I think it’s safe to say that most of us at some point in our life have had to deal with self-doubt. Sometimes the reasons behind our self-doubts are easy to pin down, while other times we struggle to figure out what’s causing the self-doubt. I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will”. Self-doubt can stop us from applying to a dream job, approaching a potential mate or even starting a new project. So why do we doubt ourselves? What makes us doubt that we’re capable of completing or achieving something? Some people may say that it has to do with a lack of self-esteem, while others may say it has to do with not having the skills we think we need to accomplish the task. Some would even go as far as to say that we develop self-doubt after we fail at something. In any case, self-doubt has a way of causing us to limit ourselves. Sometimes we may struggle with not focusing on our failures and regrets. Thinking negatively about ourselves and our past mistakes, can become automatic and cause us to feel stuck or unable to move forward. It’s good to remember that self-doubt and negative thoughts, can be combated by being curious about what’s happening internally, and by focusing on positive thoughts and outcomes. If you’re struggling with self-doubt, ask yourself “what is it that I’m scared of?” And “what will I miss out on if I allow doubt to stop me from having _____?” It can be helpful to think about the many good things you’ll gain from not allowing self-doubt to stop you. Additionally, I think it can be helpful to also ask yourself when you feel self-doubt creeping in, “am I sabotaging myself and if so, what will I get out of it?” Sometimes change can be so scary that we allow self-doubt to stop us, so that we can remain in a place that feels safe (because it’s familiar and we know what to expect) even though we’re unhappy.
In moments of self-doubt, try to also focus on the many successes you’ve had throughout your lifetime. I bet there are many amazing things you do each and every day that requires a lot from you, whether it’s raising children, dealing with stress at work, supporting friends and family or participating in physical activity. Self-doubt doesn’t have to rule your life. Through curiosity, reflecting on our past successes, and the benefits of what we’ll gain if we don’t allow self-doubt to stop us, we can achieve whatever it is that we desire.
Photo By Redd Angelo
Christina is a Psychotherapist in private practice in Oakland California.