Self-doubts are lousy traitors. They keep you from pursuing your goals, accepting challenges and being confident in dealing with other people.
Does this negative voice appear familiar to you in your head?
- I’m just not good enough.
- I definitely can’t do it.
Everyone else is better, smarter and more attractive than me!
Who am I to be allowed to do that?
These and other self-doubts make life difficult for you.
For this reason, in this article, you will learn 9 simple but effective tips to overcome your self-doubts.
But before that, let’s quickly see what 4 types of self-doubt there are.
4 TYPES OF SELF-DOUBT
First of all: what are self-doubts?
Self-doubt is a lack of trust in yourself and your abilities. You believe that you cannot do something, that you are not good enough, or that others are better than you.
These and similar doubts have a negative impact on your relationships, your job and your self-image.
There are different ways of thinking and behaviour that lead to self-doubt. These are the 4 most common.
The more you say something to yourself, the more it becomes a belief.
If you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something, won’t do it, or just can’t do it, these thoughts will eventually become your reality.
In psychology, therefore, one speaks of the self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you think you can’t or won’t do something, don’t try it or try less.
Of course, this means you will achieve less and your self-doubts will be confirmed.
A vicious circle.
Many people fear failure. As a result, they sabotage themselves to have a good excuse for their failure.
For example, if you don’t prepare for an exam or interview, you have an excuse in case you fail. However, if you had prepared yourself and then failed, you would have to deal with this defeat – and that is exactly what many people cannot do.
Self-sabotaging means that you don’t give everything. You always stay below your possibilities and never use your full potential. It’s like driving your car in first and second gear only.
Typical examples of self-sabotage are procrastination, giving up early and internal blockages.
Lack of Self-Acceptance
Are you familiar with that?
- No matter what you do or achieve, you never feel good enough?
- Do you judge yourself for your mistakes and failures?
- Do you think everyone else is better than you?
A lack of self-acceptance automatically leads to self-doubt. It is difficult for you to forgive yourself for mistakes, you need confirmation from others and you are not aware of your own strengths and successes.
The Imposter Syndrome
The imposter syndrome is closely related to self-doubt. It describes the unfounded feeling of not having earned something.
Maybe you think it’s only a matter of time before others realize who you really are. Or you tell yourself that your success is based only on luck and not on your efforts. Or worse, you sabotage your success because you think you didn’t deserve it.
The imposter syndrome is self-doubt on steroids.
How do you overcome your self-doubts? 9 Tips to follow
Self-doubt leads to insecurity, fear and inferiority complexes. They rob you of your motivation, your self-confidence and your courage. It’s like tying both shoes together and then trying to run a marathon.
Below you will find 9 effective tips for overcoming your self-doubts.
1. Failures are just feedback
People often experience self-doubt because of they:
a) Have failed in the past, or
b) Are afraid of making mistakes.
Many self-doubts are caused by fear of failure. If you want to avoid failure at all costs, you will become extremely insecure. You rethink and over-analyze everything, are paralyzed with fear and your self-doubts eat you up.
The point is this: no matter how you act, failures are part of life, like the false promises of politics. You will always fail, make mistakes or be rejected.
Therefore, you should consider failure as feedback.
If you fail, it does not mean that you are a failure, unable to do it and that everyone else is better than you. It just means that the way you have tried did not work.
So learn from your mistakes and try a new strategy, method or idea.
The moment you see failure as feedback, you also overcome many of your self-doubts.
Thomas Edison – the inventor of the light bulb – took thousands of tries to finally make his invention work.
What did he say about his failures?
“I didn’t fail. I only found 10,000 ways that don’t work. ”
2. Learn to stop the inner voice
You are not indiscriminately exposed to your thoughts. You cannot control 100%, but you have an influence on them.
So the next time your inner critic begins to doubt and unsettle you, react to it. Instead of your self-doubts getting stronger and letting you control yourself, interrupt them.
For example, you can mentally say: Stop! These self-doubts don’t get me any further. We will now go in a different direction.
This will break through your self-doubts and negative thoughts. Then try to direct your thoughts in a positive or at least neutral direction by taking a different perspective or remembering past successes.
3. Focus on positive experiences
People with strong self-doubts often cannot remember that they were valuable and successful. When they think of the past, they often only remember the situations and moments when they failed or felt unsafe.
If you remember the past 2 weeks, you will have positive and negative memories. Perhaps there tended to be more negative than positive, but certainly, not everything was bad.
So concentrate on all the positive experiences – with your fellow human beings, at work or in relation to your personal goals.
- Did a friend write to you to explore how you are doing?
- Did you finish a project on time at work?
- Did you overcome yourself and do sports, learn Spanish or tidy up your apartment?
We often overlook all the positive experiences and small successes that we experience and only see everything that is not going so well.
So focus on the positive experiences. You will see that there are many more than you previously knew.
Making you aware of this, again and again, strengthens your self-esteem and self-confidence.
4. Develop a growth mindset
One of the major causes of self-doubt is what is called a “rigid mindset” in psychology.
A rigid mindset is based on the belief that your abilities cannot be changed. So you think you can do something naturally or not.
With this belief, you are extremely unsettled when you are not good at something or try something for the first time.
You also believe that someone who can do something better than you are simply more confident or intelligent.
The opposite of a “rigid mindset” is the growth mindset. The mindset is based on the belief that you can learn (almost) everything with enough practice. With this mindset, you develop healthy self-confidence and can defeat many self-doubts.
5. Selective focus
People with great self-doubt focus primarily on their weaknesses. So above all, you see the characteristics and habits in yourself that are not so great:
- I am so shy when dealing with people I don’t know.
- At weekends I’m always so lazy and don’t do anything.
- I just haven’t been able to lose weight for years.
I hardly know anybody who’s doing everything the way he imagines. We could always improve something about ourselves or our lives.
If you only focus on what you don’t like, you are unsettled and develop low self-esteem.
If you want to overcome your self-doubt, focus on your positive sides and strengths.
For example, instead of constantly criticizing yourself for being shy, be proud that you can listen well.
It’s not about making things nice to yourself or ignoring the problems in your life. Rather, it is about just making yourself aware that you also have many positive sides and many strengths – you may not have noticed them until now.
6. Don’t rethink everything
Self-doubts often arise because we rethink things:
- Should I really go on a date?
- What happens if I move to another city and I don’t like it?
- Should I prepare the PowerPoint presentation on a white or light blue background? Or would you prefer a light gray?
If you are someone who thinks too much, over-analyzes and prefers to look into the future with a crystal ball: You will only find out a lot of things when you do them.
Instead of thinking forever, come into action. As a result, many self-doubts actually vanish.
Also, be aware that most of your decisions are not forever. If you have decided on something and you do not like it, you can change the path in most cases again.
7. Improve your skills
Are there specific situations in which you are particularly unsure?
- At work meetings?
- In stressful situations?
- At social events?
- In exams?
Then try to improve your skills for these specific situations.
For example, you can work very specifically to appear more relaxed and confident in social situations.
For example, think about how you can react to certain questions. Or stand in front of the mirror and work on your posture to appear more confident.
There are a lot of little things you can do to get more confidence in certain situations.
8. Don’t get lost in the bogus social media world
When you scroll down your social media feed, everyone else seems to be living a fantastic life.
While you are doing a boring job and have already failed on a diet, others have just married their dream partner, are doing a yoga retreat in Bali, showing their new sport’s car or have become a Bitcoin millionaire.
Social media is a small excerpt of the best of the best from other people’s lives. Comparing yourself to this is a guarantee of self-doubt and feelings of inferiority.
So be aware that what you see on social media is not the reality. It is often just an inflated, retouched and flipped mini cutout from the life of others.
9. Face your self-doubt
Some time ago I was having dinner with a good friend.
He told me that he had always doubted himself in his life. At first, he doubted whether he will be accepted for medical studies. Then whether he can complete his medical studies. And afterwards, he doubted whether he could start his own business after completing his studies.
In the end, he often doubted himself, but he always faced his doubts – and won.
Self-doubt is a natural emotion. Most successful people have self-doubt. But they don’t let them stop them.
Be aware of the following: Self-doubt is only a problem if you let them stop you.
If you face your self-doubt and do what you set out to do, they can’t stop you.
As they say: “Where there is fear, there is also the way.”
In most cases, the situations that scare us are much worse in our imagination than in reality. If you face your self-doubts and fears, you will usually notice that it is not that bad.
What causes self-doubt?
Most self-doubts arise from limiting beliefs.
So you think that you cannot do something, that you are not good enough, or that everyone else is better, more attractive and cleverer than you.
In order to doubt yourself and your abilities less, you have to change your beliefs.