How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

We have all been there.

At some points in our lives, we question ourselves whether we are doing good enough or capable for all the uncertainties that might come up as we grow older. We doubt our own decisions and choices we make or simply feel “I am just not good enough for that.”

This is self-doubt.

Self-doubt happens when we start lacking our inner confidence making us feel incapable of doing things we need to do. We start doubting ourselves when things spin out of our control or just simply aren’t going the way we expected.

A certain level of self-doubt isn’t all bad it can actually be really good, because it indicates we understand what we need to improve in order to do a better job. (Just remember that doesn’t mean what you are doing is not good!) However, persistent fear and self-doubt can hugely affect your life, in a bad way.

It’s not surprising that fear will then play a big role in your own little drama. It brings you to her best friend named procrastination. You delay areas in your life and feel demotivated.

5 Common Causes of Self Doubt

What causes self doubt? There are plenty of reasons behind this evil and I’m going to explain each of them here:

Past Experience and Mistakes

Past experiences can have a huge impact on how we react, especially if you have had bad experiences before like a really broken relationship or someone leaving you without a concrete justification. Past experience can shake and rattle our beliefs. However, you have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future self!

What you need to know:

You have to understand that your past cannot be altered but you don’t need to stay stuck with it. Keep referencing to past experiences without learning from them is just a waste of your bright future!

Childhood Upbringing

Our upbringing plays a big role in shaping our habits and personalities. If you are raised by parents that are constantly telling you that you are not good enough or had been put down or let down by others, you might have already internalized the habit of questioning yourself since you were a child.

What you need to know

Tell yourself that you are a grown up now and this is YOUR LIFE. You are capable of making the best decision for yourself. You no longer need to seek approval from either your parents or other people. The education of what you have learned so far in your life has shaped you into a better person than you were 10 years ago.

Comparisons with Others

It’s not surprising how natural it is to compare ourselves with others because we are living in a world of competition. We can easily compare our performance compared to others, how we dress compared to others, lifestyle etc, etc in the overwhelming world of today everything that passes our gaze on social media is all to easy to compare to our lives. It’s easy for us to envy others’ lives and thinking that we are not doing just as great as they are.

What you need to know:

Comparing yourself with others is sometimes a good practice because by looking at what you are lacking, you can find ways to improve yourself so you can become better at what you do. But when you’re comparing too much with others about what they have and what you lack, you’ll start to lose yourself.

It comes down to the old cliche saying “learn to appreciate yourself”. This is very true because we are all different and we are all good at different things. That’s just not fair if you judge a goldfish by its inability to climb a tree (or simply living on the ground.)

The Rise of New Challenges

This is a pretty normal case because we have no experience on how to react or what are the things we need to do. The feeling of uncertainty and insecurity will make you feel uncomfortable.

What you need to know:

Instead of thinking that you are not capable, take it as a chance to learn. I am sure we all didn’t have the knowledge on how to walk properly when we were young but I am sure you are all doing a great job at it now! Remind yourself that it’s okay to make mistakes because we all learn how to become better along the way.

Fear of failure / Fear of success

This can happen to all of us becoming really good at something then the doubt flows in and it may come crashing down or fall apart. Previous success can become our biggest fear because we might think that’s the best we can deliver and we will never produce anything that’s equally better.

What you need to know:

Instead of thinking about how to replicate the success, think about how to outperform your success because doing the same great thing twice doesn’t mean you are better than before. Learn from your success, knowing that even though you are good at something, there are ways that you can do better.

How to Overcome Self Doubt

So what can you do to overcome self doubt and be confident again no matter how tough things go?

Ground Yourself and Say Stop!

Once you discovered there are negative voices running around inside your head, try to stay in the present moment and focus on the positives are keys to set you free. Try to prepare something positive so you can get through whenever you feel negative or unsure about yourself.

Ideas on what you can prepare:

A list of counter arguments. Things like “I can do this.”, “It’s just another chance for me to learn.” ,”Wasting time on doubting myself cannot help with the situation” and “He/She is doing great but I am not bad too!”

Some positive ideas to prep yourself for self doubt moments:

  1. A jar that contains all your happy memories

  2. A file that contains all the photos that make you smile

  3. A list of quick energy-boosting activities you can do

  4. A box of healthy snacks that you can always go to

Take a Break and Get a Boost of Optimism

Sometimes the longer we feel stuck in a situation or emotion, the harder it is for us to come out. Just take a moment to relax and shifting your focus to something totally different. By doing so, it can allow us to clear out your mind and look at things from a new and fresh perspective.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

While it is important to work on ourselves, it’s also a good idea to get support from your loved ones. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. They can be your partner, family members, friends, mentors, supervisors or even a coach. Getting advice and reassurance from others can also improve our self-confidence and keep us motivated.

Some people find it useful to write down and journal there daily thoughts and interactions big or small and the things that affect us.

I use one great approach that has always successfully helped me to build my confidence and become a person with more compassion and gratitude.

I write things down, just as simple as it sounds.

By writing down things that make me question myself and when in doubt read my journel, I am able to identify what makes me question myself and find better ways to improve myself. And by writing down things that I am grateful for, I started to appreciate myself more and focus on what I have instead of what I am lacking.

I even found I just stopped comparing myself to others because by looking at what I wrote reminds me that I am happy with my own life.

A lot of people might think writing a journal is a waste of time because we have to spend long hours keeping a record of what has happened but that’s not necessarily the case sometimes it’s twice a week or once a week just when your having some trouble thoughts write them down and go back to it later.

Tips to Start

  • Write down what you have done to overcome your uncomfortable feelings and how you feel
  • No matter what you have done, write them down and recognize yourself!
  • It’s common and normal to doubt ourselves, but you need to understand that staying stuck and panicking for too long won’t do you any good and it’s just a waste of time.
  • Try to get out from the loop as soon as you can and spend time on improving yourself.

Don’t give up! You can do it! Take sometime out to believe in yourself!!

You got this, Cassie xox

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