Self Doubt - What is it and how to overcome

Self-doubt is a feeling of uncertainty or lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities. It can affect anyone, regardless of their age, background, or achievements. Self-doubt can make us question our decisions, abilities, opinions, and worth. It can also prevent us from pursuing our goals and expressing our true selves.

There are many possible causes of self-doubt, such as:

  • Negative feedback or criticism from others, especially those who are important to us, such as parents, teachers, bosses, or peers.
  • Past experiences of failure, rejection, or trauma that have shaken our self-esteem and self-trust.
  • Fear of the unknown, the future, or the consequences of our actions.
  • Comparison to others who seem more successful, talented, or confident than us.
  • High expectations or perfectionism that make us feel inadequate or dissatisfied with our performance.
  • Lack of support or encouragement from others who can validate and affirm our abilities and worth.

Some examples of self-doubt are:

  • A student who doubts their ability to pass an exam, even though they have studied hard and prepared well.
  • A writer who doubts their creativity or originality, even though they have received praise and recognition for their work.
  • A leader who doubts their competence or authority, even though they have proven their skills and experience in their field.
  • A parent who doubts their parenting skills or decisions, even though they have raised healthy and happy children.
  • A person who doubts their attractiveness or desirability, even though they have a loving partner or admirer.

Self-doubt can have negative effects on our mental and emotional well-being, such as:

  • Anxiety and stress that can impair our functioning and health.
  • Procrastination and avoidance that can hinder our productivity and progress.
  • Low self-esteem and self-worth that can affect our happiness and relationships.
  • Imposter syndrome that can make us feel like frauds or undeserving of our achievements.
  • Self-sabotage that can lead us to undermine our own success or potential.

Self Doubt - What is it and how to overcome


Fortunately, there are ways to overcome self-doubt and regain confidence in ourselves and our abilities. Some of these ways are:

  • Practicing self-compassion and kindness towards ourselves, especially when we make mistakes or face challenges. We can remind ourselves that we are human and imperfect, and that we deserve respect and love regardless of our flaws or failures.
  • Thinking back to our past achievements and successes, and acknowledging the skills, strengths, and qualities that helped us accomplish them. We can also celebrate our small wins and progress along the way, and reward ourselves for our efforts.
  • Trying not to compare ourselves to others, but rather focus on our own goals, values, and aspirations. We can also appreciate the diversity and uniqueness of ourselves and others, and recognize that everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses.
  • Spending time with supportive people who can provide us with positive feedback, encouragement, and inspiration. We can also seek out mentors, role models, or coaches who can guide us and help us grow.
  • Remembering that we are our biggest inner critics, and that our thoughts are not always accurate or helpful. We can challenge our negative thoughts with evidence, logic, or alternative perspectives. We can also use positive affirmations or mantras to boost our self-confidence and motivation.
  • Seeking professional help if self-doubt is interfering with our daily functioning or well-being. A therapist or counselor can help us identify the root causes of our self-doubt, and provide us with tools and strategies to cope with it.