Sometimes, the voices in our heads are our friends and sometimes they are not. Often times, our friends weigh in on a decision you are making and their comments might make you happy or have you question everything. We all experience feelings of self-doubt from time to time, whether we’re starting a new job, taking a test in school, or playing a sport. That’s completely normal. The definition of self-doubt is experiencing feelings of uncertainty about one or more aspects of yourself or decisions you are making. Is self-doubt bad? Maybe not.
A certain low level of self-criticism can be a good source of motivation. It may inspire you to work harder and hone your skills to increase your confidence. But too much doubt and fear can hold you from performing well and reaching your full potential. At the core of too much self-doubt is a lack of confidence regarding yourself and your abilities. And it is directly correlated to your mindset, which hopefully is a growth mindset believing you can learn what you need to learn to be successful. But if you have a fixed mindset, then that holds you back from succeeding and believing in yourself.
Even the most successful people have self-doubt. Here is a quote from a forner high performing athlete. “I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” Kobe Bryant
In order to control your self-doubt, you have to build your confidence in yourself. Here are some insights that might help you on your journey.
Be kind to yourself. Self-doubt means that you’re holding yourself back. It arises from the fear of making a mistake, but mistakes are how we grow and improve our own abilities. Look at yourself in the mirror and say three positive things at the beginning of every day.
Past achievements are your friend. When we make a mistake, too often we just dwell on it as if it defines us. Take a moment to self-reflect as it reminds us that we’re capable of what we want to achieve. You have had accomplishments in the past and will do so again. Learn from what’s happened; don’t dwell on the bad, and focus instead on the lessons you’ve learned is what truly matters.
It’s not a competition. In your life and career, you are not so much competing against others than you are yourself. Self-doubt can arise when you measure yourself up against a family member, co-worker, or even a celebrity. Everyone’s life is different, and someone else excelling doesn’t mean you won’t succeed. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on improving yourself to be the best version of you.
Don’t hang with haters. Being around people who criticize or put you down is one of the worst things for your mental health. Some people won’t support you, but others absolutely will. Spend your time with people who make you feel good about yourself; they will be there to build you up when you’re struggling,
Seek help from experts. In today’s mental health environment, quite a few people think they just have to figure it and not ask for help as it’s a sign of weakness. Not true. Asking for help takes courage. It’s okay to ask for help, especially if self-doubt is a persistent obstacle that you’re facing. Talking about our feelings and insecurities with others allows us to relieve some pressure and perhaps learn from others.
Beware your thoughts. It’s okay to have thoughts about anything. Everyone has them. But your thoughts are not your life. You aren’t your thoughts. If you have negative thoughts, question how accurate or helpful they are. Negative thinking can form into a mental habit that can consume you more than it should. Rather than focusing on any failure, just tell yourself “not yet”, work the process, believe in a growth mindset and have thoughts where you imagine the successful person you can be.