As someone who has struggled with self-doubt most of my life, I can honestly say it is one of the most toxic feelings one can experience. It plants itself in your brain and those roots go pretty deep. Actually, this blog is an attempt to move past the lingering doubts that I still carry. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to jump in on a Facebook thread, or a group email with some witty comment only to find myself typing, deleting, typing, deleting and then just giving up on the whole thing. I worry about whether someone will be offended or not get the joke. Like. . .who am I?? No one is paying THAT much attention to me. And ultimately, who cares? How many times have I received a text or seen a comment that made me re-read and wonder what exactly that person was trying to say? Do I pick it apart and analyze it throughout the rest of my day? Probably not. Forgotten in about 5 minutes, if it takes even that long.
In the past couple of years, I have discovered a few tools that have proved helpful in my journey.
- Turn things around. Like the situation mentioned above. Do you pay THAT much attention to what everyone else is doing? I’m going to guess, no. This came in handy when I joined a gym about a year ago and was sure everyone was looking at me. Earth to Britt. Nope. Was I staring at everyone else? Saying negative things in my head about her leggings, or him not knowing what he’s doing? Just do it. Go for it. Everyone is doing their own thing, no one is worried about you.
- Focus on the positive. Self-doubters tend to relive the awkward or unsuccessful events in their lives. I gave little to no thought to the times I felt confident. This is another hurdle that just takes a little effort and practice. Change the way you think. Sometimes it can be hard to not introvert on those times, but it’s in the past. Focusing on the things that didn’t go as you had hoped will only feed that self-doubt fire. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. Remember a time where you walked away from a situation and felt like, “I nailed that”? Hold on to those. Feeling more confident will lead to more positive outcomes, more positive outcomes will lead to more confidence. Keep that cycle going.
- Choose your friends wisely. I leave you with one of the most important factors, if not THE most. It is absolutely imperative that you surround yourself with people who build you up. Self-doubters need no help getting to that yucky place of I’m not good enough. Choose the people in your life carefully. Even the most well-meaning individuals can make your struggle worse. Share your feelings with others (another difficult task for most of us, but a very important one), let them know how what they’re going makes you feel. If the understand and are willing to help you, wonderful. If they think it’s your problem. . .f*** them. If you find someone who understands your weaknesses, sees you at your most vulnerable, has heard you fart (a little laugh for those of you that kept reading) and still thinks you’re the greatest person ever. . .boom! Score!
Unfortunately, it is one of the most difficult paths to travel as we are our worst enemies. Find what works for you and practice. Take it one step at a time, one day at a time. There will be bad days. Don’t give up. Know that many people out there are struggling with the same problem, you’re not the only one. Find your tools, find others to share with and slowly but surely, you can dig your way out of that hole.
It’s never too late to believe in yourself.