In the world of all the should’s and could’s it is very easy to start doubting yourself.
Have you ever been in a situation when you feel like there is nothing that could stop you, you feel powerful and ready to take over the world, but the next day your willingness starts crumbling down, you begin questioning yourself if it’s the right path and all you want to do is hide under your duvet?
Self-doubt is a sneaky little monster that appears in your head as a silent voice and starts wrestling with your confidence and targets your insecurities.
What if I fail? What if it’s a mistake? What if I won’t get a promotion? What if my work isn’t worth it? What if it’s not my place?
I think a lot of people are familiar with that kind of question. And let’s agree that a little bit of self-doubt comes in as a quiet healthy reality check, but most of the time it isn’t the case, and things just have been left undone.
We don’t try and arrange that meeting, we don’t send that email, we don’t invite that person. We don’t draw the line. We are being pushed around, we say no, we say yes, we do everything for all the rest.
Speaking of which, I was always terrified of job interviews. I always thought that there are smarter and more hard-working and so much better people than me. Those job interviews were a real nightmare because if I didn’t think about myself as a good fit, how could someone who doesn’t know me think that I am suitable for that position. I met a few people in my life who taught me that going to a job interview is not only about proving myself to that position but also questioning if I would be interested in working there too. Since then, I am still a bit nervous about job interviews, but I am also checking with myself if that place would fulfil my expectations and needs.
Doubting thoughts might be one of the major reasons why we stop ourselves from building the life we would love to wake up every day or take a chance of the upcoming opportunities or change the way we live in general.
While none of us is immune to self-doubt (well… unless those real narcissists), and there aren’t any quick fixes for it, there are some ways to manage it and get the power back to your hands.
- You are just a human. Self-doubting thoughts are a part of everyone’s life like any other thoughts we have. It is a part of your unconscious responsive system and it is here to protect you and keep you in peace.
Seeking to be positive and happy all the time is great but it is also easy to fall into a trap that you CAN’T or SHOULDN’T have any negative thoughts or emotions. You are here in this world with a wonderful body and ever-expanding mind. You are a complex of different thoughts, memories and dreams. You are a very complicated creature and it happens that the majority of your thoughts comes from the unconscious part of your brain, as a response to protect you from the unknown and keep you in a bubble of peace. The way you think, react or feel in certain situations is a reflection of a thought pattern that formed since your childhood.
AND IT IS TOTALLY OK!
The worst thing you can do is to beat yourself up for having negative thoughts. You are just a human so acknowledging and accepting it as a part of you is a first step in overcoming self-doubt.
- Separate doubt and truth. Self-doubting thoughts are made in order to protect you from loss. But self-doubting thoughts are not equal to truth. It is just fear-based stories you create about who you are, what are you capable of achieving and what your worth is. In order to get out of that spinning circle of pulling yourself down and believing all that you think, try to challenge your thoughts by asking ‘What if it’s opposite than that?’. What if you are ready to move out? What if you are capable of handling a position in that role? What if you have everything that it takes to start a business? What if you have more talent/courage/knowledge/(your word) to pursue that dream?
Step outside of those self-doubting thoughts and see it just as another sentence in your head and you will see, that it’s not the truth.
- Make your mission bigger than your fear. You might question yourself why you should sacrifice your peace and go out there in the world, show your dreams and be rejected, give all the energy and end up as a failure.
The way out of this laundry list of questions is that little word WHY which should be written in big bold letters.
There is a famous parable of bricklayers that shows the point of it. In the parable, a man came upon two bricklayers. The man asked both of them ‘How do you like your job?’. The first bricklayer answered ‘It’s terrible. My back hurts and my hands bleed. The sun beats down on me all day so my shoulders burn. All I do is lay brick after brick.’’
The man felt deep compassion for the first bricklayer. Then the second bricklayer responded, ‘’I love my job. I am building a great cathedral.’’
Attitude is important. Answer to the question ‘Why are you doing what you are doing?’ or ‘Why do you want to do that?’ will help you to put your bigger mission in front all the negative thoughts about you that come up. The reason why you want that will be far more important to do it than failing or looking silly or wondering that you’re not good enough.
Make your mission bigger than your fear and you will see how far you can go with that.
- Build your tribe. There is a saying that you are the average of people who you surround yourself with. I know we all are responsible for our lives but energy is contagious. You might feel worse about yourself if you are surrounded by people who don’t love themselves, who complain more than they do anything else, and whose favourite part of the day is yelling on TV while watching the news. Then you would feel totally different if you spend more time with the ones who are positive, who fail but keep on trying, loving life and supporting you no matter what.
It is kinda important to have those people around you who you can trust, the ones you can text or call whenever you doubt yourself, the ones who encourage and stay with you even if you give up.
Build your tribe of people who inspires and cheers you up, not the ones who pull you down.
- Show up for yourself every day. There is no magic pill from self-doubting thoughts. Actually, we can’t hide or escape from any of our thoughts. The only way to deal with all what you’re going through is to show up for yourself EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
As Jon Kabat-Zinn ‘’You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.’’
Building your way up to be more confident requires time and patience, but the good thing is that you can start doing it right now wherever you are, just ask yourself ‘’What would you do if you would be brave?’’ This question will shake up your self-doubting thoughts and you might feel resistance answering it. Take a deep breath, thank yourself for being there and protecting you. Then let those thoughts go and DO YOUR THING!
Just one small step every single day. That all it takes to build your self-confidence.
I created a little template with journaling prompts that you can use whenever doubting thoughts arise. It is a great way to check-in with yourself and start creating new thought patterns.
Self-doubting thoughts might hold you back from LIVING THE LIFE, but if you are willing to show up for yourself and do it anyway, you will see how little you needed to doubt yourself in the first place.