How to Overcome Self-Doubt

13 Ways To Get Out Of Your Head And Overcome Self-Doubt


It’s normal to experience feelings of self-doubt from time to time, whether it’s a new job, taking a test, meeting someone new, or competing in your sport. Self-doubt is a mindset that holds you back from believing in yourself and your capabilities.

Self-doubt manifests in feelings of uncertainty about one or more aspects of yourself, a lack of confidence in your abilities, or feeling incapable of doing things. It comes as a troubling and persuasive voice that holds you back like questioning your beliefs and decisions.

Self-doubt can be a difficult experience and it is so powerful that it stops you from:

  • Enjoying Life
  • Being authentic
  • Bringing out the best in you
  • Inspires insecurity
  • Makes you quit
  • Brings out negative feelings 

Having this mindset can hold you back from seizing opportunities and reaching your full potential.

William Shakespeare once said, “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we might win, by fearing to attempt.”

What’s The Opposite Of Self-Doubt?

The opposite of self-doubt is having confidence in your capabilities and competence. You know what to expect from your performance, whether that be a good performance, a bad performance, or somewhere in the middle.

Even a healthy dose of self-criticism can be a good source of motivation if you use it to your advantage to:

  • Hone your skills
  • Increase self-confidence
  • Believe in yourself
  • Know that you are enough
  • Increase productivity
  • Be positive

The Cause Of Self-Doubt

There are many things that can cause a person to doubt themselves. Although the most useful thing is to learn how to work around your self-doubt, it can be helpful to understand what causes it.

1. Past Experiences

Past experiences can have a huge impact on our decisions and our actions. Difficult experiences install fear and rattle our beliefs. However, continuing to reference past experiences without learning from them is a waste of a bright future! Our experiences shape who we are and how we see others and the world.

2. Childhood Upbringing

Our upbringing plays a big role in shaping our habits and personalities. A lot of people grow up in less idyllic families and difficult situations. Unfortunately, these upbringings are ingrained in our beliefs, mindset, and habits which hinder us from opportunities and development.

3. Comparing Ourselves to Others

It’s normal to compare ourselves to others. It’s easy for us to envy other people’s lives because we live in a world of competition. But this hits hard on our confidence and breeds more self-doubt.

4. New Challenges

We always experience new things in life that make us feel anxious. The feeling of uncertainty and insecurity makes one feel uncomfortable.

“Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in doing.” ~Unknown

5. Fear of Failure / Fear of Success

The fear of falling short and disappointing others is just as real as the fear of being unable to replicate our past successes. We might think it was luck that got us this far instead of our talents if we’re filled with doubt.

6. What someone said or did might not be about you (or about what you think it is).

When someone criticizes you it’s easy to start doubting yourself. But what if what he or she said does not have anything to do with you at all? You don’t know everything that’s going on in another person’s life. Most of the time a person’s behavior is a reflection of himself.

10 Ways To Overcome Self-Doubt 

1. Self-support

Try to prepare something positive like sayings or quotes that you can reference or run to whenever you feel negative or unsure of yourself.

  • A list of counter-arguments, things like “I can do this” or “It’s just another chance for me to learn.”
  • A Journal where you can readily pour out your feelings too
  • A Jar that contains happy memories
  • A file that contains all the photos that make you smile
  • A list of quick energy-boosting activities you can do
  • A box of healthy snacks that you can always go to

2. Take control of your thoughts

Don’t let them spin out of control or let them grow from a whisper to a stream of discouraging sentences that make you doubt your own abilities. Instead, talk back to that doubtful part of yourself or just shut the thought out completely. Disrupt the thought pattern and stop that inner critic from taking over.

3. Don’t get stuck in the comparison trap.

We all have different definitions of success, we have varying strengths and weaknesses and different paths to take in life. We don’t know exactly what kind of struggles this person has and the price this person paid for their success and if we knew we might not even want to be in their shoes.

In fact, if there’s one person you should compare yourself to – that’s you! To see how far you’ve come, and what you’ve overcome and succeeded in so far.

4. Take a break and get a dose of Optimism

Sometimes the longer we feel stuck in a situation or emotion, the harder it is for us to come out of it. Just take a moment to relax and shift your focus to something totally different. Doing so will allow you to clear out your mind and look at things from a new perspective.

5. Remember: People don’t care that much about what you do or say

The truth is that people don’t really care that much about what you do or do not do. They have their hands full with thinking about themselves, their lives, and their businesses, and even worrying about what people may think of them. It’s best to remember the world doesn’t revolve around you.

6. Setbacks are temporary

Failures and setbacks are temporary, sometimes they’re even blessings in disguise. Remember: You are not a failure just because you failed. Setbacks happen to all successful people and to everyone who takes a chance. It is simply a part of living life.

8. Kind Self-criticism

We will always be our own harshest critics. It’s important to treat ourselves with the same kindness and compassion that we give to others. The important thing is to know that you can grow, change and upgrade.

9. Sharpen your skills

Never stop learning. This should be a lifelong goal. Continuous learning is important because it helps you hone your skills, it prepares you for opportunities. You’ll feel happier and more fulfilled when you’re confident in your capabilities. It will be a strength that you carry with you when you get older.

10. Course-correct

Best-laid plans are not a guarantee and can often fail when they are confronted with reality. Failure is inevitable but it can also be a gift. So don’t wait to make the best plan before you start, yes plan your goals but course correct along the way.



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  • Reply Fransic November 30, 2022 at 3:20 pm

    Great ways, I had a lot of times when I struggle with self-doubts. So, it’s good to know about overcoming it. The reason cause was past experience where it didn’t work and I doubt myself.

    • Reply Lani December 1, 2022 at 7:17 am

      Hi Fransic,

      Thanks for being so open about the reason that led to your self-doubt. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. I hope this post helped you in some way.

  • Reply Sarah December 11, 2022 at 9:50 am

    You are amazing, thank you!

    • Reply Lani December 17, 2022 at 9:45 pm

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Reply Lindsey December 11, 2022 at 11:04 am

    Self doubt is so dangerous. You have provided such a reflective and meaningful way to keep it from taking over your life. Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Lani December 17, 2022 at 9:44 pm

      Hi Lindsay,

      Thank you so much for your insightful comment. Indeed we need to take control and keep self-doubt at bay.

  • Reply nia December 11, 2022 at 12:51 pm

    This is a great list, especially helpful to realize it’s okay to make mistakes and the world does not revolve around you. Thanks for sharing this post! It’s got great insight.

    • Reply Lani December 17, 2022 at 9:42 pm

      Hi Nia,

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post. You are right the world does not revolve around us. We have to pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and move on.

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