Do you doubt yourself?

Young woman looking thoughtful and doubtful
Photo: © ocusfocus / 123RF Stock Photo

Do you doubt yourself? I do, and I am not ashamed to admit it. I have come across several folks who never doubt themselves; not even for a moment. While I admire some for their self-confidence, there are others who come across as too self-assured and arrogant.

What about you?

  • Do you doubt yourself, in the sense that you are not too sure of whether what you think, speak and act is or isn’t good enough?
  • Do you keep quiet when you know that you must not, just because you are not too sure of yourself?
  • Do you wonder a lot about why and how others are so very talented and confident?

Are you alone battling with self-doubt?

If ‘yes’, then while we need to sit up and do something, we also can pat and comfort ourselves because we aren’t alone in this battle with doubt. Self-doubt has plagued the minds and persona of many a top-achiever, too. Many successful and famous personalities have spent sleepless nights fearful that they did not deserve all of what they have achieved and that it shall all be taken away.

American poet, Maya Angelou, once admitted: “I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.’”

The thought that they are not competent despite the success and fame, gives a lot of anxiety to many of those whom we admire in our lives. When taken too far, a mild and harmless feeling of self-doubt makes many people feel that all of their name and fame is a fraud. Known as Imposter Syndrome, these disturbing thoughts can rob us of all joys and contentment in life.

What causes self-doubt?

The causes behind these nagging feelings that I am no good, are largely owing to the atmosphere at home. We are certainly not born with these fears and it seems that much depends on how the initial raising of a child has been. Well, since that is not in anybody’s control, let us look at the causes which can be understood and dealt with:

Looking outside rather than inside: If there is a streak of comparison-with-others, inside us, we are likely to keep looking outside at what others have got, much more than we look inside at what we’ve got! This certainly aggravates self-doubt because there are many good and capable people out there. This constant comparison must stop! If our parents do it, it is bad as it is, but if we too do not quell this habit soon — it may overwhelm all our thoughts and make us afraid-to-act all the time.

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Dr Navniit Gandhi
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Dr Navniit Gandhi

Dr Navniit Gandhi is an academic, author, and a trainer/counsellor based in Kuwait. She has authored nine books and has written more than 300 feature articles till date, and is presently on the editorial board of The Teenager Today.