It happens to everyone at times: we start doubting ourselves. We worry about the decisions and whether we can face future challenges that life has in store. And sometimes we feel that we just aren't good enough.
A certain amount of self-doubt is usual and can be helpful. Questioning yourself shows that you are assessing your past performance and are trying to learn from mistakes you may have made. But persistent self-doubt, anxiety and fear can have a hugely negative impact on your life, holding you back from success and happiness.
Our reasons for self-doubting and a lack of confidence are rarely rational. Let's take a look at some of the most common reasons to have doubts about yourself together with some techniques to overcome them.
Remembering past mistakes and bad experiences will affect how we react to new challenges. Whether you were unfairly fired from your job or were in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, bad experiences like these inevitably take a toll on your mental health.
While bad experiences might shake your core beliefs, it's pointless to keep brooding on them. You become stuck in a pattern of negative thoughts and will be unable to move on. Reflect on your experiences and learn from them.
If you got fired, think about what you liked and disliked about that job. It might be time to take a new career path. If you went through a painful break-up, you'll now know what qualities your partner should have and will be able to move on to a more worthwhile relationship.
Even the most successful people can be vulnerable to self-doubt. Once you've had a big success, you might think that it's your highwater mark that you will never be able to match again. You may be suffering from imposter syndrome, a feeling that you only achieved your successes through luck or circumstances and that sooner or later you will be shown up as a fraud.
Bach Flower Mix 44 is very helpful in supporting you when you're suffering from low self-esteem and performance anxiety. Another tip: when you're feeling a lack of self-confidence, try writing down everything you've achieved recently. You will be able to rationalise your fears, overcome negative thoughts and face new challenges with optimism.
Out of the tens of thousands of thoughts that pass through our minds every day, only 2% are new. The rest is just a habit. These repetitive thoughts can hold us back, becoming an internal critical voice who constantly carps at us for not being successful or not working hard enough.
Self-critical beliefs often develop in childhood. If your parents placed too high a value on success and criticised failures too harshly, you may have grown up with a core belief that whatever you do, it will never be good enough.
The good news is that you can learn to control negative thought patterns and overcome the self-doubts caused by your inner critic. Try to identify irrational or exaggerated thoughts that recur. Bach Flower Mix 85 is a blend of flower essences created to provide support during times of stress and anxiety and can help you to break the cycle of negative thinking.
Your inner critic sometimes poses questions - for example, should I go for a promotion? Your first answer may well be negative. You decide you don't have the right skill set, or it's just not the right time for you.
Turn these self-doubts into positives. Assess your skills honestly, fill any gaps in your training and prepare for the next opportunity.
We live in a competitive world, and it's natural to compare yourself to others. But envying what others have achieved and comparing it with what you perceive as your own lack of success is guaranteed to undermine your self-confidence.
You are not good at everything, and neither is anyone else. Rather than focusing on your weaknesses, concentrate on making the most of your skills and accept yourself for who you are.
You are responsible for the choices that have brought you to where you are, and you can take actions that will boost your self-esteem. But this doesn't mean that you are alone. Opening up to friends and family will help to motivate you and to keep things in perspective. Some people find it easier to talk to someone they don't know well, such as a counsellor or life coach.
It's natural and part of being human to doubt yourself, but getting stuck in a rut of negative thinking is bad for you. By avoiding challenges, you'll miss many opportunities. Take action now, stop doubting yourself and live a happier life.
Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety affect around 1 in 6 people at some stage of their life. Despite it being such a common problem, many sufferers wait months or even years before seeking help.
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