OCTOBER 11, 2020

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.

-William Shakespeare

There are many instances in life when we decide to try something new. But often when it is time to take action and start doing that new thing, most of us retreat and give up. Why does this happen? The answer is self-doubt. This trait is something that makes people doubt their capabilities, because of which they become uncertain of what may lie ahead and don’t take any actions out of fear. This trait makes you live in fear and uncertainty, but if you are the kind of person who wants to live a truly fulfilling and happy life, you need to get over this sense of self-doubt and take bold actions. Here’s how…

   Before understanding how to overcome self-doubt, you need to understand why does self-doubt come up in the first place. Well, it is simply because of the image you have of yourself, and this quotation by Charles Horton Cooley beautifully expresses how this image is formed, “I am not what I think I am, and I am not what you think I am. I am what I think you think I am.” Let’s understand this line carefully. It says that you are not what you think of yourself, and you are also not what others think of you, but you are the person who you think you are in the eyes of others. It is the perception you have about how others think of you. Many people act on this basis, thinking that this is the way people see them so they must act this way to shine and succeed. Having this kind of perception is far from reality, and trying to behave and act in this way to seek social approval and success is what whips up self-doubt. This happens because when you try to do something outside the realms of this perception, it seems risky and uncertain which gives rise to doubt. When you try to change and go out of the limits of this own little world that your identity revolves around, you feel doubtful and never take any action.  

    To change how you think of yourself, eradicate self-doubt, and form a new identity, do these simple things stated below: –

  1. Acknowledge and understand your real self. Your real self is often hidden behind the veil of the image you have created based on what you think people feel about you. Therefore, all you need to do is lift this veil and uncover the real self. The simplest way to do this is by questioning and reflecting. Take a sheet of paper and write on it everything that you think of yourself. There is no need for any classification, simply write every possible thing down. After you have done that, go through your list and talk to yourself to find out exactly how many of these things are shaped by your perception of how people think of you. For example, you write down that you are overweight and the reason for you to think this way maybe that your friends told you to eat more healthily or your mom told you that the jeans you bought a couple of years ago don’t fit you anymore. Now, you have formed an identity with being overweight, but when you reflect on all these things you realise that right now your body is going through a growth phase because of which your jeans have become short and you are eating more and more. Your body shape isn’t becoming larger in terms of fat so you realise that you aren’t overweight. This way, you need to reflect upon each thing on your list and find out if these things are true or just perceptions. This will truly help you figure out who your real self is and you will acknowledge and understand it, thus all your perceptions will go away.
  2. Think of areas for improvement in your real self. Now that you know who your real self is, you will easily be able to find out where all do you need to improve. Imagine that from this exercise, you find out that you like to sing but in reality you know that your voice isn’t good enough, which may make you feel that you are inferior and unskilled, allowing the weeds of self-doubt to grow in the fertile garden of your real self. To remove weeds from a garden, you simply pluck them out, and this is exactly what you need to do with the weeds of self-doubt. You need to pluck these weeds out by improving on the thing that you are not good in, that is singing in our example. When you improve on your weaknesses, you remove the weeds of self-doubt and never let them grow again.
  3. Change your perspective about yourself. When you segregate the perceptions you have about yourself from who you truly are, you will gain great insights which will help you to connect to your real self. All you need to do is consciously integrate the characteristics of your real self and slowly drop all the judgments, prejudices and perceptions you have of yourself. Once you know that all the limits you have set for yourself are just biased perceptions far from reality, you will be able to get over them to form a new and powerful identity. This new identity is what will give you the power to overcome self-doubt because, with a new image of yourself, you will be aware of the fact that your capabilities are infinite and that you have the power to do anything. Remember, the way you look at yourself is what defines your limits and your capabilities, and you have the power to change this to your liking… 

Understand yourself, remove all the prejudices and perceptions, learn how to improve on your real self and finally, change your perspective so that self-doubt doesn’t exist in your world. Yes, it is necessary to question and challenge every important action to make sure it is right and good. But, don’t let this questioning doubt your capabilities, because only you know what you are capable of, no single question or doubt does…

    I sincerely thank you for taking time out and reading this post. I hope that through this I was able to add value to your life. Do share your questions and learnings in the comment box below, I will surely acknowledge and reply to each one of them! Once again thank you very much for reading!

Well wishes,