Self-doubt is one of the major hurdles in our lives, which truly stops us from reaching our full potential and achieving what we want. We may jokingly talk about those “voices in our heads”, but they are real. When we psych ourselves up before an important presentation, that’s a voice in our head egging us on. When we feel low and think that we can’t do anything right, that’s also a voice in our head.
When you are plagued with self-doubt, you may unwittingly be listening to a myriad of voices telling you negative things. Don’t.
But how do you know if you’re only experiencing a bout of negative thinking? After all, we all have those moments. It only becomes a problem when doubting yourself becomes a habit, a part of your lifestyle.
Answer the following questions to find out if you are being plagued by self-doubt.
How do you deal with compliments?
When someone says you look nice or that you did a good job, what’s the first thing that you feel? What do you say?
There is this thing called Impostor Syndrome, which is characterized by the inability to take credit for achievements because of the fear of being narcissistic. People who have this syndrome also feel like they’re a fraud and do not really deserve credit.
If you can’t handle compliments, and you feel that you do not deserve them (even if the opposite is true), then you have a problem with self-doubt.
How difficult/easy is it for you to make decisions?
Your friends ask you out for dinner on the spot. Do you say yes or no immediately, or do you painstakingly go over the choices – all two of them – and keep vacillating till everyone gets tired of waiting?
You have vacation time. You have various options – all of them appeal to you. How long does it take you to decide?
Do you weigh your options and then make your decision, or do you keep second guessing yourself? Maybe this choice is better. Oh, wait. Maybe I should choose this one because I’ll save money. Nah, I go for the other one because it’s something I haven’t done before. But what if something goes wrong?
You see where I’m going here. If you have a tough time making decisions, then you have some sorting out to do. (I am guilty of this, to be honest.)
Have you found yourself feeling the need to name-drop or brag in a similar manner?
You may think that people who do this are simply jerks, but the truth is that they may be feeling self-doubt. They don’t feel confident so they have the need to compensate by dropping names or bragging about something (which may or may not be true).
Do you often feel misunderstood?
Do you often think that people just don’t get you and that they misunderstand you? This may be true in some cases, but if feeling misunderstood is the default scenario in your head, then you may be suffering from self-doubt without realizing it.
Have you been “accused” of being defensive?
Think about occasions when friends or colleagues bring up something that you did and your response led them to say that you were being defensive. Was your response appropriate or were you really feeling defensive? Think about various times like these, and if there is a pattern, then you may be suffering from self-doubt.
These questionzs can help you understand if self-doubt is getting in your way. In my next post, let’s look at ways to deal with self-doubt.