There you are, poised and ready to start a new project or to try something you've never done. You are excited to get the ball rolling then suddenly you hear a tiny voice in your head say "Who are you kidding? You know you can't do this." Then it continues to say "If you do this you know it's going to suck!" The voice (not so tiny anymore) continues niggling you until the excitement fades and you decide to put it off till another day. Or in a worst-case scenario, you change your mind completely about the whole thing. That discouraging voice that causes you to rob yourself of an exciting experience is the voice of self-doubt.
Self-doubt is loosely defined as a lack of confidence in oneself and one's abilities. We have all had those moments when we doubt our capabilities and this can be so extreme that it causes us to lose out on opportunities. This is something that I have struggled with for a lot longer than I would like to admit. Self-doubt can become a dream killer. Here's how to conquer self-doubt in five ways.
Pray About It
Prayer is often overlooked as a means of conquering self-doubt. One reason why we sometimes struggle with self-doubt is that we try to deal with the problem on our own. When we pray we can talk to God about our fears and seek His guidance in dealing with the issue. Prayer also helps us to focus on the positives aspects of our lives which in turn leaves no room for negativity. Praying is a simple yet powerful tool. We are often reminded to "Never underestimate the power of prayer". There is a lot of truth to this statement as a simple prayer can leave you feeling like a whole new person.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Whenever I scroll through social media, I sometimes come across a motivational quote that speaks about how everyone's journey is different and so we may achieve things earlier or later in life than others. I would normally just like the post and move on, but I've begun to understand the quote lately. The thing is we see our peers thriving around us, whether in their work or personal life and we think why can't we have that or why can't our life go that way? This comparison only leads to more self-doubt. The moment we stop comparing and just enjoy or be grateful for where we are in our journey, we feel better. Chances are, you are not in the same situation you were in 5 years ago and that counts as an achievement. If we aren't comparing ourselves to someone else, we won't have any reasons to think we aren't good enough.
"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel." - Steve Furtick
Challenge The Inner Voice
Our minds are powerful tools. Even if it is to our detriment, it can easily trick us into believing things about ourselves that are not true. Most times self-doubt shows up as that negative inner voice. The voice in our heads tells us we can't do something or don't deserve something. The best way to challenge the negativity is to start thinking and speaking positively. Whenever we find ourselves doubting our capabilities we should challenge the doubt by remembering what we have overcome in the past. Use this time to celebrate your previous wins. Words of affirmation also help to challenge the inner voice. The more you say positive words the more you start to believe them. When you start to believe the positive words you will eventually start to believe in yourself. You will then find it easier to ignore the inner voice whenever it pops up with something negative. If you ignore it long enough it will eventually go away.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes, the most destructive thing that can happen to us is being alone with our thoughts. This is when our insecurities get the better of us. When that inner voice tells you that you are not good enough and you start to believe it that is the point when keeping your thoughts to yourself is no longer an option. Talking to a friend about your doubts can help you in more ways than you can imagine. In one way it can help you realize that you are not alone in your struggle with self-doubt. When the stresses of college life took over during my years in university, my then-roommate and I found solace in knowing that we were both in similar positions. We would act as each others' motivators when things got too overwhelming. In the same way, you can be comforted by the knowledge that you are not alone. Talking to someone can also give you a different perspective. Sometimes when experiencing self-doubt our view of ourselves may be muddled by our insecurities. A friend can help us to see ourselves differently by simply highlighting the achievements that we often overlook. If you are not able to confide in a friend, seeking professional help is always a welcomed option. As a sidenote therapy is sometimes underrated but it can be extremely helpful.
Accept Your Imperfections
We most often doubt our abilities at times when we are aiming for perfection. When we don't want to risk making a mistake, on the off chance that we do we are hard on ourselves and instantly start to question our worth. We are our biggest critics. The moment we make a mistake we start to focus on our flaws and imperfections. Self-doubt often highlights the things we consider flaws. This shift in focus leaves us no room to recognize our strengths. As soon as we realize that mistakes are a part of being human we will find it easier to embrace and learn from our mistakes. We will also learn how to be kinder to ourselves.
Self-doubt thrives on our fears and insecurities. These insecurities are most prominent when we compare ourselves to others. Self-doubt can be conquered by taking simple actions to challenge the doubt. The more positive thoughts we harbour towards ourselves the more confidence we will have in our abilities.
How do you deal with self-doubt? Tell me in the comments below.
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