said that comparison is the thief of joy—and it truly is. It’s never fair to measure yourself against other people’s achievements. After all, each person is different and functions at their own pace. Instead, focus on your own journey and build the future you want to have.
5. Be aware of your thoughts
When negative thoughts start creeping in, take a moment to think if you really believe them. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by these thoughts. Aim for a more rational and calmer approach. Then, try to shift to a positive mindset, and make a conscious effort to stay in it.