Overcoming Self-Doubt

I recently had to build a website from scratch for my non-fiction writing course. We were told to focus on a topic we found interesting, and include short essays and related visuals. I’m naturally draw to creative projects like this, so I was thrilled with the amount of freedom we had for the assignment.

I spent hours on my project—and I mean HOURS. I don’t have Adobe Dreamweaver on my laptop, so I would do all the website building in the computer lab while writing and brainstorming on my own time. I was really proud of the final product.

The week before presentations, I looked around at my classmates' screens to see the progress of their websites. Each had better, more interesting topics and beautiful graphics. I became jealous of their creativity and uncertain about the content of my own site.

That night, my paranoia only got worse and I emailed my teacher asking if it was too late to change my topic. I was worried that my work was not as good as I wanted it to be, and did not want to present it in front of the class. (It was way too late to switch, obviously).

I was totally distraught and dreaded brining my project up on the projector. I pushed passed how sick I felt and began to explain my website and what I wrote about. I was amazed when people began to interrupt me, “That looks so great!” “I love how you did that.” “Your topic is so perfect how did you come up with it?”

It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, they actually like it! I was wrong for thinking that it wasn’t good enough and felt ridiculous for panicking last-minute. I always knew it was a good project and I worked really hard on it, why did I doubt myself?

Self-doubt is probably the most destructive mindset you can get yourself in. Whether it stems from personal insecurities or comparisons to others, self-doubt holds you back from saying, doing, or creating something you actually feel really proud of. What we need to realize is that everyone has some lack of confidence now and again. If we remind ourselves of the things I've listed below, we can stop self-doubt from manifesting.

Stop worrying about what others think. 

Easier said than done, but when it's done, life becomes 1000x easier. We are all so unique in our own ways, so don't waste your time worrying about how others value your uniqueness. 

Remind yourself of your successes.

The best way to beat negative thoughts is to distract yourself from them. Think about all of your positive attributes, and you'll feel much more confident. 

Surround yourself with positive people.

Find people who support you and your goals. There's nothing better than receiving good energy from other people. 

Set realistic goals & expectations for yourself.

Key word: realistic. It's great to push yourself but setting expectations too high or stretching goals too far could lead to disappointment or negative feelings. 

Not everything will go as planned - be flexible.

 When you face your fears or put yourself out there, not everything will go as planned. So be flexible! Find the good in situations and remain positive about who you are and what you're doing. 

I'll never forget how positive praise from my classmates gave me such confidence. That confidence was already there before I presented, but I got inside my own head with self-doubt. Remember that you are your worst critic, and not to let that critic stop you from feeling proud and confident.