How to Deal with Self-Doubt

Everyone doubts themselves from time to time.

Maybe you wonder how someone will react to something you said, or a decision you made. Maybe you think no one will like your writing, and your novel will never, ever, in this lifetime, be published. Maybe you wonder if you have, in fact, screwed up your kids for life.

The truth is that sometimes, we all struggle to feel confident in the areas of our life that really matter. I do, and this can lead to worrying about things that haven’t even happened yet. Silly! Yet it happens.

Stopping the cycle of guilt

I know nothing good can come from doubting myself as a writer.

Instead, my focus should be on the journey of becoming a better writer, which is something I can work at everyday. The guilt and self-doubt will only crush my productivity. It will crush me.

I’m sure you have similar dreams that can bring you way up – or way down, depending on the day. Maybe you want to buy your dream house, or change careers, or have another baby.

Here’s what I do with negative thinking …

First, I recognize it.

Then, I give it a label: “This is negative thinking.”

That’s it. I label those self-doubting thoughts until I have no more interest in thinking them. Believe it or not, this method works for me, because who wants to dwell on negative thinking?! I know I don’t. Within a few seconds, I’m able to move on to better thoughts. I distract myself on purpose.

And then I can get to work.

* * *

This post is part of my simplicity series, where I respond to reader requests to help simplify an area of their life. This is my idea for a reader who wrote, “Feeling guilty for not being good enough.”

You know what to do with those thoughts …

Photo by Casey David

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.

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My Wish for You - Peace and Projects
December 13, 2013 at 9:37 am

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1 AmandaT July 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

I picture the negative thoughts as monkeys howling them in my mind. Sometimes this helps see the ridiculousness of them, or helps disconnect them from my current reality. Sometimes the noise of the howling monkeys in the trees can be tuned out for the nonsensical cacophony that it is.

2 Melissa July 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I’ll give this a try sometime. Thanks for commenting!

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