be nice to yourself

How to Slay Self-Doubt

Nearly everyone I know faces self-doubt now and again.  It's normal for even the most confident folks to have a doubt attack here or there.   But just because it's normal doesn't mean it feels good.  

Self-doubt often sucks the power right out of us.  When we're are plagued by annoying, nagging voices inside our heads who tell us we aren’t capable of or worthy enough to do the things we want to do it's pretty hard to find the courage to do it.

So how do we get over our self-doubt and claim the life we’ve always dreamed of?

We should first recognize that self-doubt is usually about fear and fear is a survival mechanism, not a character flaw.

Most anxiety and belief systems are an adaptation to stressful or traumatic situations we learned earlier in life. So we just need to upgrade our fear-survival systems. Here's how.

1. Redefine fear as positive.

Courage does not mean the absence of fear. Courage means being afraid, but doing it anyway. Fear is a core emotion that gives life much of its color. If we had no fear, there would be no potential for growth.

Start viewing fear as a opportunity to learn, grow, or change instead of focusing on the possible negative outcomes.

2. Remember that real fear has a purpose.

Ninety-nine percent of the time the fear you’re feeling is not based on any immediate physical danger. Knowing this we can face it more fully to interact with it- instead of running from it.

When you're feeling afraid you should consider the likelihood of your worst fear coming true. Most of the time, you'll see that it's unlikely ever to happen.

Instead of ruminating about the worst case scenario you can start to ask your fear what it wants to teach you.  Understanding it's purpose can help you take action- instead of being paralyzed by it.

3. Face fears gradually and gently.

Instead of trying to respond to the large scale worries break down insurmountable fears so they become manageable. Use baby steps and follow a schedule that isn’t overwhelming.

For example, if you're worried your partner will leave you for someone funnier, smarter, or more charismatic this could mean you want to invest in growth in one of these areas so you feel more confident.  Or it could mean you want to ask for some reassurance from a partner about your sense of humor, smarts, or character.  

Being able to take small action steps can make overcoming fear much more manageable.

4. Become friends with failure.

Mistakes are necessary for learning and growth.  We can't innovate, change, or improve ourselves without mistakes- but most of us let mistakes define us.  

The more you can create compassionate space for mistakes the less present your self-doubt will be in the process. 

5. Celebrate everyday accomplishments

Sometimes self-doubt visits because we're too busy overlooking our many other accomplishments.  Start keeping track of your many daily, weekly, and monthly accomplishments and really allow yourself to savor them.  

Over time self-doubt will lose strength in comparison to this self-compassion practice.


relationship coach | couples coach | Couples retreats | happy relationships | positive psychology

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.