Human beings are driven by their emotions. Fear and fright are some of the strongest human sentiments. One of the determinants of success is how well an individual overcomes his negative thoughts and self doubts. To reach a certain goal, one should always start thinking positive about it and he should always recognize his potentials. Optimism is a powerful tool to fight one’s inner demons. We all have moments of self-doubt, whether we’re starting a new job, taking a test, or participating in a sport. That is completely normal.
Self-doubt is defined as feelings of uncertainty about one or more aspects of oneself.
A healthy dose of self-criticism can be a powerful motivator. Its use may motivate you to work harder and hone your skills in order to boost your confidence. However, excessive doubt and fear can prevent you from performing well and reaching your full potential. There are plethora of strategies to overcome fear and self doubts. In this blog we will discuss a few tips to overcome fear and self doubt to achieve your goal.
What exactly is self-doubt?
Self-doubt is a lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities. It’s a mind-set that prevents you from succeeding and from believing in yourself. Humility is a healthy character trait to have, but it is no longer beneficial if it is at your own expense.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt,” William Shakespeare once said. Essentially, this means that doubt causes us to give up.
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What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter syndrome is often associated with self-doubt. Psychologists define it as the experience of feeling like a fraud despite success. Imposter syndrome is particularly prevalent among women and minority groups. Imposter syndrome can make it difficult to put ourselves out there in meaningful ways or pursue new opportunities. It causes people to doubt whether they are “qualified enough” or performing “well enough” in their job, relationship, friendship, as a parent, or any other activity (even though they usually are).
Self-doubt and imposter syndrome can significantly lower someone’s self-esteem. There are, however, ways to combat these feelings and gain confidence in ourselves and our abilities.
Fear of failure or Fear of success:
Fear of falling short and disappointing others is as real as fear of not being able to replicate our previous successes. If we are filled with doubt, we may believe that it was luck rather than talent that has brought us this far.
Strategies to overcome fear and Self doubts:
- Start with smaller fears.
The best way to learn to deal with big fears is to start with small ones. Look for things that make you feel a little uneasy and force yourself to do them. You’ll notice that they get a little easier the next time you do them. Then proceed to more moderate fears and force yourself to do them as well.
Demonstrate to yourself that you are capable of overcoming your fears. You’ll begin to believe that you can accomplish almost anything.
- Break the Psychological walls:
The next step is to break down the psychological barriers that are keeping you stuck in your doubts. Consider the following:
Why am I in doubt about this?
What specifically triggered this apprehension?
Does this sensation make any sense? Why?
What if this uncertainty is just a figment of my imagination?
What if I was certain and certain of this?
With certainty in mind, what steps could I take next?
Taking the time to effectively answer these questions allows you to “throw doubt” on your doubts, reducing the level of uncertainty you feel in this situation. In fact, each step of this process is intended to gradually increase your level of certainty. This is beneficial because the more certainty you can generate, the less doubt you will have moving forward.
- Make a plan of action.
After completing all of the preceding steps in this process, you should now have a massive supply of certainly behind you. It is thus time to devise a step-by-step action plan. Of course, this is an important step because having a plan in place means you understand what is expected of you at each stage of the process. Consider the following:
What steps must I take to achieve my goal?
What is the first thing I need to do?
What will be the next step? And after that?
Keep in mind, however, that your plans will not always go as planned. In fact, you may be directed in an entirely different direction. You will not succumb to your doubts if you anticipate this possibility and have contingency plans in place. However, if you ignore this possibility, your doubts may sabotage your progress if things don’t go as planned.
- Practice Self Compassion
Self-doubt means that you’re holding yourself back. It stems from a fear of making a mistake, but mistakes are how we learn and improve. At the start of each day, look in the mirror and say three positive affirmations to yourself.
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- Reflect back to your Past achievements
Self-reflection is a fantastic tool because it reminds us that we are capable of achieving our goals. However, dwelling on the past can detract from the present moment. What truly matters is learning from what has happened — not dwelling on the negative — and focusing on using the lessons learned from those times to improve the present.
- Avoid striving for perfection.
Perfection is impossible to achieve. Anxiety is caused by the pursuit of perfection. If perfection is your goal, you will undoubtedly experience self-doubt. Being realistic will reduce your fear and self-doubt.
You don’t have to be right or successful all the time to have a great life!
- Accept yourself as you are.
Meet yourself exactly where you are. Accept that you may be afraid to do something, and begin with a small step. In my case, I took a beginner’s ski lesson and quickly discovered that I remembered far more than I had anticipated. Muscle memory is a wonderful thing.
- Never compare yourself to anyone
When you compare yourself to a family member, colleague, or even a celebrity, self-doubt can arise. Everyone’s life is unique, and just because someone else excels doesn’t mean you don’t have any. Instead of comparing yourself to others, concentrate on yourself — it’s one of the most effective ways to stay happy and achieve your goals.
- Stay around supportive people
Being around people who make us feel bad is one of the worst things we can do for our mental health. Some people will not back you up, but others will. Spend time with people who make you happy; they can lift you up when you’re struggling to motivate yourself.
- Be your own critic
Nobody holds us to a higher standard than we do. Why would you berate your mother for not being chosen for a job or your sister for not receiving high marks on her school essay? One of the most important steps towards healing and progress is to apologise to yourself.
- Simply make a decision and then adjust your course as you go.
Another surefire way to sow the seeds of self-doubt is to become engrossed in a decision. It’s all too easy to get bogged down in decision-making. This back-and-forth thought process—debating whether to choose option A or option B—can exacerbate self-doubt.
What is the solution? Make a decision, already! Your first reaction is usually your best because it comes from intuition rather than the ego, and before outside opinions get in the way.
“No feeling is final,” Rainer Maria Rilke says, and I believe the same could be said about your decisions. Simply make a decision and then fine-tune it.
- Seek Professional help
It’s okay to seek assistance, especially if self-doubt is a persistent impediment. We can unburden ourselves and be heard by talking about our feelings and insecurities.
- Keep a diary
Every day, make an effort to write down what you’re grateful for and what you’re proud of. Your journal could cover anything from getting a job promotion to remembering to do the dishes. The more you practise loving yourself, the easier it becomes.
- Make a handwritten letter to yourself.
A kind word or a compliment from someone can completely lift me out of a funk, and I’m sure you’ve been in a situation where someone made your day.
But what if you’re feeling down and unconfident and there’s no one around to cheer you on? There will always be one person to lift you up, and that is you. Writing myself a hand-written letter is a great exercise I’ve devised.
This negative, doubtful, and fearful aspect of ourselves is known as our shadow side, and we all have one. And, like our shadow, we have a light side, our positive, optimistic, and productive self.
- Be mindful of your thoughts
You are not your ideas. Consider how accurate or useful they are. Negative thinking is a mental habit that takes up more of our time than it should. You can also change your habits. All it takes is perseverance and dedication.
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No matter how thoroughly we prepare for the journey ahead, there will always be unexpected problems and obstacles that will sow doubt in our minds. These are simply part of a hero’s journey; they are also part of your journey. However, just because they are unavoidable does not mean that we cannot mentally prepare for them in advance. And the best part is that you don’t have to know what’s going to happen next. You simply need to be mentally prepared to deal with difficult situations.