Why Self-Doubt Important – Can Self-Doubt Be Good?

Written by: Meenakshi Joshi – M. Sc (Applied Behavioural Analysis)
Last updated date : February 21, 2023

We all have done things that made us question ourselves. When we were not sure what we were doing. This feeling or this thought that “I am making a mistake” or “Am I doing the right things?” is what is called self-doubt. So, is this good or bad? Can there be healthy self-doubt? Why is self-doubt important? Can it benefit us in some way?

“Practical and insightful” David

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Chapter 1:

Why Do You Have Self-Doubt?

You have self-doubt because –
  1. You have low self-confidence
  2. your experiences as a child have not been positive
  3. you get repeated messages and feedback that you are not good enough
  4. it is your habit to overthink
  5. You are too critical of yourself
  6. Others have been putting you down.
  7. You are too dependent on someone
  8. Need constant approval from others

Chapter 2:

Can Doubting Yourself Be Good?

Yes, there can be good, i.e., healthy and bad, i.e., unhealthy self-doubt.
  1. You do not participate in any activities because you have low confidence. You feel scared to do anything new. Also, you avoid events and functions where you could be the centre of attention. You hate being the focus as you feel that you are not good enough.
  2. It makes you dependent on someone, especially your spouse. If you are in a toxic relationship with someone, then you become extremely dependent on that person. This makes you want to seek approval from your partner. You feel “safe” only with them around. You want them to be happy with you and hence when you make a mistake or do something against their wish, it makes you very restless. What will your partner do? Would he/she leave you? etc. These thoughts do not let you relax. Hence, you fear them and try not to do anything that will upset them.

Examples of Situations When It Is Good
On the other hand, there is healthy self-doubt as well. Some examples of this are
  1. You have a presentation to prepare. Your friends have planned a movie night but you need to spend time working on your presentation. If you are too confident about yourself, then you will not prepare and go out with your friends. However, when you have some healthy self-doubt, then you will not be over-confident about your abilities, and skills. You will not go to the movie night party and spend that time working on your presentation. Thanks to your feeling of doubt, you will work hard to do good and will be able to do your work better.
  2. When you have to say something, then you will think twice about what you are going to say if you have some doubt. You will not be boastful and too proud of yourself. This might come off as arrogance. But having that nudging feeling can make you re-think what you are going to say. This can avoid unnecessary complications.

Chapter 3:

Why Is Self-Doubt Important?

Although when you hear the word “doubt”, it can create a negative picture. It has a very bad feel to it. So, you might feel that doubt is always bad. But there are cases and situations when such doubt can be useful. It can be a way to make sure that you are doing the right thing.

Some reasons why self-doubt is important are –

It helps you to re-evaluate what you are doing. For example – when you have to decide things such as what career to choose, which job to take up, which city to move to, whom to date, etc., then having some feelings of doubts is a good thing. So, when you are planning to take up a new job and you have 3 to 4 offers, then it is good to not rush into things. You can make a list of the pros and cons of each job. List down all the things that you will need to do if you select a particular job. Evaluate each option in detail and then make a choice.

Work Harder
You do not want to fail or make a mistake and so you some more time and effort to prepare well. As you fear failure and you feel that you might not be able to do something well, it can motivate you to work harder. You will not take things lightly. Also, you will not be over-confident about your abilities.

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
It allows you to get out of your comfort zone. Think about it as a way for you to learn new things. When we have healthy self-doubt, we push ourselves to do better. You tend to go beyond what is easy for you. It allows you to push beyond your limits. For example, If you want to play and get selected for a team, then you will go over and beyond to work on your skills. You will practice harder, try to be more fit and so you will eat healthily.

Stay Humble
You will stay grounded and humble. When you have some doubt about how good you are, then it will help you to stay grounded. You will not become arrogant and too proud of yourself. These values are not good and useful as they make you blind to your flaws. You state feeling that you are great and you fail to admit your mistakes. Also, this makes you think that others are not as good as you. Such an attitude will not help you. It will affect your relationship with your friends and family. Even at work, you will not be able to make friends or work in a team. Such an attitude will ultimately reflect badly on you.

Ready to Learn
You will be ever ready to learn new things. As you feel that you can do better, you will always be aware and ready to take any learning opportunity that you get. For example, if I feel that I am a good cook but I still am not able to prepare certain dishes such as cakes, pastries, etc. So, when I get the chance to watch and learn from my friend who is an excellent baker, I will be ready and willing to learn. This way my skills will always be on the increasing trend.

To summarise, having some amount of healthy self-doubt can be good for us. It stops you from being over-confident and lets you learn and grow. So, it is important to have some feelings of doubt which lead to you pushing your boundaries and developing into a better person. Hence, do not worry too much if you have such feelings. Try to use them to make your life better.

If you are interested in learning more about how to make your life better, then do visit our “Courses” page. You will find some excellent courses that you can take up and work on yourself. Also, you can read more articles about self-doubt and other related topics on our “Learn” page

"Practical and insightful" David

70 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount