Aug 8, 2014
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Doubting your own sense of worth, or your capability to achieve, can be the surest way to tunnel downwards into anxiety, inaction and gradually depression. It usually sneaks into your mind in the form of a squeaky, yet a manipulative voice that says, “What if …” This tiny voice, unless nipped in the bud, can turn into a persuasive, resonating assertion of your failure, or lack of talent and skill. At times, a little bit of apprehension might help keep your feet firmly on the ground and prepare better. But mostly, self-doubt shatters your self-esteem leaving you cranky, frustrated and unable to grab the right opportunities.
Say ‘No’ the first time
The first step to take is to firmly say no when these thoughts when they germinate in your mind. Channelize positivity and refuse to give in, to even a moment of musing about the possibility that you aren’t good enough. Even on a bad day, it might not be very difficult to shut down the voice of doubt and immerse in things that you enjoy, be it work, or a self-pampering stint at the salon. If pampering later leads to guilt, distract your mind with constructive hobbies or physical exercise.
Retrospect and derive confidence from the past
Ask yourself honestly about how many times you have had doubts and still emerged victorious. Retrospection will help confirm that the voice of doubt is merely a let out for fear and uncertainty. Reliving your past success will also help strengthen your faith in your abilities. If you are one of those unfortunate souls, prone to remembering the past with a tint of grey, keeping a realistic journal might help. Apart from an easy glance at the highs and lows that you have lived through before, it will provide a clear insight into your strengths and weaknesses. Only make sure that you choose to be the patient friend instead of the strict parent to yourself. Don’t get mad at yourself or angry at the restraining voice of doubt. It is only normal and all of us have experienced it at one time, or another.
Never bottle up negativity
Keeping negativity bottled up often aggravates it. Even if it seems embarrassing or difficult to talk about it initially, once you have steered into the topic and opened your heart out to the closest friend, you might actually realise exactly how common your predicament is.
Be wary of other People’s opinions
Further, people’s opinion of you matters only as much as you let them. Saying this doesn’t mean that you become a social recluse, avoiding human contact. But, what you have to essentially understand is that people around you are not that into what you say, or do at every moment. They have more pressing matters on their minds like their careers, their families or the next cricket match. The key here is to socialise at will, but not be conscious of the outside gaze, or be wary of judgement. There are some people, however, who have made judging others into favourite past times, but the less you see or think of them, the better off will you be.
Setback are a part and parcel of life, learn and move on
It is also essential that you know how to deal with setbacks. Failures and obstacles are temporary and do not necessarily set a pattern for your life. Failing once cannot mean that you will fail every time. What it actually means is that you have an understanding of the reasons which lead to it. This is an additional knowledge that could only spur you forward, towards transforming your flaws into strengths, and ensuring that you never repeat the mistakes that you once made.
Understand your weaknesses and work on them
Having tasted failure also means that you have a more acute understanding of your weaknesses and the added advantage of an opportunity to rectify it. Sharpen your skill sets which need honing. Practice the things that aggravate self-doubt and make you conscious, like a presentation in front of an audience. Try a mock presentation in front of the mirror, or a close friend to get rid of anxiety issues. Seek inspiration in books, or by listening to audio books or podcasts.
Rejoice at other people’s joy
Let other’s enthusiasm, motivation and positive energy wash over you. Maintaining a really healthy and positive mind can only ensure that you rejoice at other people’s joys instead of lamenting your lot. It is a practice and a habit that requires years to inculcate but is a never ending source of happiness and satiety. So, why not start today. Stop doubting and start pouting, maybe.
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