“Why can’t you see yourself that way that God sees you?” was a question once asked of me that still haunts me to this day.
To the outside world and online, I am seen as confident and well put together, courageously smashing her goals and always ambitious AF. Behind closed doors and in the depths of my mind, I struggle with a lot of crippling self-doubt.
I mean we all do, don’t we?
The answer is yes, but at what point does self-doubt become a problem?
Even better question: Why do we doubt ourselves in the first place?
Furthermore, what is self-doubt?
According to Collins Dictionary, self-doubt is the lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Well damn. What a way to make me feel shitty.
I’m not sure where self-doubt comes from nor how we develop that lack of confidence. Some may point to childhood, and say that if you had parents or other close acquaintances around you that criticized you quite often, then its likely that you would struggle with self-esteem.
But me personally, I wasn’t overly criticized by either of my parents. I was always praised for my performance academically or otherwise. But I know many of you reading this may have not been so lucky.
I really only received criticism from classmates and grew to hate the attention I received for being “so smart” because while I was not boastful about it, people still had something to say to me. So it was like a catch 22– at home I received support and reassurance but at school I was being teased, isolated, etc. On top of being an only child, it was hard for me to consistently believe in myself.
Like, I know I’m highly intelligent and gifted in a lot of areas, but when it comes to putting myself out there and letting people know, I get anxious about it.
What if they think I’m cocky?
What if they think I’m annoying?
What if they think my work is not all that cool?
Are these people laughing at me?
What if I’m not that great?
Am I really acting like a know-it-all?
What if I can’t pull this off?
And the questions continue.
Self-Doubt shows up in a number of ways, such as:
- Never finishing what you start
- Not being able to praise yourself for even the smallest things
- Not pursuing opportunities
- Talking yourself out of trying new things
- Fear of rejection, so you don’t try anyway
- Not trusting yourself
- Feelings of imposter syndrome
- Low confidence, so you look to others for constant reassurance
- Automatically thinking you can’t do something
- Actually being afraid that you are good at something because you don’t want the responsibility of maintaining it.
Imma stop right here. Because you know how we play ourselves.
I don’t think there’s a way to completely eradicate self-doubt because I don’t believe that there is a person on this earth who 100% believes in themselves and all their abilities…. unless you’re K*nye W*st of course.
Anyway…. I do think there are ways to control frequent feelings of self-doubt. Here’s a few methods that I try:
Alright so boom, there’s nothing wrong with seeking reassurance from others. There is something wrong when you seek it from people who don’t give a damn about you or if you do it too often. Who you have around you is important. The only cool thing about being an adult is that you have the power to choose who can be in your life. If you came from an overly critical family that did not speak life into you, choose friends who empower and uplift you. My group(s) of friends are honest with me and extremely supportive and encouraging. My wins are their wins and vice versa. We aren’t meant to do life alone and life is already tough enough, find a tribe of people who believe in you even when you struggle to believe in yourself.
As a writer and even as just a regular person, how you talk to and affirm yourself is important. To help control my self-doubt, I write down positive things about myself starting with “I am” even if it has not happened yet or I don’t always feel that way. Once I write them down, I keep them in places where I can see them such as the door of my bathroom, on my phone as reminders and the names of alarms and in my journals. By seeing these positive words every single day, my mindset begins to shift and I start to believe it. Once I start to believe, it becomes easier for me to kick self-doubt to the curb.
For example, self-doubt will be like: “Girl you are not even qualified for that opportunity, I don’t even know why you try.”
My affirmations counters that by saying: “I am confident in all my abilities. Why wouldn’t I try?
Start writing positives things about yourself, and see what difference it makes.
Let Fear Be a Motivator
Okay so, a large part of why we doubt ourselves is because of fear. This can be fear of rejection or fear of responsibility that comes with being good. Either way it goes, we have to learn how to let fear motivate us instead of hinder us.
Secret about me: 70% of the things I do or want to do, I be scared shitless. But what’s even more scary is staying stagnant and not being happy. So even though I’m scared, my impulsive side kicks in and I just do it anyway. Ya’ll know how the saying goes, it’s better to try some shit and fail than not try at all.
With that being said, I wanna stress a few things to you:
Overcoming self-doubt is indeed a journey but it is not impossible.
Sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it!” and do it anyway
There’s never a room you don’t belong in. Imposter syndrome can kick rocks too.
If you’re worried about not measuring up to others, please remember that you’re in competition with no one but yourself. Strive daily to be better than you were the day before.
Don’t listen to people who never accomplished shit. It’s a reason they’re projecting their insecurities on to you, and it has zero to do with you.
- What do you doubt yourself about?
- What does your own personal self-doubt stem from?
- What steps can you take to overcome self-doubt?