You look confident. You have the degrees. You have the experience. You’re living a great life. So, why do you doubt yourself?
Well, there are a lot of different reasons why self-doubt shows up in your life. Some may even seem valid; others not so much. But in either case you won’t stand a chance of overcoming these self-doubts if you don’t acknowledge them and then come up with a plan for overcoming them. Today’s article is all about the first part.
Let’s start by taking a look at eight common reasons why people, especially women, doubt themselves.
You Don’t Have The Know-How
Self-doubt can be caused by not knowing everything there is to know about a job, a task, or a field. It would be great if we could know it all, but chances are that’s not going to happen. The result is doubt. You may be thinking about different scenarios that you don’t feel prepared for, or you’re thinking about all the people you know who you think would be much better qualified. (Hello, Imposter Syndrome.)
The thing to remember is that It’s normal to doubt yourself. What matters more is what you do about it. And, here’s the important point I’m making. Everyone doubts their skills and know-how at some point in their life. Some people are just better at hiding those doubts and doing it anyway than others. They know how to be scared and going forward anyway.
You Don’t Know What To Expect
Another big reason for self-doubt to creep up is fear of the unknown. When you’re meeting a new person or taking a new job, you can’t possibly know everything about it. There are a lot of unknowns and that can make you uncomfortable or even fearful. And that fear then turns into self-doubt. If you don’t think you can do it and don’t put yourself out there, you don’t have to face those unknowns.
But that’s no way to live your life.
The truth is that there is no possible way to know everything that’s going to happen on a job, with a project or in a relationship. Yes, we can prepare, but there will always be unknowns. The key is to find a way to say yes anyway and figure it out as you go along – pray, get wise counsel, look at all the reasons why you should say yes.
Your Past Catches Up With You
It would be great if we all had perfect lives with no problems or issues. But that’s just not the case. We all come with our own history and our own baggage. And some of those past experiences make us doubt ourselves and our abilities. Maybe it’s a failed relationship that makes us think we’re just not cut out for a long-term commitment like marriage. Maybe it’s an incident with a boss or co-worker in a past job that makes us hesitant to try out for the promotion. Or maybe it’s something completely different.
Each of us has a past and that past leaves scars. Some are deeper than others, but they can all undermine your self-confidence and lead to self-doubt. Realizing that is the first step towards overcoming that doubt and with it your past with all its baggage.
You’ve Been Told You Can’t Do This
We’re social creatures, brought up in a social environment. We all have families that can look very different. But from an early age, we’ve learned to listen to what those around us have to say. In particular, we’ve paid attention to our parents, parent figures, mentors, teachers and people of authority. We’ve learned to listen to them and heed their advice most of the time.
And so, it’s only natural to doubt yourself and your decisions when one of those people you look up to tells you that you can’t do it. Sometimes the advice is sound. Sometimes it’s self-serving. The key is to learn the difference and realize that part of growing up involves trying things even when your “elders” advise against it. Because the truth is, they aren’t always right.
There are things in your heart and soul that God only whispered to you. Everyone won’t understand that. They may truly love and care about you, but everyone won’t always agree with you. Prayerfully keep moving forward.
Sometimes you’re just plain scared. You’re afraid of the unknown, you’re afraid to mess up and you’re afraid to find out that you aren’t good enough. Fear is a strong motivator and in this case, fear causes self-doubt and motivates in-action. In other words, it stops you in your tracks.
That means you don’t apply for your dream job, you don’t go out and get that degree, you don’t put your name in the hat for the promotion and you don’t go talk to your cute neighbor. All for fear of being let down. But guess what? When we let that fear rule us, we lose any chance we had for positive change. Isn’t it worth doing something despite the fear if you have a chance of getting what you really want? Trust God and step out in faith.
You Lack Self-Worth
We already talked about how self-doubt is a lack of confidence in our ability to get something done. It’s also closely related to a lack of self-worth. The two usually go hand in hand. We don’t think we’re good enough and we don’t think we have what it takes – lack of self-worth and lack of confidence. The end result is a double dose of self-doubt.
The good news is that as you work on getting rid of self-doubt, your self-worth will go up and vice versa. And that self-worth will help you eliminate more self-doubt. It’s a self-propelling cycle. All you need to do is get the ball rolling. To help you do that, remember that you are the apple of God’s eye. Your value is greater than gems, jewels, or rubies. And, there is nor ever will be another woman like you – you’re a masterpiece.
You Don’t Think You’re Good Enough Yet
Another big issue that causes self-doubt is thinking that we don’t know enough yet, or that we aren’t experienced enough yet for a task, a job or a position. That’s normal. To be honest, chances are when you take a new job or try something new you may not be as good at it as you’d like to be at first. That’s because you haven’t tried it yet and you’re lacking the experience.
It’s also normal to doubt you can do it. The important part is to try things anyway, get some experience under your belt, and get better at what you’re doing. Think back to the first few weeks at your latest job. Chances are that it was hard and overwhelming and that you didn’t know how to do half the stuff you were suddenly responsible for. But you made it through those stress-full first few weeks anyway. You got better at your job and eventually, it became routine – something you could do in your sleep. The same goes for learning how to drive a car or your favorite hobby. It takes time and it’s okay to do things long before you know everything there is to know… which by the way isn’t possible anyway, no matter how well you prepare.
The goal is not perfection – it’s completion. Give yourself some grace and do the best you can in the most excellent way that you can.
You’re More Comfortable Where You’re At Right Now
This is a tough one. But it’s all too common – getting too comfortable in your comfort zone.
Let’s go back to the new job example. Yes, in the beginning, it was hard and challenging. There was much you didn’t know and a lot you had to figure out. Now though, that same job has become familiar and even routine. It’s fairly easy and you know what to do. You’re comfortable doing what you’re doing and that may be what’s keeping you from applying for that promotion, using self-doubt as an excuse to keep you comfortable.
But here’s the thing. You have a choice to make. Will you stay comfortable where you’re at now, or are you ready to get a bit uncomfortable, face your fears, and challenge the unknown? As nice as it is to stay comfortable, it’ll eventually get boring. And remember, dreams don’t come true in the comfort zone. All those gifts, goals, and plans you have, require you to get uncomfortable if you want to make things happen.
Are these the only reasons why people may doubt themselves? Of course not. We each come from different backgrounds and have lived very different lives. As a result, we’ve developed self-doubt for different reasons. The ones I’ve listed here, are, however, some of the more common ones. And while they may not describe you and your circumstances perfectly, they should give you a good idea of where your self-doubt is coming from. And, with that information, you can start to work towards silencing that self-doubt and listening to your confident voice instead.