What not to do when you doubt yourself

Self-doubt can be a persistent companion… 

Whispering sneakily in the back of your mind as you go about your day or sometimes screaming out loud as you try to psych yourself up to take action.

Self-doubt might show up through silently spoken words like “I can’t do this” or “I can’t handle this”.

Or your self-doubt might be more vague and emotional. Like feeling like hiding. Or eating… Or feeling heavy and full of dread. Or so overwhelmed you can’t think.

However you experience self-doubt, I bet it doesn’t feel good.

Often, when you find yourself in a self-doubt spiral, the first thing you want to do to feel better is to Make. It. Go. Away.

{if you have a different reaction, I’d love to know!}

Wouldn’t it be AMAZING if we could wish self-doubt away? It would certainly make my life way more efficient.

However, what usually happens when we wish self-doubt away is we create RESISTANCE. 

I hear this in various ways from my clients, like “I’m tired of feeling self-doubt”, “I wish this would just go away”, “how can I stop self-doubt from happening?”

This indicates an underlying belief that if self-doubt is present, we’re screwed. And the only way to “fix” this is to eradicate self-doubt.

However, like trying to push a beach ball underwater, when we resist our emotions, we expend A TON of  energy to keep that ball under the water. Energy that could have been used for doing other things.

Emotions don’t respond well to being resisted… or judged or stuffed away. 

They don’t get “solved” by doing that. 

So, what’s the alternative?

Accepting and allowing emotion.

When you can accept and allow an emotion like self-doubt you actually stop giving away so much power to it.

Accepting looks like:

  • Embracing self-doubt as part of your process of showing up
  • Not making it mean anything negative about you (you’re not doing it wrong, you’re not going to fail, you’re not hopeless)
  • Planning for self-doubt to show up and having support processes in place to help you with it

Allowing looks like:

  • Leaning into the experience of self-doubt in a way that resonates with you
  • Pausing to let yourself feel the self-doubt fully
  • Using techniques to calm the nervous system like breathing, yoga, meditation, connecting to nature, tapping, etc
  • Not needing self-doubt to go away but, rather, tuning into the parts of you that are capable and strong and taking action from there 

Questions for reflection

  • Imagine a recent event where you felt consumed by self-doubt. What would it look like for you to practice accepting and allowing that emotion? Visualize it in your mind. Write it out on a piece of paper. Rehearse a more empowering response.
  • Make a plan for how you want to handle self-doubt in the future. Here are a few questions to guide you:
    • What is your trigger for noticing self-doubt (i.e. how will you recognize that you’re feeling it)?
    • How do you want to choose to think about the self-doubt? In other words, what do you want to make it mean?
    • How do you want to support yourself to allow the feeling and then take action?

Like anything, learning to manage self-doubt is a practice…. and life will give you lots of opportunities to do so!

Wishing you an empowered day.

P.S. Unraveling self-doubt and learning how to tap into your innate self-confidence is the core of my coaching program. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you live a more empowered life, you can reply to this email with the words “more info, please”