Curb that inner voice that doubts you – A guide to overcome self-doubt
How to curb that tiny, squeaky voice that says ‘ You can’t do it’?
Let’s be real, as humans we all have our own fear and self-doubt which totally isn’t something to feel bad about. However, once you’re aware of how your self-doubt is crushing all the opportunities and holding you back from living your best life; you need to do something to conquer it.
When I was working full-time and also trying to find my voice for writing, I used to spend hours honing my art and producing new pieces of content. There were times when I used to feel so proud of myself and my work but those moments never lasted long.
The very next moment, I would find this little voice in me yelling if I was doing enough or if I was on the right path and my worst fear was; ‘ what if even after doing all this I couldn’t fulfill my life’s purpose’. This was when I had to learn to be mindful and get rid of self-doubt in order to achieve what I truly was meant to be.
Life is tricky, sometimes you feel everything is going smooth and the very next moment your world is turned upside down. This is not by any other outer circumstances but because of something that’s happening within. Our ego has this tendency to overpower our higher self and make us question our every move.
This ego then brings in serious, unanswerable questions which then makes us doubt our worth. Sometimes even after being wildly successful, people doubt if they are worthy enough of deserving this height. I felt the same and I had no idea whether should I be listening to that voice or not.
The only way I found to push myself through all these self-limiting beliefs and become more confident in life was through overcoming self-doubt.
Imposter Syndrome and Self-doubt
Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are closely related to each other. Imposter syndrome is the feeling of not being enough or feeling like a fraud even after achieving success. When we don’t feel worthy of doing something, we don’t have the courage to put ourselves out there and accept the challenges.
This imposter syndrome thus makes us doubt our worth and let the opportunities slip from our hands. Imposter syndrome causes people to doubt their abilities even when they’re qualified enough.
Ever felt like not taking up the job even when you’re the best suitable candidate for the required position? This is because of the fear of not being enough worthy of being someone who has that job.
Self-doubt and imposter syndrome can crush your confidence and make you feel always ‘less’. Thus, it’s so necessary to learn to overcome self-doubt and grab all the wonderful opportunities and experiences that life beholds for you.
Some common causes of self-doubt
Self-doubt is not something we are born with. Remember as a child you always had the wildest imagination of doing everything without an ounce of doubt? This child at times gets lost as life progress and picks up self-doubt along its journey. Here’re some of the reasons that leave you doubting yourself:
1. Comparing yourself with others
When you’re constantly comparing your journey with someone else’s; you’re bound to doubt your worth. It’s common for us humans to compare our lives with others and pity ourselves for not living their lives. However, it’s so crucial to understand that we are all on a journey that is bound to be different.
They living their best life doesn’t mean you can’t. Stop comparing your beginnings with someone’s middle, you really don’t know the whole picture of what they’ve overcome in their lives to reach this stage. Comparing yourself with them will only make you feel less worthy and you will unconsciously activate that little voice doubting your every move.
2. Past events and experiences
There might be some past events and experiences that are making you doubt yourself. These experiences sowed the seed of disbelief and we then grow the plant of self-doubt as time proceeds.
If you were thrown out from a job without any concrete reason or were in an abusive relationship or just being always told that you’re not enough; you certainly would have lost all your confidence to show up for the next opportunity or better life. In such cases, our mental health is hugely affected and we start doubting ourselves more than ever.
People always aren’t aware of how impactful their words are; they can literally make or break someone and thus it’s so necessary to be self-aware and be kind to others. You never know what they’re carrying within. Your kind words can boost someone’s confidence and help them in this journey of overcoming self-doubt.
3. Upbringing/childhood events
If you were around the parents or guardians or caregivers who always questioned your worth and told you that you’re not worthy of doing something, you’re so likely to doubt your every move in later stages.
For me, it was my primary teacher who never considered me enough or capable of doing things that made me question myself as I grew up. It was hard to get past such experiences and help myself feel confident about the life I always dreamed of.
Sometimes, even bullying can take a toll on kid’s mental health and make them always feel less of themselves. These kids then become afraid of taking risks and moving out of their comfort zone because their base of confidence was so wildly shaken off while growing up.
Here’s how you can heal your childhood wounds.
4. Fear of failure or success
It’s difficult for even successful people to crush the doubt of achieving success yet again. Sometimes, when I write a stunning poem that is so well received by my audience, instead of being happy about it; I feel fear of not being able to match my own standards. This usually happens when you have had massive success and you’re not sure if your next work will be worth enough breaking the barriers you raised for yourself.
I loved this Ted talk of Elizabeth Gilbert where she explains her own story of self-doubt as a creative writer.
5. Self-limiting beliefs
More than any external factor, it’s your inner belief system that’s crushing your confidence. We have fed our minds with so many self-limiting beliefs that it has now become our reality. It’s truly said that we become what we believe and this holds true even for fear and self-doubt. If you don’t quite believe in yourself and keep telling a negative story to your mind, you’re bound to live a life full of doubts, worry, and anxiety.
Here’s how I reframed my limiting beliefs and changed my reality.
Now that we know the causes of self-doubt or the reasons why you would be doubting yourself or not feeling enough; let’s get to the main point of overcoming your self-doubt.
How to overcome self-doubt and fear:
It takes practice and inner work to crush fear and overcome self-doubt. These tips have helped me a lot in conquering self-doubt in different areas of my life.
1. Let go of the outcome
Sometimes, we are afraid of new beginnings or just starting out something fresh just because we are worried about the end result, the outcome. While the reality is, it’s not onto us to control the future or the outcome of the work we’re doing now. What you can truly control is your actions, the work you’re putting in, the way you’re approaching things, and not the final result.
Hence, it’s futile to keep worrying about what will happen next and keep questioning if you’re moving in the right direction. Just do your part and if it doesn’t feel aligned; you can totally change the route. But just start!!
2. Practice self-compassion
Your heart is a little kid who needs pampering and reassurance that you will figure it out all. This inner-child is so looking forward to you for all the love, care, and compassion. So whenever self-doubt pops in, just be kind to yourself and make yourself believe that you’re more than this!!
If self-doubt is coming in your way of achieving your goals and dreams, do not be hard on yourself. You are just human and it’s okay if you have failed in the past. You can always start again.
I found these books super helpful during my self-discovery journey and I’m sure it’s going to add so much value to your lives as well.
3. Stay grounded and say stop
Staying in the present moment is super helpful when your mind is racing and imagining all impossible outcomes. When you find yourself caught up with negative emotions, try grounding yourself by being mindful and being in the present moment. These negative voices or self-doubt can no longer crush you once you understand what’s real and what you’re assuming as reality. Bring positive thoughts back into life by doing things that make you happy.
Here’s the list of things I do on a bad mental health day.
4. Surround yourself with supportive people
Sometimes, all you need is few encouraging words from someone who supports you and your journey. This can be your friends who love and adore your work or your family members who deeply believe in your vision or even your online followers who look up to you for inspiration.
When you think of all these people who understand and support you, you will feel confident about the work you do and will not let self-doubt crush your dreams. This is why I always insist on creating a circle that roots and cheers for you as you move in life.
5. Just do that damn thing
Many times, I get a brilliant idea but as soon as I start working on it; self-doubt kicks in and makes it difficult for me to accomplish the task. All of sudden, I’m in the loop of questioning things and disbelieving my own potential.
The best way to overcome self-doubt here is to just do it. You will never be ready or prepared to do anything in life thus, start anyway. This has helped me in making important decisions in life because I overthink a lot!! And if this is you, know that you’re not alone my friend.
6. Find validation from within
Instead of looking for approval from someone else, find validation within. What others think of you or judge you is not your thing to carry along. Have faith in yourself even when you’re not sure how things will unfold for you. This is an act of self-love where you firmly believe in yourself and your message instead of looking for outside validation. I’m not saying that having reassurance is a sign of being dependent but just the idea of not solely rely on the outer source for validation. If it feels right to you, do it anyway.
7. Stop comparison
For once and all stop comparing your life with others. As I mentioned earlier, we are all leading different lives with different journeys and it’s futile to keep comparing other’s success with yours. Do not make things harder for yourself while running in a race of competition while comparing your life with someone else. You are doing your best and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.
8. Trust the process
If you’re someone like me, you will always be curious about what will happen next, what if it doesn’t go your way, what if the future you imagined is not turning out as expected, and so on. These thoughts will grab you and you will forever be miserable. At times, you just need to surrender and trust the process. There’s an entire universe that’s conspiring to work for you so let go of this fear and self-doubt of not getting there yet. You will reach your destination in divine time.
9. Keep a journal
If you’ve been reading my work, you probably would be tired of hearing how much I adore this beautiful art of journaling. Whenever I get lost in the thoughts of how things will work or question my worth, I simply note it all down in my journal. This is my way of getting things out of my head and it helped me so much more than I could probably mention here.
Get yourself a new journal and some sharpies to brain dump all your thoughts. In order to overcome your self-doubt, you need to have some coping strategies for yourself, journaling is something I use for literally everything.
10. Practice powerful affirmations
Have some go-to mantras that make you feel empowered always by your side. Read them aloud in the morning or even write them in your journal. Use these mantras whenever you doubt yourself or feel less worthy of achieving your dreams. I have this list of powerful affirmations that I use to crush my self-doubt.
11. Write a gratitude journal at the end of the day
I and my husband have been doing this since last month and it has changed our mindset. It’s so easy to focus on lack and to totally ignore how blessed we are in our fast-paced life. Pause and note down three things you’re grateful for every night before going to bed. This is literally going to change your beliefs hence making you grounded and empowered.
Here’re some of my favorite gratitude journals, don’t forget to check them out.
How to overcome self-doubt and fear – conclusion
I know. it can be challenging to crush self-doubt and live a free life; however, if you’re firm and have deep faith in yourself; every damn thing is possible. Just take it one day at a time if these points seem overwhelming, I’m sure, you’ll be soon able to find your way of overcoming self-doubt and believing deeply in yourself.
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