How to Conquer Self-Doubt

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How to Conquer Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is when an individual feels uncertain about their confidence and if they are likeable. / Photo by: Ion Chiosea via 123rf


Self-doubt is the sensation that causes one to feel unsure about certain aspects of themselves. An individual may feel uncertain about their confidence and whether others may find them likable or not. As they experience this, they may also continually have negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities which may hinder them from gaining opportunities to achieve more in their lives.



According to Lifehack, these are the reasons that people have extreme doubt about themselves:

Traumatic experiences and setbacks

What a person has experienced in their past may greatly influence the way they respond to situations, especially if they have had negative past experiences. One’s past may cause them to question their beliefs.

They are advised to understand they cannot change what happened to them in the past and it will be with them for the rest of their life. However, they should concentrate on learning from them instead of just merely looking back on those painful experiences.

How they were brought up by parents/caregivers

The manner in which an individual was brought up has a major role in molding one’s personality and habits. If they were brought by parents who often criticize them or tell them that they are not good enough, this may lead one to have self-doubt. Also, if they attended schools that placed extreme importance on grades, this may also cause them to develop the habit of doubting their abilities starting from their childhood years.

People who are affected by self-doubt because of this factor are advised to tell themselves that they already have the capacity to make choices that they believe would be best for them. They should not rely on their parents’ or teachers’ approval anymore. They should remind themselves that the education that they have attained throughout the years has helped them improved as a person.


Heavy exposure to social media gives people the tendency to keep comparing themselves to others. Looking at the social media content of others may cause a person to think that others are having a better life than them.

They have to learn to appreciate themselves and realize that different people are given distinct sets of talents and abilities. They may only benefit from comparing themselves to others if the awareness of what they lack becomes their motivation for improving themselves.


Due to heavy exposure to social media, people tend to compare themselves to others. / Photo by: Antonio Guillem via 123rf


Facing new challenges

New challenges can make a person feel insecure and uncertain because of their lack of experience in that area. This may also cause them to feel uneasy. They are advised to change their perspective on the situation and view it as an opportunity to learn something new. Committing mistakes in the process will just help them grow into a better person in the process.

Being afraid of not being able to replicate previous success

A person’s previous success may also cause a person to doubt themselves because they may think that they cannot do an equally excellent or much better performance, or that they cannot produce an output that is just as exceptional. They may be afraid they will be unable to replicate their success or do as well as they initially did.

Mental Health Conditions Linked to Self-doubt

Although it is natural for people to experience self-doubt, there may also be underlying mental health conditions connected to this, explains.  A person may have chronic self-doubt if they are also suffering from anxiety and depression. They may be emotionally unstable, are procrastinating or have no motivation, have low self-esteem and self-confidence, struggle with making decisions and may have the feeling that they are unable to control their life.

They may also be struggling with a condition known as the Impostor Syndrome, which is explained as having feelings of being a fraud in spite of their accomplishments. This is described as doubting oneself, belittling their own performance anxiety due to being afraid that others may discern that they are not as successful as they look.


How to Cope With Self-doubt

These are the seven strategies Psychology Today suggests that would help a person cope with self-doubt:

1. Look for a mentor or someone they can open up to

Individuals who are experiencing self-doubt are advised to seek someone that listens and understands them, as well as help keep them grounded. Some people they may ask advice from or vent to can be their siblings, therapist, parents or a trusted friend.

2. Find real friends

They should avoid being in the company of toxic friends because this will place them in an environment where everyone is fake, competing with each other and just negative in general. Their insecurities may cause them to try to pull the person down to bring them to their level.

In some cases, bad friends may help a person in distinguishing which people can become their good friends. They should be able to determine the friends who encourage and give them advice, as well as those friends who truly support them. They are the friends worth spending time with.

3. Forgive themselves

It is said that is more difficult to forgive oneself than to forgive other people. They may frequently recall all the times they have been disappointed or hurt someone. They may also view themselves as a victim of circumstances which causes them to hold themselves back and hinder them from improving themselves. They must be able to use the advantages to be able to get past these setbacks.

Rather than spending time being guilty and criticizing themselves for their past mistakes and failures, they should instead concentrate on the positive aspects in their life. They must move and practice self-compassion.

4. Set realistic goals

They should always set different and challenging goals. They can explore new goals but they should make these goals reachable enough for them. In other words, their objectives must be realistic.

In order to get a sense of achievement, they must take small steps to be able to attain a goal. The ability to set manageable, short-term goals will determine their their long-term success and how healthy they will be. For every small accomplishment, they must be able to reward themselves.



5. Practice deep breathing

To be able to alleviate their stress and self-doubt, they may try using deep breathing exercises. They are advised to inhale deeply and exhale hard when they find their circumstances overwhelming for them.

6. Write down what they are feeling

Writing down their positive and negative thoughts can be a therapeutic experience for them. This will help clarify what is really happening in their mind. They are advised to take a moment in their daily lives to record everything that they are experiencing, from the things that stress them to all the accomplishments they have reached. Their daily journals will reveal if the negative thoughts and experiences are prevailing over their positive ones.

7. Stop trying to make everyone happy

If they are spending most of their time trying to please or make everyone else happy, then they cannot be happy themselves. They may be kind, selfless and caring but they may have a hard time finding their own happiness and self-worth. This is because they waste their time attempting to make everyone happy despite the fact that it is impossible to please everyone.

They are advised not to make others responsible for their happiness. If they constantly depend on others for their happiness, this will lead them to have an intense doubt in themselves. They have to learn to respect themselves first.



To help a person overcome their self-doubt, they may use these treatment methods:

Focus on the present and dwell on positive thoughts

It can be helpful for them to concentrate on what is happening at the moment than dwell on the disappointments they have experienced in the past. Being able to focus on thoughts that are positive as well as affirmations may also benefit them. They may also try to surround themselves with more positive and supportive people.


Talking to a therapist or other mental health professionals may help reduce their feelings of self-doubt. If they seek help from these mental health professionals, they may be able to feel that they are understood and supported. Undergoing this therapy may also help in boosting their confidence and help them in acknowledging their skills. By consulting a therapist, they may be able to understand the underlying cause of their self-doubt and be able to know how to counter it.


Talking to a therapist may help reduce their feelings of self-doubt because they may be able to understand the underlying cause of their self-doubt and be able to know how to counter it. / Photo by: Wavebreak Media Ltd via 123rf


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

When an individual is subject to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, they are able to learn strategies that help change their negative ways of thinking. This may help in enhancing their mood and their general well-being. This may also help them increase their self esteem.

Self-doubt Can Lead to Self-improvement

To some degree, self-doubt can be beneficial because it is a sign that an individual knows they have to improve themselves to have a better performance. However, if this becomes too severe and starts affecting general areas of their life such as their school or work, they may ask the help of a therapist and go through the appropriate therapy.



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