8 Tips to Overcome Self-Doubt

“I am no good.” “What if I make a fool of myself?” “I can’t do it.” If you have had such thoughts, know that you are not alone. Everyone has a phase in life where they question their abilities and self-worth.

Feeling that you are not good enough is part of the human experience, but letting self-doubt overcome you is unhealthy. How do you overcome self-doubt before it becomes chronic? Here are 8 tips for when you are feeling not good enough.

Silence Your Inner Critic

The voice in your head can motivate you to work harder and do better. But most often, it is harsh and judgmental. Your mind is a powerful thing and in a second it can crush your self-worth. Negative thoughts slowly chip away at your self-confidence and worsen your self-doubt.

You can keep your inner critic from holding you back. To overcome self-doubt, redirect your thoughts to positive ones, and make the voice in your head encourage you instead. When you find yourself immersed in self-deprecating thoughts, focus on positive ones. You can try to distract yourself from thinking for a while.

Be Kind to Yourself

Your doubts should not define you. They are fear-induced thoughts you have come to believe over time. If you take the time to dissect your doubts, you will realize that they are not true. Imagine beating yourself up for years over something that is not even true!

Be gentle with yourself; no one can do it better than you. Wake up each morning and speak lovingly to yourself. Encourage, congratulate, and console yourself. Picture yourself as a child and be as kind as you would be to one. When you are gentle with yourself, the crippling waves of self-doubt lessen over time.

Bask In the Glory of Your Past Achievements

It is easy to forget how far you have come when all you think about is how bad your current situation is. Reflecting on the past can be a great source of motivation. Appreciate the fact that you kept going even when things seemed difficult.

Make a list of all your achievements and times when you did something you thought you could not. Remembering such moments will make you feel optimistic. It will remind you that you are good enough to accomplish whatever you set out to do and help overcome self-doubt.

Get an Outlet for Your Negative Emotions

One powerful way of dealing with emotions is to feel them fully. Avoiding them may only make you feel worse, so allow yourself to feel. Do not try to make it go away or change it; you might get frustrated.

Get a healthy outlet for your negative emotions, Journaling is one such outlet. In your journal, write down what you are feeling and why you think you are feeling it. Brainstorm possible solutions that will improve your mood.

Below are a series of questions that can give some perspective as you journal:

  • What are you feeling?
  • Why are you feeling that particular emotion? What triggered your current state?
  • Do you believe that you deserve to be unhappy? Why?
  • What would happen if you chose a different outcome?

If self-doubt gets in the way of your day to day activities, consider professional counseling. It helps to talk to an expert about how you are feeling. Identifying the root cause of your negative emotions is necessary to find healthy coping mechanisms. You will know what to do the next time your inner critic is too loud.

Connect with Positive Thinkers

Surrounding yourself with positive-minded people who inspire you to be better is a good idea for overcoming self-doubt. They will offer you support when you are feeling overwhelmed. Their positive energy can be infectious, helping keep your self-doubt and negative thoughts at bay. Identify the people you trust and lean on them when you feel overwhelmed.

Avoid Making Comparisons

Do not compare yourselves to others. In the age of social media, it is easy to believe that everyone else is doing better than you. Know that life is not as perfect as it seems on social media. Everyone has their struggles, most of which they would never reveal to the public.

Learn to connect with others without comparing yourself to them. Appreciate that you have your own pace, and everything will come to you at the right time. It is okay to be inspired by others’ achievements but not to beat yourself up for not having what others have.

Acknowledge and Celebrate Small Wins

Having such a bad day that all you did was get out of bed, shower, and eat? That is okay. Landed 1 client after aggressively pitching all day? Good job! Be appreciative of the small achievements each day.

Practicing gratitude fosters a positive mindset with is essential to overcoming self-doubt. Know that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step; a small achievement is a step in the right direction.

Avoid Being Fixated on a Particular Outcome

Being fixated on an outcome is a sure source of frustration. “What if I do not win?” “What if I fail?” If you cannot accept any other outcome, you will be more fearful of failure. Your self-doubt will be heightened because you are not ready to embrace any other result.

Appreciate the process just as much as the result. Whether your goal is losing weight, making money, or building a healthy relationship, know that the process matters.

Focus on taking each step and doing everything in the best way possible. You are more likely to achieve your desired outcome if you follow the right process.

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to overcome self-doubt is not easy. You should learn to silence your inner critic, think positively, and take one day at a time. Comparing yourself to others and obsessing about the result can be draining; choose to work hard and appreciate the process.

Overcoming self-doubt is all about silencing the voice in your head and motivating yourself to achieve your goals.

Kate Skurat

Kate Skurat

Licensed Mental Health Counselor | Washington, United States

Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. Read more