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Why You Doubt Yourself and How to Stop It

Self-doubt can feel harmless, but there are many ways it can affect your life. If you doubt yourself, you have probably found yourself in the following scenario – You’re assigned a task by someone in authority, and your first reaction is to panic and wonder whether you are capable of delivering great results. You spend time stressed over decisions made and you picture how everything could go wrong.

While it’s okay and normal to be afraid, self-doubt invites bad habits such as procrastination. You lack motivation and are never satisfied with your results.

Causes of self doubt

  • Experiences or mistakes made in the past: Past experiences definitely impact how we react today. A broken relationship or the loss of a job can shake anyone up.
  • How you were brought up: Our upbringing shapes who we become; it shapes our personalities and our habits. If your parents always told you that you were not good enough or if your teachers constantly questioned your capabilities, then you have probably internalized the habit of questioning yourself.
  • Comparing ourselves with others: Everybody compares themselves with others; humans are naturally competitive. This is even more apparent in this age of Social Media. It’s easy to envy others’ lives and feel that we’re not doing as great as everyone else.
  • New Challenges: Finding yourself in unfamiliar territory, with no experience, can expectedly be intimidating.
  • Past successes: Believe it or not, your past successes could make you doubt yourself. Ever been in a scenarios where you perform so well you wonder whether you can replicate the results the next time? You’re afraid that’s the best you can deliver and you will never be able to produce anything equally better.

How to stop doubting yourself

  • Focus on the positive stuff about yourself

Stop the negative voices inside your head by focusing on something that makes you feel positive about yourself or the outcome. You can:

  1. List counter arguments such as “I can learn something from this”, “I can do this” and “Wasting time worried about whether I can do this isn’t helping the situation”.
  2. Take a jar and fill it up with all your happy memories. You can write an achievement every day on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. When you doubt yourself, take open the jar and read the notes.
  3. Look aat photos that make you smile.
  4. Have an energy-boosting activity such as going to the gym or dancing, that boosts your mood.
  • Take a moment to relax.

Take a break and shift you focus on something totally different and unrelated to the task that is making you feel stuck. This will allow you to clear your mind out and see things from a fresh perspective.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Seek others people’s advice and reassurance. This can help boost your self-motivation and keep you motivated. If you’re given constructive criticism, learn to accept it.


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