How to Silence Self-Doubt: Steps to Improve Self-Thoughts
It’s never glaringly obvious. Self-doubt makes its presence known sometimes in the most obscure ways that we don’t even realize it’s happening. When you were twelve, you tried something different with your hair, thinking it was the perfect reflection of who you were. You thought it was the perfect style, but as soon as you stepped foot on your school bus, you were mocked and picked on because it wasn’t the style everyone else was wearing. A minor incidence in retrospect? Yes, but could it have been the seed that started years of doubting yourself and questioning your own judgment? Perhaps.
See, we all have an inner voice inside of us that seems to creep up whenever we try to make any improvement in our lives or simply live our best lives. You don’t notice that you’re doubting yourself until someone’s opinion negatively impacts you and you start questioning every area of your life. Should I get another job? Am I smart enough to attend that program? Am I attractive enough for my partner? Why did I choose to move to this city? You start to question all of your decisions and your thoughts begin to spiral out of control.
(Imagine me yelling this at the top of my voice.)
I know, that was harsh. I don’t like it when people yell at me either. However, I’d want someone to snap me out of it if I were spiraling out of control in a deep dark hole of negative self-talk and self-doubt. So, this is me snapping you out of it, my friend. For us to grow and cultivate healthiness in ourselves, we first must begin with positive thoughts.
So, here are some tools to help you silence self-doubt:
1. Doubt your doubts.
Whenever you begin to have negative thoughts about yourself that bring on self-doubt, simply doubt that those doubts about yourself are true. I know it seems kind of weird, but think about it. If you doubt that the negative thoughts you think about yourself are true, wouldn’t you begin to believe the alternative, that you are the opposite of what your negative self is telling you? Believe the positive thoughts about yourself. This isn’t to make you oblivious to your flaws and ignore areas of improvement. This is simply an exercise to remind you to be more kind to yourself and to help you realize that you are capable of great things and making the best decisions for yourself.
2. Take inventory of what you've already accomplished.
Okay, this one is for those who struggle with imposter syndrome. If you don’t know, imposter syndrome is where you doubt your ability or your accomplishments. You simply feel like a fraud, an imposter, or that you don’t belong in the spaces you’re in. Maybe you feel like an imposter at your college or university, at your job, or in your relationship. Ask yourself, would I be here if I didn’t qualify or if someone didn’t think I belonged? The answer is usually no. However, beating self-doubt and imposter syndrome is believing for yourself that you belong regardless of any validation from others. Don’t doubt that you belong, because you do.
3. Limit outside voices.
This is a tough one, especially because we are wired for a community with others and may value the voices of those we love. And I’m not saying don't trust the opinions of those who have your best interest at heart. What I am saying is let your opinion be the final say. The only voices you need to be hearing when deciding are yours and God. Trust that you know what’s best for you. By limiting outside voices, you become more independent and in tune with your intuition. You also decrease any opportunity for resentment of others because no one else was involved in your decision process but you, which can be freeing.
4. Don't compare yourself to others.
One of the reasons we doubt ourselves is that we are comparing our lives to others. Now, more than ever, we have access to peoples’ lives and we are constantly bombarded with access to how someone is vacationing, their great careers, etc. I’m here to remind you: Run your own race. If you’re going to compare yourself to someone, compare yourself to yourself. How are you better today than yesterday? How do you plan to improve yourself so that your life has an upward trend or that you are a better person a year from now?
5. Become more skillful or knowledgeable until you're confident.
If you are doubting yourself in a certain skill area, then practice until you’re confident. We always hear the phrase, ‘practice makes perfect'. Well, personally, I think that’s counterproductive as none of us are perfect or could ever be. Instead, a healthier way to go about this is to ‘practice until you’re confident'. If your self-doubt is tied to a specific skill, practice until you are confident in your abilities and be kind to yourself along the way.
Well, there you have it, just 5 simple tips to help you silence self-doubt. This isn’t an exhaustive list as there’s so much that you can do to help with this, but use this as a starting point. If you find yourself having to constantly dig yourself out of a deep hole from spiraling thoughts of negative self-talk, seek professional help. As always, I am all about implementing practical steps to help us in our daily lives, but don’t go it alone. There’s strength in seeking help if this becomes too overwhelming on our own.
Did this help? Leave a comment below about what steps you're taking to improve your self-doubts and negative thoughts.
Until Next Time, Keep Growing,