How to Overcome Self-Doubt

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Self-doubt is defined as being unsure about the truth of something about ourselves. It can be about our beliefs, thoughts, emotions, self-views, decisions, opinions, or something “truthful” we think. Generally, we can feel unstable, and we might start to question our self-competence (Braslow et al., 2012).

If you are filled with many self-doubts, perhaps you find yourself hesitating when judging your abilities. You might expect modest performance and, at times, expect excellent performance. This means we have issues confidently expressing our level of knowledge (Braslow et al., 2012).

Do You Struggle with Self-Doubt?

The following are a few questions (Oleson et al., 2000) you may ask yourself to see if you are a person experiencing self-doubt:

How People Tend to Deal with It

As self-doubt is a horrible experience, people often deal with it unconsciously and automatically. Some might be good well, and the others could be bad.

The following are some ways people deal with self-doubt:

  • Imposter syndrome is when people feel that the success they’ve achieved isn’t an accurate interpretation of their abilities. (Braslow et al., 2012).
  • Overachievement – this is when a plan that helps you to prevent failures and mistakes. (Braslow et al., 2012).
  • Finally, self-handicapping is when a defence strategy allows people to blur the reasoning for their failures or errors.

Overcoming Your Self-Doubt

  • For example, you could say to yourself, “I can do anything I put my mind to,” or “I am capable and strong.”
  • Develop and build your strengths.
  • Self-worth. Try to encourage a healthy sense that your self-worth is neither decreased nor increased by environmental factors such as your decisions, how others treat you, or how much your income is.
  • Try positive self-talk. Talk to yourself (even out loud) and say positive, kind, or supportive things.
  • Love is the answer. Have infinite love for yourself.

You may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How may you stay self-confident even if you are being treated poorly or not given any love from other people?
  • How can you stay confident in yourself even if you experience failure or make mistakes?

Developing a mindset through thinking about these questions can help you maintain self-worth and to help prevent self-doubts from taking over your life.


Braslow, M. D., Guerrettaz, J., Arkin, R. M., & Oleson, K. C. (2012). Self-doubt. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(6), 470-482.

Oleson, K. C., Poehlmann, K. M., Yost, J. H., Lynch, M. E., & Arkin, R. M. (2000). Subjective overachievement: Individual differences in self-doubt and concern with performance. Journal of personality, 68(3), 491-524.

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Dean Mathers


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