Everyone struggles with feelings of insecurity and self-doubt from time to time, even those who might otherwise project the most assured and confident persona. A little self-doubt is not only normal, it’s sometimes desirable. According to the psychotherapist Adam Phillips, self-doubt and anxiety serves an important function: “If worrying can persecute us, it can also work for us, as self-preparation. No stage fright, no performance.”
In many ways self-criticism is essential for our sense of self. In his essay ‘Against Self-Criticism’ (2015), he suggests that “[n]othing makes us more critical – more suspicious or appalled or even mildly amused – than the suggestion that we should drop all this relentless criticism, that we should be less impressed by it and start really loving ourselves.” And yet, continuing to believe negative statements such as “I’m just not good enough” only turns our self-doubts into self-fulfilling prophecies; we trap ourselves in a repetitive cycle of desire and frustration, and this paralysis ends up weathering our self-esteem down until it’s all but vanished.
While it is impossible to banish self-doubt entirely, it is possible to get it under control. Using self-knowledge and understanding, you can turn self-doubt into motivation to succeed. All that’s required is to take a few steps towards positive change:
- Raise your self-awareness
If you can recognise the situations that trigger self-doubt, you can actively do something about them. Ask yourself what you can do to become better and, as almost anything can be learnt, seek training or support to help you succeed.
- Practice self-compassion
We all struggle to temper our self-criticism with self-compassion, but being kind to yourself can help you develop emotional resilience. Recognise when you are being self-critical, replace the negativity with positivity, and remember that imperfection is a part of the shared human experience.
- Stop seeking validation
Seeking advice from others can be helpful. However, if you have developed the habit of continuously needing others’ opinions before making a decision, you are weakening your faith in yourself. Begin to trust what feels right for you.
For more advice on to diminish self-doubt and remove its hold over life, then make sure to read the rest of the infographic below. Overcoming self-doubt requires taking affirmative action while being attentive to the inner critic. Choosing to take action in spite of pervasive doubt is the first step towards success.
8 Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt – An infographic by the team at Vegas Extreme Skydiving