We all struggle with self-doubt from time to time. Our Accredited Mental Health Social Worker Sam has put together 5 tips for tackling self-doubt head on.
When I started to write this article, I felt immediate self-doubt about its title. Was it too aggressive? Was it too inappropriate? Is this what a professional mental health professional should say? Will people judge me for it? Will it cause offence? I began to worry, over analyse, feel anxious and stress about it. I was listening to self-doubt creep around and whisper bitterness to me.
And then I thought, no! Self-doubt sucks and deserves to be kicked in the balls!
Self-doubt is that little voice that sits in the back of your mind and makes you wonder about all the awful things about yourself. It comes quietly in the night when you’re trying to sleep. It pops up when you’re about to meet up with a friend. It shoots you down when you have a brilliant idea. It makes you question your abilities when aiming for an important achievement. It strangles you after browsing social media. In short, self-doubt does all it can to hold you back.
Worst of all self-doubt knows you really, really well. It knows your insecurities and it knows exactly how to hurt you.
Sure, self-doubt might help us at some points. Such as waking us up to our limitations. It might wisely suggest that I can’t jump that gap on my bike like I used to. Or it might suggest appropriately, that no I can’t pull off that fashion statement as I once did.
But besides some of the friendly wake up calls, self-doubt is really no friend to us.
Self-doubt eats away at us. And if we are not careful self-doubt will take a big chunk out of our self-esteem. The confidence we once had to walk into a room smiling, feeling comfortable, and self-assured, can be destroyed. It leaves us nervous, quiet, scared and unsure of ourselves.
So how do we kick self-doubt in the balls?
Challenge the doubt: The doubt that sneaks in, challenge it and ask yourself whether it is based on realistic facts or is it shrouded in untruths? If you discover it to not be true, don’t listen to it.
Remind yourself: Remind yourself of all the times you have overcome hardships or tackled tough obstacles. Remind yourself that you have had the strength and abilities to do those things in the past. There is no reason why you don’t have those strengths and abilities now.
Avoid comparisons: Don’t compare yourself to other peoples’ success. Don’t be sucked in by other peoples’ Instagram photos or the awesome lives people post about on social media. It’s not about them, it’s about you. Look at where you have come from, look at your achievements, look at where you are going. That’s all that matters.
Stop it: Be bold and stand up to those self-doubting thoughts. They don’t have control, you do. Tell them ‘stop it! You are not helping me! I am in control!’
Confidence: Even if we are a super confident person, at times we will have these self-doubts. That’s okay, it means you’re human. But you can choose to listen to them and not strive ahead, or you can choose to kick that self-doubt in the balls and keep going.
Sam Shand is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker at Healthy Mind Centre Launceston, a private allied health practice in Launceston, Tasmania.