Karen writes at A Meaningful Existence, a blog devoted to helping others put meaning into their existence through practical personal development strategies. You can subscribe to her RSS Feed and also find her on Twitter at @kruby.
When James first proposed adding me to his new team of writers, I was flattered, but then I got scared. A whole pile of self-doubt landed on me. What if I couldn’t commit to writing a quality article every Monday, after all I have my own site to worry about? What if no one liked my writing and I didn’t get any comments? How embarrassing would that be? I’d start off the week and let all the other guest writers (and James!) down. We’re trying to build momentum for the week, but if I bombed on the first day, what would that say about me? I would let everyone down, particularly myself. But, then I started thinking of various ways that I could kill my self-doubt. Since you’re reading this article, I guess I must have overcome my fears and accepted the challenge of guest writing here every Monday.
Here are 10 Ways That You Can Use To Stop Doubting Yourself
1. Know that you are not alone.
When we’re doubting our self and our abilities, it may seem like we’re all alone. It looks like everyone else in the world has it all figured out. Look at them, enjoying success after success. It looks so effortless for everyone else, except for us. Why are we the only ones struggling? Why can’t I seem to make any good decisions in my life? Am I the only one who seems to be screwing up all the time?
I’m sure that everyone can relate to those moments.
And, that’s the important part to remember – these are all fallacies. No one has everything figured out. We all make mistakes and make poor decisions at various times in our lives. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done in your life. Every human being has moments of doubts and feelings of insecurity. Just knowing that everyone else is scared some of the time and doesn’t know what to do, can make you feel better about your own fears.
Unless you can see into the future (you can’t, can you? if so, let me know tonight’s lottery numbers and I’ll split the winnings with you), you’re just like everyone else. We’re all just trying their best to make the most of our lives. Some days are better than others and some days are worse. Sometimes we feel confident and ready to conquer the world and sometimes we don’t feel like getting out of bed in the morning. Just knowing that other people feel the same doubts as we do helps put it all into perspective.
Remember that you are not infallible, and neither is anyone else.
2. Look to your past for accomplishments.
Reflect on your life. What are you most proud of? What accomplishments have you done in your life that you can point to and say – “I did that. Little ole me did that!”.
Writing down a list of your accomplishments or your most proud moments is a great resource to have when you are full of self-doubt. Refer to the list when you are feeling particularly down and need a pick-me-up. Know that if you were able to accomplish something in your life, so you can do it again. Start adding to the list and keep adding to it anything that you are proud of.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any big audacious accomplishments listed. Are you proud that you finished your high-school education? Add that to your list. Did you accomplish everything at work this week? Then add that to the list. Remember, that this is personal list that no one else has to see.
Re-read the list when you think that you’ll never get past your feelings of self-doubt. If you did something to be proud of in the past, know that you can do it again in the future. This will boost your confidence and your belief that if you are somebody to be proud of.
3. Use the power of visualization to crush your self-doubt.
Visualization is a powerful technique which can literally transform your life.
In particular moments of self-doubt, I like to picture myself fearless doing whatever I need to do to push past that which is causing me resistance. Sometimes, I visualize myself as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider which makes me feel 10-feet tall. Boy, can she kick-butt! Nothings going to stop her from going after what she wants. I ask myself – “What would Lara do in this situation?” If she can do it, then so can I!
You can visualize yourself or anyone else and play out in your mind how they would react. Pick a super-hero, if you have problems picturing yourself acting confidently. Keep practicing what you would say, how you would feel, and what you would do in certain situations and then let the feelings of confidence wash over you.
Keep visualizing the very best outcome for whatever situation that you are having self-doubts about and soon you will it make that success a reality.
4. Let go of your expectations.
A lot of self-doubt comes from our expectations of ourselves and of others. If you are expecting everything in your life to go smoothly and not to make any mistakes, well you’ll be in for a rude awakening.
When things go differently than what you expected, it can cause you to doubt yourself. For instance, you asked out that girl and and you expected her to say Yes, but instead she said No. You thought you nailed the interview and got the job but they haven’t called you back. You submitted what you thought was a killer guest-post that would send thousands of readers your way and instead it got rejected.
Examine your expectations in these situations and see if there are possible explanations for each outcome. Maybe it’s not you – the girl already has a boyfriend, the HR person is on vacation for two weeks and hasn’t called any candidates back, or your guest-post was on a similar topic as one they posted last week.
When we let go of our expectations, we allow things to happen naturally. You’re separating your feelings of expectations (and possible disappointment) from the actual situation. Let go of your expectation and accept things as they come. Maybe things will turn out to be better than what you expected.
5. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you.
Human beings are social creatures. We all crave acceptance, especially by people we love. Ensure that you are around people who unconditionally love you and with whom you love. There’s nothing like being with people who accept you for who you are to build up your confidence.
Talk to people who have your best interests at heart. Use them as sounding boards for when you are experiencing self-doubt. Let them know that you are scared.
Of course, you have to be wary of pessimistic people in your life. If they bring you down and worsen your self-doubt, spend time with those who love you and provide you with positive re-enforcement.
No one wants to be with people who make you feel worse about yourself. So, limit your time with those negative people and spend time with people who love you for who you are, warts and all.
6. Stop comparing yourself to others.
This is another way that feeds into our self-doubt. We look around at others and think that they are better than us.
Jane has more Twitter followers as me. John has so many Facebook friends and is so popular. Look at how much Joan is making on her blog and she’s only been writing for four months while I’ve been writing for four years! What’s wrong with me? I’ll never figure this out!
Just stop it. Stop comparing yourself to other people. No good can come of it. Besides, most of the time it’s an illusion. People only tweet about the good stuff in their lives. No one wants to tell you that they had another rotten day and that nothing exciting ever happens in their lives. They boost up the one interesting tidbit in their lives in an attempt to make themselves feel better and to make you feel worse about your own life.
All those Facebook friends aren’t really friends, either. How close can you be to hundreds (or thousands) of people? Oh, and all that money that Joan said she was making, well she lied.
Don’t believe everything people tell you or what you read on the Internet.
7. Just Do It.
Sometimes you just have to scream louder than that little voice in our heads that are saying that we can’t do something or are not good enough. Tell that little voice to STFU and then just do what you would do if you didn’t have any self-doubt and were overflowing with confidence.
Don’t over-think things.
Just Do It. Use this as your mantra every time you are paralyzed with self-doubt. It will get you unstuck and build momentum to keep you moving forward in life. Do your best in each situation, but remember to Just Do It. It doesn’t have to be perfect. No one is perfect all of the time.
Get on with life. Stop letting your feelings of self-doubt keep you from enjoying everything that life has to offer.
8. Read great books.
Filled with self-doubt? One of the best ways to overcome it is to read uplifting and inspirational books, particularly autobiographies. Read the books of people who have overcome so much in life, despite their doubts.
Listen, everyone has struggles to overcome. There’s not one person on the planet who hasn’t made mistakes and who hasn’t failed in some thing.
Some of the most famous people in the world have not let their self-doubt stop them from living meaningful lives. If they can do it, then so can you.
There’s the saying that you are the same person five years from now, except for the people you meet and the books you read. Make a plan today to start reading great autobiographies of people who have inspirational stories and you won’t recognize yourself 5 weeks from now, never mind 5 years.
9. Ask great questions.
Start asking yourself some great questions, such as:
What’s the worst that could happen? If the worst case scenario happened, could I handle it? How likely is the worst-case scenario to happen? Is it a realistic outcome?
Is this problem that I’m experiencing all encompassing or is it in one area in my life?
Are there any areas that I feel super-confident in? Can I use some of that feeling in other parts of my life where I’m feeling some self-doubt?
What’s the best possible outcome of this situation and how can I make sure that this happens?
What do I need to do to solve this issue?
What would Lara Croft do in this situation?
Just by using the logical part of our mind, we can activate our reasoning power. This is another great way that we can get unstuck and start moving past our self-doubts.
10. Ask for help.
There’s no shame in asking for help. It’s a sign of strength to know that you need help and you reach out for it. Ask other people for help when you are feeling too much pressure and are feeling overwhelmed by your self-doubt.
If self-doubt has been an all-encompassing issue in your life for many years, then gather your courage and seek professional help. It’s normal to have doubts about yourself and your abilities, but if it’s affecting everything in your life, then you need to talk to someone who has the experience and the tools to help you.
Know that it doesn’t have to be forever, either. Just a few sessions with a trained therapist can work wonders. Then you can move past yours self-doubts and get on with your life.
I hope some of these 10 ways of overcoming your self-doubt has helped. What other way have you personally used to overcome your own feelings of self-doubt. Share with us!
Karen writes at A Meaningful Existence http://www.ameaningfulexistence.com/ , a blog devoted to helping others put meaning into their existence through practical personal development strategies. You can subscribe to her RSS Feed http://feeds.feedburner.com/AMeaningfulExistence and also find her on Twitter at @kruby http://twitter.com/kruby .