Rachel Brandwene, LCSW
When the Self Doubt Creeps in....Ways to Identify and Shift Negative Thinking Patterns
In a world where the competition is steep and everyone is coming out with new ideas and how to’s, it can feel intimidating to understand where you and your path fit into all of this. The self doubt creeps in and before you know it you’re stuck staring at a blank screen wondering where you went wrong. Whenever I hear the expression “find your inspiration again”, I often say to myself “well where did it go in the first place.” Maybe the tool isn’t to be looking, maybe the tool is to trust in something that is already there; within you. Feels similar to manifestation right? More on that later. So what can we do when we just don’t know where to start and are filled with self doubt. Here are some tips you can utilize when you notice you may be in need of some realignment.
Take a pause and uncover what your negative statements are
In times of self doubt it can feel natural to walk yourself down a rabbit hole and allow your thoughts to go deeper and deeper into a negative thought stream. How would it feel to slow down and perhaps even write down what they are. Are you afraid of failure? Are you worried about what others might think? Do you feel disconnected from self? Any of these can take you off your path and even worse cause you to engage in behaviors that keep you in a state of avoidance.
Examine the evidence
I know this part can feel a little repetitive as often this can feel like general feedback a therapist might give when you’re in the throes of a challenging thought or belief. But it really does work. Where did this thought come from and what makes it true. If we could just build awareness around these self-defeating thoughts, maybe we could allow space for us to really understand that just because you have the thought doesn’t make them facts.
Come from a place of love
I understand that we often have many thoughts that can be unsupportive and if we really take the time to observe them we can see that they are coming from a place of fear. It's ok to be scared, it’s ok to be uncertain; ultimately it’s absolutely ok to have doubts. What isn’t ok is to let your doubts get in the way of who you are in an unkind and unsupportive way. What would happen if you said things to yourself from a place of love? How would you treat yourself differently?
Move your body
When all else fails and ultimately you can’t get out of self doubt, move your body in a different way. Maybe it’s yoga, maybe it’s running, maybe it’s taking a walk outside, or maybe it's simply taking a pause and placing a hand on your heart as you take a deep breath. Whatever it may be, allowing yourself the space to connect with your body in a different way can help you to work on building trust and connection to yourself.
Manifest and make a List
Lastly once you’ve removed yourself from the crippling self doubt it’s time to hone in on what you really want. What is your vision, what is your goal, and what do you want the process to look like. Maybe you want to start your own business, maybe you want to go back to school, or maybe you want to set boundaries to create a work/life balance. Whatever it may be, writing a list of the steps involved can help give you a tangible sense of direction and what comes next. It can also serve as a grounding visual to help remind you of how far you’ve come. However you choose to set your goals, manifestation can serve as a powerful tool. Yes it is important to do the work and take small steps towards your larger vision. But it’s important to remind yourself that you can’t reach your goals if you don’t believe you can achieve them.
The takeaway: Your thoughts impact your actions and these actions can either cause you to self sabotage and take you farther away from the person you’d like to become or they can help you move towards the person you want to be. So next time you find yourself starting to plant the seeds of self doubt, I'd like you to try this approach instead. Please share in the comments below how self doubt has impacted your actions.