Do you struggle with self-doubt? Perhaps you often wonder if you’ve made the right decision on an important issue; or you have only a faint hope that your next job interview, project, or even date will turn out well. The most unfortunate thing about self-doubt is that your fears often become self-fulfilling prophecies.
What’s good is that when you take action to become more confident in yourself, more things in your life will automatically turn out better as well. With more self-confidence, your decision-making skills are strengthened, others are drawn to you in social situations, you produce higher quality work, and you’re more able to create the life you desire.
Try these strategies to help silence that inner critic inside of you and boost your confidence:
- Stop and think. Reflect on why you’re experiencing feelings of doubt. Think about the events that caused you to feel insecure. Being faced with a challenge that you don’t feel you’re capable of successfully completing is a major cause for self-doubt.
Do you have a habit of putting yourself down? You may be subconsciously repeating negative thoughts that prevent you from moving forward. Thoughts like “I can’t do this” and “I’m not good enough” become reasons to avoid, or “opt out” of new experiences that could bring you many benefits.
The next time you have a self-doubting thought, take a few moments to consider why you believe this to be true. If insecurities are getting the better of you because of past failures, you must resolve to live in the moment and let the past stay in the past. Today is a new day!
Replace your negative self-talk with positive thoughts and language about how you can do it and you are good enough. Make the switch each and every time you have a self-doubting thought – and if possible, say the positive thought out loud! Soon you’ll automatically be singing your praises instead of your doubts.
- Practice self-understanding. Often, when you feel insecure about your abilities, you start berating yourself. Beating yourself up over something you feel you did wrong only leads to a cycle of frustration and procrastination. Realize that making mistakes doesn’t make you a bad or incompetent person – it simply makes you human.
Accept that while you’re not perfect, you’re certainly someone who always strives to do the very best job you can. Embrace the idea that every challenge in life is an opportunity for you to learn something new and grow as a person.
- Make a list. Take a blank sheet of paper and make two columns. On the left side, write down all of those doubtful thoughts you’re having about yourself right now. On the right side, list all of the positive facts that dispute your doubts.
For example, suppose you’ve been assigned a new task at work that you’ve never done before, and you immediately become negative because you feel your skills aren’t adequate. On the left side of the list write “I can’t do this because I don’t have the skills.” On the right side of the page write “I was given this task because I’m a quick learner who always gets the job done.”
You’ll find that you have a lot more positive facts listed than doubts. If your positive list is short, keep searching through your talents and good qualities (yes – they are there) until your positive list outweighs your negative one.
- Write a letter. Write a letter to yourself that talks about your positive traits and how you’ve overcome obstacles in the past. If you can recall a specific time when you triumphed over self-doubt and accomplished something that makes you feel proud, tell this to yourself in the form of a story.
The act of writing the letter will release all of those pent up insecurities that are spinning around inside your mind. By the end of the letter, you should be feeling a lot better and more confident. Keep the letter in a brightly colored folder, so you can refer back to it when needed.
- Make an appreciation folder. Keep track of those kind words of appreciation you receive from others. When you’re experiencing self-doubt, it’s easy to forget about all of those wonderful comments you’ve received for doing things that made other people’s lives better in some way. Collect all of the emails, notes and cards that say kind and loving things about you.
When you feel the voice of your inner critic welling up inside of you, simply take out your appreciation folder and read aloud those wonderful thoughts.
Self-doubt can rob you of the opportunity to reach new heights of success in life. While it’s very common to doubt yourself once in a while, you want to be able to easily let go of your inner critic when it pops up. Practicing the steps above will enable you to push through your self-doubt, boost your confidence, and clear the way for positive new experiences.