How self-doubt holds us back in life


Shreya Raj

Psychology & Mindfulness Expert

The role of self-doubt in life

Self-doubt is a problem which has been there for generations and will be continue to be there in the coming times too. It’s an inevitable part of our lives. All we need to do is, to tame it, adapt that part of our system to work according to us.

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

Yes, self-doubt can get annoyingly frustrating at times. It can also sometimes be useful, as it helps you to clearly see your current limitations, shortcomings or simply recognize a wrong idea or decision. But mostly, it holds you back in life.

When we start doing a task, all those thoughts come in our head: whether we are capable enough to complete the task, whether we are smart enough to crack it and what not. We all can admit that in some situation or another, us doubting ourselves has somewhere held us back from doing something which we wanted to do but believed we couldn’t.

The feeling of insufficiency makes a person go into hypothetical negative thoughts which then bring down the motivation, inspiration and the will to do things.

Fighting self-doubt is hard and takes a lot of patience, belief in oneself and utmost trust in one’s abilities. That’s a journey not everyone is willing to take but for the sake of their mental peace, stability and wellness, it must be taken.

Simple ways of overcoming the issue of self-doubt

1. Talk to someone close about it

The doubts you have of yourself are somewhere personal and it’s rightly said that we shouldn’t reveal our weaknesses to anyone else, but there is also a possibility that the doubts you have about yourself are made subconsciously by your negative inner critic.

Yes, you don’t ever need anyone else’s validation in your life but go to someone who you trust completely, whose advice you rely on and will use. Reaffirm yourself by talking to that person whether the doubts you have about yourself are true or not. That’s the first step to letting go of self doubts.

2. Don’t get stuck in the comparison loop

It is never healthy for your mental peace for you to compare yourself with anyone. Compare yourself to your old-self and no one else. Everyone is made differently with a variety of talents, passions, desires and the lines of two people never meet, they go in parallel.

Push yourself to be a better you, a better person than you were before and don’t let anyone else come in the picture because it is your story, the chapters of this story might have other people in it but the lead is you, don’t let anyone else fill up that space.

3. Get a boost of optimism

It is somewhere impossible for a person to be optimistic at all times because the harsh reality is that everyone goes through their highs and lows. Life itself is a rollercoaster ride; you just have to learn to enjoy it whether you are up or down.

Whenever your doubts pull you back from doing something you were excited about, do something that will give a boost of motivation, optimism. Listen to a motivating, adrenaline filled song, listen to a ted-talk, and talk to a friend, whatever it is that suits you and your comfort.

4. See setbacks as stepping stones

Why some people find it almost impossible to get up after a failure is because they think and they believe that the phase they are going through, what they are suffering from, is permanent. You have to understand that life throws all kinds of hardships and obstacles at us but we have to learn to use them as stepping stones, as learning experiences, a handbook of the ‘what not to do’.

5. Cut yourself some slack

Tell yourself that it’s okay if you make mistakes, you are only human. Don’t beat yourself up over small mishaps in life. Till you are learning something from each and every mistake you make, don’t hold yourself back, those are the best learning experiences. It’s okay if you took a wrong decision, its okay to make a mistake, its okay to go wrong in life.

6. Celebrate the small and big achievements

It is important that you celebrate the small wins of life, apart from the bog ones. It initiates and enhances the self-love in your life. No achievement is small, don’t ever tell yourself that. If you work hard and complete a task in a fair, dedicated way then celebrate that.

It is only once you celebrate your small wins that room will be made for your happiness, the will for your dreams to be pursued and the push for you to keep going in life.

Would you like to share your journey with us?

Share with us your struggles and the way you overcame something that was holding you back: it might help, motivate and inspire other people to come out and talk about it and use your journey as an inspiration.

You’ve got this! More power to you!

View more content by Shreya Raj

Discussion Board

Has self-doubt affected you? How?

Rohit Chopra
Yup it used to affect me for a very long time. Fear of failure prevented me even from trying. 😅 But I have realized now that self-doubt should not hold me back from pursuing my goals. 🌺
Ishtpreet Kaur
Many a times self doubt held me tight to achieve my highest potential. "Am I good enough?" " Will I be accepted?" "What is there will be someone better than me?" These were the questions which used to sweep out my performance. But with conscious efforts I am able to minimize it.
Subhoshree Das
Our biggest enemy. Self sabotage
Yes...very badly... specially while making decisions expressing the doubts.... actually I'm not much good in I fear to be judged basically whenever I feel speaking...the inner me says are u sure u are speaking this in proper n good way...n then I stagger!! N also I made podcast as I feel like they aren't good...self-doubt is barrier for growth actually n stabs our career badly!!