From Self Doubt to Self Assured
“You barely graduated from high school. What makes you think you will be successful in college?
“No one in our family has a college degree, and we are all doing pretty, OK. You have a good job. Why are you doing this?”
“Do you really think you can do this? You already dropped out once. Plus, now you have a child and a full- time job.”
Have you heard comments similar to these? Some are said with the intent to hurt. Some are said with the intent to protect. Regardless, the seed of self-doubt has been planted, the narrative is recorded, and we play it over and over in our heads. Eventually, we start believing it and adopting it as our truth. This self-doubt narrative is further cemented when we look around and start comparing ourselves.
“She completed her degree requirements in 2 years. There is no way I can do that.”
“He was able to do _____, but I am not able to go to the training because I don’t have ____.”
“Don’t compare someone else’s outsides based on your insides.” I am not sure where I first heard this statement, but it is so true! You are making assumptions based on your opinions, your feelings, and your experiences, not facts. You don’t know the full story, so when you compare yourself, it is like comparing apples to oranges. Social media like FaceBook and Instagram has taught us to showcase the best of ourselves. Very rarely do you see people who are willing to be transparent and share the process that happened behind the scenes to create the beautiful image or success story.
Moving from Self-Doubt to Self-Assured-Become the expert of your own life!
In order to erase the narrative that you heard either from your childhood or in your adult life, you have to regain control of your life by promoting yourself as the expert of your life. Who knows you better than you? While you can solicit and respect the opinions of others, remember it is just an opinion based on their perspective. Only you know the full story.
Change your language.
Notice when you use the word “should.” For example, “I should have completed my Master's degree by now.” Replace the word “should” with “shame.” “Shame on me for not completing my Master's degree by now.” When we use the word “should,” we are really just beating ourselves up with shame and guilt. This shame narrative not only are you feeding our self-doubt, but you are also beating yourself up with shame and guilt, which leads to you feeling stuck or hopeless.
How do YOU (not momma, daddy, cousin, auntie, peer, professor, etc.) define success? Often we are striving for goals that are not our own or even important to us. As such, we place expectations (spoken and unspoken) on ourselves, and it feels like a weight…because it is not the expectations that we want for ourselves.
Extend yourself grace
We have all made mistakes. We have all failed at something. That is not where the story has to end. See these as life lessons. What did you learn about yourself from that experience? Next, forgive yourself. My favorite Oprah quote - “Forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been any different, it's accepting the past for what it was, and using this moment and this time to help yourself move forward.” Moving forward, not getting stuck in self-pity is essential to erase self-doubt. Remember, progress, not perfection.
Doubting our skills and abilities is normal. We need to assess ourselves and determine where more attention is needed regularly. It is when we get stuck on focusing on these areas and not setting the intention or identifying plans on how to address these areas that fuel our self-doubt.
About Dr. Thommi
Leadership consultant, national board-certified counselor, and author of the newly released book Grace Space: Understanding and Implementing Work/Life Harmony, Thommi Odom Lawson, Ph.D. provides a solutions-based approach that uniquely addresses the overlap of career success, interpersonal relationships, and home life. While helping clients figure out strategies for enjoying work, dealing with difficult colleagues, or making better career choices, Thommi sometimes uncovers emotional issues that would sabotage success at a new position or company. She effectively employs techniques to deal with stress, anxiety, or depression to increase chances for success. Purchase the book at www.drthommi.com and schedule a virtual session with Dr. Thommi at www.connectgrowthrive.me.