Hey there, awesome reader!
Do you ever feel like your self-doubt is holding you back from being the best version of yourself?
Once upon a not-so-long time ago, self-doubt was like my shadow. Always with me whether I could see it or not.
- I found myself second-guessing my decisions. I feel like a glass of red wine. No, wait! Maybe I’m in the mood for white.
- I constantly questioned my abilities. They want ME to write an article on the pros and cons of free-range parenting. ME? (Never mind that I’ve single-handedly raised four kids.)
- Worrying about what others thought of me was what my brain ate for breakfast. Definitely NOT the breakfast of champions.
And then one day several years ago while I was taking an acting class with the esteemed Gene Frankel, he said something that to this day has had a profound impact on my self-doubt:
“It’s not your business what other people think of you.”
For days after that, I couldn’t get his words out of my head. That’s when I realized that self-doubt was robbing me of my confidence, creativity, and sense of self-worth – literally. My self-doubt was stealing not only the best of me, but the best years of my life too!
That’s when I realized that I needed to find a way to combat self-doubt and take back control of both my thoughts and my actions. I did not want to wake up one day and realize that I had missed out on owning who I was because I had ALLOWED self-doubt to pinch out my sparkle.
That’s right. The word “allowed” is italicized AND capitalized because this is one of those things that we can choose to change. Think of it this way. Self-doubt is like a flat tire. It WILL bring you down, but you can fix it.
On that day, I swore to never let my self-doubt define me again. My days of boarding the hot mess express train were OVER.
When it comes to enjoying life to the fullest and truly embracing who you are, self-doubt is the ultimate party pooper and I don’t want that for you. Following are tips on how you can be a self-doubt ninja and kick your negative thoughts to the curb once and for all!
- Recognize the signs of self-doubt.
The first step in combating self-doubt is to recognize when it’s happening. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings and notice when you start to second-guess yourself.
Are you hesitant to speak up in a meeting?
Do you avoid trying new things because you’re afraid of failure?
By identifying the signs of self-doubt, you can start to challenge those negative thoughts and beliefs. Oh look! That’s step 2.
2. Challenge your negative thoughts.
Once you’ve learned to be more aware of your self-doubt and can call it out, it’s time to challenge those pesky negative thoughts. Ask yourself if your doubts are based on facts or just assumptions.
Are you assuming that you’ll fail at something before you even try it?
Are you assuming that others are judging you?
By questioning your negative thoughts, you can start to see things in a more balanced and realistic way.
3. Practice self-compassion.
Self-doubt often goes together with self-criticism. These two – self-doubt and self-criticism – love to hold hands as they frolic through your brain as though it’s their very own playground.
The truth is that we can be our own worst enemies when it comes to judging ourselves. So, instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes or perceived shortcomings, practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you treat your friends.
4. Focus on your strengths.
When feelings of self-doubt start to hijack your very existence, it’s too easy to focus on your weaknesses and shortcomings. Instead, try to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Make a list of your achievements and remind yourself of your skills and talents.
By focusing on what you’re good at, you can boost your confidence and remind yourself that you are capable of great things.
(Oh yes you are! And if you need a reminder now and then, I’m your girl! Let’s connect on Twitter @TheMonaAndrei.)
5. Take action.
Last but definitely not least, keep in mind that the best way to combat self-doubt is by taking action. Instead of stooping in a self-pity party and letting your doubts hold you back, take small steps towards your goals. Get out of your head and break big projects into smaller, bite-sized tasks. If you don’t know how to do something, take a class or workshop. You’re smart! You can learn anything!
And by taking action, you’ll build your confidence and prove to yourself that you’re capable of achieving any goal you set your mind on.
So, the next time your self-doubt starts to act up, remember these tips. Recognize when self-doubt creeps into the corners of your brain. Challenge your negative thoughts. Be gentle to yourself by practicing self-compassion. (Yes, it really is a practice. Easier than yoga, though.) Focus on your strengths. And take action.
What’s the ultimate action you can take? Let your inner badass sparkle!
Mona Andrei is an award-winning humor blogger, columnist, and author. In her most recent book, SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood, she shares her challenges and triumphs as a single mother as well as stories from other single mothers.
Mona is also the host of the Single Moms with Moxie podcast.
When Mona isn’t writing or elevating other single mothers, you can probably find her dancing. As a member of a competitive hip-hop team, she likes to think that she’ll stay young and cool forever. She may be delusional.