Self-Doubt: Meaning, Signs, Causes & How To Overcome It

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Self-Doubt Tips On How To Overcome & Bloom in Life

The feeling of self-doubt is normal. All of us will feel insecure or have self-doubt now and then. You may have second thoughts about the decisions and actions you took.

Some may think they are not good enough or don’t deserve the good things happening in their life.

You experience self-doubt when you have no confidence or belief in yourself to do the necessary to achieve your goals. Individuals who suffer from self-doubt feel nervous or anxious when things don’t go as expected.

Self-doubt in moderation can be a motivating force. It shows that you recognize the required skills to achieve success in what you do. But, persistent self-doubt and fear may influence your life negatively, preventing you from realizing your potential.

In this article, we will share the importance of overcoming self-doubt and its common causes. You will also discover tips and techniques to help you conquer self-doubt.

What Is Self-Doubt?

It is natural to feel doubtful when dealing with new or tough circumstances. Self-doubt is defined as feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence in one or more parts of your identity.

Self-doubt is something that most of us will go through at some point. It’s a type of mentality that prevents you from attaining success and being confident in yourself.

Self-doubt can be caused by unpleasant events in the past or attachment-style issues. If someone important tells you that you are useless or unworthy of something good, it can significantly negatively impact your self-esteem and self-image.

We also face intense societal pressure to succeed in our careers, relationships, and life. Such pressure may be more detrimental than motivating for our mental well-being.

Why Is It Important To Overcome Self-Doubt?

Self-doubt tends to make you use your emotional state to justify a circumstance you are in.

You become skilled at coming up with explanations as to why the opportunity is not a suitable choice for you. Thus, making you miss out on many opportunities that can bring you to the next level or closer to your dreams.

Continuous and nagging self-doubt makes you feel fearful of everything. You may be terrified of failure, losing control, making mistakes, or taking on more than you believe you can manage.

Your biggest fear keeps you constantly in your comfort zone. It prevents you from making the critical decision you know you must make.

You fear showing love to others because you fear rejection or doubt that you have what it takes to love someone. You fear being generous because you are afraid of not having enough for yourself.

You are afraid of communicating your inner feelings and views because you fear being judged or appearing stupid.

Doubt breeds distrust and insecurity. These feelings manifest within you when you feel challenged or hurt by others. As a result, it makes you nervous, paranoid and suspicious of others.

Self-doubt is the nemesis of true happiness.

10 Benefits of Conquering Insecurity

  1. Motivate you to equip yourself with the necessary tools to hit your goals
  2. See things with an optimistic mindset and open your mind and heart to people around you
  3. Build confidence in yourself and others
  4. Willing to seek opportunities outside your comfort zone to improve yourself
  5. Actively ask for feedback and is comfortable with constructive criticism provided by others
  6. Unafraid to try out new ways of doing things and making mistakes
  7. Less prone to mental health issues such as panic attacks, anxiety, depression, etc.
  8. Push you to analyze outcomes, explore new strategies, and be willing to experiment with other alternatives to solve challenges
  9. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, you will focus on what went successfully and the positive things.
  10. Recognize and credit yourself for the hard effort you put in to achieve success and accept that setbacks due to external events are beyond your control

5 Most Common Causes of Self-Doubt

1. Past Experiences and Failures

Past experiences are likely to influence how you feel and react to things significantly. Your experiences mold you into who you are now and how you perceive people and the world around you. Many of us find it difficult to let go.

Past failures and disappointments might fill us with fear and self-doubt. This is especially true if you have had negative experiences, such as growing up in an abusive environment or getting dismissed from work without any valid reason.

Negative experiences will negatively impact your mental health if nothing is done to remedy them. Living in the past without learning from it is stopping you from achieving success in the future!

2. Childhood Upbringing

Your childhood environment has a large influence on your behaviors and personality. Suppose you were brought up by parents who punished you when you did something wrong or attended schools that overemphasized academic performance.

In that case, you may have fostered in yourself the habit of doubting yourself. Growing up in an unhealthy environment, such as bad parenting, may cause you to be extra careful about your decisions. You may be afraid of repeating your parents’ mistakes.

On the other hand, If your parents are selfish or arrogant, your behavior may swing towards the opposite end. As a result of your parent’s personalities, you may become overly humble or lack self-confidence.

You may doubt yourself before you do something. And it‘s difficult for you to accept compliments from others or acknowledge that you did a great job.

3. Comparisons With Others

It is normal for us to compare ourselves to others since we live in a competitive environment.

Perhaps you have friends who like to flaunt their wealth and luxurious life on Instagram. Or,  you have colleagues who compete for promotion in the workplace.

These comparisons make it simple for us to be envious of other people’s “perfect” lives or achievements. We may also feel that we aren’t performing as well as they are.

Comparing yourself to others will cause you to lose touch with your true self. You will waste your energy focusing on other people’s lives when the most important thing is how you live your own.

4. New Challenges

Uncertainty over what to do when confronted with a new challenge is common. One explanation for this is that you have no prior understanding or experience dealing with it.

You’re also unsure of how to proceed to resolve the matter. You may feel insecure due to your uncertainty and uneasiness about the situation.

5. Fear of Failure / Fear of Success

The fear of failing or making mistakes is as real as failing to reproduce our previous triumphs. If you are overwhelmed with doubt, you may believe that luck rather than skill has brought you this far.

Both fears of failure and success can prevent you from realizing your highest potential.

Techniques & Tips That Will Help You Overcome Self-Doubt And Overthinking

1. Remember Your Previous Successes

Do you recall when you were afraid to do something, but it turned out to be a great success? It’s a great chance to reflect on your accomplishments in which you transformed something difficult into something wonderful.

Take a look around you. The internet, smartphones, electric cars, etc., are examples of human greatest achievements that sprang from initial uncertainty or skepticism.

So, we must remember even the little achievements we achieved in our life. These successes serve as a powerful reminder that the same thing can happen again whenever we feel doubt or fear.

On the other hand, it’s essential not to dwell too much on the failures we experienced in the past. Even when things aren’t going well, realize that the present moment offers you a new chance to succeed.

2. Take a Break and Get a Boost of Optimism

The longer we are trapped in a place or feeling, the more difficult it is to break free from it.

Simply schedule some time off to unwind and redirect your attention to something else. It could be watching your favorite TV show, spending quality time with your partner or doing your favorite hobby.

Knowing how to distract yourself in these instances allows you to clear your negative thoughts. It allows you to look at things from a new and different angle.

If you need an optimism boost, consider journaling or writing down things you’re thankful for. Directing your thoughts toward gratitude will change your mindset into a more positive one.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

Don’t be frightened to seek assistance. It is advisable to seek help from people around you, such as family and friends. Receiving guidance and support from others may boost your self-esteem and help you overcome your fears.

If you realize that your fear stems from deep within you, such as childhood trauma or traumatic experiences, you are responsible for healing and recovering from it to lead a meaningful life.

Consult a therapist or psychiatrist for help. This step is extremely crucial if you discover that your insecurities are severe and affecting your daily functioning.

Therapy can help you feel heard and provide intervention tools to overcome your insecurities or self-doubts.

4. Be Mindful of The Way You Think

It’s difficult to notice your negative thoughts and emotions when you have grown accustomed to them. Imposter syndrome feeds on your self-doubts.

You may believe that you are undeserving of the success you achieved or incapable of doing a good job.

Pause for a moment when these negative thoughts arise. Spend a few minutes questioning yourself about these thoughts. Are they true? What is the evidence to show that the thoughts are true?

Set the intention to change your thoughts from negative to positive. Focus on the positive things that happened to you. Doing so will help change your general outlook on everything and become more confident in yourself.

5. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness exercises can help you concentrate and be conscious of how you feel in the present moment without passing judgment.

Mindfulness practices that you may include in your everyday routine include meditation and journaling. Mindful journaling enables you to let go of the urge to judge yourself. It also allows you to reflect on your behaviors and feelings.

Writing down your doubts and fears can be a therapeutic exercise. After writing them down, you could even discover that your concerns may not be as significant as you thought.

This exercise can assist you in gradually overcoming your self-doubt.

6. Avoid Making Excuses

Self-doubt frequently makes us interpret a situation to match our psychological state. It could be that we are scared of making mistakes, leaving a bad impression, or failing.

We tend to come up with excuses to avoid opportunities if we think they are unsuitable. Or make excuses to avoid what we need to do to prevent our fears from becoming a reality.

Start by thinking about the past opportunities that you rejected. What justifications or excuses did you make to convince yourself to reject it?

How did you come up with those justifications? Was it because you are afraid of something or for some valid reasons? Remember that excuses are mental barriers that we create to keep ourselves from moving forward.

7. Raise Your Self-Awareness

One of the most effective self-improvement tools at your disposal is self-awareness. Use your self-awareness to identify the underlying causes of your self-doubt. What circumstances make you start doubting yourself?

Is it because you lack the necessary skills in a certain area? If yes, you can start planning small actionable steps to improve the skill. Most of the things you don’t know or are uncomfortable with can be learned.

And there are many resources you can make use of to help you. It could be hiring a coach, attending an online course, getting advice from a friend or colleague, etc.

8. Practice Self-Compassion

Most of us are capable of expressing compassion to others. However, not many people can control their self-doubt with self-compassion. Self-compassion is as simple as being kind to yourself.

According to research, self-compassion is associated with positive mental health benefits, such as lower anxiety, increased life satisfaction and improved self-esteem.

Self-compassion also fosters emotional resiliency. To become more self-compassionate, observe and recognize your fear. Pay attention to fears brought by your critical or judgmental self.

Remind yourself that nothing in this world is perfect, including you. It is all part of our collective human experience.

7 Inspiring Quotes That Can Help When You Feel Insecure and Self-Doubt

  1. “You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” — Louise L. Hay
  2. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” — Norman Vincent Peale
  3. “The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.” — Elbert Hubbard
  4. “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” — Carrie Fisher
  5. “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” — Suzy Kassem
  6. “When you realize your own insecurity, and you embrace it, it’s such an incredible self-realization, and it’s such an incredible journey.” — Sue Bryce
  7. “Never be afraid of failure or disappointment, because those are just temporary experiences on the path to your dreams coming true.” — Doreen Virtue

Self-Doubt FAQ

What are self-doubt examples?

Some examples of self-doubt include not trusting the decisions you made in a situation, afraid of speaking up because you think they are not good enough.

Individuals with self-doubt are usually unsatisfied with the work they do. When things go bad, they are their worst critic.

Or, if they don’t have the confidence or fear of doing something, they procrastinate.

How do I get rid of self-doubt?

There are several tips and techniques to help you get rid of self-doubt:

  • It’s important to remember the achievements you achieved in your life
  • It’s essential not to dwell too much on the failures we experienced in the past
  • Practice self-awareness to help you identify the underlying causes of your self-doubt and develop plans to overcome them
  • Learn to be compassionate to yourself, especially when you fear or doubt yourself

What are signs of self-doubt?

Signs of self-doubt include making you feel fearful of everything. You may be terrified of failure, losing control, making mistakes, or taking on more than you believe you can manage.

It prevents you from making the critical decision you know you must make. Doubt breeds distrust and insecurity.

These feelings manifest within you when you feel challenged or hurt by others. As a result, it makes you nervous, paranoid and suspicious of others.

What is self-doubt called?

Self-doubt is defined as feelings of insecurity and lack of confidence in one or more parts of your identity.

Self-doubt is something that most of us will go through at some point. It’s a type of mentality that prevents you from attaining success and being confident in yourself.

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