We don’t mean to.
In fact, in a string of self-doubtful years, my entire goal in life was to gain greater self-confidence. It turned out that many of my behaviors (that I thought might help) were chronically backfiring on me.
Your greatest tool is awareness of how self-doubt can work. Here are 5 behavior that nearly guarantee that self-doubt will rule your mind.
1. Quick Decisions about Important Things
Marriage, buying a house, making a career change….these are big decisions that help determine your quality of life. It’s amazing how quickly some of us make them.
Getting married after you’ve known someone for a few short weeks.
Buying a house after shopping around for a day.
Starting a business without taking the time to really assess the market and your own financials.
These are choices that foster self-doubt. Even when you’re lucky enough to have things go well under these circumstances, you may doubt yourself on principle. In other words, you know you made a hasty decision without considering many alternatives. Self-doubt takes over from there.
2. Depending on the Opinions of Others
So and so said this is right, so it must be right.
When you allow others determine what’s right for you, then you may never discover the relationship between your choices and your own inner values. You may never have the feeling that you are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing – for you.
Not making that connection between what is truly most important to you and your current behavior is a fertile breeding ground of self-doubt.
3. Refusing to Speak Up
In a similar vein, when you withhold your thoughts, feelings and opinions, you are sending a message to yourself and others and yourself – what I have to offer isn’t worthwhile.
You may not think it’s worth it to deal with confrontation, rejection or the hassle other people might give you. So, you withhold your opinions and just go along. The going along with the crowd mentality is antithetical to self-confidence.
Think of self-confidence as a muscle that is made stronger when you exercise it. Making your inner self known to others is a self-confidence workout. The more workouts you have, the stronger you become. The fewer workouts, the stronger your self-doubt becomes.
4. Overestimating Yourself
When I was in the habit of overestimating myself, I really believed I could do anything. And I was confused that I had so much anxiety and doubt in my psyche.
That’s what overestimating does. At some level you know you are lying to yourself (and perhaps others) when you claim to be able to do so much. This leaves a huge hole in your confidence.
Are you over promising, saying yes when you should say no, making agreements you shouldn’t be making and telling yourself that you can still pull it off? Maybe you can, but not without self-doubt as your constant companion.
5. Criticizing Others
When you’re annoyed at other people and criticize them for their faults, you leave the back door wide open for self-doubt to march in and steal your confidence. Why?
On two levels, you know, deep down, that you are a hypocrite:
You have faults of your own.
Often what you are annoyed at in others is the very issue you most need to work on yourself.
Self-doubt will make you defensive about this, of course, which only makes things worse.
The Trap of People Pleasing and Self-Doubt
When you attempt to please others at the expense of your own needs, capabilities and opinions, then something bizarre happens. Some part of you understands that you are NOT pleasing them for their sake. People pleasing is not altruism.
People pleasing is self-motivated. You don’t want to deal with them. You want them to like you. You want them to think a certain way about you. It’s not at all about what they need.
When you obsessively people please, some part of you knows you don’t really care about them as much as you’d like them to think. Therefore, you will never trust yourself as much as you’d like. At some level, you know you are being manipulative.
In so many ways, the behaviors that lead to self-doubt are just another form of self-sabotage. This isn’t bad news. When you understand self-sabotage, you are in a position to stop. Then, your self-confidence will grow naturally.
To learn more about self-sabotage, watch this free and enlightening video.
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