Self-doubt is an enemy of the mind, heart and makes you afraid of your own shadow. Bestselling author Margie Warrell shared the only way people can overcome a deficit in this area is taking risks and taking decisive action regardless of our feelings. "Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed." When you allow self-doubt to create toxic thoughts, fear or when it allows people to define you as a person, you're ruining your God-given purpose in life. People may have more confidence and more opportunity than you but remain in your lane because you can only be responsible for yourself. With this in mind, finish your own race by changing the way you perceive yourself. Here are 7 ways to help you get started.
Crush Destructive Thoughts
Self-doubt starts in the mind and then the actions follow it. This can be good or it can be toxic. Many times we're the gatekeepers of this world and nipping negative thoughts when they enter is the way to manage destructive patterns. There are 4 types of thinking that will land you in trouble. Focusing on the negatives (everything in life stinks) or all-or-nothing thinking (means there are no gray areas). There is the use of negative self-labeling (believing you're a loser) and catastrophizing (you think of the worst outcomes). Identifying your negative thinking will be the first step in making radical changes in your life. Negative thinking can lead to more anxiety and depression in people. Recognize these thought distortions as our minds have a clever and a tenacious way in making us accept erroneous information. Don't give them a passage to your life.
Fix Your Posture
Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy found when you change your posture, you can change your perspective. Start to sit up straight and notice how this impacts the way you feel. Cuddy calls them power poses and did a study on how they can empower you. She found it also reduces the "Elevation of the dominance hormone testosterone, reduction of the stress hormone cortisol." When we sit up straight we are more inclined to feel more fearless and confident overall. Another study found people with depression felt more energetic during the day when they fixed their body language. Push yourself to feel confident and then you will look poised. This is not easy, but this can be used as another tool for those not-so-good days and when you're stressed
Work on Your Self-Esteem
People with low self-esteem see the world as a sullen place. Avoid this spiral by making a list of your strengths and successes. Keep the list in a handy place to access it when you get an attack of self-doubt. Remind yourself that you are unique and valuable and deserve to feel good about yourself. Actress Helen Mirren opened about her self-doubts and broke her silence about the struggle, which feeds a low self-esteem. She admitted none of us are ever absolutely free of "Doubt but it is particularly debilitating and useless in the young. Well, I’m a good actress, you know. That is what it is all about, you just act your way through it. You are not the only one who is going to suffer great self-doubt and insecurity.” You can push through self-doubts, even if you have to simulate it.
Stop Caring About Others
No one can define you. Your work, boss, friends or family members can't have access if you don't allow them to. There is a story of a supervisor who criticized an employee during a meeting for not turning the pages in a report expeditiously. Although this was ridiculous for any manager to act, this could have made the employee fearful of the boss during forthcoming meetings. There were other incidences of being told he shouldn't be in the position or have a title to browbeat him further. Over time, this can really kill self-worth and create a storm of self-doubt. These are manipulative management tactics that he refused to submit to. This story came from a friend who didn't allow his boss to define him. He not only surpassed this boss in rank but went to work for a better company.
Instead of focusing on what you are lacking, start looking at what you do have. This will remind you of what you have going for you in life. Antonio Martinez, Jr., the charismatic founder of Cristo Rey Jesuit College Prep in Houston told his students “Self-pity and complaining only hold you back in life, and a negative attitude blinds you to the potential good things you already have that can improve your life, and the lives of all those around you.” Simply start recording 4 things that you experienced in the past week which you are grateful for. Add events that were unexpected and things that made you happy. This can be someone buying you lunch unexpectedly or receiving encouragement from a stranger. Start thinking about what you do have.
No one else is going to be your fan so start cheering for yourself. The Bible said that King David encouraged himself in the Lord when he felt abandoned and full of self-doubt. Memorize Bible verses, like the Psalms and study cheerful quotes when you feel weak. Play music, listen to positive messages and read inspiring stories of those who overcame doubt. Whether it’s losing weight or getting everything done on a list, celebrate and encourage yourself for doing a great job. You can embrace your own sense of purpose even if you need to encourage yourself. Meditate on a couple powerful Scriptures to help fight self-condemnation when experiencing failure and cheer yourself on during
Declare a War
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt,” said William Shakespeare. We need to declare a war against the enemy of uncertainty by refusing to accept its misery into our lives. Being passive will not help you, contacting a psychic won't help you either. You need to take ownership and start to pursue your freedom in this area which uses you as a pawn. Forgive those, even if they don't deserve it because the spirit of unforgiveness feeds self-doubt. If you keep company with people who are negative, the soul will be contaminated and it can create more problems in life and it can produce more uncertainty. Take a stand and stop self-doubt in its tracks.
Self-doubt crushes your soul and to add more pain, it can trump your purpose in life. The bottom line is fear is at heart of this ghastly feeling. Don't allow it to grip your destiny anymore. God will meet you where self-doubt reins. Just ask Him for wisdom to subdue the beast. According to the Bible, we can "Boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in His grace find timely help."