Astha has clear goals in her mind. She is aware of the steps to be taken to reach her goals. But she constantly doubts herself and feels she won’t be able to do so. Presence of self-doubt and the lack of self-belief is constantly acting as a hindrance stopping her from achieving her goals.
We often hear people saying, “I know what to do, I have the blueprint in my mind but I doubt whether I will be able to do it.”
Does this happen with you too?
Self-doubt and Self-belief
Self-doubt or the lack of self-belief causes us to conjure up all kinds of things that will make it impossible for us to achieve our goals. On the other hand, a belief in oneself makes us imagine the possibilities of achieving the goals.
A person with self-doubt and lack of self-belief can write an entire book on reasons to explain why s/he is not capable enough to achieve what s/he wants. They may cite reasons like, “I have no college education”, “I am too young”, “bad luck”, “personal misfortune” and so on.
And each time they make an excuse, this self-doubt gets embedded even deeper within their subconscious minds. The person will move quickly from self-doubt to a firm belief like s/he is not capable or not worthy or not good enough and so on.
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When a person expresses self-doubt, others may tell them, “It’s only in your imagination, don’t worry”. But this does not give us much relief and we keep doubting ourselves.
Self-doubt is the enemy of action and hence, success. It stops us from us from making the most of an opportunity, and prevents from getting us what we want from life.
In addition, a lack of self-belief can be directly traced to a mis-managed memory. One reason for this is that our brain is like a bank. We deposit our thoughts in this mind bank, which eventually grow and become our memory. And if we need to act, we automatically depend on our memory bank.
We tell it to recollect a past episode in which we were proven wrong, it obediently without questioning, does so and tells us “how inferior you are, Sir, to everybody else”, “Recall how you previously failed when you tried same thing”, “ Recall your school teacher telling you about your inability to accomplish things”.
And so, the brain goes on digging all examples which prove that you are inadequate.
But if we can tell ourselves to recollect incidents that reassure us about our ability to do things correctly, it will obediently do that too. It may help you recall the brilliant job that you did in a similar situation before, or “recall how much confidence your boss has in you”.
The mind bank lets us withdraw the thought deposits that we want to withdraw, after all it is our own bank. And for this, we need to deposit more positive thoughts.
In order to build a sense of self-belief, it is necessary to understand that self-belief is acquired and can be developed. This is a step-by-step process as we gradually aim higher with each step forward to build our self-belief and to overcome self-doubt.
Here are 5 easy ways to develop a sense of self belief.
5 Ways to develop self-belief and overcome self-doubt
Set Realistic Goals
A belief in oneself starts with little accomplishments, one at a time. Setting exceptionally high goals and not achieving these goals can worsen the situation. Do not demand too much, too fast, from yourself.
Most of the people who lack self-belief, automatically have this tendency to filter out positive aspects about themselves.
What about you?
Do you acknowledge your achievements or do you just focus on your failures?
Even if you are not used to acknowledge your achievements, start practising doing so by spending some time listing them.
Even though you may always find someone doing better than you, but comparing is like preparing to lose a battle. it may not be possible to completely eliminate comparison with others, but it is possible to reduce it.
Observe and Restructure thoughts that reflect self-doubt
Developing mindfulness and using it to observe once thoughts can be a very important step towards overcoming self-doubt. Obviously only observing these thoughts is not enough, it is also important to restructure these thoughts. You can use the powerful if-then statements to restructure these thoughts.
Visit a therapist or coach
There are times when self-doubt is deeply embedded in our minds due to certain experiences we have had in our life. If these experiences involve intense negative emotions then it may not be easy to overcome these doubts.
In such cases it is highly recommended that you visit a good therapist. Therapists can help you get over these past experiences and replace the negative emotions and self-doubt with self-confidence and other related emotions.
Since self-doubt and lack of self-belief can prevent the client from living a happy, healthy and a fulfilling life, it is extremely important for a therapist to help the clients overcome self-doubt and develop healthy self-belief.
- It is a good idea to begin by identifying whether the self-doubt or lack of self-belief is more specific to certain areas or more generalised to multiple areas of life. This can be assessed with the help of a good structured interview. I would recommend the NLP Meta Model for the same.
In case the self-doubt is more specific, check whether the client has the skills required to do what s/he wishes to do. At times self-doubt could simply be a result of lack of skills. In which case helping the client identify and develop the required skills maybe all that is required. You can use the SOFT SEA Coaching model for the same.
In case the client already has the skills required, using the if-then technique and anchoring can be a good starting place to help the client overcome self-doubt. Levels of transformation can also be a very effective process to use, where the self-doubt is a result of a deeper belief.
- In case the self-doubt is more generalised, you can use a de-layering technique to understand the root cause. Corrective therapy or SVIT™ can be good techniques to use for de-layering.
- After identifying the root cause of self-doubt, if required, inner child therapy or regression therapy from hypnotherapy can also be used.
If you are a psychologist who would like to learn how to help your clients develop healthy self-belief and overcome self-doubt, check out this Internationally accredited program that integrates the different approaches to psychotherapy.