Root Cause of Self-Doubt - Why Do You Doubt Yourself?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M Sc

Last updated date : April 22, 2022

Table of Contents

Root Cause of Self-Doubt – Why Do You Doubt Yourself?

  1. Decoding Self-Doubt
  2. Root Cause of Self-Doubt
  3. Summary

Do you feel that you are not “good” enough? Does it bother you when things go wrong? Do you end up blaming yourself for all the things that have gone wrong? If yes, then you need to stop and take a minute to think about why does self-doubt happen. What makes you act or think in this manner? What is the root cause of your self-doubt?

Chapter 1:
Decoding Self-Doubt

You tend to blame yourself or question what you do. This is self-doubt. On the surface it might look like you have low confidence and that you are not sure about what you have done. Some things that show that you doubt yourself are

  • You keep on checking what you have done
  • You say something and then feel that you should not have said it because you may be wrong
  • It makes you feel “less”. For example, you believe that your peers are better than you.
  • When you do something and things do not work out, then you feel that all the blame lies with you.
  • It makes you question our judgment and decisions
  • You want approval from others. So, unless another person says that what you did is good or that you are “good”, you do not feel that way.

Why does such self-doubt happen? Is it because of your level of confidence? Are these feeling momentary? It might not be so simple. The root cause of self-doubt may be much deeper. For example, it might be your experiences in your childhood that have resulted in such feelings.


Chapter 2:
Root Cause of Self-Doubt

There might several reasons for such self-doubt. Some of the reasons might originate in a person’s young age. It could be a feeling that you have to keep with you since childhood. Other causes might be your life experiences. Here are a few explanations of what could be the root cause of your self-doubt.

1. Relationship with parents

A major reason why you might have self-doubt is the way your relationship was with your parents. So, growing up how your parents have treated you, what messages they give you, how you felt when you interacted with them, what was reinforced, etc. all these things will determine how you see yourself.

However, how you interpret things also makes a difference. For example, as a child, your father was very strict with you. He has high expectations and standards that you needed to follow. He would punish you for your mistakes. Tell you that you are good for nothing. Also, compare yourself to your peers and conclude that they are smarter than you.

This made you feel small and stupid. You felt that if your father sees you as a “useless” person, then it must be true. So, you started believing the same about yourself. Also, later on, your relationship with your father might have changed but those feelings lingered. As an adult, you still feel that you are not “good”. Others are better than you. The root cause of this self-doubt is how harshly your father treated you when you were a child and how you felt when he treated you that way.

2. Feedback from society 

Another reason why does self-doubt happen is the way you perceive your position in society. Here the root cause of your self-doubt is the messages and feedback you receive from your friends, peers, teachers, colleagues, neighbours, etc.

So, as you meet people in your life, your interactions with them and how they behave with you will decide how you feel about yourself. For example, in school or college, you are teased a lot. Your peers make fun of the way you look or talk. Later on in life, you feel that your co-workers are making fun of your looks behind your back. This pattern continues with everyone you meet. Sometimes, you might think people are making fun of you even though they aren’t. Because now you see the same pattern everywhere.

Just because the feedback you have received so far has been negative, you assume that this will be so always. Such feelings or thoughts can be very disturbing. Thus, your self-doubt starts. You start thinking that everyone will tease you and feel that you are not “good enough”. This can take hold of your mind and stay with you for a long time. Even when people praise you or say nice things about you, you would still feel that they are lying or just being nice. You will have a tough time trusting others and yourself to do anything well.

3. Toxic love and relationship 

Another big root cause of self-doubt is being in a toxic relationship. Falling in love is the best possible feeling in the world. It should be very special and most of the time it is, at least in the beginning. But this can turn sour and bad very soon. If you are in a toxic that does not let you breadth or be yourself, then you will feel suffocated.

Why self-doubt can happen in such a relationship is that it does not let you feel good about yourself. Constant fights and disagreements can be tough to manage. Also, when your partner repeatedly blames you for things going wrong in your relationship or their life, you might start to believe it. You might start doubting yourself.

Instead of the confidence that having a partner should give, such relationships make you anxious and frightful. You are always worrying about what your partner will think and do. For example, you may worry that if you do something and your partner does not like it, he will shout at you. He will fight with you and say things that can be demeaning and insulting. This fear of having another fight and your failed attempts of trying to prove that you are not wrong will eventually lead you to be too scared of doing anything wrong.

This fear or weariness can be the root cause of your self-doubt. It will shake your confidence. You might develop anxiety or depression. Also, your dependence on your partner for constant approval might increase.


Chapter 3:

Self-doubt can be tough to manage especially as the root cause of the self-doubt is deeply anchored in your mind. Try to find out why does self-doubt happen. You will have to dig deep and fix your thoughts and feelings about the cause of this and then you will be able to overcome your self-doubt. In case you are struggling with such an issue, do visit our “COURSES” page and you will find extremely helpful courses for you to take up. These will help you find a positive way to deal with your issues.