How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Start Believing in Yourself?
Do you secretly fear that you don't have what it takes to live the life you truly want to live?
Is there a tiny voice, somewhere in the dark corners of your mind, whispering:
"Who are you kidding? You are not good enough, worthy enough, smart enough, capable enough, lovable enough. You are just not enough."? This voice might be very quiet and subtle, but I am sure that it gets louder every time you are tempted to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. The problem is not the voice, the problem is that you believe it. And why wouldn't you? Everything it says feels so damn true, right?
Self-doubt, the bully in your head that is killing your dreams and crushing your confidence, is no joke. It is probably making you miserable. It is sabotaging your relationships, your career, and your wellbeing. It is holding you back from expressing your unique qualities, and from living your best, authentic life.
I don’t think that I need to convince you that it is worth putting some effort into overcoming it.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” ~ Louise L. Hay
People who believe in themselves carry with them sense of aliveness. They are authentic, assertive and they talk with conviction. People who believe in themselves connect easily and don’t shy away from vulnerability. Even if they are afraid to experiment and try new things, they do them anyway. People who believe in themselves go after what they want in life.
8 powerful steps to overcome self-doubt & start believing in yourself:
1. See self-doubt for what it is.
The voice of self-doubt is not who you truly are. It is just a deep-seated belief that you are somehow inadequate. It is also a 'protective' belief of your frightened inner child desperately trying to avoid failure and shame. You mustn’t blame yourself for this belief. Like most of us, you adopted it when you were too young to be able to question it.
Maybe your dad was overly critical, maybe your mom was not supportive, maybe your teacher shamed you in the class, maybe you were bullied in school. Perhaps, it was someone's fault for making you believe that you are not enough but please don’t get stuck in “it’s their fault” type of mentality neither. Validate your hurt feelings, then process them, and let them go. This belief prevents you from living your full life and it is your responsibility to question it and replace it with the more empowering one.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others and celebrate your uniqueness.
In other words, stop using other people’s real or perceived (hello social media) successes as excuse to make yourself miserable. We don’t know what is really going on in other people’s lives. What we see as a perfect life might be a world of an anxious hyper achiever, lonely workaholic, or insecure perfectionist.
Keep your own insecurities in check and be conscious about who you look up to and why.
Let Instagram, Facebook, celebrities, other people’s accomplishments serve you as sources of inspiration rather than envy. At the same time appreciate your own special life journey with its ebbs and flows. Start reminding yourself of all the hardship you have been through and how you've come out a winner. You are who you are for a reason. Honor your unique experiences, individual timeline, your challenges, gifts, and strengths. Start playing the leading role in your life and let others play it in theirs.
3. Be aware of brain’s negativity bias.
We are hardwired for negativity. Our brain's primary role is to protect us and keep us alert, not to make us happy. That is why it gives more importance to negative experiences than to positive or neutral ones. We tend to fixate and dwell on our own failures, shortcomings, criticisms, and painful memories. At the same time, we brush off compliments we receive, our achievements, beautiful and meaningful moments. It is very human to overlook or take for granted all our work, our gifts, talents, and efforts. We also undermine, how much we are loved and cared for. However, due to our brain's plasticity, we can override this apparent default setting by bringing awareness to the positive aspects of ourselves and our life's experience.
4. Be your own compassionate best friend.
Nobody is perfect. This is a fact. The sooner you accept your own imperfections the better. Just like you accept the people you love for the imperfect beings they are. Take responsibility for your future personal growth but forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Start seeing your shortcomings as opportunity to grow.
Remember, no matter who you are, life tends to get hard from time to time. Be your own source of support and encouragement especially during those moments. Treat yourself like a warm, gentle friend we all like having in our lives.
“Remember this: No one is looking at your imperfections;
they're all too busy worrying about their own. “ ~ Isaac Mizrahi
5. Focus on your values and strengths.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee and take inventory of your previous successes and joyful moments. What about you makes you proud? What do you value? What truly makes you happy? Ask your friends and colleagues to give you honest feedback on what your three biggest strengths are. I promise you; you will feel better immediately. Use that positive momentum to strengthen faith in yourself.
"Nothing reduces the odds against you like ignoring them."~ Robert Brault
6. Dream big.
Your goals and dreams have the power to move you. Make your dreams bigger than your doubts by giving your desires more of your time, energy, and focus.
Our minds are powerful beyond our comprehension. The more you imagine the life you want to live, the more you feed your mind with possibilities rather than limitations.
Be playful, do what feels good to you; create a vision board, journal about your dream life, daydream about it. This is how you give your brain instructions to look for opportunities, right people and circumstances. Then, when the opportunity comes, take inspired action.
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."
~ Albert Einstein.
7. Surround yourself with supportive people.
Hurt people hurt people and empowered people empower other people. Notice how your energy level changes around different people. Some people uplift us, others drain our energy. Learn how to place healthy boundaries and be selective about the people you spend time with.
8. Stop making excuses and go after the life you want.
Blaming your circumstances will take you nowhere. Trust me, I tried. Start taking action. Break that big life vision, we discussed in Step 6., into realistic, short-term goals. Start small. Let go of what you cannot change and change what you can. You'll be surprised how much that is.
“Aerodynamically the bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumblebee doesn't know that, so it goes on flying anyway.” ~ Mary Kay Ash
I write here hoping that my words will inspire you to find your answers within. My wish is to help you build self awareness, heal parts of you that need healing and realise your inner-power to create a life you love living.
Much love & support,