I did a great segment this morning on overcoming self doubt. We all feel it at different times, and don’t always know what to do with it. Some questions about what it is, if it’s normal and some strategies to manage self doubt are below.
The link from the segment is at the bottom of the entry, along with a link to the Wall Street Journal Article on which the segment was based.
WE ALL SECOND GUESS ARE OURSELVES FROM TIME TO TIME, WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS THAT YOU ARE DOUBTING YOURSELF TOO MUCH?
Some signs include: excessive self-criticism, intense doubt about anything and everything, increased fears about performance or appearance. These types of things will interfere with our general behavior and can cause conflicts with others who do not understand why we are questioning and second-guessing ourselves all the time. There is that “voice” that is constantly nagging in the back of your head, telling you you aren’t good enough, what you are doing isn’t good enough and that it never will be.
WHERE DOES SELF-DOUBT COME FROM? IS IT NORMAL?
Self-doubt is normal. Everyone experiences it at some point. Most people struggle with difficult thoughts and feelings, but we but on the facade that things are okay. Often, for many of us, there is a big difference between what we show outwardly and how we feel on the inside. If you get gripped by self-doubt, it is important to challenge the thinking and try to push through it, while reminding yourself of your abilities and skills.
WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT SELF-DOUBT CAN HINDER RELATIONSHIPS?
Self doubt can cause problems in a variety of ways. It can really get in your own way. It can cause people to be defensive, take over conversations forgetting that there is reciprocity in interactions, may cause an individual to appear overly confident when that’s not really accurate. On the flip side, self-doubt can cause individuals to withdraw or leave situations.People can often view these behaviors negatively. The first kind of behavior can be perceived as narcissistic and cocky, which does not draw people to you or make someone the kind of person others want to get to know better. The second kind of behavior may be perceived as though you are disinterested and don’t care, which is also, potentially, a relationship breaker.Basically, self-doubt interferes with effectiveness with others.
WHAT ARE SOME STEPS TO BREAKING THE CYCLE OF SELF-DOUBT?
- Do a reality check
- Acknowledge and release fear
It is possible to break the cycle of self-doubt. One way is to change the behaviors that go along with the thinking or challenge the thoughts that go along with the doubt. More specifically, if you have the thought “I’m going to be fired!” You may want to challenge that by changing the behavior: “I better get cracking on that big assignment!” or by challenging your thoughts: “I have gotten stellar reviews, I’m doing well here!” These are key elements of cognitive behavioral therapy.Additionally, people can increase their mindfulness of their emotions. The more aware we are of our feelings, the less scary our feelings actually are. If you can simply observe how you are feeling or what you are thinking without passing judgment on yourself, you will learn that the emotions will become less intense. By paying attention to your present moment, taking some deep breaths, and observing your thoughts, you can bring your emotions into line. Once the intensity decreases, and the judgments decrease, we can approach any situation with more confidence and more effectively. Despite our belief to the contrary, the more we stick to our judgments, the more emotional we will get. The better we are able to let go of our judgments, the less fuel our emotions get and the more in control we remain. Thus, the anxiety that arises when we are experiencing self-doubt will come down, and we will be able to be more confident in our decisions and behaviors, hopefully.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON EXAMPLES OF SELF-DOUBT SITUATIONS — AND HOW DO YOU OVERCOME THEM? –
- Fear of failing
- Resolve to follow your goal, ask for help and work hard to achieve what you want
- Examine the ways in which you are working to build a positive life for yourself
- Take some deep breaths. Acknowledge that this is a reasonable fear. Focus on the success you are currently having
- Fear of getting fired
- Challenge yourself to work harder
- Remind yourself that you just got a great review for performance
- Validate for yourself that everyone feels this way
- Fear of being single forever
- Ask your friends to introduce you to people they know, join a dating site
- Review other relationships you have had or times you were NOT single and recognize that you have been able to maintain relationship
- Understand that everyone feels lonely at times and that you are not the only one who feels isolated or experiences this fear, and ask yourself how you would like to change it
What feeds your doubt?
Wall Street Journal article: