Overcoming Self Doubt – How do I get over doubting myself?
Overcoming self doubt is one of the big learning experiences that life provides.
Overcoming self doubt is an incredibly important life skill.
Choosing to increase your confidence by recognising that self doubt is a choice and something that can be overcome is not only hugely empowering, but it will also increase your sense of happiness, fulfilment, pride and satisfaction.
Self-doubt can be crippling, it is exhausting, and its also hugely selfish.
“Self doubt is selfish? wtf?” I hear you cry… Let me explain.
The world needs your gifts and talents, it needs your unique view, it needs your art, your empathy, creativity, and compassion.
Every time you allow self-doubt to keep you small and hold you back, you are depriving us of your unique magic.
Being creative, a polymath, an innovator, or just full of heart and wanting to express yourself authentically in the world – whether for money or not – absolutely amplifies and accelerates the challenges and learning opportunities that self doubt provides.
Doubting your talent, your choices, your worthiness, and your resilience is totally ‘normal’.
Thinking differently, seeing differently, feeling everything and also wanting to contribute is what the world needs more of, but it can be incredibly scary to do so confidently when you feel different.
The thing is that we are wired to conform in order to fit in, in order to be loved, in order to survive.
Nearly all the Misfit Creatives that I know are actually highly compliant. We feel different, so quite rightly we fear rejection and consequently in order to ‘fit in’, have learned ‘the rules’ and learnt to camouflage ourselves; more often that not, succeeding outwardly to blend in seamlessly.
This keeps us safe, but not happy.
Stepping out, taking a risk, and removing that camouflage is risky. Self doubt creeps in and the negative committee in our head stands up and starts shouting!
Overcoming self doubt is easy for me to explain, and may be easy to cognitively understand, but the truth is that the actual overcoming is in the doing.
In order to overcome self doubt we must take action, risk being seen, and risk rejection. The overcoming is in living it and experiencing it, and in surviving it.
Self doubt stems from our deeply human desires to be loved, to be accepted and to survive.
Staying safe is our primal imperative and often our primitive wiring has us focused on danger rather than pleasure.
In order to override this we must become aware, shift our consciousness and create a vision of who we want to be instead.
The thing is that if you are reading this, you already know how to stay safe.
But that’s no longer enough.
The life you really want comes with risk; being an artist, a visionary, a healer, a service provider of any sort, comes with risk.
Some people won’t like your art. Or your work. Or your opinion. Or your voice. Or what you wear. Or the way that you breathe when you talk.
It has to not matter.
If it matters to you, then that is where your energy is going.
There isn’t time in this life for you to be doubting and questioning and not being sure. Time is finite and if you are choosing to focus on doubting and questioning, and berating and belittling yourself, or choosing to listen to those doing so in your direction, then you can’t be focusing on feeling good, on expressing, on creating, on enjoying.
You can either be in contraction or expansion – not both.
You can either be enjoying the experience or not, not both.
In every moment you have a choice, a choice of what to focus on.
The version of you that is at peace or the version of you that is anxious.
Which will you choose?
In this moment?
It will continue to be scary to share your creations with the world.
Some people will like them, some people won’t. You’ll never be sure.
BUT, the one thing you can be sure of is that what you are creating is yours. The only thing that is true is that it came from you, and that you’re sharing it. It is an expression and a creation from your essence and your gift to the world.
The people who like it are the people you want more of, and the people who don’t, they really don’t matter. There is something for them elsewhere.
Come back to your focus.
Is your focus on them or on what you are creating?
The people who matter are inspired by what you are doing, risking, creating…
And the truth is that what other people think of your art is none of your concern.
The only person whose opinion matters is yours.
So, choose to behave in a way that inspires YOU!
Use your language, your style, your art to let people know who you are and let them know that you’re the right person for them if… they get it and you. (Or want to.)
If you really want to overcome self doubt, here are my 10 top tips for overcoming self doubt:
1. Pattern interrupt.
Choose to halt the neural path way loops that spiral out of control. By changing your environment, or the music you’re listening to, or by doing a different activity. Or calling a friend. Just end the unhelpful loop in your brain by focusing on something else and changing your state.
2. Take action rather than trying to convince yourself of anything.
Rather than trying to use your brain here, use your body. In your static state nothing can change, you need to move in order to change your state and motion enables you to form a different emotion. Get out of your head and get into your body – dance, walk, massage, shake… move!
3. Argue for your possibilities and opportunities rather than your limitations.
Seek evidence of where it has worked out for you before. Write a list. Ask friends. Choose to look for all the reasons why you are awesome and why it will work.
4. Talk about it – let it out.
Outside of your head the monsters can’t survive, and other people will reflect back to you what they see. Self doubt can’t survive in company of others. It breeds in isolation. Lean in, share, talk.
5. Remember that everyone else is focused on themselves, no one is really looking at you.
Nobody is looking at you watching your every move, they are all too busy working on their own stuff. Think about when you are shown a photo of you and a group of your friends, everyone is just looking at themselves!
6. Stop comparing yourself. Just stop.
Eyes on your own mat. Stay in your own lane. You are living YOUR life, not anyone else’s and focusing on anyone else but you isn’t helpful. (Look if it’s inspiring, but if it isn’t – unfollow)
7. What someone said or did is about them and not you.
Someone’s comment about your creation, your art, your choices – particularly when its a criticism – says a lot more about them than it does about you. Use your discernment here. Don’t take on someone else’s negativity.
8. Do something that inspires you or returns you to a positive mindset.
Our brains work much better and more creatively when in neutral or positive. We can problem solve and find answers more quickly, we can learn faster and process more. So listening to a song that makes you happy, or listing out 5 things that you are grateful for or have gone well previously will help your brain to help you.
9. Failing forward is success.
Doing something, taking action, making mistakes, means that you are learning and growing. Its a success if you moved and got ‘a go’ under your belt. The point is not to do it perfectly, the point is to do it!
10. You can course correct.
The human brain is wired to find a solution and if you don’t know something, you can pause and go learn some more. Often we don’t know something until we try and then, once we have more information, we can make a more informed choice. Keep moving, course correct as you go.