self-confidence

Powerful ways to conquer self-doubt and build self-confidence

If self-doubt is holding you back from exploring your true potential, it is important to combat these feelings and become more confident in yourself and your abilities.
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I can’t do this. How often does this thought cross your mind? How often do you find yourself unable to seize an opportunity because you think you’re not good enough? Although it’s quite normal to have days when you don’t feel up to the mark, wrestling with self-doubt at all times can chip away at your self-confidence, and in the process, keep you from reaching your potential.

The seed of self-doubt, if left unchecked, can quickly go on to become one of your worst enemies. Consider this. You want a successful career, and have a well-planned set of goals chalked out. But as soon as an opportunity knocks, you let it slip because you get busy doubting yourself and your capabilities. You give up too soon, hold yourself from making your voice heard, and take a step back—you let your self-doubt guide your decisions, instead of the other way around.

Self-doubt can crawl into your mind after a particularly bad failure or a setback, or in some cases, have a steady presence all the time. It makes you question your judgment and actions. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that self-doubt negatively impacts your happiness and personal development. It can make you feel inadequate, can also debilitate your ability to make decisions.

The opposite of self-doubt is self-confidence. It implies trusting yourself—your abilities, skills and interests—to pursue and achieve your goals in life. Confidence helps in diluting your fear and self-limiting beliefs and brings you out of your comfort zone. Overall, self-confidence helps you tackle any circumstance, obstacle, or outcome with conviction, instead of getting intimidated by it.

As much as you’d like, there’s no way you can stay completely immune to moments of self-doubt. However, you can certainly find ways to not give in to your insecurities. Here are 7 effective steps you can take to overcome your self-doubt and gain confidence.

Identify your strengths and abilities

Developing self-awareness is the first crucial step in identifying your strengths and eliminating self-doubt. Take stock of everything you are doing right and keep a track of your success. When you focus on your strengths, you are bound to gain more confidence, which will then empower you to achieve your long-term goals. Before you go to sleep, make a note of every little accomplishment of your day. Remembering how you helped your colleague solve a complex problem or confidently delivered a presentation can help you focus on what you’re good at, and restore your faith in yourself. When you continue with this practice, you will observe a gradual growth in your self-confidence.

Set realistic goals

Create attainable goals that are connected to your overall purpose in life. Defining and achieving these goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and build your confidence. Think about the knowledge, experience, skills, resources, and support you will require for achieving your goals. Develop a plan of action laying out how you will go about pursuing those goals, then commit yourself to take immediate action. However, your goals don’t always have to be massive. Even taking small steps towards self-improvement can help reinforce your self-worth. Achieving smaller milestones will give you the confidence you need to cast your net wider.

Let go of the past

One reason you could be struggling with self-doubt is that you are spending too much time focusing on the mistakes you have made in the past. If you have faced a failure, disappointment, or setback in life, it is important to learn from your mistakes, and let go of the experience. Forgive yourself for the things from your past that continue to trigger guilt and shame. Such feelings can be devastating for your self-worth and may even lead to depression. While you should do what you can to learn from past mistakes, living in constant guilt and remorse will affect your self-confidence and ultimately deter you from achieving your goals.

Surround yourself with supportive people

Who you surround yourself with can impact your behaviour, your thoughts, and certainly how you view yourself. When facing self-doubt, it is important to not let the opinions of others pull you down. Make sure you stay away from people who always see the glass as half-empty instead of half-full. Instead, focus on surrounding yourself with loving and supportive people who build your confidence and accept you for who you are. Viewing yourself through the eyes of those who care about you will help you value your unique qualities, thus eliminating self-doubt.

Treat yourself with love and compassion

To master self-confidence, you need to first incorporate self-love and self-compassion in your life. Embrace both your strengths and weaknesses, and appreciate who you are and what makes you different from everyone else. While talking to yourself, be careful of the words you choose. A study suggests that positive self-talk can help improve your coping skills, enhance your psychological well-being and even increase your lifespan. When the voice inside you says you’re inadequate or bound to fail, react with phrases like, “I can do this,” or, “I am fully capable of completing this task.” Self-compassion is the simple practice of approving yourself, instead of being critical.

Practise positive thinking

Self-confidence is based on the positive belief that you are completely capable of transforming your dreams into reality. When you are positive, it keeps you motivated and enthusiastic. When you focus on doing your best, it keeps you from slipping into self-doubt and self-berating thoughts. Have a positive approach to every opportunity or challenge. As opposed to selling yourself short and hiding under thoughts of “I can’t do it,” you can pump your confidence by telling yourself, “I’ll do my best, no matter what.”

Build a healthy lifestyle

Adopting a healthy routine and following a healthy lifestyle can also help you tap into your self-confidence. Maintaining consistent habits such as good hygiene, eating well, getting adequate sleep and exercising can help improve self-confidence. You might even consider building a meditation practice into your daily routine. Mindfulness meditation has been proven to reduce anxiety and it can help you focus on your skills and strengths, thus improving your self-confidence. 

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