Second-guessing and doubting ourselves can be deadly. It kills our enthusiasm for embarking on a big project, getting involved in a new relationship, and the list goes on. I wrote about worry recently -- another habit that zaps our energy as well.
When doubting yourself rears its ugly head, here are ways to put down the monster.
Ask Yourself: Is This Really Justified?
Is what you are telling yourself true? For example, you may be thinking, "If I offer this idea and people align with it, I may not be able to carry it out." Or, "If I keep dating this attractive man/woman, they may get to know the 'real me' and I may do some 'dumb' things that will push them away."
More than likely what's underneath your mountain of doubts is fear. I love this: FEAR is "False Evidence Appearing Real." So whatever you are telling yourself is probably not true.
Draw Up an "I Do" List
Now is the time to counteract your negative mind-talk. It is important to acknowledge the many things we achieve. If we are not there for ourselves, who will be? Many of us were taught not to brag when we were younger, so claiming your achievements may feel uncomfortable. But it's perfectly fine to let people know what you've done and what you are excited about. What's most important is that you take it in as well. This "I do" list is strictly for you, describing what you did, whether you thought you could do it when you started, and how you felt after you accomplished a goal.
Act "As If" You Feel Confident
We all have days when we feel good about ourselves and days when we do not. I like to call the latter "hanging on" days. And what is effective during these times is to act "as if" you can accomplish whatever it is you're about to do. Say you are scheduled to present to a group of your colleagues or go out on a date with a new person, and you don't feel up to it. Share how you feel with a close friend, and then have a talk with yourself in the mirror. Look deep into your eyes and connect with the compassion that is there. Tell yourself, "I know how you feel, but you really can do it." And then take the right action.
Avoid Comparing Yourself to Other People
A sure way to feel bad about yourself is to measure your achievements with other people. If you compare, you will probably despair. If you must, compare yourself with yourself at a different time in your life. What are you willing to do now, that you would have not done early on? And in reflecting about your future, ask yourself, "What would I do, if I knew I couldn't fail?" There is more for you to accomplish. Get excited. No one knows how to do it perfectly, so join the club!
For more by Helene Lerner, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.