“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
Self-doubt can be a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back.
It holds you back from seizing your opportunities.
It makes getting started or finishing things harder than they need to be.
Sure, it can sometimes be useful as it helps you to soberly see your current limitations or simply recognize a half-baked or bad idea. But mostly, it holds you back in life.
So how can you get around that, how can you overcome those times of self-doubt so that you can move forward once again?
1. Say stop.
First, when your inner doubts bubble up, be quick. Don’t let them spin out of control or grow from a whisper to a stream of discouraging sentences. Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself.
In your mind, say or shout something like: No, no, no, we are not going down that road again.
By doing so you can disrupt the thought pattern and stop that inner self-doubter from taking over.
2. Look to the past and awash yourself in the memories.
Be real with yourself and ask yourself:
How many times when I doubted myself or feared something would happen did that negative thing come into reality after I still took action?
The answer for me – and probably for you too – is not very often at all.
Self-doubts are most often just monsters in your head that your mind may use to keep you from making changes and to keep you within the comfort zone.
If you look to the past and see how well things have gone many times despite those self-doubts then it become easier to let go of them or to ignore them and to focus on the more likely positive outcome and to take action.
3. Talk to someone about it.
When you keep your thoughts on the inside they can become distorted, exaggerated and not very much in line with reality or reasonable expectations.
This is very much true when it comes to self-doubting thoughts.
So let them out into the light. Talk to someone close to you about your self-doubts.
Just letting them out and saying them out loud can often help you to hear how exaggerated these thoughts have become. And by talking about those doubts with someone that is supportive you can get a change in perspective.
4. Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap.
If you compare yourself to other people all too often, to their successes and especially to their high-light reels that they share on social media then self-doubt can quickly creep up.
A better way to go about things is to compare yourself to yourself. To see how far you have come. To see what you’ve overcome.
And to see how you’ve kept going, succeeded and grown as a human being.
5. Start keeping a journal.
Keeping a journal can be a helpful habit for many reasons. When it comes to self-doubts it can help you to:
- Keep a realistic record of your life. And help you to remember the positive things, the successes you have had and how you have overcome obstacles if you are prone to remembering things with a negative slant.
- Gain clarity more easily. It is often easier to alleviate fears and doubts and to gain clarity if you have an issue laid out on paper or in a computer document rather than if you try to go through it all in your mind. By making lists of pros and cons, going through your thoughts and emotions and similar events from the past and by writing down different perspectives on the issue it becomes easier to find solutions and to see your challenge in a clearer and more level-headed way.