Seven Steps to Overcoming the Anxiety of Self-Doubt
Do you constantly question yourself? Do you feel like you are not good enough? Do you feel like everyone around has a perfect life while you are struggling? If this is you, there is good news for you. You are not hopeless. You are enough. Let that sink in for a minute. You might not believe it right now, but you will eventually. If what I described above is your experience, you might suffer from the anxiety of self-doubt. It is not because you are a worthless person. Rather, sometimes our brains just tell us lies. Here are seven steps to overcoming the anxiety of self-doubt.
Start a Conversation with a Safe Person
One of the most crippling things about self-doubt is that it convinces you that you are all alone. It causes you to believe that you are the only person who messes things up or can't get things right. It tells you that everyone else around you is perfect, and you should be too (hence the anxiety). In fact, many people with self-doubt do not know they are even experiencing it. They think they are the problem. This could not be further from the truth. Self-doubt is a mental health issue (not a "you" problem) and it can be overcome. The first step is being willing to talk about it. If you are experience crippling anxiety because you feel like you are never good enough, consider finding a safe person to confide in. You will quickly find out that you are not alone.
I want to let you in on a little secret. Nobody is perfect. Everybody makes mistakes. In fact, that's what it means to be human and we should embrace it! However, most people also want to look a little closer to perfect than they actually are. They use social media, big events, or other means to show the world only their favorite parts about themselves and their lives. No wonder everyone else looks like they have it all together - they aren't showing you everything! So resist the temptation to compare yourself to other people. Comparison distracts you from what is truly important. After all, you are an individual with your own set of strengths, weaknesses, skills, passions, and desires. Why would you want your life to be like someone else's life anyway? Focus on yourself and what you want to accomplish.
Watch Your Self-Talk
Have you ever heard a parent say unkind words to a child, or maybe a boyfriend lash out at his girlfriend? You probably wanted to confront that person and tell them, "That's no way to talk to a loved one! Please be more kind." But do you do the same thing to yourself? Do you tell yourself things like, "You're not good enough. You'll never get it right. Nobody loves you"? This kind of self talk is common for people who struggle with self-doubt, especially if you have had a difficult past. Yet it does so much damage to that beautiful person inside of you. When you talk bad to yourself, your inner soul hides away. There is good news, however. You have the power to change the script. You can flip those words of hate and unkindness on their head and instead turn your self-talk into something positive. How? See the next step.
Practice Daily Affirmations
Changing your mindset from negative self-talk to positive self-talk is like working a muscle or learning a new skill. You need to practice (and don't be discouraged if it takes some time)! One great way to practice positive self-talk is to practice daily affirmations. You can start by writing down a few things that you love about yourself and speak them out loud as you look in the mirror. For instance, you might say, "I am a strong person. I am beautiful. I am good at my job." Try to identify both outward and inward qualities to compliment. Another way to practice positive self-talk is to remind yourself of what kind of person you want to be, even if you're still working on becoming that person. You could say, "I will be gentle to myself. I can control my temper. I know that making mistakes does not mean I failed - it means I learned something." As you say these positive statements to yourself in the mirror on a daily basis, your mindset will begin to change and you will become more accepting of your beautiful self.
Remember That True Validation Comes From Within
Do you crave validation from other people? If people notice you and say positive things about you, you are full of joy. But if they ignore you or critique you in any way, you feel crushed. Again, if this is you, you are not alone. Many people experience this at varying levels. People who doubt themselves often create an idea of their personhood based on how other people see them. The problem? People are fickle. They come and they go. They change their minds sometimes. You deserve unconditional love. But the truth is that you can't force other people to love you the way you deserve. And you don't have to. You can't control their feelings, but you can choose your own! This is good news! You can choose to love and validate yourself the way that you need and deserve. Your opinion of yourself is far more important than anyone else's. Of course, if you have people in your life who love and validate you, don't hesitate to accept their support. But don't let it define you. You define you.
Remember what we said earlier in the post about self affirmation taking practice? Well, as it turns out, self confidence takes practice too. Now, I don't mean the kind of self confidence where someone thinks they are better than everyone else and thus they refuse to listen to any advice. This is just arrogance (and you probably know someone just like that)! However, a healthy kind of confidence is important. After all, you are an amazing person with your own individual dreams, goals, and abilities. You should be confident in yourself and in what you want from life. But sometimes it takes practice. Self affirmation will bring confidence to your mind, but sometimes the body needs it's own boost. Practice walking straight with your shoulders back and your head held high. You might even want to do some power poses. With the help of some good friends or family members, practice making eye contact, introducing yourself clearly, shaking hands firmly, and smiling genuinely. Remember, your mind and your body are connected, so when one feels confident, the other will often catch up. And when you are working on both at the same time, success is not far away.
Talk to a Therapist
Last but not least, remember that you have many resources available to you. Finding a compassionate professional who can help you work through your self-doubt is invaluable. After all, you are not alone. Many other people have struggled with the exact same things you have, and therapists have developed extremely effective ways to help people through it. Mary Shull is one such therapist. With a history of helping anxious people, she is more than ready to bring you on your own journey of healing, happiness, and mental health.
Feel free to contact me to set up your first appointment!