Self-doubt steals more joy and dreams than failure ever will.
Today I want to talk about self-doubt because it is a destructive trait. There’s no way to sugar-coat it or dress it up. It’s the epicentre of negativity and fear to me.
Self-doubt is the lack of confidence about one’s own abilities and actions.
Examples of self doubt:
- “What if I’m not good enough?”
- “What if I don’t succeed?”
- “I’m too old to be starting something new anyway”
- “It’s never going to work”
- “Things never work for me”
- “I’ve done something similar before and failed, why would it be different now?”
- “I can’t do it.”
If I carried on writing, you would be reading this forever.
Self-doubt stops you from seizing opportunities because you fear you’re not good enough and feel inadequate to the task. Sometimes, it prevents you from even starting a task because you fear failure and think trying is a waste of time. At times you’ll be happy and motivated while working towards something then your critical inner voice kicks in and the doubt starts speaking.
So a few weeks ago, I was thinking about one of the goals I set myself and I was happy and motivated, until the self-doubt kicked in. “Can you really do this? Is it even achievable ? You’ve failed at something similar before, why would it work now? Am I good enough?” after this array of questions I started questioning myself and my abilities, wondering if I was right. “The odds are stacked up against me so why would it be different now ?” So I stopped working towards it for a while which was counterproductive. I was genuinely sad and stressed for a while, doing nothing and wasting my time as the self doubt grew and grew, until I spoke to my mum, re-read my accountability and consistency posts. This reminded me what exactly I wanted and the actions I had to take to get there so I started working again.
Before I started this blog I would have had to force myself to start doing things again because life doesn’t stop for me, shocking I know. Other ways I tried to stop self-doubt are:
- When self-doubt comes I try to disrupt and distract the thought pattern by thinking of something that makes me happy e.g a holiday, what I’m going to eat for dinner or when I’m next going to see my family.
- I questioned my doubt and asked myself what am I genuinely afraid of, why I am so insecure about this?
- I asked my loved ones for advice and told them how I was feeling.
- I tried to stop seeing things as insurmountable because other people have achieved the same things I wanted to but they didn’t have two heads so why should I be worried?
- I stopped letting doubt stop me from starting things because I realized it was counter-productive. There’s no harm in trying, there is harm in not trying at all.
- I had to remind myself why I was doing things and the benefits of it, not how I was going to achieve it because that’s when I started questioning myself. Obviously you need to know the steps of what you want to do (assuming it’s been done before) but when I started thinking about how I was going to do these things (when I already knew the steps) I somehow talked myself out of doing them. “How will this work? How long will it take?” etc . etc
- I stopped thinking “Can I?” and changed it to “I CAN!” It sounds really cheesy but positive thinking does wonders for your mental health and how you perceive yourself.
- I focused on the past success in my life, the times that truly made me happy because obviously I did something right there which helped me believe in myself more.
Everyone questions themselves from time to time it’s normal. However, what’s not normal is when your doubt stops you from doing most things because you’re scared of the outcome. Just remember self-belief is more powerful than your doubt will ever be.