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Overcoming Self-Doubt: 26 Signs & Best Ways to Stop Doubting Yourself

You’re not the only one who thinks they’re not good enough. Follow these tips and learn to overcome self-doubt.

How to overcome self-doubt

Overcoming self-doubt isn’t something you can achieve overnight. It may take a lot of time and effort, yet with determination, you can easily succeed. Just know that you are not alone on this journey.

So many smart and successful people out there still wake up each day thinking they need to try harder, that they’re not good enough. You may think celebrities like Kendall Jenner, the highest-paid model out there, or Harry Styles, who performs in front of a sold-out arena full of fangirls, never struggle with self-doubt. Well, they’re only humans like us, so they’re no exceptions.

Well, what are we supposed to do then?

[Read: 36 secrets to motivate yourself to achieve anything your heart desires]

What is self-doubt?

Before you learn how to overcome self-doubt, you must know what it is.

Self-doubt happens when we feel insecure or incapable of doing things we need to do, especially if it’s something we’re supposed to be good at. You may also experience anxiety due to things you can’t control or things not going according to plan.

A little self-doubt is necessary for you to understand that you need to improve and do better. However, continuous self-doubt can tremendously affect your life in a negative way!

[Read: The best inspirational movies for when your motivation lags]

The biggest causes of self-doubt that hurt you

There are many reasons why you’re struggling with self-doubt. Here are a few common ones:

1. Past experience

Your past experience and mistakes can be a cause for your relentless self-doubt.

Maybe you were bullied when you were in school. You had to deal with body-shaming for a period of time, or you’re still dealing with it now. You were in an abusive relationship. Or you kept getting rejected by jobs and people.

Those bad experiences can rattle your beliefs and cause you to question your capabilities. However, letting your past mistakes hold you back from getting better will potentially ruin every opportunity in the future.

[Read: Emotional abuse signs – How to spot an emotional abuser]

2. Childhood

The reason you still can’t overcome self-doubt may go far back to your childhood. Did you have an awful upbringing?

Maybe you grew up in a toxic family. If your parents were abusive, it could have knocked down your confidence and caused you to doubt yourself.

[Read: Toxic people – 48 warning signs & the best ways to deal with them]

3. Fear of failure

You can’t overcome self-doubt because you’re afraid of failing. You worry that it’s too big of a risk. Or is it because you don’t want to become a laughing stock to others?

News flash, everyone has to face failure more than just once in their life. It doesn’t mean that your life is over. You just have to get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.

[Read: Feeling like a failure? 14 ways to find your will & change your mindset]

4. Fear of change

Changing is scary, especially when you’ve been the same for years. There are instant changes that you can make, like getting a new haircut or changing your style. But most changes take time and a lot of determination, even pain to accomplish.

What if you change and the people around you don’t like it? What if they judge you? This fear causes you to stay the same, even though you know you can be much better.

[Read: Giving up on life: 25 ways to find strength & change your attitude]

5. Comparison to others

You find yourself surrounded by talented and intelligent people. Perhaps you’re tired of going on LinkedIn and seeing people posting their new promotions and new jobs. Or those Instagram models just make you hate looking at your reflection in the mirror.

A little competition in life may be the motivation for you to improve. However, too much of it can be toxic and negatively affect you in the long run.

[Read: The truth – Why people are mean & extra rude to happy and nice people]

6. Mental health issues

Your self-doubt can also be caused by mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or ADHD.

This is something you have to live with, which affects every aspect of your life. Don’t be too upset, though. When there’s a will, there’s a way.

The best ways and tips to overcome self-doubt one step at a time

So, if you’re going through the self-doubt tunnel, you must believe that you can get out of it. Sure, it’s not going to be easy, nothing ever is, but if you’re allowing self-doubt to prevent you from getting what you want, you’re not going to be happy.

[Read: How to gain confidence and turn your life around for the better]

1. Seek professional help

There’s nothing wrong with going to a therapist to learn more about your issues. You should never be ashamed for wanting to get better. As society evolves, more people are open about their mental struggles, so you are definitely not alone.

If you believe your mental health problems are the cause of your self-doubt, a professional will guide you through it and help you overcome your biggest fear.

[Read: Why we need to breakdown the stigma of mental illness]

2. No more excuses

It’s easy to come up with excuses and remove ourselves from an uncomfortable situation. However, you can’t always live like that.

Self-doubt allows us to rationalize to better fit our emotional state. So, if you’re nervous about public speaking, stop trying to get out of that situation by blaming technical issues or pretending that you’re sick. When we’re afraid to fail, you’ll be surprised at what excuses we can come up with.

[Read: 16 ways to build self-confidence and realize your worth]

3. Stop comparing yourself to anyone else

Comparing yourself to others is possibly the worst thing you could do. Of course, someone is going to always be better looking, more talented, or funnier than you—that’s life. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not deserving of what you want.

Remember that you don’t know those people that well. You may know their accomplishments, but you don’t know what it took for them to get there. Everyone is on their own journey, and so you could be comparing your beginning to someone’s destination. It doesn’t seem quite fair to yourself, does it?

Also, hating them for being better than you won’t get you anywhere.

What you need to do is focus on yourself, not others. Be happy for their successes, use them as motivation, and learn from them.

But at the end of the day, you’re living your life, not theirs. So work hard, care less, and never give up. [Read: How to be comfortable with yourself and not give a f*ck]

4. Work on your confidence

Self-doubt is closely connected to a lack of confidence. To overcome self-doubt, you need to feel good about yourself and ultimately love yourself.

You don’t have to be a social butterfly to be confident. It’s an energy that you give off when you’re with others. You can achieve this by figuring out what you can improve.

Don’t be afraid to change your style. Stop thinking about what other people would say, and do whatever makes you you. Now go look in the mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are.

[Read: How to be more confident with 12 simple daily self-love habits]

5. Look at your circle of five

You need to take a look at the closest five people you surround yourself with. Dr. John Kounios, a professor at Drexel University, states that our neural connections change after a twenty-minute conversation.

So, if you surround yourself with negative people, you can only imagine the effect it has on your self-confidence. [Read: The best ways to stop negative people from sapping your energy]

6. Become aware of yourself

If you want to know how to overcome self-doubt, you need to ask yourself a few questions. Do you really know that you suffer from self-doubt? Are you aware of the people you surround yourself with? Are you aware of the negative habits you have? Probably not. So, become aware.

Get to know yourself and your emotions. This is really the only way you see what triggers your self-doubt and how you can avoid it. [Read: 25 honest, self-reflection questions to recognize the real YOU inside]

7. Allow self-compassion

Practicing self-compassion is essential. Basically, self-compassion is being kind to oneself. That’s it. If you want to rid of self-doubt in your mind, you’re going to have to be kind to yourself.

You can start by viewing yourself as your best friend. Now, would you look at your best friend and tell them that they’re worthless and ugly and a loser? Absolutely not. You’d want only the best for your best friend. And that’s how you should treat yourself.

Another way is to imagine you’re talking to a younger version of yourself. Would you tell that little child who just entered pre-school that they’ll grow up to become a failure? Would you be mean to that child and body-shame them? You know the answer.

[Read: How to love yourself – 15 ways to discover self-love and happiness]

8. Stop asking for others’ opinions

We all like searching for the opinions of others. Because that means we won’t feel entirely responsible for the consequences of our actions. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what people think, it’s about what you think.

So, instead of always rushing to someone for advice, sit with yourself, and think things through. Then, once you’ve made a decision, you can ask for others’ opinions, if you wish.

[Read: Codependent friendship – The bad signs & why it’s unhealthy for you]

9. Stop seeking validation from others

When was the last time you did something for yourself? Do you dress to make yourself feel good or to impress others? Do you even like the career path you’re on, or simply because it makes your parents proud?

Stop living the life others want you to live. What is the point of trying to make others happy when you’re feeling miserable?

[Read: 42 secrets to be happy being single & lessons singledom can teach]

10. Write your goals down

Writing your goals down is a great way to show yourself where you want to be in life.

Whenever you’re feeling moments of self-doubt, look at your goals and see what your dreams and aspirations are. It’ll help you get yourself back on track. [Read: Stop giving a damn what people think]

11. Keep them to yourself

Don’t share your goals with everyone. Derek Siver, through his TEDtalk presentations, showed many studies on the effects of sharing your goals with others.

What happens? Once you’ve shared your goals, you don’t do them. You’d feel as if you’ve already accomplished them, which obviously isn’t the case.

Also, people love to ruin things. Don’t allow their opinions to shatter something you know is true deep down in your heart.

[Read: Nothing makes me happy – Secrets to make happiness your default state]

12. Trust your gut

Your initial feeling about something is usually never wrong. If you think you have a great idea, you probably have a great idea.

There are going to be people along the way that tell you it’s shit, or that maybe someone else should do it. But at the end of the day, you listen to your gut, not those condescending and destructive voices in your head.

13. Stick to your decision

Trying to make a decision is when self-doubt comes into play. You’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing, so you ask others and let their ways of thinking influence you too much.

Once you’ve made a decision, you need to stick to it. Self-doubt may creep in and try to make you switch your plans, but you must stay solid on the path that you choose. Sure, you’re going to make slight adjustments as you go, but stick to the main plan and be patient.

14. Have a role model

Having a role model may sound like something you needed when you were twelve, but it’s not. Everyone has a role model they look up to, even the most successful people have people they admire.

Role models usually go through major obstacles throughout their lives, which is a great way to show you they overcame their self-doubt.

Your role model doesn’t have to be a scientist, a billionaire, or a celebrity. It could be someone you know, like your mom, dad, siblings, or even your best friend.

Who knows? Maybe you can become a role model for someone else. [Read: 15 mature ways to grow up and be an adult]

15. Tell yourself to stop

Whenever you realize you’re having negative and pessimistic thoughts, tell yourself to stop. Silence those negative voices running through your head by focusing on the positives.

When you’re in a bad situation, try to think of five positive outcomes. If you can’t, try harder. It won’t be the end unless you allow it.

[Read: I just want to be loved- 18 reasons & how to find that missing piece]

16. Take breaks

You can’t overcome your self-doubt overnight, so stay calm and be patient. Whenever you feel stuck, don’t start blaming and getting upset. Just take a moment to unwind and shift your focus to something different.

By doing so, you allow your mind to clear so you can look at things from a new and fresh perspective. [Read: Positive vibes – 17 ways to welcome positive energy into your life]

17. Keep trying

You may have heard this so many times in your life, but it’s easier said than done. You need to keep trying. Even when you fail and think you can’t get back up, keep trying. If you’re scared of doing something that you want to do, news flash, it’s not going to get easier. So, you need to just go for it.

Yes, there’s a chance you may fail. But isn’t it better to try and fail than to not try at all? [Read: How to find your meaning when you feel like life is meaningless]

18. Talk to others

Self-doubt is something you must overcome by yourself, but it doesn’t mean you have to go through this journey alone. Talk to your loved ones and help them understand your struggles so they can support you.

They can be your partner, family members, friends, co-workers, or supervisors. You’ll find that receiving encouragement and reassurance from others will greatly improve your self-confidence and keep you inspired. [Read: 19 secrets to open up to someone you’re dating even if you’re scared]

19. Focus on the lessons, not the mistakes

So you’ve failed. We all have. Instead of grieving your mistakes, why not focus on the lessons you got out of that situation?

Figure out what you did wrong or what could have done to avoid that failure. Learn from your mistakes and never repeat them. The only way for us to move forward is to forgive ourselves and learn. Forget about the past, think about your brighter future. [Read: How to stop making the same mistakes in a relationship and learn]

20. Be yourself

If you can remember only one thing out of this, remember this. No matter how great people think you are, you can never overcome self-doubt if you’re not feeling like yourself. You must be comfortable living your life first.

You can change your appearance, your name, your job, and your address, but until you can shamelessly be yourself anywhere and anytime, you will always live in fear.

[Read: How to be emotionally independent & stop using others for happiness]

Now that you know how to overcome self-doubt, it’s time that you put these methods to use and got yourself onto the path of self-enlightenment.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...