5 ways to overcome self doubt

Emily O'Brien
March 24, 2023
5 ways to overcome self doubt

If you’ve ever had issues with self-doubt, then you’ll know just how debilitating it can be. It can stop you trying new things, fulfilling your ambition or following your dreams. Many people describe it as Imposter Syndrome, where you’re worried about being exposed as a fraud.

These feelings of inadequacy can hold us back in our lives and can lead to other issues, like anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. That’s why it’s important to recognise the signs – and then smash them into a million pieces! So let’s get into it.

1 Don’t compare yourself to others.

Everyone is on their own unique journey. So if you’re going through wave after wave of self-doubt because you think you can’t do something as well as someone else, then it’s a downward spiral. The truth is, we can only control what we do. To be honest, you can also argue that not comparing yourself to peers could be a general rule for life – especially in these days of toxic social media (but hey, that could be the subject of another blog). 

2 Identify what matters to you.

We all try and live by a set of values. A moral compass that keeps us aligned and true. It’s worth reminding yourself from time to time of what your values are. This way you’ll be able to absorb any disappointment or criticism so much better. Think of your values as a suit of armour. They’re there to protect you from the bad stuff.

3 Celebrate past successes.

When self-doubt creeps in, it’s sometimes easy to assume that you’ve pretty much failed at everything you’ve ever done. Obviously untrue. Think back to when you’ve overcome an anxious situation, and went on to smash it. A school play, your first job interview, public speaking… There will be a lot more than you think. Whatever it might be, take a moment to remember that if you’ve done it once, you can do it again. And again.

4 Who’s the real critic?

So, you’re worried about failing? Ok, but in whose eyes? Chances are that the only one you’re worried about ‘letting down’ is you. Think of a friend who decided to dive into the unknown and try something new. Would you doubt them? Of course not. Try to show yourself the same support and compassion.

5 Give yourself a break.

Perhaps your suffer from self-doubt because you set yourself unrealistically high expectations. That’s not necessarily a bad thing– aiming for perfection shows a hunger for success. But at the same time, it mostly always leads to disappointment. None of us can be 100% perfect all the time. So accept that mistake can happen, and that’s how we grow. And give yourself a break.