Self-doubt seems to come with being human, as if it is in our DNA. While we may remain confident on the outside, inside we are constantly battling these incessant negative thoughts telling us we aren’t smart enough, attractive enough, funny enough, and on and on. These thoughts creep into our decision making, preventing us from taking risks, going after our dreams, and living more authentic lives.
It takes work to quiet our negative self-talk, but it is possible. Read on for three steps to move your inner dialogue from, “I can’t” to “I can”.
1. Be Aware of Your Thoughts.
Often, self-doubt sneaks in and we aren’t even aware of the ways in which it is preventing us from living the lives we are meant to live. Disguised as logic, it convinces us to stay where we are. Before we know it, we’ve talked our self out of applying for that job, taking on that challenge, or asking that person out without ever questioning the truth in our supposed logic. It’s like a cruel puppet master that always has us sitting on the sidelines. This is why it’s important to become more aware of your thoughts and be more intentional with your decisions. Really think them through, then identify the driving forces behind them. Leaving your mind unchecked allows it to venture off into the land of limiting beliefs.
We must first recognize when we are doubting ourselves in order to change it.
Take a mental step back and begin to observe the thoughts pulling the strings of your decisions.
2. Question Their Truth.
When you notice yourself holding back from saying what you really want to say or do, dig into that to find out what is really going on. What exactly are you afraid will happen? And then ask yourself one especially important question, Is it true? Do you know that what you are afraid of happening will happen? No. There is no way to know for certain what the future holds. As Pico Iyer said, “’What if?’ points in both directions”. Our brains have a negativity bias, so we tend to assume the negative direction even while the positive is equally likely.
Yes, what if you apply for your dream job and you don’t get it? But what if you do?
We can’t trust every thought we have, especially ones about the future.
When you find a thought riddled in doubt, don’t merely take it at face value. Examine it. Question it. Poke holes in it. If its logic doesn’t really hold up, it should be discarded instead of believed.
3. Develop Self-Love.
We only let self-doubt into our lives because we think it’s actually true. It is nothing more than a hidden belief we have about ourselves. Think about it, if someone told you that you couldn’t walk, you wouldn’t believe them. You’d stand up and take off. But if someone told you that you couldn’t fly, you’d agree. You wouldn’t go jump off a cliff to prove them wrong. We act (and don’t act) based on what we actually believe. And here’s the good news – we get to choose our beliefs.
So just as you believe you aren’t capable of something, you can believe that you are. This is where self-love comes in.
Rather than look at all the supposed evidence and logic that support your limiting beliefs, find and develop evidence and logic that support your true unlimited nature.
The limits on your life are all set by you and carried out by you with every thought and every decision. When you develop a solid foundation of self-love and acceptance, you begin to see and believe in your true potential, and your thoughts and decisions will reflect that. As Wayne Dyer said, “Change your thoughts, change your life”.