A quote by Van Gogh is “If you hear a voice within you say ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”
Maybe you’ve been there. I have. You may find yourself in a back-and-forth contest with that little voice between your ears that chips away at your confidence and intensifies your self-doubt.
Dictionary.com defines self-doubt as a lack of faith in oneself: a feeling of doubt or uncertainty about one’s abilities, actions, etc.
Self-doubt can be a discouraging and persuasive voice that holds you back. It holds you back from seizing your opportunities. You don’t apply for the promotion. You don’t open the business. You don’t pick up the phone and make the call. You don’t sit down at our laptop and send the email. You don’t write and publish the book.
Self-doubt makes getting started or finishing things harder than they have to be.
Too many competent and skillful people are selling themselves short because they fear they don’t have what it takes to succeed. This fear if left unchecked can fuel our doubts and drive us to be overly cautious and keep us from taking the very actions that would help us and serve others. That doubt becomes triumphant, actions are not taken and success is not achieved.
There are many reasons behind self-doubt. I’m going to share some of them here.
Three Common Causes of Self-Doubt
1. Comparisons With Others
In the overwhelming world of social media, it’s easy to compare and envy others’ lives and think that you are not doing as well as they are. If you compare yourself to other people, to their successes and especially to their high-light reels they share on social media, then self-doubt can easily creep up. A better way is to compare yourself to yourself. To check how you’ve kept going and how far you’ve come. To see what you’ve overcome and achieved. To embrace how different you are and have grown as a person.
2. New Challenges
Change is inevitable, it’s how we face it that makes all the difference in our outcome. New challenges can be difficult. When we lack experience in a certain area, we are likely to allow fear and doubt to creep in. This is a common case because we have no experience on how to react or what things we need to do. That feeling of uncertainty and insecurity can make you feel uncomfortable. While these new challenges might not have simple solutions, you can still learn and grow from the experience. Embrace the experience and what it can teach you. Doing so can bring positive outcomes.
3. History of Mistakes
Failure, mistakes, or setback can have a tremendous impact on our reactions. These experiences can weaken our beliefs by continuing to reference experiences and mistakes without learning from them, This is a waste of your time and energy. Don’t be so hard on yourself for the decisions you made that caused the setback, failure or mistake. See your last fall or mistake as an opportunity to learn rather than the fear of falling again. Use these experiences as stepping stones to a more successful future.