“Is this a bad idea?”
“Am I capable of doing this?”
“Have I made the wrong choice?”
Sneaky little self-doubts can creep into our daily lives in all sorts of ways. When they do, they leave us worrying about certain situations and decisions.
So how can we quash them?
It requires plenty of mental strength and a few helpful hacks, but it is possible to rise above our hesitancy.
Here are 8 things mentally strong women do to help overcome self-doubt.
1) They feel the fear and do it anyway
There is a famous self-help book written in the 1980s by psychologist Susan Jeffers entitled ‘Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway’.
In it, she highlights that taking action is key to quelling our doubts.
“Every time you encounter something that forces you to “handle it,” your self-esteem is raised considerably. You learn to trust that you will survive, no matter what happens. And in this way your fears are diminished immeasurably.”
The point is that when we refuse to make a decision and take action, we’ll always be left wondering.
But we cannot wait until we feel comfortable to act. We must act in spite of our fear in order to move past it.
Despite what people might think, mentally strong women haven’t managed to ditch their fear.
They just don’t let it stop them from taking all important action.
This is real bravery, and it’s also how we build resilience.
We don’t have to feel 100% sure in order to press ahead. We must accept that fear is a part of life.
2) They let it all out
There is a sense of relief that comes from voicing our negative thoughts and emotions.
Rather than keeping them locked inside, when we let our fears see the light of day, they tend to diminish.
Concerns that we keep to ourselves fester and become insidious.
That’s why finding healthy ways to understand, process, and manage our feelings is vital.
Things that can help us to do this include:
- Journaling to express and analyze your thoughts and feelings
- Naming your emotions (research found that pinpointing what you feel helps to instantly diminish it’s hold over you)
- Finding physical outlets for stress, like exercise, stretching, and mindful movement
- Sharing how you feel with others
3) They seek support
We weren’t mean to go it alone.
They say that a problem shared is a problem halved, and for good reason.
That’s why the connections we cultivate in life can play a key role in our mental health.
Strong women surround themselves with supportive people.
They turn to them when self-doubt hits for the reassurance they need.
These people can offer validation as well as comfort. They can be the voice of reason that helps us to remember our best qualities.
They can bring us the positivity and hope that we may not always find in ourselves when we’re having a difficult day.
It doesn’t make us weak to lean on others, we’re stronger together — mentally strong women know this.
4) They show themselves kindness
Self-compassion is crucial if we want to overcome self-doubt.
Because tough love has its limits. And the real truth is that beating yourself up over all your perceived mistakes and weaknesses will only keep you stuck.
Is it any wonder you second-guess yourself if you are always chastising yourself?
That sort of negative thinking paralyzes you.
Strong women encourage themselves. They feed their mind with positive thoughts and affirmations.
They consciously say to themselves “You got this”.
That often means becoming more aware of that inner critic who always strives to knock you down.
5) They keep their inner critic in check
We all have an inner critic, but we may have lived with it so long that we don’t even notice it anymore.
It’s that voice in the back of your head that calls you an idiot when you get something wrong.
It’s the one that warns you that everyone is judging you or that suggests you keep schtum so that you don’t put your foot in it.
It wants to keep you safe, but it has a strange way of going about it.
It chips away at you to encourage you to stay small. In the process, it strips your self-esteem and self-belief.
Strong women are vigilant for this voice. When they recognize it, they actively question it.
Rather than take everything it tells them as fact, they dig deeper. They find reasons why what it says is a lie.
Simply becoming more aware of this negative voice stops it from silently pulling our strings behind the scenes.
6) They remember their achievements
Sadly, we’re hardwired for negativity.
We can quickly jump to the worst conclusions and forget all the positives.
That’s why if we are to overcome self-doubt we must remind ourselves of what has gone right.
Looking back on your accomplishments, both big and small, is a great way to do this.
It builds self-confidence and self-esteem when we think back to our successes in life.
We can turn this into a daily practice by asking ourselves each night before we go to sleep:
“What were my wins today?”
The key is to have reasonable expectations and allow yourself to bask in the warmth of a job well done, no matter how small the task.
7) They focus on their own path and nobody else’s
One of the quickest ways to welcome doubt into your life is by taking a look around at what everyone else is up to.
When we compare ourselves, we’re always being unfair to ourselves.
Because at the end of the day, we are unique.
Everything from our biology to our skills and our experiences in life means that the journey we are on is individual to us.
Other people may hit milestones at different times, so we cannot ever directly compare.
Besides, you never know the truth of someone else’s life from the outside looking in.
Ultimately it is a waste of time and energy focusing on anyone else’s path but your own.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s wise to limit the temptation to do so, which takes some self-discipline.
This leads me nicely to our next point…
8) They are mindful of their social media use
Social media provides a window into everyone else’s world.
But as we’ve just seen, the tendency to focus on what others are doing more than your own life only leads to greater self-doubt.
Social media is a tool that can help us to connect but it can also do the opposite if we don’t keep it in check.
It can leave us feeling isolated and as though everyone else is living their #bestlife other than us.
It’s unsurprising that this skewed view of life with filters leads us to question whether we measure up.
There are plenty of ways to control social media use, but perhaps the simplest is to ask yourself:
How is it making me feel?
If it leaves you with regret or makes you feel bad after you’ve used it, it’s time to step away for a while.
9) They return to their core values
Our core values are simply the things that matter most to us and how we define a meaningful life.
They guide us in our decision making and they often dictate how we behave, helping us to choose what is right or wrong for us.
That’s why knowing your values acts like a compass to better navigate through life.
To truly discover our values, we have to think about what motivates us, what we want most out of life, what we don’t want, and what we admire in others.
Once you’ve got your values clear, they can serve as a useful guide that helps to quieten our doubts.
We don’t need to wonder quite so much, as we know we’re on the right path because we are using our values to steer us.
We can use them to take inspired action and to appreciate what we already have that aligns with our values.
Mentally strong women don’t let their doubts define them
Self-doubt is not a reflection of your abilities and skills, it’s more of a reflection of your confidence levels.
And they can waiver sometimes in all of us, strong women included.
The truth is that so-called imposter syndrome plagues many women (more than it does men) regardless of how successful and accomplished they are.
As many as 62% of women in one survey said they rarely felt confident in their lives. With over half saying they also struggle with self-doubt.
The point is that it’s perfectly normal to question ourselves from time to time. But strong women refuse to let it become a part of their identity.
Instead, they use the tips and tricks we’ve outlined to help overcome it.