Has this ever happened to you before? Someone looks at your work, performance or outlook and compliment it. “Wow, you look beautiful…” “You’re a pretty-good singer,” or you can do this; you can do that. But, every time that happens, you feel rather uncomfortable with the comments. To you, these aren’t true at all, instead, you rather feel they are indirectly making jest of your inability—because something inside already says the opposite—you are not good enough.
I’ve been a victim countless times. One or two friends, after they overheard me sing at leisure, said, “wow, Faith, you have a nice voice.” But, I found it hard to believe, and, at every point I feel uncomfortable with the compliments because deep within, I’m convinced I can’t. There’s always something in us that tells us “you aren’t good enough” amidst every external compliment.
Self-doubt is that tiny, lousy voice in our head that discourages us from taking a giant stride. It pops up whenever opportunity comes our way, reminds us of our disabilities, past or possible failures and the likeliness of failing again and how the world will laugh at us when we fail. In the process, fear grips our nerves; pins us down the earth until that opportunity slips off your hand.
A lot of us have, helplessly, watched opportunities pass us by due to continuous self-doubt. So what would you do? Allow more opportunities elude you, all in the name of an ugly creature called doubt?
Come on friend, I feel it’s time to say “No!”—No to self-doubt and “Yes” to confidence, boldness, and power. So, how can you overcome self-doubt?
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
In one of his famous speeches, America’s great motivational speaker and author, Leslie Brown says something. He said, “You can learn all the techniques in the world, if you don’t believe in yourself, you will never make it.” You’ve got to believe in yourself not in what people say about you. Sometimes, we doubt ourselves because someone had condemned us in the past. I doubt my ability to sing because one of my tutors in children’s church, then, had told me that I can’t sing. When you believe in yourself, it is impossible to base your life on what anybody says. Self-belief destroys doubt.
How do you believe in yourself?
To believe in yourself, you have to understand who you are; understand your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Discover you potentials and flaws—this is essential; to be a successful woman, you must go out of your way to realize your greatest abilities and disabilities. What are your best and worst attributes? Discovering who you are gives you ability to believe in you.
DO WHAT YOU FEAR MOST
Your greatest enemy is fear, and fear is the offspring of doubt. If you give in to fear, it will destroy you. So, what do you do? Face it! And the best way to face fear is by doing those things you fear the most. If you fear taking a test, force yourself to take it. If you’re scared of seeing snakes, gather pictures of snakes and relish them. If you’re scared of height, take yourself up a cliff and relish the experience. You don’t feel comfortable in the crowd, force your way into the crowd. In fact, be the centre of attraction—let all eyes be on you. Whatever it is you fear, just, do it. Having been through with fears, I’ve realized that fear is just a mere illusion; it does not exist. Robert Kiyosaki, author of the selling book Rich Dad; Poor Dad, tells us the benefit of facing ones fear. He simply put it: “face your fears and doubts, and new worlds will open to you.”
MASTER YOUR THOUGHT
Out of every hour, spend at least 5 minutes on what I call “the mind check-up.” Stop and reflect on the activities in your mind; what thoughts are going on right there? Are they positive or negative, empowering or disputing? Accommodate the positive and shut the negative. Sometimes, when I’m fed up of negative thoughts, I just get angry and tell myself to “shut-up!” Learn to shut up negative thoughts; if you don’t, they will crush you.
TALK TO A TRUSTED PERSON
Communicating our fear can overcome self-doubt. When we tell friends or trusted persons about what we think about our own abilities, it reduces the fear and boosts the courage to face it. Sometimes, when we open up to people, they give us the greatest push needed to subdue doubt and fear. So, don’t keep to yourself; open up to people.
If you give in to self-doubt, it will crush you and grab all opportunities from you. So, to overcome self-doubt, discover and believe in yourself, not what people say about you. Do what you fear the most. Spend, at least 5 minutes in every hour to reflect on your thoughts. Also, be free to communicate your fears to trusted friends, mentors or relatives. Doubt terminates a glorious destiny; don’t give it a chance.
By Beatrice Mokwunye