Dealing with self doubt

Bride In Bedroom Having Second Thoughts Before Wedding

There are umpteen moments in life when we are plagued by self-doubt; whether it’s when we have begun a new venture, been criticized or failed at something. Self-doubt can either paralyze you to inaction or inspire you to move mountains. It all depends on how you deal with the doubt when it strikes you. Doubt in itself is merely a sign, a beacon. We can use its energy to illuminate something or blindsight us from further action.

The very purpose of doubt is to raise a question, trigger your mind to reconsider or re-examine what it thinks it knows or believes. A little self-doubt is not only normal but also helpful as it prevents you from acting too impulsively or from a place of ego. Contrary to popular opinion, self-doubt is a great equalizer; meaning nobody is exempt from this feeling. Even the most successful people are plagued by self-doubt. The only difference is that they don’t let it prevent them from doing what they feel is right and needed at that moment.

Here are a few simple ways to get past self-doubt: 

  1. Trust your gut – Oprah Winfrey was fired from Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, because the channel felt that she got too “emotionally involved” with the stories she reported and given a daytime position (which was considered a huge step down in the news world). But she used the same ability, her emotional connect and empathy with her guests & audiences to turn that program into the highly successful “Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah trusted her gut. She understood what made her unique. Taking advice and feedback from others is vitally important, but finally, you have to choose what feels right to you. Yes, there are chances you might not succeed, but that will only serve to enhance your decision-making abilities and strengthen your self-confidence. Using references to past successful decisions is often a good way to bolster your faith in yourself.
  1. Keep sight of the big picture’ – When you are clear about the ‘Big picture’; about what you stand for, obstacles are transformed into learning tools and self-doubt starts to melt away. Having clarity of vision gives you the sense of direction and an idea of what you want. It does not in itself, get you there, but it helps you make some good and timely decisions.
  1. Get moving – Over-analysis often almost leads to paralysis. Fear of making a wrong decision or exposing yourself to criticism prevents you from taking the next step. This can not only aggravate a situation but also lead to missed opportunities. The best way out is to take your end objective as a reference point to pick one of the shortlisted options and then just go ahead with it. Taking the next step, however, small or inconsequential frees up our energy and sets the ball rolling, helping us storm through a fretful situation.
  1. Refrain from judgment – We are conditioned by society to appropriate blame, guilt or judgment in a bid to change ourselves or other people. In fact, a study revealed that 70% of the time, the humor women use is self-deprecatory. But this approach rarely helps. Instead, it further shuts us down and blocks us from absorbing new experiences and learning. A better approach is to develop compassion for your self-founded on the understanding that we are not supposed to be perfect, but the best we can be in any given situation. Use this understanding to become more aware or watchful of repetitive and constricting patterns of thinking. A daily practice of meditation can further help you to strengthen your self-awareness to accept what is and make constructive & creative changes to life instead of getting bludgeoned by reproach and self-blame. 
  1. Separate the experience from the drama – Often our minds conjure up a lot of drama or stories around an actual experience, which are not only untrue or exaggerated but also consume a lot of our mental energy. Furthermore, constantly focusing on such manufactured memories further amplify our self-doubt and also create self-fulfilling consequences. So get in the habit of challenging your doubt. Ask probing questions. Strip it bare. Detach yourself from the experience and view it objectively. Often this will clear up the unnecessary clutter and illuminate new ideas on how to respond to the situation.

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