What is Self Doubt and How to Overcome it: A Guide.

Everyone experiences a little doubt or fear from time to time, this is completely normal. But when that doubt starts to affect your daily life, or prevent you from doing things you want to do, that’s when it’s time to look for tools to help.


What is self doubt?


Self-doubt is essentially a lack of faith or confidence in yourself and your abilities. It is a negative and sometimes fearful frame of mind, that is often ingrained in us from childhood.

Small amounts of self-doubt can be a good motivator, inspiring you to push through, work hard and upskill. But too much of it can leave you fearful or worried, blocking you from succeeding and achieving your goals.

As we like to say here at BraveFace: “Fear is tough, but you are tougher” so let's dive into some reasons why we doubt ourselves, along with helpful tips for overcoming self doubt.


What causes self doubt?


A lot of different things can lead to someone experiencing self doubt, the memory of previous negative experiences being a major cause. Which is why understanding the starting points for your doubts can be helpful.

Common causes of self doubt may include:


Mistakes and past experiences

Previous negative events can stay in our memory, impacting how we react to similar situations in the future.

For example, if you once took a risk and expressed your feelings for someone, only to have it thrown back in your face. Then the next time you are in a similar situation, you might be a little more guarded, more cautious and doubtful.


Your upbringing

Supportive parental figures and mentoring is a large contributor to children building strong self-esteem.

Think about it, if your parents or teachers constantly told you that you weren’t good enough, you might start to build this negative statement into your own beliefs (and doubts).


A fear of failure

There is a massive hurdle that limits people’s ability to succeed. It is the fear they will fail if they take a risk, the doubt in their own abilities, and the (often irrational) fear that if they did fail, then terrible things might happen.

If we have failed at something in the past, it can be scary to try again. People will desperately try to avoid this feeling by steering away from risk and telling themselves they aren’t capable enough 

Pro tip: You’ve only failed if you haven’t learned from the experience. Tell yourself that every set-back, every roadblock or failure you encounter is a learning experience. This will help you to remove some of that doubt and be more open to taking risks. 


Comparing yourself to others too often

Comparison is a slippery slope. Every person has different privileges in life, and faces different hardships and setbacks.

No life is the same, and so comparing yourself and your current life stage to that of a peer will only end negatively. Maybe right now they have a better job, but it doesn’t really matter, what matters is whether or not you are happy, and what you are doing right now to build on that happiness.


Signs you might be doubting yourself:


Still wondering whether you are experiencing self doubt? Ask yourself some of the questions below, to identify whether you are experiencing any of the common signs of self doubt.


A. Reassurance seeking

    • Are you always asking for reassurance?
    • Do you need to be told you’re doing a good job before you feel good about your work?
    • Are you indecisive, or do you regularly second guess yourself?
    • Do you always need someone to back up your decisions?


B. Feeling like you’re not good enough

    • Are you ever fully satisfied with yourself or your work?
    • Do you think others are better than you?
    • Do you struggle to put yourself forward for promotions?


C. You struggle to accept compliments or acknowledgement for work you’ve done

    • Do you diminish your achievements?
    • Do you find it awkward showing off your work?
    • Do you take credit where it is due?
    • Do you avoid situations where you could be complimented?
    • Do you downplay your abilities to others?


D. Low self-esteem

    • How do you feel about yourself?
    • Are you confident in your beliefs?
    • Are their aspects of yourself that you love and are proud of?



What can you do to overcome self doubt?


Now we’ve covered the definition, the causes and the signs. What can you actively start doing to support feelings of doubt, to positively shift your mindset and build self-esteem.


1. Remember past achievements


Self-reflection is powerful.

Each time you achieve something you are proud of, write it down. Then eventually you will have a full list of achievements you can look back on when you are doubting yourself, to help you remember what you are capable of.

You could write these down in a journal, on pieces of paper you place in a box for later, or even on post-it notes to stick on the wall.


2. Stop comparing yourself to others


Everyone’s life is different, we all have different strengths, weaknesses and privileges.

Remember to focus on yourself BraveFace, just because someone else does well at something, doesn’t mean that you don’t have your own strengths.

In moments of negative comparison, catch yourself, and try this:


    • Write down 3 things you are grateful for right now
    • Get off or limit the time you are spending on social media (it is a common trigger)
    • Remind yourself that everyone is facing struggles we can’t see.
    • Look back at your past achievements list.


3. Question your thoughts


Thoughts are not facts, and you are not your thoughts.

Just because your brain is telling you that you aren’t smart enough or skilled enough, doesn’t make it true. Question your thoughts, and when they sound negative, pause, and question what is accurate.

Want an easy guide to help you organise and identify your hidden thoughts and feelings? Download our free step-by-step guide here.


4. Spend more time with encouraging people


If you are constantly around people who criticise and drag you down, it can start to wear off on you. Try spending more time with encouraging people who lift you up, and believe in you.

Small steps: Do you have a supportive friend you haven’t seen in a while? Invite them out for a coffee and catch-up on everything you have both been up to.



Having a moment of doubt?


Have you tried our CoolHead stress relief spray?


Formulated with clinically researched herbs: Passionflower and Gotu Kola plus added New Zealand Mānuka Honey to keep you feeling:

    • Calm
    • Focused
    • and full of self-belief.


Perfect to have in your bag to help you face those scary moments.


Our mission at BraveFace is to empower people who want to be the best they can, with the tools they need to overcome unwanted feelings of stress and worry. We want to do this both through the products we create, and the information we share.


So if there are any topics you would like us to cover, send us a DM on Instagram and let us know.