Tell self-doubt to leave!

This is a subject matter rather close to home but I feel it is important to draw on my personal experiences when writing. 

Self-doubt often accompanies a lack of confidence. It forces one to question themselves; their thoughts, actions, capabilities and interaction with others. Those who self-doubt tend to over think and worry unnecessarily.

Those with self-doubt are likely to feel inferior to others and be reluctant to put themselves forward for opportunities believing someone else is probably better suited.

I remember being in the last year of primary school – a long long time ago. Our topic for the term was “fires”. We studied, received visits from the local fire brigade and watched videos on how quickly fires escalate. It totally freaked me out. For at least the next year, on going to bed at night, I took all plugs out of sockets in the kitchen. On jumping into bed I questioned whether I had truly taken them all out so I jumped up to take a second look. Of course I had!

As a teenager I constantly doubted myself.  I went over conversations in my mind. I worried about how I came across to others. My thoughts included;

“Was my quietness annoying to others?”
“Why do I struggle to speak to people especially in large groups?”
“What was it about me that made me appear strange/awkward?”
“Why can I not be like everyone else?”

Whilst I excelled in English and History, I needed to work much harder in Maths and French. Some of my peers were fluent in French and excelled in tests and exams. I just could not get the hang of it.  I wondered why I could not grasp learning another language or pick up algebra. I began to question my learning abilities. I remember entering my maths class and seeing “What is z when y is 7 trillion by 4 trillion?” I felt like telling the teacher I am not enjoying this journey and would he mind if I got off!

I am an ordered person who likes everything in its place. So much so that I check and check again. On occasions, I have driven my car, parked up and locked up without much thought. When walking away from my car I wonder if I locked up or put the handbrake on. These are actions I take automatically so it just does not register. In case you are wondering I have walked back to my car to find I have locked up AND put the handbrake on. I felt such a ninny!

See below for a few tips to reducing self-doubt

1. Where does your self-doubt stem from – always go back to the root.

2. If you are a “checker” ask a family member to check the back window is locked/laptop is switched off. You are more likely to take their word for it and the responsibility is no longer yours but theirs.

Have you suffered with self-doubt?
What methods did you use to overcome this?
Were you able to identify the root of the problem?

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14 thoughts on “Tell self-doubt to leave!”

  1. Phoenicia, you are so right! Personal reflections are crucial to writing, since we usually need to teach others what we ourselves have learned. I really enjoyed reading more about your journey to slaying your self-doubt dragon! I have another tip to add to the list: I usually see where it is living in my body and put a hand there. For example: quivering in my chest or belly, a tension headache, shortness of breath. When I can truly be with my emotions at the level of the body, they usually clear out on their own. Great post!

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  2. This was written for me, but strangely on in my day-to-day life. Professionally there is none, i’ve always found this weird about myself.. I still have to keep a control on the self doubt after all these years so it doesn’t amplify itself into anxiety. And I check that back window at least 5 times before going to bed 🙂

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  3. Self-doubt is indeed an issue for me in varying areas of my life over the years. I’ve gained enough confidence in my work to stand behind it, and that’s important when learning how to charge what one is worth. On the other hand, I have many self-doubts when it comes to social awkwardness. My divorce made it clear I had thought stability made up for issues I hadn’t worked on, but now I now it’s never to late to become the person I might have been (that’s a George Eliot quote).

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  4. Thankfully I don’t need to get rid of self boubt. But your post may benefit people with low self esteem even more than self confidence because the latter is much easier than the former. People with low self esteem really have a problem.

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  5. I think to some degree we all suffer occasionally from self-doubt and limiting beliefs. I had a truckload of it as a teen and young adult but that mostly stemmed from being bullied in school. Once I was out on my own I was able to slowly push through the barriers and obviously, you’ve worked hard to overcome yours as well. Thank you for sharing your experiences on this important topic, and thanks for the inspiration!

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  6. My siblings and I suffer from a bit of self-confidence out of humility–and I don’t mean that with any ego! Our parents raised us to achieve everything we wanted to, but we were to do it while being humble. That’s a fine line for a kid to figure out, but it was a good lesson.

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    1. I like that RoseMary – self confidence out of humility. Self confidence is a wonderful characteristic and certainly required in this world of hard knocks. Knowing who you are and your abilities sets you apart.

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  7. Hi Phoenicia. I am certain that your post will be of benefit to many who suffer from self doubt. I am very fortunate that I am not one of them. My father taught me to have the utmost of confidence and I am happy to say that I do not doubt myself. I do my best and that is all I can do.

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