We’ve all wondered whether we’re doing the right thing, whether we’re capable of a task given to us or whether we’re the kind of person that others will like. Many people experience doubts every now and then, but sometimes doubt takes over and starts to control our lives.
Have you ever found yourself missing out on social opportunities because you didn’t feel like you would fit in? Or given up on a new hobby because you felt incompetent? Many people also feel an overwhelming sense of self-doubt at work, leading to low confidence and poor performance.
If you’ve noticed that self-doubt is holding you back in life, the good news is that you can conquer the uncertainty you’ve been feeling. There are concrete steps you can take to overcome self-doubt so you can do the things you want to do and feel comfortable in your own skin.
Self-doubt can be described as a lack of faith in oneself. This lack of confidence can pertain to your ability to accomplish tasks, meet goals, socialize, learn new skills and so on. Most self-doubt definitions also define this thought pattern as damaging to one’s self-perception, making someone feel unworthy or unlovable.
Self-doubt can happen to anyone, and learning how to overcome self-doubt takes hard work and patience. Leaving self-doubt unaddressed, however, is much more detrimental to your mental health and happiness than putting in the effort to conquer it.
When self-doubt takes over, it affects every area of someone’s life. Here are some symptoms when self-doubt has taken the reigns and it’s time to seek counseling.
- You avoid social situations
- You have extreme anxiety or stress regarding work performance tasks (like turning in a project or having a presentation)
- You regularly think negative thoughts about your abilities and appearance
- You compare yourself to others
- You self-isolate to avoid feeling poorly about yourself
- You struggle to start tasks due to fear of failure
- You have a hopeless outlook on the future
- You struggle to make decisions and “over-think” things regularly
- You feel like you are an imposter and people will find out that you are incapable
- You abandon plans and goals for the future
- You set low standards for yourself
- You accredit your successes to chance or minimize them
- You dismiss compliments
- You avoid confrontation and blame yourself
- You struggle with feelings of guilt and shame
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, it’s likely self-doubt has kept you from living the life you want to live. Here’s what to do about it.
Tips to overcome self-doubt
Understand where your self-doubt came from
Self-doubt often has deep roots in childhood or early adulthood. It’s likely that several experiences contributed to a negative self-concept, but regardless of the source of self-doubt, understanding how your thoughts, feelings and actions affect your self-worth is important.
In order to get rid of the doubts that you face in your daily life, counseling will be important. You can explore your past in an in-depth way to discover the origin of your low confidence. Addressing those pain points will be critical to reinventing your thought patterns so you can have a healthy and reality-based self-perception.
2. Change negative thought patterns
Everyone has thought patterns that are less than helpful. Learning how to overcome self-doubt means that you’ll not only need to recognize those patterns but replace them with self-affirming ones.
Maybe you’ve struggled to trust your judgment after a poor decision about something major, or you’ve struggled to feel worthy of affection after a relationship went sour. While self-doubt is a general term, there are many forms. Realizing the specific doubts you have can help you confront them head-on and exchange them for level self-talk.
3. Notice your own accomplishments
When self-doubt is in the driver’s seat in your life it’s likely that you’ve developed a pattern of dismissing your own accomplishments or writing them off as random chance or good timing. It’s likely that your accomplishments make you feel like a fake.
Sometimes things align perfectly in our lives, but there’s still hard work involved in the goals you’ve achieved. Analyzing your accomplishments through an objective and practical lens (often through the eyes of a counselor or friend) can help you see clearly that your hard work, time and dedication are what got you where you are.
4. Examine your goals
Once self-doubt takes hold, your thoughts about the future change. You may have decreased the ambition of your goals or given up on them altogether. Your childhood ambitions, plans after high school or career aspirations are shoved aside and stamped “impossible.”
When you’re healing from self-doubt, it’s important to see goals for yourself. Your new goals should be ambitious, achievable, timely and specific. Try using the SMART model to set goals
5. Accept some self-doubt
While we can try to eliminate negative self-talk, it will never be eradicated completely. At times we will always question ourselves and our judgment, and this self-reflection can sometimes be helpful. A healthy dose of self-doubt can keep us from becoming narcissistic.
6. Learn how to accept compliments
Small but critical skill in learning how to overcome self-doubt is learning how to accept compliments. It’s likely that you’ve been praised in social settings, work or daily life and succumbed to a pattern of dismissing or rationalizing the affirmations you’ve received. Healing from self-doubt means embracing those compliments and letting them sink in and grow your confidence.
7. Find healing with The Light Program
Don’t let damaging self-doubt steer your ship any longer. Take back control with the guidance of a mental health professional who can help you explore the origins of your self-doubt, change thought patterns and replace a negative self-perception with one based on reality.
Get the personalized help you need with the Light Program. Call today to schedule an appointment and find the mental freedom you’ve been looking for.