I’m sure you didn’t expect me to congratulate you on this fact. But I want you to start with the thought that no matter how much self-doubt is holding you back, you have found something you care about.
If you didn’t care about the situation you’re in right now, which is making you doubt yourself so much, you wouldn’t even have searched and found this article.
So self-doubt isn’t all bad anyway, huh?
But I will be honest with you.
There aren’t a ton of good things to say about self-doubt.
Because for the most part, it is stopping us from the things we want to do in our lives.
So let’s talk about what you can do in those moments where your self-doubt shows up, so you can have various tools to move past it.
Ultimately, it is YOUR job to decide if you are going to let self-doubt stop you or not, and not the feelings of self-doubt itself that prevents you. I’ll explain further.
Why do we experience self-doubt?
Self-doubt is a continuous pattern of thoughts where you either criticize, judge and question your sense of worth or capabilities, and it is something every human being will face at some point in their life.
So good news, you’re not in any way facing something that those you might look up to or compare yourself to haven’t also faced on their journey.
But how unhealthy versus healthy these self-doubt feelings differ a lot depending on your childhood and upbringing.
You see, self-doubt is a very normal and human condition we all face.
Self-doubt makes us open to new perspectives, opinions and tells us that we might not know it all after all.
This is very useful to improve further and learn more about ourselves, our work and the world.
But there are times, where self-doubt becomes unhealthy. Often, this is due to past experiences or from our childhood, which instilled deep-rooted beliefs about ourselves, our capabilities and what we are worth.
You might have had past experiences of making a mistake that led to a level of fear in you of trying something in fear of it happening again.
Perhaps you might have had some bad experiences in school, with people, friends, or family that made you question yourself.
But there are also deeper rooted levels of self-doubt, like growing up with narcissistic parents, being in an emotionally abusive relationship, or having emotionally immature parents who might have denied your truth, experiences, and feelings when you expressed them.
These deeper-rooted levels of self-doubt might have led you to question yourself because you weren’t seen or validated for what you went through or felt.
So now you have the belief that you’re not good enough, capable enough or worthy enough because of someone else’s inability to see and value you for who you are.
So you see, self-doubt isn’t surface-level stuff.
It can go very deep and stem from your upbringing, trauma, or past experiences you’ve had.
So, how does self-doubt show up and hold us back?
How self-doubt holds us back
Self-doubt can show up in a variety of different ways in human behaviour. Here are some of the most significant ways that self-doubt holds us back and shows up in your life.
If you’ve ever felt like an imposter or like a fraud for doing or teaching something, then the root behind this is “just” self-doubt, and it can happen to the best of us!
(Yes, even Einstein has said that he thought his work got more recognition than he felt it deserved. I know… shocking!)
So if someone as brilliant as Einstein has those feelings, then you can tell that it can quite literally happen to anyone, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve won high prices, awards or gained incredible recognition for your work.
Imposter syndrome will make you second-guess yourself, push away your accomplishments for something outside of yourself and make you believe your work or what you accomplished wasn’t in alignment with what you feel worthy and capable of.
Self-sabotage shows up in numerous ways.
But mostly it is a behaviour we do to avoid or delay what we said out to do because we deep down don’t believe we are worthy of more.
This can show up as low-self esteem, negative self-talk and behaviours that either internally or externally prevent us from taking the steps we know we need to take to hit our goals. (such as listening to our inner critical thoughts or behaviours such as emotional eating, neglecting our health or doing something completely unrelated to your goals, i.e. procrastination)
Procrastination is an under-category to self-sabotage.
But the whole reason we self-sabotage and procrastination is due to our self-doubt that makes you engage in activities that sabotage your goals or are entirely unrelated to what will bring you closer to your dreams.
But sometimes, procrastination isn’t solely about doing the wrong actions. It can also be about failing to take action at all.
Again, it is something that happens to the best of us, because as we’ve all experienced in everyday life that sometimes cleaning those dishes seems to be better off by doing tomorrow and there is a very specific reason for that:
You see… The brain is always looking for the path of least resistance, and when we know something will demand more of us, the brain will try to help you find a way to avoid that discomfort – even if it’s beneficial for you in the long run.
So we end up procrastinating both on the smaller and bigger things and it is something we just have to work our way around to avoid falling into that trap.
The last point I want to make for you is about perfectionism.
Perfectionism is self-doubt disguised under the umbrella of procrastination and more self-sabotage that prevents us from taking the right actions that’ll propel us forwards on our dreams.
A big hurdle around perfectionism is the lack of being able to decide what to work on.
Even if you do get to a place of choosing what would be best to work on, you’ll likely end up finding yourself in a pile of overwhelm, anxiety and overworking yourself until you’ve perfected something that could never be perfect.
So that means that whatever you are trying to work on will probably never see the day of light, which won’t lead to achieving those big dreams you have for yourself.
So, to beat imposter syndrome, self-sabotage, procrastination and perfectionism, we need to work on the root of those problems; self-doubt, confidence issues, fears and the low self-esteem that makes us lean toward these behaviours.
So let’s talk about how we can handle the moments of self-doubt when they come up and what we can do to overcome them.
How to handle self-doubt
As Van Gogh once said:
If you hear a voice within you say ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”Van Gogh
Van Gogh had an excellent point in that.
Because self-doubt is nothing more than a fear trying to protect you.
But what you fear isn’t the truth. Remember that.
Let me repeat it; What you fear isn’t the truth (and thereby neither is your self-doubt)
Like I said earlier, it is merely just stories, experiences and beliefs you’ve picked up on as you grew up that now constantly run over in your head in an attempt to avoid those same experiences from happening again.
But ultimately, you can decide what it should be like to live in your head and what thoughts you choose to believe, i.e. choosing to believe what your worth is, what you are capable of achieving and whether or not those stories or experiences will run YOU or you will run THEM.
Here’s how you can work on it:
Build trust in yourself
Ultimately, the lack of self-belief that results in self-doubt is a sign of a lack of trust in yourself.
All of the points I’m giving below are ways to build self-confidence and trust in yourself again, so you can keep the doubt away or at least handle the situations when they arise.
Self-trust and confidence is the foundation, but not the ultimate recipe, as feeling doubt is NORMAL and not something I believe you can completely diminish.
But it is about building a solid foundation and relationship with yourself that is the key to handling the challenging moments better and knowing what is true.
Work on your beliefs
The most significant shift you can do to build trust in yourself and let go of the doubt is to work on your mindset.
(I think you know by now how geeky I can get about having a positive mindset, changing your deep-rooted beliefs and attracting incredible things into your life using manifestation)
But your beliefs are THE most important thing you could and should work on.
Whenever you get hit with doubts about yourself, understand that those thoughts are NOT the truth about who you are and your capabilities. It is merely your subconscious and your ego trying to protect you.
When you are sitting with those thoughts, it’s essential to recognize the moment where it happens, so you can take control back and change the story in your head, so you don’t let it consume you and let it direct the rest of what you had initially planned to do.
Any thought that does not make you feel GOOD is a lie!
So all you’ve got to ask yourself is this: Does this thought make me feel good? Does it help me to move towards my dream?
If it doesn’t, immediately change the story to something more positive that you CAN believe, such as; “I am getting better and better each day” or “I’m moving closer and closer to my dream each day“.
Take small action steps.
I know this is a very covered subject out there, and “taking small action steps” is supposedly the secret sauce to any successful person out there.
But it is true.
I want to emphasize the “action” part especially.
Because believing in yourself and choosing your thoughts is one way to build self-trust. But action steps are another.
You don’t build confidence and self-trust by not taking action.
The action comes first, then comes the confidence!
And I want you to think about this; What can you do today that can help you get just 00,1% better than you were yesterday?
If you don’t know what that thing is yet, then the first step might be working on some clarity.
But if you did have a thought pop up that tells you what you could be working on to gain confidence in your ability in some form of action step, then that is precisely what you should do!
It is okay if you might be scared to take those steps.
But remember that each time you stretch yourself a little bit out of your comfort zone and take those small action steps each day, the closer you’ll be to where you want to be.
Your highest self and future self will thank you for it.
Remember your why
Now that you’ve decided to take those bold action steps required to get you to where you want to go and build that confidence, it is essential to reflect on your WHY.
- Why do you even want to take those steps?
- Why do you need to believe in yourself, build confidence and self-trust.?
- Why are you doing this?
- Why is it important for you to achieve your dreams?
- Why will you continue to do all of these things, especially when it gets tough?
Knowing your why’s is an important part of your journey, as you will face both challenges, lack of motivation, intrusive thoughts, and you need SOMETHING to pull you through those moments… And that is where your WHY comes into the picture.
If you knew you were doing this for something bigger than yourself… For the world, for your kids, for your parents, for your family, then you would know your exact reason for why you could never give up.
It doesn’t mean, though, that you should fight for something and completely forget about yourself to the point you reach burnout because that’ll do no one good.
But keep in mind, your why will always pull you through the challenging moments.
So ask yourself the questions above and write the answers in your journal, so you can always go back and remember what you are doing this for when it gets tricky.
Be grateful and do your self-care!
Speaking of not forgetting yourself.
How much of the time do you spend taking good care of yourself?
If you’re an entrepreneur, mompreneur, petpreneur (or whatever title you like to give yourself), and you have big dreams and ambitions, then you’re likely to fall into the trap of not taking good care of yourself quickly.
I was guilty of this for a long time, and it’s still a continuous journey for me to find ways that help me calm down, shut off and be good to myself.
Then I heard probably the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life from Steven. The former CEO of the big multi-million dollar company, Social Chain, talking about the foundation of why you should take care of yourself on his podcast/Youtube The Diary Of A CEO.
I can’t remember the exact episode, but the key takeaway was this: Who are you, and what are you capable of, without your health?
What he’s saying (and what I agree with) is that if you don’t take care and have gratitude for the basic foundation for why you are even able to do anything in life, then are you really grateful?
Think about it.
If you don’t have your health, then what do you have?
I’m not saying this as a way to diminish anyone with chronic illnesses or saying they can’t build their dreams (because it’s simply not true)
But what is true is that it can turn your world around as you knew it.
We often forget to be grateful for our health before we end up being sick, and once you are ill and depending on what degree that might be, you might face having to take time away that’ll halter the achievements you set for yourself.
Ignoring your health and yourself in the process of achieving something is never a good foundation for your business or how far you’ll go, so don’t forget to be grateful for what you have.
Do yourself a favour and take care of yourself.
Eat healthy, exercise regularly, have fun and go get some monthly massages, for your current and future self.
Please fill up your cup first before you pour into others because an empty cup won’t change the world or realize the dreams it had; it will simply be empty.
If you’re looking for a place to start to take good care of your health, then you can go take a look at my partners food blog containing a lot of easy and quick dinner, dessert, drinks and lunch recipes on Vegan-boards.com.
I hope these tips will help you with letting go of self-doubt!
For more posts that can help you with self-doubt check out:
If you have any questions, then let me know in the comments or write me an email.
Since you have clicked on this post, and I assume you have because you are struggling with self-doubt. Well.. Congratulations! You, my friend, have found something in your life you find worthwhile doing.