Sometimes we feel ourselves running in circles, or crashing into walls that we unknowingly build and place in the deepest parts of our minds. We wonder how to silence those loud whispers — how to cast away the internal dialogue that makes us hesitate, retreat, and overthink before we act. We all know negativity doesn't leave the room quietly when we ask it to. Instead, we have to fill that room with specific thoughts, energies, and positives to challenge it — to make it leap out of its seat and sweat. It's time for an inner dialogue, especially if you brush off confrontation with yourself. Thankfully, it is in your power to turn these scratchy murmurs into more pleasant sounds. Instead of being blocked by your own mental limitations, wouldn't it be nice to retrieve your freedom? To finally meet and embrace your fullest potential? From my encounters with self-doubt, I have to say freedom from the fear of being your best self is a gift you have to bestow upon yourself. So to get you started, here are a few tips that have helped me overcome self-doubt and that I hope can help you and someone you care about do the same.
Step 1: Embrace Your Unique Self Like Your Life Depends On It
We are surrounded by differing views of acceptance in our everyday life, so to find acceptance within ourselves is like coming home through a long blizzard and being greeted by the warm flickers of a lit fireplace. To return to yourself and feel welcomed is like returning home and feeling the embrace of someone you love. You lay the blocks for this home, so build, rebuild, and decorate it in a way that brings you happiness and lets you live your truth.
This takes time, just like any kind of development. Be patient with yourself. Show your body, mind, and soul compassion. Just as you so strongly find your faults, so strongly find your strengths. Let them meet in the same space of your mind for conversation. In doing so, you give your strengths the chance to lift up the parts of yourself you never thought could fly. If you feel like your doubts emerge from your awareness of what makes you weak, remind yourself of what makes you strong; draw power from that strength instead. When you're being pulled in a direction you don't like, create resistance. This revolution will introduce peace. Because it feels impossible to erase a negative thought, you have to pair it with positives so that it questions its position in your mind until it disperses into manageable quantities.
The most important part is to believe in yourself, foremost. Here is a simple journaling method that might steer you in the right direction:
Try creating a list of at least three affirmations and journal them on a daily basis. In this way, you can physically churn out the qualities and changes you want to obtain or embrace into the universe. Try something small like “I am enough,” “I am worthy of love,” “Everyday I am closer to embracing my best self," or “I attract success in the highest of places”. Whatever you choose to write, you must already accept it as a given truth, even if it feels funny at first. Live your truth now, not later.
This manifestation tool will constantly challenge you to remind yourself of the action and change you want to see happen from within. Push out what you want to receive. Write as if you are already free of doubt or close to it. With this exercise, hopefully you feel closer to the things you want. Remember, your faults carry rivers. They are filled with emotion, continually heal with the flow of time, and are essential to connecting with others.
Step 2: Release the Hold of Outside Perception
Letting go will always be a part of healing. Once you allow yourself to stand tall without outside perception weighing you down, the space around you will feel lighter; like crisp air that surrounds you at the top of a mountain peak. You might be surprised to find that this release only requires your will and no one else’s.
According to a study done by Tom Gilovich and colleagues on the phenomenon of the spotlight effect, we tend to allow our perceptions to morph into what we think others might be thinking. We know we are not the center of everyone's mini universe, but when our universe collides with someone else's we somehow shrink our own. To visualize this, picture yourself feeling out of place, or doing something that strays from the norm or from what is considered good. Perhaps you're wearing something way too bright or patterned for your taste. Or maybe you just cut your own hair and the edge or trimming isn't perfect (quarantine forces new professions on all of us). Now surround yourself with a group of people — strangers even. They make eye contact with you occasionally, and now you think too many glances are being sent your way. And just like that, you're starting to think about how you are being perceived on the outside.
"Do I stick out like a sore thumb?"
"They must think I don't belong here."
"I'm the only one with this haircut...will I look like an odd ball?"
You start to overestimate our own actions and appearances to correct a difference other people actually have no knowledge of or interest in. When we insufficiently compensate for this difference, the ego has found a new way to control the perception we have of ourselves. We feel hyper-aware of what others are thinking, exerting our energy into perceptions that do not benefit us. Imagine returning that energy and awareness back into ourselves for meaningful manifestation. What other people think about you is inherently separate from what you think of yourself, until you let it fill your body with no means to flood out. Sure, the judging never ends, even when you die if you believe in the sort. But you are the primary judge in your microcosm. And within that mini universe, you're going to have the good and the bad. Perfection of the ego is a delusion. In becoming more aware of both the accepted and disowned parts of yourself, you reinforce the idea that inner dialogue, self-acceptance, and owning your little universe is a prerequisite toward any kind of growth and future success.
Realizing that outside perception is also a blurry reflection of how one sees the self presents the opportunity to return the control of the self (the ego personality forged by outside perception and experience) to the true Self (the pure and inner undiluted consciousness). Release the want to be or look like the person next to you; to be perceived in the light that society has deemed beautiful, acceptable, and worthy. Release hurtful words that people have thrown your way to try and bring you down; when a pebble is thrown in water, the ripples disappear in an instant and the liquid returns to its original state. Do not anchor yourself to a weight that is not yours to bear. Return to yourself, and you will find that all of these external perceptions do not define you — they never have.
Here is a meditation I made personally that I like to use (I'll try to add a guided meditation to go along with it soon) + some simple spiritual grounding techniques:
Ripple Meditation: Make sure you are sitting comfortably with your back as straight as it can be. Close your eyes. Begin by taking three deep breaths. Continue breathing as you normally do throughout the entire exercise, but with the intent of feeling the power of drawing in and releasing each breath through your nose. Feel your body being washed over by a wave. Start at the bottom with your feet, and slowly work your way up to the top of your head. Let the wave flow up like a ribbon encircling your body. Continue your breathing. Your body is merging with the wave and becoming liquid now. With each breath, you fill up a lake that belongs to your being. You are making space for yourself, spreading and stretching and flowing. The water is still. You are still. Take a deep breath now. Imagine a pebble dropping into your lake. The pebble represents the external world, our burdens, our harsh self-criticisms, expectations, and comparisons. It creates a ripple. Watch the ripple disperse just as quickly as it was formed. Take another deep breath and release. Watch as the pebble sinks to the bottom of your bed. It does not float because it does not serve you. Let it become a part of the sediments, separate from your own sentiments. Return to your stillness. Feel this stillness and this expanse of liquid and flow until you are ready to open our eyes again.
Practice grounding: Step outside and let your bare feet kiss the earth. Feel the energy of the earth flow through you, one chakra at a time. Clear the outside noise, and allow all that is good to enter and flourish within you. Welcome this sense of spiritual clarity. Never block the new doors that you open through healing— this is how you allow blessings to enter. Consider smudging some sage, burning your favorite incense, taking a nice long bath, or drinking a nice cup of rosemary or eucalyptus tea.
Step 3: Accept Shortcomings & Successes Like Siblings
Let’s step back and try to shake our perspective. When you succeed at something, you in turn lose an opportunity elsewhere. When you fail at something, you are yet again given an opportunity to gain elsewhere. This is quite similar to the glass half-full or glass half-empty concept, is it not?
One way to combat self-doubt is to not allow it the chance to control you — or to give it as little opportunity as possible to not do so. You will win and lose some, but life will always be a push and pull. So the key is to stay in motion, even when you find yourself on a path that you’ve never been on before. Inertia is the key to discovery — inaction is the lock to possibility.
Remember, your will controls what enters and what exits. Start setting intentions to direct your focus and live your truth. Don’t forget who you are, and everything that you are becoming. Find strength in breathing, and in seeing that there is always growth in failure, just as there is in success.
Lifting the walls of self-doubt starts with self-compassion. Lifting yourself involves additional awareness, mindfulness, and grace. Give yourself the time, energy, and patience to live your truth. Remember, the mirror in front of you isn't a mirror at all; it is created to fit an image that has been expertly fabricated by all things external. These things may have created the person you see in front of you, but they are far from the being that goes unseen by the superficial eye. So return the power of perception to where it belongs — in the deepest part of your soul; the highest part of your being. Here, perception of the Self will always be perfection. Solidify your will to conquer self-doubt by following these three steps and watch the world around you shift into the shapes and colors your mind and soul desire.