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Emotional Health

3 Simple Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt


Sometimes we all feel unsure of ourselves. Feelings of doubt, shame, and low self-worth are normal from time to time — but it’s possible to overcome self-doubt with these simple techniques, recommended by experts. Here, three psychologists who have written books relating to the topic offer their wisdom.

Take your own advice.

When you’re feeling down on yourself, imagine a child saying, “I’m worthless,” suggests Susan David, Ph.D., author of Emotional Agility ($20.23, Amazon). Then ask yourself what you’d say to a child who voiced such harsh self-judgments. “Giving the ‘adult you’ the same supportive advice you’d offer the child, such as, ‘It’s okay to not be perfect,’ or, ‘You are still special,’ reframes self-criticism and forms a loving perspective to help you move forward positively.”

Write down your values.

“Jot down what matters most to you, from family to friends to faith,” suggests psychologist June P. Tangney, Ph.D., co-author of Shame and Guilt (from $24.99, Amazon). “Writing down the things you consistently value ‘shores up’ the self, strengthening your identity and firming up your belief in who you really are — that’s like kryptonite to doubt!”

Name your shame.

“We all carry a ‘shame virus’ that attacks our self-esteem,” says Rick Patterson, D.Min., author of Shame Unmasked ($16.95, Amazon). “That’s why it’s so important to build up immunity to it by saying, ‘This is just my shame response talking’ when you feel insecure. As you name it, you strengthen the ‘shame resilience’ muscle and quiet self-doubt.”

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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