In this post I’m going to show you EXACTLY how to let go of self-doubt.
In fact, this is the exact process that I’ve used to build my own confidence.
So if you want to let go of self-doubt, build your confidence and back yourself in any situation, then you’ll love this new blog post.
Let’s dive right in…
1) Observe your mind and know when to say stop
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, self-doubt bubbles up frequently.
And we all know that negative thoughts can spiral out of control quickly.
So before it goes down that path, you need to start observing your mind. When you recognize self-doubt, tell yourself “stop” to disrupt the thought pattern.
Doing this forces you to recognize when you’re thinking negatively. It forces you to become an observer of your mind.
For me, this was crucial.
Until I started becoming aware of what’s going on in my mind, I didn’t realize how totally unaware I was of the persuasive negative thoughts that were cycling around in my mind on automation.
So take the time to stop and observe what’s going on. Don’t get angry at yourself when you notice negative thoughts and you can’t change them. That will only make them stronger.
Instead, acknowledge them and focus your mind on the present moment.
Remember, the first step to changing these negative thought patterns is being aware of them.
Osho explains why watching your mind is so important to achieving clarity and bliss:
“He watches, he is clear.”
“The only thing that he has to learn is to be watchful. Watch! Watch every act you do. Watch every thought that passes in your mind. Watch every desire that takes possession of you. Watch even small gestures–walking,talking,eating,taking a bath. Go on watching everything. Let everything become an opportunity to watch.”
“And when you watch,a clarity arises. Why does clarity arise out of watchfulness? Because the more watchful you become the more all your hastiness slows down. You become more graceful. As you watch, your chattering mind chatters less, because the energy that was becoming chattering is truning and becoming watchfulness — it is the same energy! Now more and more energy will be transformed into watchfulness, and the mind will not get its noursihment. Thoughts will start becoming thinner, they will start losing weight. Slowly,slowly they will start dying. And as thoughts start dying, clarity arises. Now your mind becomes a mirror.”
“And when one is clear,one is blissful. Confusion is the root cause of misery; it is clarity that is the foundation of blissfulness.”
2) Remember, there is no right or wrong
Some people can lack so much self-confidence that they question the decision they’ve made weeks after they’ve made it.
I’ve been there and it isn’t a fun way to live life.
But I know, it’s not easy to get over. It’s like our minds are wired to worry.
But what you need to realize is that it’s impossible to understand if you’ve made the right decision or not.
There are so many variables and unforeseen circumstances. You can’t possibly figure out whether any decision is correct.
Yet, so many of us experience crippling anxiety over the process of making decisions.
We ask ourselves whether we’ve considered all of the available information.
But it’s literally impossible to consider everything as there is an infinite amount of information available.
The point is this:
If you have self confidence, you’ll get away with doing the wrong things, anyway.
According to Alan Watts in the brilliant video below, a great strategy to learn to back yourself is to regard yourself as a cloud in the flesh.
This is a metaphor that I consistently adopted in my day-to-day life until it became natural.
Because clouds never make mistakes. Have you ever seen an imperfect cloud?
If you treat yourself as a cloud, you’ll realize that you can’t make a mistake no matter what you do.
In this way, you can develop your self-confidence and your ability to trust your intuition.
Watch this Alan Watt’s video. It really is amazing advice (it only goes for 3 minutes).
3) Write down your thoughts or talk to someone about it
I’ll be honest, this is probably the most important strategy that changed my thinking.
Over the last year, I’ve wrote down my thoughts once a week on everything that has been going on in my life.
It’s helped me a great deal. I’m the kind of guy who finds it hard to express my emotions, so this was an excellent outlet.
It’s helped me clear my mind, understand my emotions and figure out what’s important in my life.
Because when we keep our thoughts inside, they end up becoming distorted and not in line with reality.
And you and I both know that negative thoughts can spiral out of control quickly.
So let them out. Try to understand them.
By expressing yourself to someone (or by writing it down) you’ll structure your thoughts and see them for what they really are.
You can start to see how exaggerated those thoughts have become.
In fact, this study in 2017 found that expressive writing helps reduce error-related negativity.
Clearing your mind of your worries will enable you to see reality for what it is, and help you understand that these thoughts of self-doubt haven’t really got a basis to stand on.
4) Don’t compare yourself to others
If you’re comparing yourself to others, it’s very easy for self-doubt to creep in.
This is particularly the case on social media.
On Facebook, you only see people’s highlight reels. After all, why would someone share anything negative about their life on Facebook?
This causes you to compare your normal life to other people’s highlight reels.
You know the best thing I did? Delete Facebook from my phone. It’s such a time suck. Pretty toxic, too.
Now I check it on my laptop every few days so I can keep up to date with anything important.
And anyway, it’s futile comparing yourself to others. We all have different circumstances in life.
When you think about it, it’s literally impossible to compare yourself fairly to others.
A better tactic is to compare yourself with yourself. Are you improving?
5) Start keeping a journal
I haven’t done this, but I’ve added it to this list for several reasons:
1) Just like above, It helps you express your thoughts. This will structure your thoughts and get them in line with reality. It will help you gain clarity.
2) You’ll keep an accurate record of what’s happening in your life. As we mentioned above, our mind can often spiral out of control and focus on the negative. But by keeping a journal, you’ll realize that there’s a lot in your life that you can be thankful for, and there’s a lot of things that you’re doing that you can be proud of.
3) When I’ve mentioned before that I write down my thoughts once a week, many people ask me how I go about it.
The truth is, I tend to just freestyle about my goals, the issues I’m facing and what’s important in life.
But I realize that this isn’t for everyone. So keeping a journal of day-to-day events makes it easy to figure out what to write about it. It will get you in the rhythm.
Check out Hack Spirit's eBook on How to Use Buddhist Teachings for a Mindful, Peaceful and Happy Life. You'll learn how to reduce stress, cultivate healthy relationships, handle people you don't like & understand your place in the world. Check it out here: https://t.co/9VNCGXqdIR pic.twitter.com/ktGWw0or63
— Lachlan Brown (@Lachybe) September 25, 2018
6) Remember, people don’t really care what you say or do
So many of us are concerned with how we’re appearing to others. It’s like we judge ourselves through their eyes.
I’ve been a lot like this and I’m guessing that you have been too.
But what we need to realize is that most people only care about themselves. They’re more worried about what’s happening in their own life. They’re not focusing on you and what you’re doing.
7) Don’t take things personally
It’s easy to doubt yourself when someone criticizes you or rejects you. I’m sure we’ve all been on a first-date that you thought went well but somehow it never led to a second date.
Or is that just me?
Anyway, then you start questioning yourself and what’s wrong with you.
But most of the time, it isn’t about you. It’s about them.
When someone lashes out at you, or rejects you, they might be having a bad day.
You have no idea what’s going on in their life. And the world doesn’t revolve around you.
So don’t jump to conclusions and doubt yourself. There’s more to life than your own small world.
8) Change your perspective to be more optimistic
Self-doubt is negative. So why not choose to be more optimistic?
I know, it’s easier said than done.
But if you recognize every time you have a negative thought and you consciously try to change it to be more positive, you’ll start to rewire your brain to naturally think more positive.
For example, instead of telling yourself that you suck when you don’t get a second-date with a pretty girl or guy, why not change that thought to something more realistic, like they just weren’t the right person for you at that time.
It’s little things like this that will slowly change your perspective from “my life sucks” to “my life is awesome!”
It takes effort to notice when you’re being overly negative, but it’s well worth it in the long run.
9) Remember, you’re not a failure just because you failed
When you experience a setback, it’s easy to get sucked into negativity.
“I’m hopeless. “I always fail”. “I’ll never try anything new again”.
You don’t need to think like this. Failure is a necessary stepping stone to success. Without failure, society wouldn’t have achieved anything.
It takes effort and grit, but it’s important to embrace failure and see it as an opportunity to learn.
I’ve done that with this website, Hack Spirit. It was a failure for a long time. It didn’t get any traffic. But I stuck at it and worked on different ways to reach a wider audience.
Now, Hack Spirit is currently sitting on over 500,000 readers a month.
Now most of the things I tried didn’t work. But I embraced failure and learned what worked and what didn’t. I didn’t tell myself that I suck and that I should stop trying.
I learned from my failure and in the long run, I’m now happy that I did.
10) Improve your skills.
Becoming good at something, even if it’s just a hobby, gives you an enormous amount of confidence.
So find something you like doing and practice it.
Maybe it’s tennis. Maybe it’s knitting. Whatever it is, work on it and have fun with it.
In no time, you’ll be competent in your new found skill. And as a result, self-confidence will flow your way.
A quick message from Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit
In 2018, the third year of Hack Spirit, I poured thousands of hours and considerable resources into creating these articles. It's a labor of love and remains free thanks to your patronage. If you found any value in these articles, please consider supporting what I do with a donation. Your support is what helps me to continue creating more Hack Spirit articles. To make a donation, select the amount and click the "donate" button below.