Self-doubt & self-criticism seems to be as common as eating. It’s painful to doubt and critizise ourselves which makes us feel not confident in who we are but we still seem to do it.
So how do we stop it?
Firstly, I just want to say that I completely understand as one of the biggest things that has been a challenge for me is the voice of my inner critic and self-doubt. And I don’t know of one person who has yet to not experience self-doubt. If you do please introduce me to them.
I truly believe that part of our purpose is to go back and remember who we truly are.
When you were born you didn’t have any self-doubt or insecurities. As a baby you just knew that you were loveable just the way you were and you didn’t have any negative thoughts about yourself. Then things happened in your life; you either got bullied, criticised, ridiculed, abused, there was chaos in the household or at school, and so on.
There’s so many things that we go through in our life that we eventually move away from our truth and unconsciously start to tell a story about ourselves that isn’t even true.
It’s not even your truth. These thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself ARE NOT EVEN YOURS.
Over time, you adopted these thoughts about yourself from other people such as parents, teachers, kids, religious leaders, society, ex-boyfriends/husbands etc, made them your own and programmed your brain with these limiting beliefs without even realising it and that’s why they feel so real and true because you made them yours.
However, these self-doubts ARE NOT YOUR OWN. This is so important and powerful to understand.
When you become aware and understand where your self-doubt came from, it will no longer have power over you.
And let’s be clear, self-confidence is not arrogance. Arrogance has the energy of, I’m better than you but that’s just simply insecurity on steroids. So someone who constantly has to prove to others how good they are is basically a really insecure person.
Self-confidence is, I value who I am as a person. I am good enough right now. I can achieve anything I put my mind to, and I love myself exactly as I am.
And the more confident you are, the more you can encourage others to stand in their confidence and not fall into the self-doubt trap.
So how do we change this? How do we get rid of the self-doubt and feel more confident in who we truly are?
There has to be some inner shifts. And the first inner shift that needs to occur is:
1. MOVE INTO SELF-ACCEPTANCE
A shift into self-acceptance means letting yourself off the hook of perfectionism, and not caring what other people think of you. It means not making your self-acceptance conditional upon achieving a certain goal, or looking a certain way, or seeking approval from a man or anyone else.
A few years back when I was having a coaching session with my own life coach, I can remember feeling self-doubt and insecure. I was so hard on myself, I expected everything about me and my life to be perfect and I told him that I felt like a fraud. And he said to me, “Irene, you would be so surprised with the amount of teachers in this industry who do not have their life together but come across as they do. You are doing more than fine, actually you are doing better than what they are. So relax, you have nothing to worry about.”
The reason why I was having these self-doubts was because I was in self-judgement and comparing myself to others. But where did this come from? I had negative thoughts stored within my mind of what other people had said about me which was causing me to doubt myself.
And what I needed to do instead was come to a place of self-acceptance to where I was in my life, how far I came, what I accomplished so far, and choose to entertain empowering thoughts.
The minute you come into self-acceptance and understand who you truly are, how much you’ve overcome and that you are always doing the best you can, is when you’ll feel more confident. Now, self-acceptance doesn’t mean you give up on your health and fitness, settle in that relationship, or following your passion, or bettering yourself, or not doing that thing you’re called to do, it means you stop judging yourself and open your heart to where you stand today in this moment.
You acknowledge everything that you’ve overcome and achieved so far big or small, and approve of yourself. It means you take bold action anyway. So if you’re heading into an interview and you’re feeling nervous or insecure, you come into acceptance and agreement that you’re feeling nervous but you’re going to do this anyway and push yourself out of your comfort zone.
I’ve learned that you don’t have to feel confident to be confident. I can remember the first time I did public speaking at this event and I was SO nervous and definitely didn’t feel confident but I did it anyway. And at the end of my talk this lady came up to me and said how great I was and if I could give her the details to the speaking coach that I used. I laughed so hard inside because I didn’t use anyone as my speaking coach.
So without even realising what I did at this speaking event was I presented myself in a confident manner without having to feel confident. This is so powerful to know.
It also means that we have to learn to go beyond our feelings and negative thoughts and choose to do what is right and what we strongly believe in even if we feel scared.
Which leads me to the next point of helping you get rid of self-doubt and that is to:
2. DECLUTTER YOUR SELF-TALK
Become aware as to what you’re saying to yourself. If your self-talk is filled with, you’re not that pretty, maybe I won’t get that interview, I wish I was more like her, I will never find true love etc. do you think that this will help you feel more confident? Of course not.
So you have to change your self-talk and this is a gradual process. Going from, “I feel ugly” to “I’m the most gorgeous woman in the world” can feel a little far fetched. But if you can jump that far, then I applaud you and encourage you to keep going!
However, for most of us it’s hard to get from being super judgemental and insecure to, “I’m beautiful and amazing.”
Instead, your self-talk could sound something like this, “I’m in the process of learning to love myself and for that I’m really proud of myself,” or “I’m going to go this party and do my best to be myself and talk to people I don’t know, knowing that I’m good enough,” or “Maybe this interview didn’t go as well as I wanted it to but I’m going to learn from it anyway and I’m sure I’ll do better next time,” or “I’m learning to see my beauty and I love how courageous I am for that.”
So this kind of self-talk is what’s going to turn down the volume of your self-doubt and promote more self-confidence.
(Why is it so hard to change our negative self-talk? Because there is a strong program/pattern that is running that self-talk.)
So whenever your self-doubt creeps in, which it will, my advice is to be kind, love and accept with how you are in this moment. Stop shaming and bashing that part of you. As strange as it sounds, compassion is needed for ALL parts of you and is most needed right now.
Allow that self-compassion to soak into the self-doubt and then move out of it by changing your self-talk with your new truths.
With love, and lots of self-confidence,