Self-doubt is a very common but painful experience. If you struggle with self-doubt, you might tell yourself that you’re not good enough or that your accomplishments aren’t valid. No matter how confident and collected you appear on the outside, that critical inner voice just won’t leave you alone.
For some people, self-doubt appears in professional settings. You might deal with imposter syndrome, which is the belief that your successes are undeserved or that your colleagues will realize that you’re a fraud. For others, self-doubt creates challenges in friendships or romantic relationships. You may question whether your loved ones actually want to spend time with you or whether they’re judging you behind your back.
Learning how to overcome self doubt is not easy. Lack of confidence is almost always an internal experience, not something caused by controllable external factors. No matter how much you accomplish or how much your loved ones reassure you, the negative, doubtful voice will not go away until you address it directly. This requires you to dive deep into your mental and emotional health and reflect intensely on your thought processes.
Here Are Seven Ways to Overcome Self-doubt
1. Remember your accomplishments.
Self-doubt can affect anyone regardless of how successful or accomplished they are. Reminding yourself of your successes may not completely eliminate your doubt, but it’s one of many tools you can use to fight back against your critical inner voice.
Remembering your failures is often easier than remembering your successes because mistakes take a stronger emotional toll. You probably have so many great achievements to reflect on, though. Perhaps you recently got a promotion at work, or perhaps you helped out a friend or neighbor who was in need. Keep a running list in your mind of all of your wins, and call your attention to these accomplishments whenever your self-doubt creeps in.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison is the root of so much emotional turmoil. Many people experience self-doubt because they feel like they don’t measure up to their friends, siblings, colleagues, or other peers. It’s truly impossible to accurately compare yourself to someone else, though. No two people are facing exactly the same circumstances in life, and you can only see from others what they decide to show.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, one of the best ways to overcome self-doubt is to compare yourself to the person you were last week, last month, or last year. All we can do is strive for improvement, and if you’re proud of the progress you’ve made, you have no reason to doubt yourself.
3. Question your self-doubting thoughts.
Self-doubt is a mental habit that develops over time, not something that’s inherent in your mind. No matter how strong your self-doubt is, it’s possible to dismantle and overcome the negative thoughts. The more you question and dismiss your doubtful beliefs as irrational, the less weight they will carry in your mind.
When you notice a doubtful thought enter your mind, take a moment to analyze it. Consider what prompted the thought and whether or not the thought is logically sound. If you can question and challenge your doubtful thoughts, they’ll begin to hold less weight. For example, you might experience self-doubt after a job interview and tell yourself that the employer would never hire you. However, you can’t read the employer’s mind and can’t know for sure what they’re thinking.
4. Separate your critical inner voice from yourself.
The nagging voice of self-doubt might appear in your own mind, but you don’t have to align yourself with it. Try thinking of your critical inner voice as a separate entity that doesn’t speak for your true self or your true beliefs. When you separate yourself from your self-doubt, it becomes much easier to dismiss the negative thoughts.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people.
If the people in your life are highly critical or judgmental of themselves or others, this attitude may be contributing to your own self-doubt. While self-doubt is an internal experience and something you must take responsibility for, it’s always easier to believe in yourself when you’re surrounded by people who build you up.
You don’t have to completely abandon the people in your life who don’t actively support you. However, when you’re experiencing self-doubt, you should seek out the friends or family members you know will boost your confidence. Sometimes, a short and simple conversation with a supportive friend is all you need to shake off the worst of your self-doubt.
6. Prove yourself wrong.
When you doubt your ability to do something, it may be the perfect opportunity to prove yourself wrong. You can directly challenge your self-doubt by following through after your critical inner voice tells you that you’re inadequate. By immediately opposing your self-doubt, you prove to yourself that you deserve to be confident.
For example, you might feel self-doubt at a party where you know very few attendees. You may think to yourself that no one wants to talk to you, so you shouldn’t approach anyone to start a conversation. In response to this self-doubt, try to push away your fear and strike up a conversation with someone right away. It might feel uncomfortable or overwhelming, but it confirms that you’re in control of your actions and you won’t let your self-doubt limit you.
7. Talk to a therapist.
Sometimes, people can address their self-doubt and improve their self-esteem on their own. In other cases, support from a professional may be needed to overcome your critical inner voice and find your confidence.
Therapy is a valuable opportunity to explore your thinking habits and discover the root cause of your self-doubt. You might find that many of your doubtful thoughts result from one negative experience, and processing that experience in therapy can help you heal. Your counselor can also help you challenge your doubtful thoughts and beliefs and call attention to your strengths and achievements. Breaking free from harmful thinking patterns can be very difficult on your own, but therapy is a great environment for you to learn and grow.
The Beverly Hills Therapy Group provides counseling for individuals struggling with self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and many other mental health concerns. We understand how painful and harmful these challenges can be, but therapy can equip you with the tools you need to thrive. If you’re looking to connect with a therapist in Los Angeles, please contact us today.