Some mornings you wake up feeling like you can conquer the world. Other mornings…mmm…not so much.
Maybe during the night, your brain processed all the recent happenings and started feeling intimidated by yesterday’s successes. Or maybe it relaxed because it felt secure, but then all the gremlins escaped through the cracks while it was sleeping.
Either way, it’s normal to go back and forth between confidence and self-doubt. The important thing is that you don’t let self-doubt rule your day. Here are some things to think about to prevent self-doubt from plaguing your present and future.
Is Your Self-Doubt Reasonable?
Are your self-doubting thoughts reasonable? Are they the direct result of an event, or did you just kinda start feeling afraid and insecure? It’s normal to feel intimidated and apprehensive when you’re about to venture into unknown territory. It’s also normal to feel anxiety trickle through your brain and body when you fetter negative feelings.
But, did you do anything seriously – like super seriously – wrong? If so, then you need to take steps to correct your actions. If not, then it doesn’t make sense to torture yourself when you didn’t do any harm.
Consider the reasonableness of your self-doubt and whether it makes sense to linger in self-loathing or get off your haunches and act. (Hint: It’s not self-loathing.)
Are You Self-Doubt or Just Feeling Doubtful?
Just like resentments, dependencies, and other unhelpful thoughts and feelings, it’s important to acknowledge self-doubt. But what does that mean? Well, it means you recognize that you’re feeling insecure, but you don’t attach that feeling to who you are. Whenever you feel insecure, it doesn’t mean you are insecure. Feeling and are-ing are two very different things.
So, notice all the thoughts and feelings (i.e., gremlins) running around in your mind, but do not reach out and grab them. Do not cradle them or counsel them. Do not feed them or invite them into your deeper layers. Just give them a “what’s up” and a wave, then sit back and let them do their silly gremlin thing.
Where Does Self-Doubt Come From?
You are human, which means you are not perfect. (Spoiler alert. Shoot, I was supposed to say that first. Sorry.) That’s great news, though, because it means you can give yourself some slack whenever you mess up or don’t feel like your very best self. It also means you can take some time to develop an understanding of what self-doubt is so that you’re less frazzled by it in the future.
You see, self-doubt is forged in the realm of fear. And fear is simply a manifestation of not-love (I don’t like the word “hate”). So, even the tiniest bit of self-doubt is a clue to something you are afraid of. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that self-doubt points you directly to the root cause of fear (and not-love).
Be brave and follow that clue so that you understand why you’re feeling doubt instead of confidence. But be careful not to dwell there too long, as it’s a sticky place where gremlins lurk. Mind your mind so that gremlins can’t grab you unexpectedly and disorient you.
Hobgoblin humor aside, do take time to observe your inner workings – even the ugly parts – so that you can learn more about what makes you tick and how to manage thoughts and feelings that hold you back.
Can You Still Do Your Best?
Self-doubt doesn’t have to dictate your actions. It can just be something that you accept, understand, and manage. You can still have an excellent day and do great work while feeling insecure.
So, instead of calling the day a wash and battling unhelpful thoughts to “cure” yourself of all doubt once and for all, just do your best wherever you are. Inner combat is a huge energy expense. Though you may feel heroic while on your quest to annihilate every last trace of insecurity and anxiety, you’ll quickly tire, and your to-do list will continually heap, which will leave you feeling more uneasy than before.
Challenge yourself to work alongside self-doubt. Look it in the eye and say, “Doubt, I see you. You can hang out here for the day, but I’m still going to get my work done, and I’m still going to be true to what I love. I may acknowledge you from time to time, but I’m not going to let you influence me or make any decisions. So, sit back and enjoy the ride!”
Approaching doubt with acceptance and detachment is a much more peaceful and less energy-consuming way to manage it. Just let the doubt linger, but don’t give it any power. Explicitly tell it that it has no authority and is only a spectator in your mind.
Yeah, this all sounds corny, but it really works. Your brain listens when you tell it to do something. Why not tell it to keep self-doubt away so that you can go about your awesome day? (Totally intentional rhyme.)
You Got This
No matter how confident and assured you know you truly are, there will always be challenges and times when you question yourself. Everyone experiences self-doubt, and those who put in the effort to manage it end up quite happy.
Make the decision to accept, understand, and manage self-doubt. Give it no power, give it no authority over your life.
Now, go be awesome today. You got this.
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