How to Overcome Self Doubt and Boost Your Confidence

The Story Of Unworthiness

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” – William Shakespeare

Have you experienced this situation before? The silent self-talk grows that grows louder in your mind, reminding you of your destructive thoughts. The voice is unrelenting, retelling the story of your weaknesses. It annoys you until you surrender to it. Finally, you give up, knowing it has taken hold. Welcome to self-doubt, the intimidating inner critic that lives in your mind. The modest detractor determined to undermine your success. You know it’s there, so why won’t it leave you alone? You can’t vanish doubt from your mind, despite your best intentions. Doubt is part of our human nature. It’s learned during our growth into adulthood and begins with loved ones reminding us to avoid dangerous situations when we’re young. We heed the advice, knowing they know what’s best for us.

For example, I was a mischievous child growing up, as told by my parents. I pushed the boundaries of what they considered safe for children. The words ‘no’ and ‘don’t’ were often repeated to save me from my peril. It is no surprise that children need such boundaries. I’m see it with my young nephews. They’re at an age where they grab, touch, pull apart and destroy most things in their line of vision. It’s satisfying to watch them learn and discover new things, and I am mindful they play safe. I am careful with my communication with them, choosing to avoid commands such as ‘no,’ ‘can’t,’ or ‘don’t.’ Instead, I distract them when they are destructive and offer something of better value, which they seem to respond favourably. Can you relate with your own children or younger children you know?

I mention child-like behaviour, since much of our actions results from our childhood programming. Adults are notorious for creating inaccurate stories about themselves, and doubt is a story often repeated through adulthood. It is healthy to have some doubt because it allows us to decide all likely scenarios. It helps us be selective about other options because we examine ideas more thoughtfully. There is another side of doubt which is more sinister and self-deprecating. One tells themselves stories about certain qualities they lack. I’ve witnessed self-doubt in my line of work coaching clients. They create a story of unworthiness and believe it with such conviction. They adopt these beliefs into adulthood, and it is difficult to dismantle it without therapy. How about you? What is your inner talk like? Do you feed your doubts or ignore them?

Feeding the Doubt

“Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”—Les Brown

Self-doubt requires examination if it prevents us from living an authentic life. For example, most people are content not to discover their purpose. They store their emotions under a rug, hoping it will go away. Unfortunately, years later, the emotions resurface as: illness, destructive relationships or addiction to substances or behaviour, etc. In his book Spontaneous Evolution, author Bruce Lipton states that our subconscious mind controls 95% of our behaviour. In an article titled: How To Master Your Subconscious Mind, I discuss that most of our learned behaviour from birth to eight years is in a subconscious learning state. Most of what we learn about the world is during those formative years. A great deal of articles, books and resources have been written on self-doubt. Most use the term ‘conquering’ dismissively. What I would like to impart in this article is that doubt is part of our nature; it is part of our shadow self. We needn’t deny nor repress aspects of ourselves we don’t like, for doing so means it will find ways and means for expression.

Self-doubt means listening to the inner critic, yet choosing to take action, despite the doubt. For instance, I was watching a documentary on accelerated free falling recently, where the interviewer asked the adventurer if he felt fear during the jumps. His response was: fear is always present during a jump; however, he turns down the volume on what the fear prevents him from achieving. Knowing this, I’d like you to take some time to examine what your self-doubt is asking you? Is it concealing something you denied long ago? If your dream is to sing in front of thousands of people, yet you entertain self-doubt, perhaps it is teaching you to have faith in yourself. Often, you might need to experience an inner shift to reveal the growth to reach your goals. Doubt can be the wolf dressed in sheep’s clothing. Whilst it looks sinister and overpowering, it is merely a guise to distract you from knowing yourself.

Take inventory of your goals and visions for the future because doubt is a speed hump in your journey. Speed humps should slow you down, no stop you from taking action. If you’re facing self-doubt, examine the reason behind it. Don’t allow it to overpower you, because your vision should be greater than the obstacles in your path. Be kind to yourself because what you believed at one point was based on the information available to you then. Beating yourself up over past failures and mistakes leads to more of the same thinking. Take action toward your goals and remove doubts that are holding you back. Seek guidance from loved ones or close friends if you’re unable to navigate your way around it. Remember: your journey toward success will be filled with detours, obstacles, and lessons. Don’t retreat from the challenge, but face it with open arms. Draw valuable lessons and insights about yourself along the way. For only then can you claim to have overcome your self-doubt and turned your tragedy into triumph.

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