I always believed in the idea that we were the biggest critics of ourselves. At some point in our life, we have felt the lingering sense of self-doubt. We ask ourselves questions like, “Have I done enough”, “Am I really good at it”, or more existential “Am I in the right direction? If these questions have crossed your mind before, you now know that they come with a heavy feeling of incompetence, if not worthlessness. Psychologists call this the ” impostor syndrome , “ or the consistent pattern of self-doubt, and the internalized fear of being labeled a fraud or failure. Sounds familiar?
Perhaps the saddest thing about impostor syndrome is the fact that it affects people who are successful at what they do. They question their suitability in the vocations chosen, the validity of their ideas and even the value of the work they do. Not surprisingly, it is also often accompanied by a lot of stress, anxiety, and sometimes even depression. In the worst case, people quit smoking. They give up the job, thinking that they have already failed because of the way they see themselves. Like I said, the biggest criticisms of ourselves? We.
While much of what I’ve said sounds sad, there’s actually a silver lining when self-doubt gets too overwhelming. Ultimately, we still have to struggle with limiting thoughts because this debilitating feeling is the enemy of growth. Here are some simple steps you can take to overcome self-doubt:
1. Say No to Yourself
I know it sounds too simple, but saying no to yourself can really help fight your anxious thoughts. You know how sometimes all the belittling thoughts we have become worse thoughts? Before it even starts to grow into a multi-branched tree in your mind, say no. Sometimes that’s all it takes to calm down the negative voices we have in our heads. You have to realize that self-doubt is a pattern, and that pattern can be interrupted by simply shaking your head firmly.
2. Break out of the comparison cycle
Self-doubt, in itself, is already difficult to overcome. Try not to add to it by comparing your progress to that of your loved ones or colleagues. Remember, growth is not the same for everyone. Comparing yourself to others can trigger self-hatred and sometimes even jealousy or resentment towards the other person.
A good thing to do about it is to replace that toxic cycle of comparison with a much healthier habit. Go on and compare yourself to yourself. Track your growth over time and see how much growth you’ve achieved between Day 1 and Day 365. Not only is this a healthier habit, but it’s also a great way to see a clearer picture of it. that you are able to do
3. Fail with Grace
Accepting failure can be one of the most difficult things to do as a person, but staying motivated to work even harder is absolutely necessary. A person who has successfully overcome self-doubt is someone who can see failures as temporary things. They charge setbacks to experience and try again the next day. Take note: winners are just people who failed and tried again. So, be gracious in the face of failures – learn from them and decide not to define yourself by the list of things you failed. Fail, but keep believing in your potential.
4. Keep a Journal
On days when you are feeling down, a few affirming words from other people can easily cheer you up. However, your friends or family can’t always be there to say how good you are at what you do. So, do it by yourself. On good days, write about your victories in your journal. Share the obstacles you’ve been able to overcome and find at least three things that went well for you during the day.
If you are just starting to write a journal, remember to keep your documentation as factual and detailed as possible. You will find that it is so much easier to fight your doubt when you have hard facts about your accomplishments to back you up. You will also find that as you get into the habit of writing, you will become more objective in judging your progress.
5. Absorb Positivity
On your journey to break your old habit of self-doubt, try very hard to clear unreasonably negative thoughts from your mind. My advice: absorb the positive vibes around you. If you feel like your day started off badly, resume the day by listening to your favorite song, or better yet, reading self-development books. You might not be the type to read books like this, but once you give it a try, you’ll see how they could reframe your mind to focus on your potential rather than your perceived failures.
6. Develop a Personal Mantra
Remember how I said we were our biggest critics? Don’t be surprised, but you can also reverse this role to become your biggest fan and supporter. To do this, develop a set of mantras to say to yourself each morning before you go to work or school. You can start by saying statements like, “I am capable; I am beautiful; I am loved ”, aloud in front of a mirror. When we start our days on a positive note, we tend to carry the attitude throughout the day.
Now that you’ve read it all I’m sure you understand that the easiest way to say all of this is “Be kinder to yourself”. We tend to speak harshly about ourselves, not knowing how much this affects our self-esteem and our ability to grow in our careers or personal lives. It’s funny how this very negative mindset can be combated by simply choosing to love ourselves better. However, like most advice you may have heard, this is also easier said than done. It takes work to learn to be kinder and more forgiving to ourselves, but it’s definitely worth the time you invest. Come to think of it, what better way to fight self-doubt than by turning your energies to love yourself better?