Self-Doubt: Self Practice in Overcoming Self-Doubt & Gaining Self Confidence

We all doubt ourselves at some point in our life. It is safe to say that every single human being no matter how confident they are has had a few moments of self-doubt. But having to doubt yourself a few times is not the problem. it becomes a problem when you turn into a chronic doubter. When self-doubt becomes a part of you, that’s an issue.

We often look at the most confident people in the room and wish we were like them. We admire their boldness and aura. We also admire their ability to light up the room with their presence alone. Have you longed to be as bold as someone else? Do you sometimes wish you were born with as much confidence as that person? 

Here is a shocker: nobody is born with low self-esteem. It’s true! We all were born with as much confidence as the other person. In fact, as kids, we tend to have the highest self-confidence possible which makes self-doubt nothing but a decision, a defense mechanism sort of, that we use to protect ourselves from failure or rejection. 

For some people, it is better not to try at all than to try and fail. This mindset might be because of so many experiences they might have had growing up or trying new things as adults. All the same, the point is that self-doubt ruins your opportunity to become the best version of yourself and we will be discussing how right now.

Self Doubt
A lady in self-doubt

What is Self-doubt?

Before we dive deep into what causes self-doubt and many ways to overcome it, let’s look a little into the definition of self-doubt and what it really is. Self-doubt in a complex definition is the inability of a person to have faith or confidence in their capabilities. In a much simpler definition, it is the idea a person gets in their mind that their best is not enough. 

People with self-doubt tend to have low self-esteem and lack of faith in what they can do. They also feel pressure when they are forced to do something they think they are incapable of doing. They often have to deal with anxiety and tend to overthink a lot. Worse still, they get really paranoid and have a great fear of crowds. 

This only shows you how self-doubt can affect your life and your coexistence with other people negatively. Now let’s look into the causes of self-doubt, signs of self-doubt, and ways to overcome it.

Common Causes of Self-doubt 

As said earlier, nobody is born with self-doubt. To be doubtful of oneself isn’t something that comes naturally. It is something that is developed due to countless mostly unpleasant experiences. 

The worst part is that you might not realize that you are very doubtful about yourself until you are told. 

Luckily for you, you stumbled upon this article and will be getting premium knowledge of what causes self-doubt. 

Even though discussing the causes is not as important as knowing how to overcome your self-doubt, it is essential to know what made you doubtful in the first place. Remember, to know the cause is to have a 50% solution.

Without further ado, let us look into some of the most common causes of self-doubt.

1. Traumatizing  Experiences From the Past

This includes traumatic experiences or encounters either as a child or a few years ago that developed your self-doubt. Sometimes traumatizing experiences can bring down our self-esteem to the barest minimum. 

It could have been an experience in school, at home or just hanging out with your friends. 

It could have been sexual abuse by a stranger or worse still a family member. Traumatic experiences contribute greatly in bringing down self-esteem which eventually leads to you doubting yourself.

2. Parental Trauma

Some parents can be extremely critical and ignorant. Instead of training them with love and respect, they input a competitive mentality into them and make them feel like they are not enough. 

Sometimes students struggle to gain recognition from their own parents and when that recognition is not given, it reduces their self-esteem and communication skills as well as their ability to relate with other people. 

3. Poor Academic Performance

If you struggle academically you tend to keep to yourself more. Especially if you are always maltreated in school or at home for your slowness. 

When you’re constantly being reminded that you are slow and supposedly too dumb to comprehend anything taught in class, it would make you too shy to answer questions or take part in activities at school.

4. Fear of Judgment

The fear of being judged by others contributes to bringing down one’s self-esteem. Sometimes we choose not to try at all because of the fear of judgment by other people. This fear contributes to an increase in the level of your self-doubt and prevents you from trying something new.

5. Fear of Failure

Many people are scared of failure; they would rather not try at all than try and feel, which is a dangerous mentality. Many people do not understand the fact that failure can sometimes be a form of blessing in disguise. 

If you fail while trying, you try again without the fear of failing. And even if you fail again, don’t use it as an excuse to give up, instead count your losses and run a full self scan don’t forget to employ the use of self-criticism.

6. Continuous Self-criticizing

Some people refer to this as tough self-love. This can be an act of constantly criticizing one’s self and weaknesses. It can be a means of motivation but sometimes self-criticism can bring down your self-esteem without your realization.

7. Lack of Supportive Peer Groups 

When people lack supporting friends or relations around them, it reduces their self-esteem because there is nobody around to encourage them

8. Emotional Breakdown

People look down on themselves because of their emotional instability. Clouded emotions cause self-doubt. For example, someone who just got out of a bad relationship where they were abused or maltreated or someone who is passing through the indescribable pain of losing a loved one. 

Our emotion influences our wellbeing and it contributes to how well we relate with people outside. Depression is a consequence of an emotional breakdown that was not well attended to. A person suffering from depression is bound to become self-doubtful.

9. Mental Challenges 

When you have a lot on your mind and you really need to clear your head but can’t do that by yourself, you are unable to control your thoughts and it seems to be driving you crazy.  

In such a situation, you begin to doubt yourself. Random thoughts flash into “What would people say if they saw me like this right now” and “How would they react?” “what if they don’t understand” what if they see me as crazy”.

If you have a mental illness you are battling with, it can make you doubt yourself more and You may begin to doubt if you can easily carry out tasks like your peers.

10. Financial Challenges 

When a person is not financially stable,  it tends to reduce their self-esteem and makes them feel inferior. This is because they think other people will look down on them or worse still disregard them. 

They seem to look down on themselves and isolate themselves from others. They feel totally worthless and at this point, if anyone asks them for money or reminds them of a financial responsibility, the person seems to be insulting them. This makes them sink more into self-pity 

12. Beauty Standard

This has to do with the standards placed by society in terms of beauty. Many a time people get insecure about how they look because they feel they cannot reach up to the already-made standards. 

This reduces self-esteem. For example, if society says that having a long nose is considered beautiful, someone with a short nose would not be bold enough to partake in a beauty contest because the person feels like he/she has not gotten up to the already placed standard of society.

A confident lady

Types of Self-doubt

Self-doubt can come in various forms. However today we will only be looking at two. Let’s get in with it.

1. Imposter Syndrome

When you doubt your own capabilities you are bound to develop imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the feeling of being a fraud and incapable of achieving already set goals.

2. Success Guilt

This is the moment when you feel guilty and undeserving of an achievement. It is a form of self-doubt that affects a person’s ability to accept and feel good about their achievements 

Signs that Show You are Doubting Yourself 

Now that you know what causes self-doubt, knowing that you have it can still be a little tricky. As said earlier, self-doubt is a defense mechanism that is employed by people who have traumatic experiences to prevent themselves from getting hurt further. 

They subconsciously conclude that they are incapable of putting themselves out there.

Because this is a subconscious conclusion within themselves they are unaware that they are actually self-doubtful. 

Not knowing that you are self-doubtful is really as dangerous as having self-doubt itself, because if you are unaware of a problem you wouldn’t know how to fix it. We will be discussing some signs and symptoms that would allow you to know whether or not you are doubtful of yourself.

  1. You find it difficult to accept compliments or give yourself credit. 
  2. You feel pressured and anxious whenever you have to show you capabilities in public.
  3. You overthink.
  4. You have stage and crowd fright.
  5. You constantly feel like you not good enough.
  6. You would rather not try at all for the fear of failing.
  7. You always seek reassurance.
  8. You find it hard to motivate yourself because you don’t believe a word you say.
  9. You feel like a fraud anytime you’re congratulated for an achievement.
  10. You feel like you do not deserve any opportunity given to you 

Self-practices in Overcoming Self-doubt 

Doubt makes us quit before we even start. A doubtful person sees every solution as impossible and lacks the inspiration to solve problems and tackle challenges. 

Self-doubt is quite different from self-criticism though. In self-criticism you take note of your weaknesses and acknowledge your strengths then you motivate yourself to do much better. 

Whereas in self-doubt you subconsciously allow fear and anxiety to take the better part of you and prevent you from reaching your full potential as a person. 

Here are some practices and habits for you to bear in mind if you want to overcome your self-doubt. 

1.  Be Self-compassionate

Cut yourself a little slack. Don’t stiffen yourself and deny you the opportunity to start something new.  Do not beat yourself up whenever you make a mistake. Instead, correct it and teach yourself to be better. Show yourself a little love and loosen up a bit.

2. Instead of Your Past Trauma Focus on Your Present Achievements

Focusing on your past trauma would do you absolutely no good. It would only bring back memories that are much better forgotten. So instead of focusing on those traumatic experiences, count your accomplishments and the positive encounters you have had so far. That way, you would be able to remember just how capable you are and motivate yourself to do more.

3. Do not Compare Yourself with Others

Comparing yourself to others is a no-go area. Do not compare your capabilities to someone else’s or your achievements to others. You are unique in your own unique way and you do not need to be exactly like others to be perfect. 

Focus on yourself and your inner beauty and work hard to improve yourself, not because you want to be like somebody else, but because you want to be a better version of yourself.

4. Stay Around Supportive People

Friends and family who care about your well-being would also want to support you, through thick and thin. Staying away from people with negative mindsets is a healthy decision you have to make today.

5. Go to Therapy

Seek professional help. Talk about your past and allow them to help you overcome it. Forgetting your past is good but it is not always the right step to take. It is much harder to accept your past and move on but that’s your best option 

9. Be Skeptical of Your Negative Thoughts

Filter all negative thoughts out. They will only make you doubt yourself. Stay positive around positive people to maintain a sound and healthy mind. 

10. Be Your own Motivator

You do not need to wait for people’s motivation. You can be your personal motivator. Say positive words to yourself and reassure yourself of your capabilities even when the task seems impossible.


Sometimes having a little bit of self-doubt can prevent one from being cocky and boastful of their abilities. As much as doubting yourself is bad for you, overconfidence can also lead to your downfall. 

Overconfidence brings about pride and as the popular saying goes, pride comes before a fall. Being overconfident can make you doubt other people and make you see yourself as superior to them. 

You begin to look down on every other person’s capabilities. This way you would never be able to ask for help from others so while you are busy building up your confidence do not forget to be humble and not see others as inferior.

You are a unique being, and you can do anything you want if you try. But be sure not to let this fact affect the way you see other people. 

Finally, if you are still struggling with that childhood drama that is preventing you from believing in your own uniqueness and trusting in your own capabilities, make sure to seek help so you feel better. Do not let your doubt stop you from releasing your light to the world.

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