Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
Let’s be honest, almost everyone has serious moments of:
I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
I’m just not capable of pulling this off. Or worse, I’m a useless, colossal failure.
Feeling inadequate, insecure and lost at sea can seriously sabotage every area of your life.
It can feel like you’ve fallen behind everyone else.
And when you look around at your friends, or colleagues it might look as though it’s true. You’re far behind others who are doing the things you want to do, and thought you would be doing by now.
In fact maybe they’re living the life you’ve imagined for yourself, and you’re caught up in the pattern of self-doubt that plagues us all from time to time.
I know it plagues me.
These last few weeks on my sabbatical I found myself wondering whether it was time for me to give up what I do because I’m just not really that good at it.
At the same time I knew these feeling are often temporary, as so many of our negative thoughts about ourself are, so I turned to some little tricks of mind that I knew from past experience could have a huge impact on reality.
I share this in the hope that if you’re in your own personal battle with self-doubt or lack of confidence it might help you too.
1. Don’t second guess yourself
Do all that you need to do to make a good decision, then make it.
I had to make a few tough decisions this past few months and then had to continue to believe they were the best decisions I could make. Because at the time they really were the best I could do.
If you consistently review deals and decision and begin thinking you could have done better, or you go over and over conversations in your mind with the thought that you could have made your thoughts more clear…it only leads to dissatisfaction, self-doubt and self-criticism.
Life’s richness doesn’t consist of not making mistakes, or never taking the wrong path but of growing stronger from each decision made, good or bad. This is where you discover the magic of life.
2. Accept discomfort
Being comfortable doesn’t mean we’re always going to be happy. Sitting in your comfort zone isn’t really living, it’s settling. And you were created to live, not settle.
Comfort is a siren call that can lead you to merely exist through life instead of being out there, learning and growing and experiencing all the joys and heartaches that come with a life well lived.
I knew I needed a little push. I was complacent in my self-doubt, settling for doing nothing, because I was comfortable doubting myself. I might not have liked it, but it was familiar.
3. When to push and when to relax
We all need to push sometimes because in those, hopefully not too frequent places of struggle, exciting things happen.
But paradoxically it doesn’t do you any good to push too hard for too long. According to Herbert Benson of The Breakout Principle, this is counter-productive and we end up anxious and probably filled with more self-doubt than ever.
The trick is to stop before you get to that point, and by turning to some soothing activity, be it exercise, meditation, a walk in the woods, or whatever you find relaxes you most, you start a chemical reaction that leads to new insights and a more creative performance.
So pushing to a point, then relaxing does the trick. This is it in a nutshell:
1. Push yourself to focus on the challenge.
2. Stop your focus and do something that switches the mind in another direction. A massage and some herbal tea don’t hurt!
4. Imagine your end result in wonderful, technicolor detail.
5. Allow your sub-conscious to percolate and present you with some new ideas or a solution.
4. Weed out the unnecessary
I can tell you this: if you have too many plates balancing in the air you can be certain one or more will come crashing down sooner or later.
Think like Henry Thoreau who was a pretty strong, powerful role model. He was obsessed with keeping a ‘broad margin of leisure’ in his schedule. So he pared down his to do list to the essentials: thinking, writing, keeping his own company and taking care of the seeds he’d planted.
Our interests might differ somewhat, but the principle is still the same.
5. Be a good manager
I went back to managing my life by starting to say no to the things that felt like obligations.
No to the things that were eating up my energy and time, giving myself more space for what was important to me right then.
So choose one thing to put all your attention on. One thing that you’re willing to pour your energy on.
You don’t have to give up all the others, just put them on one side for now.
If you’re not sure how to choose, pick one that will have the greatest impact on the fulfilling of a desire.
Just this one step has the ability to fire up your creative juices and tamp down those traitorous self-doubts that blind you to your spiritual inner strength that have got you this far on your journey.
6. Remember the ‘being’ part of being human
Self-doubt can catch up with us all from time to time, maybe more often than we’d like to admit. And that’s okay.
We are imperfectly perfect, we are human beings, not human doings which means we are not meant to be constantly firing on all cylinders, we’re meant to take time simply to be, to rest, to recharge our batteries.
I’m still feeling a little off my game, but I took one small step at a time. Opening up my journal. Writing a line.
Such small, insignificant things, but they led me to the next small thing.
And I’m feeling better, because I took these steps. You will too.
7. Spiritually speaking
Every experience exists only as a mere possibility until you bring it into your conscious awareness. When you think of the experience you desire to have as already yours and live in your imagination as if it’s a done deal, then you are calling it into your current reality.
Change what you focus on from ‘What do I have to do’ to:
‘What’s my outcome?’ ‘What is my end result?’
It can’t be emphasized enough that the questions to be answered are: What do I want that’s most important to me? What’s the result I’m committed to getting?
This is the great secret for manifesting your desires. The same secret used by inventors, artists and sportsmen and women throughout the centuries.
Then you can do what every confident, successful person does, rise to your feet, brush off self-doubt and get moving in the direction of your dreams.
Encourage one another.
And as always, thank you for being here.
25 thoughts on “7 Ways to Stay Strong When You’re Overcome by Self-doubt or Insecurity”
Naturally, I feel self-doubt at times too! I especially loved your suggestion to distinguish between when to relax and when to push. It’s fascinating to know that its relaxation that can lead to new insights. Thank you, Elle.
Hello Sandra…I think self-doubt is part of our human condition, and finding the best ways to manage it such as pushing/relaxing was a gift to me these past few weeks. I’m glad it was helpful to you too. 🙂
Hi, of course, another very encouraging post from you. I believe that small simple things taken one step at a time mixed together with gratitude with lead us to where we want to go. Thanks for always sharing your great thoughts with us. Beautiful post!
Hello Sherill, I absolutely 100% agree with you. 🙂
Welcome back, and thank you for your timely post. As always it was just the ticket for me and a gentle reminder. You are fabulous!
Awww thank you Sandy…it’s always good to remember that we’re all in this together doesn’t it? 🙂
Really excellent points Elle, thanks so much for these reminders. All of them resonate, but especially when to push and when to relax – I’m still working on the ‘relax’ part, and weed out the unnecessary. Over time I’ve become very good at a minimalist lifestyle in terms of possessions – and yet I have a million things on my to do list. Definitely time to weed a few things out! Glad to have you back <3
It’s good to be back Ellen…and they say we write or teach what we need to learn and I definitely needed a reminder about the pushing v relaxing. The idea appeals to me because it allows for greater creativity. Good luck with your weeding! 🙂
Thanks for the very good reminders, Elle. I struggle with doubt and anxiety still,, but working with your mind, as you suggest above, really does make all the difference. When I started using my mind to be my supporter and cheerleader, instead of my own enemy, my life got a lot better.
Ooooh I like that Debbie, using your mind as your biggest cheerleader. What a great image that is for me…I can see champagne corks, balloons and every celebratory thing imaginable. 🙂
Very encouraging post, here Elle. it is so nice to read about how you overcame your own challenges. I’ve also had the same doubts and it is good to hear what helps you. I agree that small steps can make a difference. Thanks for the awesome tips!
It’s true Cathy…we all have doubts…seems to be part of the human condition and I do believe that as we share our humanness and how we manage life, it helps us all. Just as you do on your website. 🙂
Lovely post Elle and really useful for me at the moment – we all have doubts and need great advice like this to help us push on – thanks for the inspiration.
And do keep doing this – you aren’t good at it, you’re great:)
Hi Mark…it’s so true that we all have doubts and wonder whether we’re on the right path and it’s amazing how giving ourselves time to renew and refresh our spirit opens new doors to our creativity. And thank you for your kind words…I love the encouragement. 🙂
We’re so delighted you overcame any thoughts of self-doubt about continuing with all that you do! And this post is exactly why. I love the idea of letting my sub-conscious percolate. Such great strategies, for me, particularly remembering to cultivate a mindset of growing from all decisions, whatever the outcome and also balancing ‘push’ and ‘relax’.
So pleased you’re feeling like Elle again. xx
It’s so funny Laura, when speaking to my coach earlier this week he used the same expression…let your sub-conscious percolate on this. I’m grateful for you and Mark and all the encouragement you gave me last year when I was probably at my lowest ebb in some time. Thank you. 🙂
I hope you are having beautiful days. I haven’t checked out many of your posts but I stumbled across one of them that I could play audibly. I could hear it in your voice that you care. There’s something special in that and about you and ‘what you do’.
To me a caring heart is of great value. And with that, I don’t see why you wouldn’t be good at anything you decide to do.
You are such a sweet soul Little Swiftwind…I see the best that humanity has to offer in you. And you are right, I do care. I do believe we are all one and in this life together to support and encourage and love. 🙂
Now you touch my heart. ?
Elle, I really appreciate these 7 points dealing with self doubt. I can take from all 7, however it’s the 1st point on second guessing that I really need to focus on. It just so happens that I wrote my thoughts about this on my page earlier today! I will be catching up on your articles I’ve missed AND keep an eye on current ones. Thank you again!
Hi Sibrina…funny how we do that to ourselves isn’t it. But the great thing is that you are aware. Within your awareness is your power to do things differently so a big hug and kudos to you. 🙂
Hi Elle, this is very timely, i am going through a lot lately and reading you post gave me a clearer perspective of what i should do for now, “rise to your feet, brush off self-doubt and get moving in the direction of your dreams.” Thanks so much for sharing. it helped me a lot. Love it.
Hi Noah. It’s funny how life is full of ebbs and flows and ups and downs, much of which we have no control over. But we do have control over ourselves. How we react, the attitude we choose, the thoughts and feelings that we accept as true; and that’s where our true power lies anyway. It’s just not always to see it when we’re in the middle of something, so I’m happy to know that you read something I wrote that gave you a little more clarity. Awareness is the beginning of change dear one, as you know. Many blessings for a brilliant and bright tomorrow. 🙂
Self-doubt is a prospect that is quite common for every individual. Even the most confident guy among us will encounter vacillation now and then. Yes, it is nearly impossible to avoid it completely. But if we follow the right game plan, then definitely, it will allow us to control the degree of uncertainty and defeat self-doubt. No matter, how confident you are, you can’t underestimate the destructive power of indecision. I would say that by recognizing and acknowledging your hesitancy, analyzing your uncertainty, unearthing the source, understanding the pattern, designing a strategy, expecting the probable summons, following the necessary steps, considering the recommendations of a professional, you can bring your self-doubt under control. Thank you:)
Hi Joshua and welcome. It’s always good to hear a different perspective. 🙂