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Three Causes of Self-Doubt and How to Treat It

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Self-doubt can be a part of any endeavor, whether it’s a new hobby or starting a job. How can I get better at this? They will like me? Is it my best decision?

Self-doubt may be mild or severe depending on how deep it is. It can also be an annoying condition that can be easily managed with well-formed affirmations and keen visualization. Understanding where self-doubt comes from is the first step in overcoming it. This is difficult because there is no single answer. Your circumstances that make you question your worth and abilities might be different from those that affect your best friend, sibling, or partner. Here are some common reasons and tips to help you deal with them.

It comes from your childhood

Like many other things, the proclivity for doubting ourselves often develops in childhood. It doesn’t matter if your parents were unrealistic, disappointed often, or did not allow you to do enough for yourself (“the helicopter parent”), the ideas we have about ourselves as children can make it difficult to change them in adulthood. If they are not treated, they can grow and choke our belief in our potential for success.

Advice: There are many ways to overcome negative thought patterns and behavior that you have inherited from your childhood. You can start by going to therapy, reading books or taking a psychology class.

Others-centered personality

People with others-centered personality can have trouble trusting and creating trust in themselves. It is beautiful to be others-focused. And it is so important in today’s world. But it can be dangerous if we forget to consider our own needs and goals. Two reasons why this is true:

  1. You must give your attention to something if you want to improve at it, in this instance being self-assured. Focusing on other people or things is distracting and can lead to self-deprecating behavior.
  2. Focusing too much (or only) on the well-being and happiness of others can lead to attachment to their happiness. Complex relationships exist between humans and their relations. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. What happens to those who are unhappy if they feel their best when we take care of them? We feel like failure and doubt our worth.

Advice: Don’t let your good nature go to the wind. Balance is the key. Although it may seem strange to focus on yourself, take baby steps. They add up over time. Here are some ideas:

  • Make it part of your morning routine and write down three things that you need to be happy each day.
  • Do something new just for yourself.
  • Do not think about what others might think. Have you always wanted to learn ballet? Do it. Have you ever painted before? This is the right time to start painting! Consider times when you have felt influenced by the opinions of others. What was the problem? Do your research. You should research sources that offer conflicting views on the same topic.
  • Write down your feelings about each viewpoint and forget any preconceived ideas. Which one comes out on top? What are your thoughts? You can help others by putting more effort into your personal foundation.

Don’t be always “right”

We are constantly presented with many opinions on what is “right.” These opinions can include what it means to be successful, good friends, or a perfect couple. When we feel that we aren’t meeting those expectations, we start to doubt our abilities to do so. While we all know comparisons can be a quick way to lower confidence, it doesn’t mean they aren’t easy to focus on.


  • Be aware of the difference between a goal or an unhealthy comparison. Look at the life of someone else and ask yourself if it is something you would be willing to work for. Are you willing to work for what they have, or are you just looking to get it because that is what you were meant to desire? You can reverse-engineer their situation if you feel you would be happy there. What are your resources and life circumstances? How can you make it work for yourself?
  • Avoid expectation like your life depends on it. Expectations that are too specific can lead to disappointment. If these expectations are tied to our identity or what we should have, disappointment can lead to self-doubt. You can try to be open-minded and accept everything. Do not focus on the outcome. Instead, see every moment as an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and to determine what you need in the short- and long-term to make your life happy.
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