If you experience yourself as a self-doubter you’ll feel unsure of yourself and you’ll spend too much of your time trying to make up your mind about both big and small matters. You’ll tend to second-guess yourself, hesitate, wor­ry, and feel miserable. Your judgments, decisions, and coping abilities will reflect that negative mindset. You will probably put yourself down for missing out on so many of the good things in life. You deserve better.

You can do better. Even small positive changes can boost your sense of competency and feel encouraging. It is possible that when you experience natural, emotionally pleasing feelings, it's easier to make those small changes. Let's see how this might be done.

We’ll start with two techniques for getting out of the self-doubt\self-downing trap that can present you with a paradox. Next, you’ll find an important  link to a free, five-minute, visual program designed to bring about a pleasant feeling. While you watch the visuals, you'll hear me talk to you about overcoming self-doubts.

Two Paths to Emotional Freedom

First, don’t blame yourself for your self-doubts. It’s not your fault. Millions of others do the same. This tells you that a tendency to self-doubt is part of the human condition of a very large group of people.

While it is not your fault that you have a tendency to doubt yourself, if you want to stop feeling so unhappy, it is your responsibility to do better to overcome your doubts.

The second step involves making a radical shift in the way you think about making decisions and taking risks. The way you do this is to test new ways of  being yourself.

You can’t change your height, your age, or what you thought about yourself when you were six-years old. You can make the decision to change beliefs that hold you back, such as I must only make perfect decisions. (Good luck on that!) You can decide to change behaviors that glue you to your doubts.

Look at decisions as experiments. When you experiment with making reasonable decisions, you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to do to make adjustments. This is a no-failure approach to self-development. You are not judging yourself. You are judging the results of your experiments.

What are these experiments like? They are what most non-self-doubters would do without hesitating. They are stepping stone experiments to discover more about what you can do. They are confidence boosters.  Here are a few examples:

1. If you avoid displaying artwork that you’ve created,  what do you predict would happen if you displayed it so others can see it? Experiment and see what happens.

2. If you wear drab cloths, what do you predict would happen if you wear something more colorful? Experiment and see what happens. 

3. If you want to learn more about the history of the world—or explore another academic interest--what do you predict would happen if you took a college course in a subject that interests you? Experiment and see what happens.

4. When you have the opportunity to stand up for your rights, calmly do so. For example, if your meal is not what you ordered at a restaurant, rather than accept it with a nervous smile, what would happen if you asked for what you ordered? Experiment and see what happens.

Examine the results. What did you learn, or have reinforced?

By doing one no-failure experiment a day, you may discover that you can cope and that you can build self-confidence. By daily doing self-help experiments, you may find yourself procrastinating less in areas of your life that really matter. Can you see how this might be?

The Self-Doubt Paradox

Swamped in self-doubts, you’ll think more and more about what you believe you can’t do and why you can’t cope with this or with that. You'll learn more and more about what you don’t like about yourself until you learn a lot about very little. Yet, you'll think that you know yourself. 

Your daily no-failure experiments present you with a paradox. You’ll learn more and more about what you can do, what doesn’t work for you, where you can truly trust your judgments, and where you can’t. Instead of mulling over what you can’t do, you’ll learn more about what you can do. By daily doing no failure experiments, you’ll learn a lot more about your true self.

The Flower (c) Published with permission of Dale Jarvis, AreaOne Art and Design, Fayette NC
Source: The Flower (c) Published with permission of Dale Jarvis, AreaOne Art and Design, Fayette NC

If you want to get onto a path where you feel competent and capable, here is an experiment for you to try. Click on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoyPEcjYaL8 

for a free, five-minute, audio-visual program that photographer, Dale Jarvis, and I, created for you.  See if you feel emotionally uplifted by the visuals.  If so, do you think better of yourself? Do you feel more inclined to act with confidence? Do you act on that feeling? (High quality speakers and a high definition screen are best.)

Click on The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety (Second Edition) for techniques to quell the pangs of self-doubts that evoke anxieties. 

To dig deeper into how to overcome self-doubts, click on the blog Freedom From Self-Doubts, Anxiety, And Procrastination

© Dr. Bill Knaus

2015

All rights reserved

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