We are quick to react, dissect, and analyze any situation that is unfavorable to us. Yes, we do try, but also we lose hope too early. Self-doubt creeps in within most of us, making a permanent hide-out toying with our emotions. Before we realize it, we are under a firm grip of anxiety, making excuses and short-selling ourselves.
With no over-the-top logic or some scientific jargon for proving a point, we know repetition breeds perfection. We are experts in nurturing it because we repeatedly convince ourselves of the lack.
Self-doubt is troubling and a persuasive whisper, holding us back from seizing any opportunity that life presents. The problem becomes grave over a period. Imagine being unable to start something new, and even if you begin, the process is exacting. The effort you took to somehow get on with it diminishes midway since you doubt yourself and the capability to finish it. Hence it never leaves your side.
Unleashing the true you, as they say, never happens.
We all have a keen desire to pursue something, but the overwhelming feeling of uncertainty and negative internal self-talk stops us.
Well, for every issue, there is a solution if we put our minds to it. As mentioned earlier, repetition of anything becomes our reality. While situations are gloomy sometimes, it is always possible to bounce back with some tweakings to our thought process. Also, the gap between the desired reality and the struggle is mendable.
This post will guide you through causes of self-doubt and how to put them to an end. Well, if not end, then subside them to a negligible interference with your life.
Where does self-doubt come from
Before we get all worked up and wage war against this menace, we must understand the origin and causes.
To beat the enemy, one must know the enemy.
Here are few causes of self-doubt.
Indeed, our childhood plays a critical role in the development of self-doubt over a period. It’s funny how little things while growing up catch up and stick. Perhaps, we owe a lot of our habits to the upbringing we had.
It starts from parenting, school, and friends we make. Just like charity begins at home, development too.
The environment of our upbringing plays a critical role in shaping our future. Many kids with abusive or overly critical parents suffer from constant reinforcement of lack.
Parents at home and school experience are the first teachers moulding our brains. Having being told consistently about not being good enough or always judged through your grades creates dissatisfaction and a feeling of inferiority complex. It results in a lack of self-esteem at later stages in life.
The comparison trap
If he/she can, why can’t you? And here starts our eternal love affair with comparison. Though it is not unnatural to compare ourselves with others, the obsession with comparing every aspect hurts us.
No wonder we want to get better and move ahead, but is it possible to compare everything and come out on top of it?
With the advent of social media, everything is open, making it even easier to cross-check and verify. We compare with our friends, colleagues, and others. Now, with social media presence, we compare ourselves with some guy sitting in Havana sipping LIIT on the beach. Suddenly our life becomes meaningless, and we envy others.
Too much comparison with others is a primary cause of self-doubt.
Experiences of past
We are our experiences. They make us and have the maximum impact on how we turn out to be.
Remember how you couldn’t make it to your college sports team. You were either too thin, fat, or short. Maybe you failed at some task and beating yourself down about it.
We put ourselves down because of past experiences. They incite doubt in our capabilities, shattering our long-held beliefs.
Moreover, continuing to refer the past experiences but not learning from them is a sheer waste of time and energy.
Dealing with self-doubts
Now that we understand what breeds self-doubt, we can arm ourselves with various daily practices to overcome it. Remember, life is not about a bang and then gone. It is about small steps and consolidation over a period. Consistent efforts and steps in the right direction can turn the adversity in your favor.
While none of us are immune to it, we can surely keep it at bay from hampering our decision-making.
So how do we kill self-doubt and free ourselves? We don’t.
But we can learn how to reclaim the power it has over us.
Moreover, causes are mostly self-made demons that build over time.
Call out your doubts
Often your doubts are not a true reflection of the situation. But, they are fear-induced stories we create about us basis the factors causing doubts. Since we believe them as right and they consume us, we get overpowered by them. It is rare that we call out our doubts and face them. We seldom challenge our beliefs but are ready to live miserably.
Always ask yourself, “what if.”
There is a magical world beyond doubt. A world left unexplored due to our failure in addressing the doubts.
What if you are worth everything you doubted?
What if the leap could take you to places?
Start calling out your doubts and make them weak.
Remember, your doubts are not a true reflection of who you are.
Build daily courage
No point waiting for the big bang. Instead, build daily courage. Take small steps enhancing your inner strength. For courage, you get comfortable doing the uncomfortable. The more uncomfortable you end up completing, the resilient and braver you become.
There is no magic pill that can suddenly wash away your self-doubts, turning them into sheer confidence. Remember, this situation is a culmination of years. Obliterating the effects will take time and effort. Confidence building is an outcome of small daily steps, having the courage to do the uncomfortable, fully aware that there will be failures in due course.
Start building daily courage with whatever problem there is. If you fear speaking to a stranger, do it now. Have a problem with a cold water bath, take it now.
Just do it. Do things that have made you uncomfortable until now. You’ll start shattering your age-old beliefs and usher into a new era.
Be easy on yourself
Believe it or not, we become so good at self-doubt, it becomes our default response to everything. After all, we live nurturing it for so long. We often fall back into self-doubt because it is simply our best alternate to any situation.
It becomes our default leaving us confused and messed up. Eventually, we lose the sense of clarity and our response to a problematic situation or a failure. It becomes a norm, and it is practically impossible to snap out of it.
Here comes to the rescue our compassion. Self-compassion is a potent weapon against self-doubt since we start treating ourselves as a friend of ours and go easy. We start understanding the underlying reasons for our failures or hesitancy to take up tasks.
We start viewing our situation as a friend or a third person with an opinion. It brings rationality and practicality into our thought process. Instead of beating ourselves down or shirking from responsibility, we analyze and understand.
Comparing is fine till it brings about positive changes. But we find ourselves in a trap putting us down due to better prospects or situations others may have.
The thing is- it is easier said than done. We live in a tribe or a community as social creatures. Hence, constant evaluation and comparison of our status become evident.
Not comparing then becomes a non-practical solution.
Instead, we should learn the art of correct comparisons with the right people. We should be mindful of who we compare and our reasons for the same.
Each of us has a different life story and privileges, making it naïve to compare ‘our’ with ‘others.’
Always look how far you’ve made than where you were. It is ideal when we compare the current self with the past and make the desired changes. Your comparison with others won’t get you far. I dare say if you compare yourself with the richest man, then do it completely. Soak in every detail of how they made it and then judge or lose hope. Maybe, you never wanted all that, and you need something else.
Do not rob yourself of joy by sneaking into someone’s life and making assumptions.
Now that you know the possible causes of self-doubt and a few ways to manage it well, make it a daily habit to concentrate on fending it off. In the end, it can only be as strong as you let it be. Hang in there and keep working on these patterns and solutions. Once your antidote becomes a regular practice, you’ll be able to step into the uncharted waters effectively.