Everyone without exception experiences this
Everyone without exception experiences this. That experience is self doubt. I have dealt with clients from all walks of life and I have yet to meet someone who can say that they have never experienced self doubt. We all experience uncertainty throughout life and often, we are facing situations for the first time. In fact, I would be more concerned about someone who said they never felt self doubt as that would be incredibly unusual. It would be a disadvantage not an advantage. Self doubt serves an important purpose, it teaches us to think things through and to consider all options before going ahead.
Healthy self doubt is a good thing but too much self doubt can lead to anxiety and depression. Major self doubt inevitably leads to avoidance and the more we avoid the things we fear or feel uncertain about, the greater the fear becomes as we never get to challenge it/reality test it.
The key to decreasing self doubt is to keep reaching forward and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s that simple. Keep pushing yourself, keep trying new things.
You will never get rid of self doubt completely but see this as a good thing. It’s just a little inner reminder to consider all options and be slightly cautious.
Studies have also found self-doubt can also help motivate you to improve your performance and avoid making the kind of mistakes associated with having too much self-confidence.
Like any feeling or emotion you have, you never want to feel all one way or another. Psychological flexibility—the right emotion, in the right situation for the right outcome—should always be your goal.
Professor Carol Dweck at Stanford University suggests embracing our self-doubt by acknowledging “I’m not there yet. But I can get there.” You see, Dweck’s research has found that that self-doubt is often fed by a fixed mindset that invests in the belief that we’re born either smart or dumb, talented or ordinary.
The truth is that we can all improve as long as we have the right mindset. Take baby steps towards success. One small step at a time is the easiest way to move forward. Don’t focus on the whole journey/task, rather look at the next step and focus on that.
Finally, be gentle with yourself and treat yourself compassionately. Knowing that we all have self doubt should help you to feel more relaxed about trying new things. Welcome to the club!
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