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Self-doubt can have a strong hold in your life, keeping you from trying new things and reaching your full potential. It holds you back from seizing your opportunities and it makes finishing things harder than they need to be.
If left unchecked self-doubt can wreak havoc on your confidence and self-esteem, making you feel powerless over your life. And Although you can’t completely get rid of it, since it’s been woven in our psyche from a young age, you can do things to lessen the self-deprecating, destructive and debilitating thoughts that prevent you from living a fulfilled life.
So with all that being said, here are 12 ways to overcome self doubt and boost your confidence so you can move forward in your life.
Recognize and call out your inner critic
Our subconscious mind shapes our behaviors and beliefs. When our mind tells us that we aren’t good enough or we won’t succeed, then our behaviors will follow. The first step to defeating self doubt is to recognize your inner critic and call it out.
The main reason you have self-doubt in the first place is because your mind has been repeating lies over and over again that have turned into beliefs. The only way to combat that is to recognize the lies and tell yourself the opposite of what that little devil on your shoulder is telling you. One example is instead of telling yourself “I can’t” do something, say “I can” or better yet “I will.” Instead of saying “I am going to fail,” tell yourself “I will succeed.” Once you get into the habit of recognizing self-defeating thoughts and turning them around, you’ll have less self doubt in your life.
Challenge your limiting beliefs
We all have limiting thoughts that make us feel defeated, like “I’m going to fail at ___” or “I will never be successful at ___!” Then, once we catch ourselves thinking that way, we judge ourselves by asking “Why do I feel this way? Why does my brain work this way?” which only makes it worse.
Instead of judging your defeated attitude, start challenging it. Instead of thinking that you’re going to fail, ask “well, what if I don’t fail? What if I succeed instead?”
A major takeaway from You Are A Badass (one of my favorite self-help books) is when Jen Sincero says “I want to see if I can.” This is such a great way to combat your limiting beliefs because it has the attitude of “I don’t care if I succeed or fail, I just want to see if it ends up working out.”
The key to overcome self-doubt is to explore beyond your comfort zone and try new things often. Each time we achieve a minor victory, we gain confidence, thus weakening self-doubt. Yes, sometimes you will fail, but in the grand scheme of things does that really matter as long as you eventually reach success? One thing I know for sure is that if you don’t try, you definitely will fail, so you might as well make an attempt.
Embrace the good and bad
Welcome everything that comes into your life and accept it for what it is, whether good or bad. You can find something positive in almost all situations. For example, the other day I spilled coffee on my favorite shirt. Instead of letting it fester in my mind, I took it as a learning experience and moved on.
By finding the good in the bad, you can stop feeling so afraid of failure because when you do fail, you can learn from it and turn your weaknesses into strength. Now I know that there are certain situations where this can seem almost impossible and I’m definitely not saying that by doing this you’ll be happy all the time, but I find that when I try to find the positive in the negative, I live with much more contentment in my life because I don’t let things weigh me down. Instead, I take them as opportunities to learn and grow.
Get out of the comparison trap
Comparing yourself to others will only drive you crazy and make you feel inadequate. It can be so easy to compare ourselves to others, especially with all of the picture-perfect Instagram models in the world, but you must learn to love and accept yourself.
There is something truly beautiful in embracing who you are. Let the light inside of you shine bright for the world to see.
Always do your best
Anytime I feel down, I read through The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz and one concept that sticks with me each time is to always do your best.
If you’re always doing your best, that’s all anyone can ever ask of you and no one, even you, can expect more. We need to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge when we’re putting in our all or when we’re being lazy because when we’re doing our best, we feel confident enough to know that even when we fail, we did everything we could to the best of our abilities so there is nothing to feel doubtful about. This is also a great way to combat people’s judgments, because when you acknowledge that you did what you could, you accept yourself for who you are.
The only way out is through
The only way to get out of the things you feel doubtful or anxious about is to go through it. Instead of running away from my fears, I try to accept the feelings I am going through in that moment and think of ways I can grow from that experience.
When you doubt yourself, your subconscious mind tricks you into thinking you have no control over your situation, but in reality there are so many different directions you can take with what you have.
Even if everything in your life goes wrong, even if you fail, it doesn’t matter what happens, all that matters is what you do about it, and the only way to move on is to tackle your fears or doubts head on.
Shift your mindset
The only thing you can control definitively is your mindset and when you see the world through a negative lens, devoid of opportunities, then your behaviors will naturally shift towards making that a reality. However, if you see your world as one full of abundance and positivity, you’ll be open to more opportunities than you ever thought possible.
Changing your mindset involves rewiring the default thoughts you are accustomed to. By repeating affirmations daily, you begin replacing those old thoughts with positive ones that allow you to grow into a better you.
Affirmations are essentially statements of emotional support or encouragement. They can be short or long, reflect what you want or how you want to be and must be stated with certainty. I wrote an entire in-depth beginners guide to positive affirmations and the law of attraction which you can find here.
Take care of yourself
When you feel good about yourself, you gain confidence and feel good in other areas of your life. Be your own best friend, have your own back and ultimately love yourself. That self love will radiate through you and rub off onto others as well. When you accept yourself for being uniquely you, there is no room left for self doubt because it is occupied with positivity.
Surround yourself with the positive people.
You are who you hang out with. If you hang out with negative, depressed, Debbie-downer type of people, then your subconscious mind will match their personality. You need people in your life who are encouraging, up-lifting and supportive – people who make you feel good about yourself.
These people are like new flowers that bloom into a beautiful garden, planting seeds of abundance and positivity within you, while negative people are like weeds that tear you down.
Ditch the victim mentality
We are all victims of something, but you can’t let your circumstances weigh you down. I know how hard it can be, but you can’t let yourself get into the victim mentality that robs you of your own inner strength.
You need to fight that part of you that makes you feel defeated and limited. Think of yourself as a warrior that can conquer anything in life with fearlessness and strength. There is a short time that you get to be upset, but then you need to move on. Don’t let one thing ruin your happiness, because life is too precious and too short.
If you need to, seek others input on an issue, but don’t make a habit of continuously relying on other people’s advice for every matter or else you risk weakening your faith within yourself.
Surround yourself with positivity
It’s easy to get sucked into a self-doubt hurricane, especially when running your own business because you feel afraid that you may never truly “make it.” That’s why I listen to podcasts and read self-help books that inspire me daily.
It’s much easier to let go of self doubt when you are learning from people who have been where you are, who knows what it’s like, who have risen above the ashes and achieved success.
Every single day you are filling your mind with messages, whether you know it or not. I choose to fill mine with positivity so I can live a more fulfilled life. I love reading self-help books during breaks in between college classes or when I have some down time because they empower me to accept who I am and give powerful advice for dealing with life.
Here are a few great self-help books that I recommend:
- You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero
- The Four Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck – Mark Manson
- The Gifts of Imperfection – Brene Brown
- The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Messing up is a part of being human, but don’t let it stop you from enjoying life. When you do fail, just know that it’s okay and it happens to everybody. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Don’t let it fester in your brain for too long. Be kind to yourself because there isn’t anything else you can do other than accept it and move on.
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What measures do you take to overcome self doubt?
“I seek strength, not to be greater than others, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts wthin myself.”
– C. Cast