Do you ever hold yourself back from doing things, and from accepting an invitation because it might put you in the spotlight? Whether it is speaking publicly, managing calls from your boss, or simply playing tennis, the same strategies apply. When you have nagging doubts about your performance, it can set your self-talk on steroids. The easy option is to avoid taking that call or turn down that invitation.
However, this simply sends a message back into your subconscious that you don’t measure up and it is safest to swerve any possible vulnerability. Such anxious-avoidant behaviour can massively impact on your self-esteem and your ability to perform.
It’s natural now and again for all of us to succumb to doubt ourselves and our abilities, (we call this imposter syndrome). It’s natural to doubt if we really do know our stuff and if we are really as good at something as we seem to be. The ‘rules’ of society through the generations have taught us how socially acceptable it is for us to be humble in our words and in our actions. Succumbing to society pressure simply makes you human. It also helps to keep arrogance at bay.
Aside from society ‘rules’ might I suggest three key considerations for you to bear in mind in order to support your emotional wellbeing. They certainly work for me and these have helped many clients too in my professional practice.
Give yourself permission to be human and not to be perfect all the time.
I bet you are by far your most harsh critic, aren’t you? Chances are sometime in the past, you absorbed a feeling that you didn’t measure up and that your best wasn’t good enough. This created a deeply buried fear that people won’t love you (or even like you) unless you do better next time! It’s not true. You are enough just as you are.
Collect evidence for why you are good at the thing you doubt yourself doing.
Cast your mind back to all those times that you played well, or spoke articulately, or got a good job done in some other way. Ask people you trust for their opinion and how they remember you doing it well. Start to keep a log in the Notes on your phone, or in a private journal. When you forget the good times, re-read your evidence and it will help you to regain a more balanced view of your abilities.
Be real with yourself. What is the feedback internally and externally – is it true in any way?
If you know in yourself you could improve, then seek out the right help to get even better at what you do. Everyone is a work in progress, and the more you know, the more you know there is to know. Commit to never stop learning at what you do. It is healthy to keep growing mentally, spiritually and emotionally.
Always take stock of how far you have come in developing your knowledge or talent in some way. It can be encouraging to look back before you started a particular skill and to remember how perhaps then you couldn’t have imagined achieving what you have already achieved. Your skill today is a fantastic example of what you thought you couldn’t achieve back then in the past. What you doubt you can do today is just another example of what we will become easy for you in the future.
Above all else, aim to surround yourself with nourishing and nurturing people who really do love and accept you for who you are.
Distance yourself from people who tend to throw out destructive criticism. Always remember that when someone criticizes or judges you, it tells you more about them than it does you! Take a step back in the moment and ask yourself, what is their need (their lack or their doubt in themselves) that fuels their judgement of me? How do they win for themselves if they put me down or ridicule me?
To coin a phrase… ‘What anyone else thinks of you, is none of your business!”
I hope this helps you today.
Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
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