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We all have experienced self-doubts, especially when it came to undertaking significant life decisions. Whether it is the selection of a career or prospects of a current job, we all have been there.

There is that voice ringing in your head that constantly says that you cannot do it. But the remedy to that pessimistic voice is acting to the contrary and doing what you desire. Acting and getting your ambitions fulfilled is how you silent them forever.

They are a part of our experiences as we grow up.

What causes you to doubt yourself?

The lack of confidence and the air of uncertainty gives space for doubts.

There are things around us that we cannot control which often cultivates reasons for concern and anxiety. I will share my example here

I have always strived to be perfect at everything, like becoming the best artist, the meritorious student, the perfect wife, and so on. However, I never took a pause and thought, what is the definition of perfection?

For a long time, I was trapped in the self-doubt prison of my creation. Humans were not born to be perfect, we were born to be real, and to have emotions, to make mistakes and learn from them. The attribute of perfection belongs only to our creator.

Sometimes we fixate on a certain outcome which creates an immense level of fear.

Take an example of the pandemic situation. The prospect of us going to schools, workplaces or colleges look bleaker than setting out without masks again. But let’s say I fixate on going back the next month because I have a certain plan laid out that requires my presence to work. Not that it might not be possible, but it creates overwhelming fear. The idea of that not happening for the next month makes you feel paralyzed. 

Well, I would need to understand first that it’s not in my control and I will need to become flexible and accept that ups and downs are a part of life. Maybe this realization will conquer most of my fears and will open more chances for success. 

Also, we compare ourselves with others and render judgments in the lack of our abilities. 

In this process, we fail to realize that everyone has a different process of doing things. Maybe we cannot perform in the same manner, but it does not mean we cannot do it.

Is it GOOD or BAD?

Ever since I was a kid, I had dreamed of being an artist. But I let my doubts and the people around me feel that it wasn’t my cup of tea. Truth is, in the end, everyone makes their cup of tea.

During the quarantine period, my confidence got better than my self-doubts. One day, I just ordered all the supplies I needed and started. I had my doubts, but it just made me see through my weaknesses instead of stopping me. 

Within a month, I had a portfolio of unique, abstract masterpieces that started selling by themselves. I still have a long way to go, but I am delighted that it is going better than I expected. I also have self-doubts, whether I will go to the next level or will face failures ahead. But, I do not let them stop me. 

Everyone has a certain level of self-doubt, which is healthy.

The uncertainty keeps us hooked on giving our best, and it eventually removes the doubt itself. It helps us figure out the areas of weakness while working in a particular area and challenges us to do better. It also helps us realize that we are not always right and ponder on our interior.

If we have too little self-doubt, we tend to get overconfident or careless, both of which are toxic for us.

But when self-doubting is persistent and overshadows your growth and mental wellness, that’s when you need to take notice.

Is it a weakness?

When self-doubt takes precedence over performance and clouds judgment, people incline towards pessimism. It makes them demoralized, and they develop psychological means to justify their behavior to themselves.

  1. They start feeling they don’t have what it takes to get them where they want to go. Hence, efforts and actions are not taken.
  2. They don’t put efforts and blame their failures on the fact that they didn’t work at all.
  3. There are a few people who feel luck has favored them to succeed and not their abilities. Also called the imposter syndrome, they feel like concealed hoaxes. This toxic feeling links strongly with anxiety.
  4. Some people are compassionate but are not kind to themselves. They constantly need assurance, overwhelm over failures, and produce brutal self-judgments. Such people tend to isolate themselves and prefer solitude.

There are so many instances of people around us who could do what they wanted to but held back because of their self-doubt.

If you don’t wish to fall in that category, remember that your self-doubt is just a doubt, it is not the truth.

When does it become an illness?

Our society has an unhealthy notion of valuing and respecting only those individuals who fit in their definition of being extraordinary.

Sometimes our abilities appear cloaked to us owing to the communal morality, which makes us underestimate ourselves. It turns our self-doubt into a leech sucking away our self-esteem and confidence.

The leech causes prolonged tension and anxiety. If not taken care of, it develops into depression. You might be suffering from depression if you find:

  • Consistently dreading yourself,
  • Self-loathing,
  • Being reckless,
  • Loss of interest in activities,
  • Mood swings and irritability,
  • Loss of concentration.

If these symptoms are prominent, you should consider consultation or therapy.

For consultation and more information regarding depression, visit.

How to deal with self-doubts?

There are several ways to deal with self-doubting. Some of the useful ways are listed for you.

MEDITATION

Meditation is a proven method to keep your mind grounded and at peace. It also helps you think clearer, unveils the curtains covering the positivity, and see through the abilities you already possess.

All you have to do is sit in a peaceful setting, close your eyes, and do the breathing exercises. Let the negativity flow away from your spirits and embrace the positive vibes from your surroundings. Light candles or incense sticks if you like.

You can practice this early morning, before sleeping, or anytime you feel fit. You will observe an appreciable difference when you meditate regularly.

CONNECTING WITH PEOPLE

If negative self-doubts are overwhelming you, isolating yourself is not an option. The sole company of the negative voice will just make things worse.

Try connecting with a person who is positive and understands you. It could be anyone, a parent, a sibling, a good friend, anyone with whom you can share.

They can reflect the uniqueness in you that you don’t see yourself. They act as a supporting pillar and make you realize that you’re not alone.

FOCUSING ON POSITIVITY

Do not let your fears and doubts overlook the positive things you already have. Always remember that you are stronger than you believe. Everyone faces highs and lows, but it is temporary and not an indication to give up.

You can go through the success stories of individuals and see that you are like them. You can also read some journals, good books or quotations

REFLECTION

Take some time out for yourself and reflect. Do something positive like get a jar of positivity or maintain a diary or journal. Maintaining a journal or keeping a track of your moods can help. Write a positive quote daily to instill good thoughts where you can read whenever you look around, like a board or bulletin.

Also, instead of letting your self-doubts get the better of you, challenge them. Sit and have a debate with them. Realize that they are merely doubts and hardly the reality. 

TAKE A BREAK 

If the unending hectic schedules and tense atmosphere are creating negativity and doubts, take a break. Do something you feel good about, like take a trip to connect with nature, read a book, write a poem, or paint. You can also plan something simple like eating out with people you like to connect with or cook by yourself if you enjoy cooking.

Always plan something cheerful, especially for weekends. Breaks help your mind escape from the pressure and lets you process better, avoiding your self-doubts from devouring your mind.  

EMBRACING YOUR DOUBTS 

Let your self-doubts analyze your weak points and let you be aware of them. Learn to embrace your weaknesses instead of getting disturbed by them or feeling negative about them. After all, no human was ever born to be perfect. We all have a diverse set of strengths and weaknesses which makes us unique, who we are.

REGAINING CONFIDENCE- A self-activity to fight negative doubts

SELF-ESTEEM

Self-esteem is simply understood by the image you have of yourself and how much you believe in yourself. It can also be divided into three levels: high, medium, and low.

  1. HIGH SELF-ESTEEM: It means you are very self-confident and you do not need others to tell you that you have great abilities. You take criticisms well and hardly create second opinions about yourself.
  2. MEDIUM SELF-ESTEEM: It implies that you are in a seesaw of confidence and self-doubts. You believe in yourself but sometimes you get overwhelmed by doubts. You also sometimes may need others to approve of you.
  3. LOW SELF-ESTEEM: It means you are timid and easily get affected by other’s opinions about you. 

To understand better about which category you fall into, you can take this self-assessment.

It is okay to doubt yourself when you are at your lows. The below exercises are for everyone, no matter which category you fall into.;

THE EXERCISES

The circle of uncertainty and doubts can be overwhelming. So, to manage your doubts and not let them restrict you from your work, I have two small exercises. You can use either one or both as per your liking.

The first exercise is commonly used by psychologists to help people filled with negative self-doubts. It is simple and can be practiced by anyone, anywhere.

Whenever you feel that your negativity is drowning you, just stop and take a deep breath. Take another deeper breath, hold the air in your lungs before you let it out. Now whichever negative doubt comes first, imagine tying it up in a balloon. See it floating high and far away as you take another deep breath. Repeat it with your next doubts and many others that you have. See them floating away.

This second exercise I have personally designed and I use it whenever I feel the string of workload and doubts creates anxiety. Like the first exercise, this is also simple and you can practice it anywhere and anytime according to your necessity and convenience.

Imagine your self-doubts as a string of buttons that has covered your head, one button for each doubt you have. Now slowly unbutton the first of them and unlock a little of your confidence and start doing your work. As you progress, open up each of the buttons successively and boost your confidence steadily as you delete the doubts.

When you have opened up all the buttons, you will feel free from all the negative doubts. New energy with the refill of confidence, will surround you and you can continue working with the pace you have gained.

– Written by Zahwah Jameel with inputs from Rahul Bhargava

To support your self-help journey, we have curated content and tips for overcoming self doubt and building confidence.

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