Are you constantly questioning yourself? Do you often fail to recognize the wonderful things you have going for you because you’re too busy worrying about what you don’t have? Even worse, do you think that you’re not worthy of your accomplishments and blessings?
Many of us think that we would have more confidence if we just looked better or had more money or gained more recognition in our fields . . . but those are just material goals.
In order to change who we are on the outside, we have to connect to our truths on the inside.
Sadly, we often choose to ignore that truth because of bad mental conditioning—we look past everything we have and continuously second guess everything we do, say, think, and feel.
Here are a couple examples from real life:
– One of my clients, Jack, is a high-powered attorney. He has a job most people would kill for, respect from his colleagues, and accolades galore . . . yet he still comes away from every trial assuming he’s given a mediocre performance or messed up in some way.
– Another client of mine, Amanda, is equally as blessed: she’s got looks, a successful career, and a beautiful family. In other words, to the world around her, she’s got it all! Unfortunately, though, she focuses in too avidly on the moments when she might yell or get angry at her kids (as ALL moms do). She’s kicking ass and taking names in all aspects of her life, yet she’s still not confident in herself as a mother.
Why am I highlighting these two examples? Because outwardly, they have the sorts of things most people believe they would need to gain more confidence—power, prestige, looks, love, success—but they still aren’t confident. They’re still questioning themselves, even after achieving so much.
This is something we all do: we allow doubt, anxiety, inferiority, and worthlessness to creep in, even when we have no reason to feel them.
If we want to feel confident and create the life we deserve, we have to change this mental pattern and begin to see our worth.
Right about now, you might be thinking, “But wait! Without questioning myself, I’d have no means of pushing myself to achieve greater things!”
Incessant second-guessing of yourself does nothing but induce doubt and create a negative presence.
This is a major error in thinking. After all, there is a big difference between knowing you can achieve more and punishing yourself for not having already done it.
The energy with which you approach any challenge needs to be defined by focusing on what needs to be done and doing it—not questioning whether you’re even good enough to try.
That relentless inner critic is akin to a pernicious computer virus: it’s slowing everything down, wreaking havoc on your systems, and causing a general meltdown.
The only way you’re going to defeat it is by breaking the chain of negativity and creating a new pattern of healthy thought.
We have to contend with a lot of noise out in the real world. In fact, the truth is that we’re conditioned to question ourselves. We want to make sure we don’t seem egotistical; we want to push ourselves using any means necessary; we hear other people questioning themselves and calling it humility. We are so accustomed to this behavior that I’ll bet there are still some of you out there itching to hold onto your self-doubt. To you, I’ll offer you a piece of advice: just try it.
What’s the worst that could happen if you just try giving up these thoughts for one month? Two weeks? A day? I promise that it won’t make you a bad person. But even if it did, you could always just go back to your old ways of thinking.
The more likely scenario, though, is that you’ll end up finding it extremely difficult to let go of your old mindset.
Your behavioral patterns are so ingrained that you become, in a sense, addicted to them.
This is a huge challenge that will almost always turn you into a bystander in your own life.
So, how do we work to break that habit and form new, healthier habits? Well, to begin with, we must make the decision to change—we must commit to being self-aware and giving ourselves a slap on the wrist anytime we start to question our actions:
“I don’t question myself anymore because that behavior does not serve me.”
Once we commit to making this change and we begin to allow our decisions and actions to take place without judgment, we can use additional tactics to fuel our progress.
Let’s say you begin questioning yourself after disciplining your children. Instead of beating yourself up, you can, instead, focus on what needs to be done. In this case, you need to teach your kids a lesson; you need to set boundaries; you need to establish consequences. You can also choose to focus on the emotions you’re having that are causing you to question yourself—maybe in this case, you’re feeling guilty about yelling, or sad that your kids are growing up too quickly, or frustrated with their bad behavior. Now, how can you work on processing those emotions instead of delegitimizing them.
At that point, you need to give yourself some space from the situation. You will be tempted to immediately assess your progress—but that can turn into another form of questioning yourself—so always wait for a day or two (or at least a few hours). Then, you can evaluate the things that went well and things that could be done better.
Be specific in these moments. Rather than going on a self-punishing tirade, it will be far more productive—and far easier to find success—if you pick out one actionable item that you can remember to work on the next time the same situation pops up.
Not only does questioning yourself make it impossible for you to keep a positive mindset, but it also provides you with zero data that you can apply to future interactions.
So, let’s commit right now to making a change; let’s commit to keeping ourselves from constantly questioning everything we do; let’s commit to using real growth tactics that will allow us to grow and learn from our experiences.
Start with just one week—every time you catch yourself questioning an action, just remind yourself that that behavior doesn’t serve you. Questioning yourself is an addiction . . . but you can disengage from it and make a positive and permanent change. I know you have the power to alter your behavioral patterns, and I know that it will be a major step toward creating your ultimate confidence.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments below! How is this concept affecting your actions? How does questioning yourself hold you back on a daily basis? What areas of you life will this help the most? I look forward to reading your comments and moving forward in our progress together!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.