How To Overcome Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is something I have struggled with for the most part of my life.

I am in constant doubt of myself, abilities, capabilities, looks, so much that some days I feel like a fraud parading as someone I am not.

I second guess my every decision, every move, and every darn thing.

I doubt myself even though I’m smart (am I really?) {see what I did right there?}, ambitious (I think I am), have loving friends and family who believe in me, and I’m by most accounts, on the ‘’right track.’’

Even though there’s plenty of evidence that ‘I’m good enough and worthy of love,’ I could never bring myself to believe it. And when people compliment me, I never let myself believe them or that what they saying true.

Self-doubt sucks, and it is often completely illogical.

And it is only a couple of months ago I began paying attention to it.

I know you guys can relate! So, now that I’ve started figuring this out for myself, I thought I’d share where my real progress has come from (and this isn’t about any confidence booster or the ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ crap).

A little warning though- what I’m sharing in this post is something I’m still figuring out and working on. I do want to be clear that (though you may have an epiphany by the time you’re done reading this), this is some kind of deep personal work and it does take time and a little digging. So, please don’t think there’s something wrong with you if it doesn’t click immediately or if it doesn’t work for you at all.

Take your time.

P.s. Check out related and latest posts while you read. 

P.P.s. If you would like to share this post on Pinterest, there are perfect pinnable images at the bottom of the post.

Ok, let’s get into it!

How to Overcome Self-doubt

1. Recognize that your self-doubt comes from within you.

The first step to overcome self-doubt is to acknowledge its origin—Your heart or mind (both words will be used interchangeably in this post).

The most powerful lesson I’ve learned in my personal growth journey takes its root from the following Bible verse:

“whatever comes out of the mouth comes from the heart (also popularly quoted as: out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks)”

“For out of the heart come all kinds of thoughts- good, evil, false testimonies, slander, lies, negativity, positivity, doubts etc. “

Your thoughts are birthed in your heart.  And these thoughts create your feelings, actions, and the outcome (results) of your life. If you want to change the results you are getting from your life, how you feel about yourself, all you need to do is change how you think, which means changing what goes into your mind (what you feed yourself with).

The thoughts we have about our circumstances create how we feel about them, and the actions we take. And those thoughts are created by the things we have fed our minds with, or believed about our circumstances. This is why people react differently to the same events or situations.

Even though it may be impossible to be aware of every single thought you have (I agree), it is very possible to change our thoughts about ourselves and circumstances by feeding our mind the right stuff.

With all that said, the first step to overcome self-doubt is to acknowledge that your feelings and thoughts of doubt are simply coming from you—your mind.

That is, your self-doubt is coming from what you’ve fed your mind with, the things you have believed about yourself and your world, and the story you tell yourself or created in your mind about yourself and the world around you.

The reason it is important to take this first step is because your mindset and the thoughts you have about yourself don’t automatically change when you become successful or achieve your goals. As a matter of fact, they could be hindering you from reaching your goal.

The only way to stop doubting yourself and become more confident is to first change your mindset by changing what you feed yourself with, and then changing the way you think. And that’s within your control.

2. Find Your Story.

The second step to overcoming self-doubt is to find your story.

It is nearly natural for every human to give meaning (s) to every event that happens to or around us.

And in my own personal growth journey, I’ve started to uncover many of the unconscious, unhelpful and ‘coping mechanism’ stories I told myself and unknowingly attached to the events in my life.

I was sexually active (used because I don’t very much like the word ‘abuse’ or ‘rape’) before the age of 10. And the meaning I gave to those events was what I dare to think every survivor of any kind of abuse would attach to them.

I told and convinced myself:

  • that I was different,
  • that there was something wrong with me,
  • that I was unworthy of love and protection,
  • that I wasn’t good enough…,
  • that no one really cared (even the ones who claim to care by reason of their relationship with you only cared as long as they had something to gain from you),
  • that I was all alone in my pain,
  • that anyone who came around me and only one motive (no matter how good intentioned they may seem at first),
  • that I needed to keep everyone happy to avoid an outrage or another episode,
  • that I needed to hide myself (including hiding everything that made me a girl)
  • etc.

There were many other stories I also told myself when my younger brother died in my arms that affirmed these ones and also affected the way I saw myself and the world.

You can see that when I write them out like this, that they don’t make sense. None of them.

Being abused as a little girl and watching my little brother die had nothing to do me. It wasn’t because there was something wrong with me or that any of that stuff I fed my mind with was true.

But the stories I created were so unconscious and satisfying at the time that it felt like reality.

And so the self-doubting and negative self-talk (I’ll write about this soon) began.

I hid. I isolated and withdrew from everyone. I locked myself up in the prison (of my mind) for a crime I did not commit and became extremely quiet (mute), fearful and ashamed of me.

I people pleased to try to compensate. I anticipated people’s emotions, mood, non-verbal cues and all to make sure I kept them happy and pleased with me by doing anything they wanted me to do without complaining.

Despite a lot of evidence that I was loved, smart and a good person, I still didn’t believe I was worthy, deserving of anything good and good enough to be treated with respect and love.

I said things to myself that I would never say to anyone even if I was drunk—the kind of things that would make you cringe if you heard them.

And no amount of success, achievement or compliments could appease me.

It was only a couple of months ago that I saw my “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unworthy and undeserving” story for what it is—a story. One I had constantly fed myself with for more than 20+ years.

Thanks to the work I’ve been doing in the Life coaching course I’m taking plus other personal development resources I’ve been using; I’ve started to see that this whole “I’m not good enough…” thing was purely my creation.

I had a vulnerable, scary and uncomfortable conversation with a friend about how I truly saw myself and he was shocked—the same way my mum was. And for the first time, I truly started to grasp that I’ve been deeply loved and good enough all along—just that I wasn’t letting myself accept it as the truth.

To start to relate with yourself differently, you need to find when your “I’m not good enough,” “I’m unworthy…” self-doubt story started.

When did you start making things mean that you weren’t good enough? What event led to your feeding yourself those stories?

Something happened in your life and you made it mean that you’re weird, you’re different, you’re not good enough, you’re unworthy, or something’s wrong with you.

Maybe that event was stereotypically traumatic and maybe it wasn’t – a death, an abuse(of any kind), a minor or epic failure, a certain way a part of your body looks that you don’t like, a divorce, a disaster, a throwaway comment from a friend, a rejection, a laugh or maybe you were raised by narcissistic parents.

Whatever it is, there was a moment when you decided I’m Not Good Enough. And from that point forward, that story has been running your life.

You might not be able to pinpoint the very first time you had that thought and that’s ok. Just come up with one example of something that happened when you thought there was something wrong with you.

3. Create A New Story

The final step to overcome self-doubt is to create a new story.

All you need to do once you’ve thought of an instance where you had the thought that you were different is to identify the facts of the situation. And I mean the FACTS, not your interpretation of them.

Get out a pen and paper and write out what happened in a completely neutral way, with no emotion and no assumptions about what anyone was thinking or why they did what they did.

Don’t use the words ‘because’, ‘she thought’, ‘he thought’, ‘I knew’ – none of that. Just I did this, she said that. Once you’ve got the facts, consider the idea that they’re neutral. Remember – nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so.

At some point in your life, you created a story about yourself. And now you can see your story (and hopefully have a laugh at how illogical it is), you have the option now to create a different story about yourself.

So there you have it – how to overcome self-doubt!

Remember again that what I’ve shared in this post is what I am still working on, so don’t worry if you can’t figure out what your ‘story’ is right away!

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post in the comments!

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how to overcome self-doubt: Self-doubt sucks, and it is often completely illogical. So I've written this post to share how I've been working to overcome self-doubt so it doesn't sabotage my growth efforts.

86 thoughts on “How To Overcome Self-Doubt”

  1. I struggle with this a lot myself and have been working on becoming better and not being so harsh on myself.

  2. Really lovely article. I too am a self doubter and an impossible decision maker due to second guessing. Thank you for sharing your story and your meaningful tips. I will try to incorporate them into my own struggle! 💕

  3. These tips are so gelpful. I suffer from self-douvt and have found my story about why I self-douv。But, I needed a way to spin into a positive one. Thanks for the advice.

  4. I’m related to this topic because I have Self-doubt but I realize Believing yourself is the only way to achieve your goals and succeed because we don’t please anybody to like me and love me. If they don’t like it’s their problem, not mine. 🙂

  5. Yonnah M at yonnahsays.com

    I doubt myself a lot, but as I am accomplishing more I am learning to just be mindful of what I put into my mind.

  6. I’m related to this topic because I have Self-doubt but I realize Believing yourself is the only way to achieve your goals and succeed because we don’t please anybody to like me and love me. If they don’t like it’s their problem, not mine. 🙂

  7. Yonnah M at yonnahsays.com

    I doubt myself a lot, but as I am accomplishing more I am learning to just be mindful of what I put into my mind.

  8. A very important this is. Being able to determine that we want or do not want something and being able to go ahead with our decision is not an ability all creatures enjoy. Where self-doubt becomes really dangerous to your self will is when it makes you seek encouragement or an excuse for why you can’t still move forward or for why you’re not able to accomplish a goal.

    The problem with seeking encouragement is it makes you lose your self-esteem. Most of the bravest and most successful people today needed no one to encourage them, in fact most had no one to do so. Giving excuses on the other hand makes you embrace failure, which ultimately crushes your self will.

  9. Blairvillanueva

    I used to doubt myself. Then I realized I need to change if I want to get what I want. We need to motivate ourselves more.

  10. Pingback: Start Your Growth With This Beginners Guide To Personal Development | Today Was Fab

  11. I struggle with this a lot myself and have been working on becoming better and not being so harsh on myself.

  12. These tips are so gelpful. I suffer from self-douvt and have found my story about why I self-douv。But, I needed a way to spin into a positive one. Thanks for the advice.

  13. Blairvillanueva

    I used to doubt myself. Then I realized I need to change if I want to get what I want. We need to motivate ourselves more.

  14. This was really awesome. Finding your story. Your voice. Your purpose is such a powerful idea.

  15. Monidipa Dutta

    A very important this is. Being able to determine that we want or do not want something and being able to go ahead with our decision is not an ability all creatures enjoy. Where self-doubt becomes really dangerous to your self will is when it makes you seek encouragement or an excuse for why you can’t still move forward or for why you’re not able to accomplish a goal.

    The problem with seeking encouragement is it makes you lose your self-esteem. Most of the bravest and most successful people today needed no one to encourage them, in fact most had no one to do so. Giving excuses on the other hand makes you embrace failure, which ultimately crushes your self will.

  16. Really lovely article. I too am a self doubter and an impossible decision maker due to second guessing. Thank you for sharing your story and your meaningful tips. I will try to incorporate them into my own struggle! 💕

  17. Pingback: 10 Common Limiting Beliefs That Are Holding You Back From Success (and how to overcome them) - Wholeheartedly Grace

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