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  • Jenny Bartosek

When Self Doubt Arises

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

What is Self-Doubt? 

Self-doubt is defined as a lack of confidence in one’s self and one’s abilities and it’s as common as a cold. We all ‘catch’ it, at times, and it can leave us feeling stuck and anxious; unable to move forward in life. It can leave us feeling like we aren’t enough and don’t have what it takes to make it happen. 

Why is it so prevalent? 

Today, we are living more isolated than ever before. Yet, we have more freedom to be and do what we want. At one point in time, we were born into families or tribes and people were told who they are, what their strengths are, and where they belong. This meant people had a sense of safety, belonging, and confidence about who they are and where they belong.  

But this came at a cost. This meant people had little freedom and were confined to live the life that was imposed upon them. And, for the most part, people don’t want to feel imposed upon. We all want to feel free. The sense of freedom is invigorating and can inspire us to live more fulfilling lives. So, now that the pendulum has swung and we have lots of freedom, what is the cost? 

What is the cost of freedom?

The cost of freedom is uncertainty. It means, now more than ever, we have to decide who we are, what we want to be, what our strengths are and where we belong. This is exciting but it’s also an onerous task. What was once an entire community’s responsibility now resides with the individual. Each of us is responsible to decide what we want and who we want to be. 

Because the responsibility is now on the individual, people are feeling more stress, anxiety, and self-doubt than ever before. We often have more questions than we have answers and that can trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, and unsettledness. While this is true, our need for reassurance, validation, and acceptance does not go away. It is essential to our well being and promotes feelings of comfort and security.  

How do we promote comfort and security?

Self-doubt robs us of clarity, which can leave us feeling confused and insecure. When the self-doubt voice starts talking, if it gains enough momentum and goes uninterrupted for long enough, there is no stopping it. At that point, allowing those thoughts and feelings to pass through you is the way to relief. It won’t be a pleasurable experience, but it will pass.

When it comes to self-doubt, prevention, and early intervention are key. Finding more comforting words to tell ourselves, will help us keep our sense of well being and security. Tens of thousands of thoughts travel through our minds each day. Taking the time to begin to choose kind and honest thoughts about ourselves and our futures is key. It changes how we feel and how we feel impacts every moment of our lives.  

This means, taking care of our emotional selves is number one. 

So how does one do this when experiencing self-doubt talk? 

If you are finding it difficult to comfort yourself through kinder, yet honest thoughts, getting another, non-judgemental perspective may help. Therapists are great for this as they are trusted friends, coaches, and mentors. This may mean asking for help or growing your social network. 

Sometimes there are underlying beliefs we have about ourselves that contribute to self-doubt. Knowing what these beliefs are, understanding why they are there and their purpose helps us gain a sense of control over our emotional experience. Following this with finding new, more empowering beliefs will help promote relief. Most people benefit from being guided through this process by a professional; however, there are other resources - books, articles, guided journals, mediation - that can help us discover the deeper parts of us. 

Whether we focus time and attention on our thoughts, dig deeper with a therapist, friend or coach, or deep dive into the self-help world, relief from self-doubt is available to us. 

Cheers to letting it in, 


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