I Doubt Myself - How to Know When Self-Doubt Exists?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc
(Psychology)

Last updated date : April 20, 2022

Table of Contents

I Doubt Myself – How to Know When Self-Doubt Exists?

  1. What Is Self-Doubt?
  2. Where Can Self-Doubt Exist?
  3. Changes You See

  4. Summary

When you are not sure about what to do, it is called doubt. It is quite natural that we all tend to question ourselves from time to time. I doubt myself. I am not sure if I have done the right thing. It makes me upset to think that I might have made a mistake. When I am doubting myself, I am showing a vulnerable and insecure side of myself.

Chapter 1:
What Is Self-Doubt?

From time to time we all feel that we may be wrong or not “good enough”. You do something and want to do something but are not sure if you can. You tend to feel that you may not have the skills or qualities that are needed to do something or be something. This is self-doubt. I feel this feeling when –

  • I feel that I am not good enough. For example, there is a singing contest at your office or college and you feel that you cannot take part in it. You are a trained singer but you feel that you are not “as good as others”. You feel you are not at the “level” that is needed. So, you do not take part in the contest.
  • I have low self-confidence.
  • I feel scared and hence I hesitate to do anything. For example, I would not give my opinion because I feel scared to say anything in front of my parents or spouse. I feat they will take my opinion the wrong way and it might lead to fights and arguments.
  • Even when I do something, I tend to check and recheck it.
  • I regret when I say things and feel that should not have said them.
  • I need someone else to tell me that I am doing okay. For example, Only when my spouse “approves” of what I have done, do I feel relaxed. Otherwise, I feel that something is wrong or that I have made an error.
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Chapter 2:
Where Can Self-Doubt Exist?

You can have such feelings of inadequacy in any and every situation. This feeling is rooted in your brain. You may feel this in a variety of situations and different areas of yourself

Professional life 

You may feel that you are not a good employee. Any new assignment or responsibility might make you feel nervous. This is not the happy kind of nerves that others feel while starting something new. You feel scared and exposed. You want to hide rather than take up this new role. Also, you are a person who would double-check your work. You rarely speak up in team meetings. You prefer to follow. Being a leader or a boss is very scary for you.

Social life 

This tendency of doubting yourself extends to a person’s social life as well. You do not like to be the centre of attention. You want rather be a part of a big group and hide in the crowd. It makes you nervous when people ask you questions. You need validation from a loved one to feel that you are doing or saying the right things. For example, if your group is discussing how they liked a movie, then firstly, you will prefer to say quietly even if you have seen this movie. If asked, you will hesitate to say your opinion. And if you do say how you liked the movie or what was good about it, you will want your spouse or friends to quickly approve or agree with you. You will doubt yourself and not say want you feel.

Interpersonal relationships 

It can exist in your relationships with your friends and family members. How you act with them can show if you are doubting yourself. So, if you are unsure about yourself, you will have a kind of dependency on them. You might not have an “equal” relationship. It means that you do not see yourself as equal. You see your partner, family member, friend, etc. as someone who is better than you and that you have to seek their “okay”. Their approval makes you feel that you have done a decent job. This can ultimately strain your relationships. Not only will you become submissive and a secondary partner but also the relationship itself will be limited. The friendship or love that you seek for the other person cannot be gained from such a lopsided relationship.

Inside you 

Self-doubt does not only exists in your relationship with other but also within you. The origin of this self-doubt is in your mind. You are not sure about yourself and hence you ending doubting whatever you do, say think, feel, etc. This feeling can be very restricting and overpowering. It makes you tentative. You tend to give up on things easily as you feel that you will not be able to do them. It can make you suppress your feelings and opinions. You tend to keep them hidden within you as are scared to say them aloud. These suppressed feelings are not a good thing. They bother you and affect you knowingly or unknowingly. They may come out in the wrong way at the wrong time.

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Chapter 3:
Changes You See

Doubting yourself can change it. It can make you a different person than who you are or who you can be.

  • You might become a quieter person.
  • It makes you give up on things that you like. For example, you might give up on your hobbies because you doubt your abilities and talent.
  • Starting new things scare you. So, you do not wish to take up new things or learn new things.
  • You do not share your opinions.
  • You tend to be dependent on others.
  • It makes you hesitate to decide on your own.
  • In a panic situation, you won’t be able to do anything. You may freeze due to fear. You will not be able to help yourself or anyone else to deal with a panic situation.
  • It may isolate you. You want to stay alone. Away from the critical and judging eyes of the world.
  • Emotionally, you go through a lot. Your emotions and feelings are all focused on this fear. You may feel stressed and under a lot of pressure because of this self-doubt.
  • Your mind and thoughts go to self-preservation first. In most cases, you think about how to avoid confrontation or how to please someone so that they do not leave you. This will affect your mental health as the pressure to please someone can be very heavy.
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Chapter 4:
Summary

In summary, self-doubt can harm you because it can take the way you think and what you do. It affects all aspects of your life and hurts your relationships with your loved ones. It changes you as a person and these changes negatively affect your life. So, you need to stop doubting yourself and develop your self-esteem. If you need help and are interested to learn more about how you can empower yourself, then please visit our courses pages. You will find a lot of interesting and useful courses that you can take up.