How to Deal with Self-Doubt

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One of the biggest factors that will hamper your progress in life is self-doubt. It can eat away at your confidence and make you believe you can’t achieve what you want to. If you’re finding you’re doubting your abilities, the following tips will help you:

Be kind on yourself

Self-doubt is an emotion that doesn’t feel good. With such emotions your natural reaction can be to want those to go away, so that you feel balanced again. In order to deal with self-doubt though, you need to accept first of all that it is there.

Next, rather than be hard on yourself, show compassion. Understand that the doubt is trying to protect you. It could from an unfamiliar environment or an activity you might never have done before, or have not carried out many times.

Ignore it

You can deal with self-doubt by ignoring it. Whenever you experience doubt, acknowledge that it is there and continue with the activity you’re doing, anyway. This may sound easier said than done. However, it can be achieved.

Remember, doubt is a normal human emotion and you don’t need to pay attention to any emotion you experience, unless you want to.

Have faith in yourself

Faith is a powerful emotion to counter doubt. What do you have faith in? Maybe it’s your faith in God, or the Universe, your family; perhaps it’s your pet. Think of what you have faith in and notice how this faith feels throughout your body. Once you experience this faith use it to do what you have doubts about.

Doubt the self-doubt

Ok, so you’re experiencing self-doubt, right? It feels strong and its making you worry. How about if you experience the same level of doubt about the self-doubt you’re having?

When you doubt that your self-doubt even exists, notice how it helps you to actually believe more in yourself.

Sleep on it

If you’ve come to the end of the day, and have been struggling to solve a problem, you might begin to doubt if you can solve it. If this happens, then stop what you’re doing, take your attention to something else, and get a good night’s sleep.

Come back to the problem the next morning refreshed, and see how the answer to the problem will magically appear.

Allow yourself

Self-doubt usually has corresponding internal thoughts and language. You might tell yourself things like “I can’t do it”, or “I’m not good enough”. Remember, that not only can you tell yourself negative statements that further your doubt; you can also tell yourself positive words that allow you to see possibilities.

Tell yourself that “I give myself permission to try this and see what happens.” If you listen to self-doubt and allow it to prevent you from taking action, you lose.

If on the other hand you give yourself permission to try out something new, then you always win, no matter the outcome. This is because you’re allowing yourself to have a new experience and positive experiences which are unfamiliar means your growth will further.

My friends, it’s over to you:

• What other ways can we use to deal with self-doubt?
• Please share your valuable views, experiences and thoughts in the comments box below.
• Please also share this post on your favourite social networks. Thank you.

33 Comments
  1. Hello Hiten, another good topic. Twice in my life, I’ve participated in an exercise where people write what they see in me on a large sheet of paper stuck on my back. On both occasions, I was touched by what was written, even by people who had only just met me that day. In the same spirit, when we feel plagued by self-doubt, it’s a good time to reach out to trusted friends who can remind us of who we really are, not what our ego has reduced us into. Thanks again for another very practical post.

    1. Hi Alice,

      I’m glad you liked the topic my friend. Many thanks for sharing the perspectives you gained from the exercise you did about getting other people to write about you. This got me thinking of something related, and about how the way we perceive ourselves to be, can be very different to the way others see us.

      I loved what you said about reaching out to good friends as a way to deal with self-doubt. This is such a powerful and useful way to do so.

      Many thanks for leaving your wonderful comment, Alice!

  2. Thanks for this great post Hiten! Your tips are very effective! I think I’ve tried them all at one time or another. I often sleep on it, too. I also try positive talk kind of like your tips of Allow Yourself.
    Always enjoy reading your posts!!
    xoxo
    Betsy

    1. Hi Betsy,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for sharing your experiences of this area. Like you, I love sleeping on it. It really does work wonders when we come back to a problem refreshed.

      Have a great week, Betsy and thanks for leaving your wonderful comment! 🙂

  3. Hi Hiten,

    Wonderful post indeed, and an apt picture to go with it too 🙂

    I think we all cross this phase when sometime or the other we are faced with feelings of self-doubt. The feeling that we lack confidence or we cannot do something, or that we will fail. Just that hesitation mostly stops us from progressing further.

    I liked your suggestions and nothing works better than being kind on yourself and trying to boost your self-confidence by taking small measures that help you understand why this is happening and what you can do about it.

    I think I’d go in for the sleep on it tip – as it does work for me, just in-case I can’t get to build it on my own 🙂

    I think when you turn your negatives to positives, anything is possible. You can easily turn your can’t’s into can’s and don’t’s into do’s, IF you want by thinking you can. Thoughts matter a lot here, if you think you can, you CAN, or else you just can’t!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena,

      I’m so glad you liked the post! Yes, I thought it was a rather fitting image, as well.

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment and can resonate with you on a number of points. Indeed, we all have doubts, which make us hesitate, which in turn means we don’t take action. When we give in to self-doubt, it can be a powerful hindrance to our progress.

      I’m glad you could appreciate the point about being kind on ourselves. This one has taken me a lot of effort over the years and I’m getting better. It makes no sense to be hard on ourselves. In the end we’re only beating ourselves up!

      Ah, so the sleeping on it tip works for you, too? It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do!
      I agree with what you wrote about our thoughts and if we think we can, we can. Again, a subtle switch in internal language can transform our confidence, completely.

      Many thanks for leaving your wonderful comment, Harleena! Hope you’re having a good week. 🙂

  4. Key ideas to embrace, Hiten. Woven through some of your points is the point, I believe, to dig deeper. If self-doubt is around us and in us, then we need to spend the time to understand the cause of it. Explore it. Understand it. Figure out how to move out of it…. for good. Great thoughts on how to do this. Thanks! Jon

    1. Hi Jon,

      Indeed, I loved what you wrote about digging deeper and spending time to understand the root cause of the self-doubt. When we do this type of deep analysis of ourselves, we begin to understand the human experience far better, in and the process learn to control our emotions more.

      Thanks for commenting, and hope you’re having a good week, Jon!

  5. Hi Hiten,

    You are absolutely right – Self Doubt is the biggest hindrance behind our own success. Many times, we simply fail to even try surrounded under a cloud of self doubt. I have seen, met and interacted with many people who simply don’t want to pursue something because they simply feel that they may fail.

    My approach has always been different with a very strong belief that If someone else can do it then I can do it too. On the other hand, if no one has done it yet then why not give it a try. The maximum risk is failure but failure is going to teach us something.

    We need to fight back against any self doubt that may arise in our mind and if we have made up our mind to fight it back then nothing can stop us from touching our goal of success in whatever we do.

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and motivative post.

    1. Hi Ashutosh,

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment about self-doubt. As you quite rightly said, self-doubt can prevent us even from trying. I can appreciate what you wrote about encountering people who are unable to get over self-doubt. It’s a shame because with effort and focus, one can drastically improve one’s life.

      Many thanks for sharing your approach, which is very powerful. You’re so right. If someone else can achieve something, then we too have it in us, to achieve the same thing. Indeed, failing has so many lessons in it, when it happens. I think failure only happens when we don’t try.

      Absolutely, let us all strive to fight back against any self-doubt and let us all achieve our true potentials!

      Many thanks for leaving such an empowering comment, Ashutosh!

  6. Hi Hiten,

    This is a very timely post for me since I was just discussing self-doubt yesterday with my 14-year-old daughter. She was feeling insecure about not being good enough in school, even though she has all A’s. I told her to try to think about it from an objective perspective. For example, how would other people view the situation? Most people would think it is excellent to have such good grades. Sometimes if you step back from your personal perspective, which is often formed by perfectionism and self-doubt, you can get a more realistic view of the situation. That’s what I try to do when I doubt myself, and that’s part of what I am trying to teach my daughter.

    1. Hi CJ,

      I’m glad this post reached you at the right time and I really appreciate you sharing the conversation you had with your daughter. I think the way you advised her to look at herself from the perspective of others was brilliant. As you quite rightly said, stepping back from ourselves or even out of ourselves enables to us to gain fuller and healthier perspectives, and usually the solution to our problem lies in these alterative views.

      Many thanks for adding so much more value to this post, CJ. Hope you’re having a good week.

  7. Loving this, Hiten – there are many that can use this advice. I shall be sharing!

    I like the idea of sleeping on it! For someone who can be quite impulsive, sleeping on it works a treat!

    I would add that (when I remember to use this technique!) asking ‘what if the opposite were true?’ is quite powerful. It opens my mind to other possibilities.

    – Razwana

    1. Hi Razwana,

      I’m really glad you liked the post and I appreciate you sharing it!

      It’s great to hear that sleeping on it works for you, too! I usually find this works the best when I completely switch off from the problem I was struggling with earlier on in the day.

      Ah, I loved the technique you shared about asking what it would be like if the opposite were true! What a simple technique, which can have a huge impact, to as you say, open our minds to other possibilities.

      Thanks very much for commenting, Razwana!

  8. Hi Hiten-

    A subject that I never tire of because self doubt is a universal emotion (or at least for 99.9% of the population).
    One of the tips that I’ve never heard said before is ‘doubt the self doubt’.
    That’s a keeper Hiten. Fran

    1. Hi Fran,

      Indeed, as you quite rightly said, self-doubt is a universal emotion and is part and parcel of being a human being. It is when we begin to understand and deal with self-doubt that we learn to free ourselves of our egos, which create the doubt in the first place.

      I’m glad you could resonate with the point about doubting the self-doubt. Many thanks for commenting, Fran and for adding so much more to this post.

  9. Great points Hiten, It seems that I haven’t been here in a while! I’ve missed you! I like that you included ignore it, because distraction is often an underappreciated skill that people have. They think of themselves as weak or something and this self judgement is the problem, not the ignoring! Here! Here!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      I’m really glad you liked the points in the post, and I’ve missed you too, my friend! It’s great to see you again.

      I’m glad you could resonate with the point about ignoring the self-doubt. Indeed, you’re spot on. It is self-judgement that creates the problem and not the ignoring. We all have the ability to focus our attentions where we want to and that includes places other than self-doubt.

      Many thanks for commenting, Jodi!

  10. Self doubt creeps in all the time and it happens to everyone. At all stages of life, people have to go through it to some extent or the other. I have not tried any NLP methods so far but I have tried a bit of tapping and seems to do the trick but does not last long. In fact, I would be interested in this method. I will also try the suggested methods.

    1. Hi Shalu,

      As you say, self-doubt creeps up on all of us. It is a universal emotion and nothing to be afraid of. I hope you have success with the techniques in the post.

      Many thanks for commenting, Shalu!

  11. Important topic Hiten. Even the most confident among us have moments of self doubt, it’s just life. I definitely ascribe to the “ignore it” solution because mostly these thoughts will only stay with us in passing unless we choose to dwell on them. When I start second guessing myself I know it’s time to do something else, or just take a walk with my dog.

    1. Hi Marty,

      It’s wonderful to see you here, my friend.

      As you say, even the most confident people have self-doubt. We all do. I just loved what you wrote about ignoring self-doubt and how such thoughts will pass. This is so true, as is what you said about such thoughts staying alive only if we dwell on them.

      I also really appreciate how you use second guessing as a sign that you need to do something else. This is a wonderful tip and many thanks for commenting!

  12. I believe the best way to cope with self doubt is to just accept it. By resisting it we are fighting ourselves and with this internal conflict we will feel stressed and enlarge the problem.

    Accepting the good and the bad is the only way we can move on.

    ‘Ok, I don’t feel too confident about this but that’s fine, this is normal. Everyone has these thoughts. Lets do it anyway.’

    1. Hi Jamie,

      Welcome to the blog and many thanks for sharing your experiences of this area. I loved what you wrote about accepting self-doubt. Doing so really is essential to being able to deal with it in the most objective way possible. Otherwise, as you said, we just create inner turmoil through resistance of the self-doubt.

      Indeed, self-doubt is a normal experience and one which we can accept as being there and continue doing what want to, anyway.

      Many thanks for adding so much more to this post, Jamie!

  13. Hello Hiten,

    I’m really careful about my self-talk and thinking. I try and catch any negative talk/thinking before it has a negative effect on my actions or attitude. The key is to catch and stop is quickly so it does not hold us back.

    Superb post my friend!!!

    1. Hi Dan,

      It’s wonderful to see you here, my friend and I’m so glad you liked the post!

      I loved what you shared about being mindful of the way you talk to yourself and of what you’re thinking. Developing this ability to be objective to negative chatter really is essential to being able to deal with self-doubt.

      Many thanks for adding so much more value to this post, Dan!

  14. Self-doubt is just a load of internal BS. It all comes from our ego fighting something that’s important to us. There are countless different way to combat it. I definitely resonate with the point on ignoring it. Because it’s one thing to get a little bit down from self-doubt but its another to act on your self-doubt and pull the plug on something important.

    This is how my process works…

    1) Hear the self-doubt
    2) Access it’s validity
    3) Go back to whatever I’m doing

    Great post Hiten!

    1. Hi Kevin,

      I just loved what you wrote in your comment about self-doubt and how it is a manifestation of our egos in action. Indeed, as you quite rightly said, allowing self-doubt to get us down is one thing, but acting on it really means that our progress gets hampered.

      Your process of dealing with self-doubt is brilliant and thanks for sharing your great advice with us all, my friend.

      Have a great weekend, Kevin!

  15. Hi Webmaster,
    This is realy such a amazing post to deal about with Self Doubt! I was just looking to know about Self Doubt & finally I got a great post about Self Doubt! which is really amazing to know thanks Admin !!!

  16. hi hiten,
    thank you for writing wonderful blog and hats of to you for sharing such a thing which is main problem to many people self doubt . Each sentence of this post is interesting and your first two points be kind on yourself & ignore it. you are good going keep it up.

  17. Self-doubt really has a way of keeping us back from what we are capable of, Hiten. Like Kevin mentioned, I too feel it’s a lot of internal bs. and self-limiting beliefs doubting our abilities. The two points that resonated the most were having faith in ourselves and sleeping on it. Here’s how I use faith: I reflect upon previous life incidences where I’ve conquered or overcome something. When I know I’ve done it before, I’m confident I can do it again. Sleeping on it is no simply literally sleeping on it which works but also listening to our subconscious, listening to our intuition which does belief in us deep down. We just have to get past all the negative and doubtful chatter to our inner self which knows and believes in us.

  18. Hello Sir,
    It’s Really nice and the Knowledge Based Blog. I like this.
    Thanks for Sharing this Blog.

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