Self-doubt eats away at your self-esteem and the very core of who you are. A little self-doubt is normal (and even healthy)! It prevents us from crossing the fine line between confidence into obnoxious arrogance. Too much self-doubt, though, can derail your life's trajectory and even create a domino effect of perpetual indecision and self-sabotage. So, if doubt is screaming in your ear, here's how you can silence it ...
7 Strategies for Quieting Your Inner Critic
Doubt your doubts.
When your doubts spin out of control from a quiet whisper into a constant stream of disparaging statements about yourself, don't listen! Your doubts are not the truth. They are the stories we tell ourselves about who we are that are fueled by fear. Stop saying,
"What if I'm not good enough?" Instead, ask yourself, "What if I am?" The truth is, you are stronger, smarter, and more significant than you think you are! When doubt creeps in, flip it on its head. The only thing you should doubt is doubt!
Make your mission bigger than your fear.
Courage follows purpose. When you are clear on your "why," it becomes easier to tackle challenging goals and reach-for-the-stars dreams. If what you want to accomplish matters to you, don't let the risk of failure hamper you. Consider, what are you willing to be brave for? Then, take action! Self-doubt is the monster that wants to keep you in your comfort zone. Don't let it.
Stop falling into the comparison trap.
As humans, we are highly social creatures. This makes comparison at some point in our lives inevitable. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to compare. When you compare yourself to others, the standard is always impossible to meet. Everyone else always seems to shine a little bit brighter ... their success appears more triumphant ... their path easier ... So, what should you do instead? Compare yourself ... to ... yourself! This allows you to see how far you have come and how much you have overcome. Sure, you may cringe when you remember your past performance at that internship in college, but your current challenges will seem small by comparison when you realize how much progress you have made since then.
Be your own advocate.
When your inner critic is quick to ridicule, judge, or scorn you, leap to your own defense! How? By being kind to yourself. We all make mistakes. None of us are immune from error ... So, you put sugar in the salt shaker or committed an embarrassing gaffe at work when you mispronounced your co-worker's name. Big deal. Apologize sincerely and move on. Everyone else has. It's time for you, too! Believe in yourself. Speak out about what matters to you. Practice self-compassion. Ask for what you need, and be honest about what you want. Expand your personal power by advocating for your own success in life. It's never too late to become your own best friend.
Celebrate your accomplishments.
You set a goal. You smashed it. Congrats! You set a new goal and crushed that one, too! What now? You set a different goal. The cycle is never-ending. It's time to celebrate those wins, no matter how big or small. You started a podcast. You gained 10 listeners. Treat yourself to dinner. Why? Because 10 is bigger than 9. You successfully potty-trained your toddler. Pamper yourself. Why? Because every success in life is worth recognizing. When you celebrate your accomplishments, you are celebrating yourself. If you stop seeing your successes, you will start to disregard and undervalue them. Never forget ... There is someone out there praying for the very situation you might be taking for granted. So, escape the busyness of life and be sure to occasionally enjoy how far you've come. Applaud yourself for a job well done. Acknowledgement is a form of self-care.
Remember the past, but don't build a monument to it.
We are our harshest critics. We spend so much time thinking about what WAS and harping on what COULD be. However, focusing on the past means you are not living in the present. When you are not present-centered, it causes mental paralysis. Honor the memory, acknowledge the experience, learn from the past, but don't build a monument to it! Doing so will only imprison you there and prevent you from building a happier future. While it is helpful to remember previous accomplishments to motivate you to try new things and gain fresh perspective, spending too much time looking backward will cause you to crash. So, stop looking in the rear view mirror of life and focus on what lies ahead. Your past is not an indicator of your future success. Use your mistakes as a tool to grow into a better version of yourself, but forget the judgment and resentment that might be linked with it.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
We all need positive social interaction and affirmation from time to time. Ask yourself, "Who are the people in my life who really love me, support me, and believe in me?” Make a conscious effort to spend more time around them. Life is too short to do otherwise! They can remind you of how talented and resilient you are during times when you’re not feeling that way about yourself.