How to kick out self-doubt


That feeling of self-doubt?


What is the opposite feeling of confidence building?

Some would describe this to be a feeling of self-doubt.

I wondered if ‘self-doubt’ is an actual feeling.


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Self-doubt as a decision ‘not to try’.

How about if for a moment we looked at self-doubt as a reaction to the feeling of the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

Self-doubt then becomes the ‘habit’ we fall into out of familiarity. By not taking action, it represents a way to stay safe.

However, this can also lead to a lot of self-punishment by the thoughts and beliefs that grow about our inadequacy to act. We then create assumptions relating to our capabilities.

And yet when we give something ‘a-go’ by taking action it provides us with a chance to flourish and succeed or fail and learn for next time. Either of which can also gradually build confidence.

Catch 22 – Now I’m Curious!

Because I didn’t take action, I doubt my ability to take action, and this can lead to over-thinking the next time something similar comes up.

So maybe it’s the initial hesitation which leads to feelings of apprehension which result in self-doubt.

That feeling is triggered and reinforced the next time we make a decision not to try because we are using thoughts to over worry.

“Hang on a moment, what could go wrong? Am I ready for this? It doesn’t feel comfortable. I could be embarrassed because everyone will see I lack XYZ and think I’m a numpty.”

You get my drift.

We forget that thoughts are just thoughts and we give them the power.

Just like a knee-jerk reaction if we judge ourselves for having that adverse notion we are giving more power to the excuse for inaction.

How painful is that? Does it lead to a sense of resentment or build up a fear of the unknown?  How different would it be if you didn’t have to be scared?

What if instead, you chose to take just one tiny step at a time? Now, that leads to taking action and a feeling of self-achievement. (phew!)

Because the smallest actions added together builds confidence minimising self-doubt.

I wonder who first coined this idiom?

‘It’s easier said than done!’

What could be a mind-reasoned antidote?

 “The person in my head saying ‘you can’t’ doesn’t exist – so why would I listen?” Trevor Sylvester

The emotions we feel that lead to self-doubt. A therapeutic angle.

The brain as a pattern matching organism

To keep us safe the brain has evolved to store experiences that indicate when we could be moving towards pleasure or when we need to stay away from perceived pain.

And it does this by unconscious pattern matching through time and signalling a feeling that feeds our beliefs. These feelings are initiated within the body first and can trigger an automatic stress response known as fight, flight or freeze.  You may have heard of this.

Nature’s way of protecting us can make a person act or not act depending on the fear of a danger perceived.

For modern humans, the imperative for approval from others to fit in and do not suffer emotional hurt can be strong.  This equivalence for survival was recognised quickly by our ancestors.  Imagine the physical experience and what they learned from the wrath of a Sabre Tooth Tiger.  Or the longevity afforded by belonging to a tribe.

This alert translates into our modern-day experiences.

It’s been said that ‘evolutionary change is far slower than social change.’

For modern humans the unconscious imperative is to protect us by using feelings, thoughts and behaviours learned initially from birth and through childhood.

Miscalculations based on early learnings can hold us back.

The good news is that there is a way to resolve and update the brain in what has become faulty pattern matching.

Try out a different perspective

We’re all human, and that means its normal in life for all kinds of emotions to come up.

  • What if you could believe that those scary thoughts due to feelings of uncertainty have no basis in your present reality. In this moment.
  • What if you could learn to use ‘future’ projections as a way to become more prepared over time.  At a pace that’s right for you.

For example, the harrowing vision of an interview going wrong might transform into something much better.  All from making time to build skills in communication and interview techniques. Add on trying those new skills out in chosen environments and watch how your motivation improves.

  • Now, what one small action can you be taking to achieve that learning path as your first objective?
  • If you can treat the actual interview as a training ground, it could reveal ways to improve for the next time.

And you can feel the difference when your brain is trained to have a new focus for improvement.  Maybe there is less need for self-flagellation.

Intriguing huh?

Generating more confidence.

If you allow yourself to think that just like the rest of us it is possible to update old patterns of behaviour, then you can start by slowly introducing small action steps.

The more you do this, the more chance you have to diminish heightened emotion gradually.

Keeping in mind that there is also a natural element of anticipation when going for or trying out anything new.  That nervous feeling becomes like the state of curiosity and excitement.

Join me this time next week for some coaching tips which may help you to break free of the habit of self-doubt like:

  • The hesitation to act.
  • The inner critic that feeds the decision not to try.

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“ Here’s to eliminating doubt, building your confidence and self-worth.”  Maria

Build your confidence and put doubt in its place through taking action.

kick out self-doubt

Maria Richards Cognitive Hypnotherapist

Have you already tried other approaches or self-help tips and found that your mind is getting in the way of progress?

Click my image to make contact. Quest Cognitive Hypnotherapy may be something you could consider to help you break the extremes of self-doubt.  Just part of the steps towards being able to appreciate and enjoy the many aspects of being you.

What a client said “I look at myself and what I have achieved – staying calm, not getting too stressed with situations, (at work) feeling more confident, speaking up in a large group or feeling more comfortable with leading my team meeting and realize that I have come a long way from where I was when I first met you. ” [Click to continue reading this review]

Interested in more of my blogs on confidence click here

Books and Kindle:

A classic self-help book how to turn doubt, fear, and indecision into confidence and action. Valued by many people today as it was on publication 20 years ago.  Susan Jefferey’s- click on: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway available on Amazon.