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Why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing: turning our negative patterns around

April 15, 2019
why self-doubt isn't always a bad thing

It might seem bizarre that I’m writing about why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing given that it’s plagued me my whole life. Self-doubt has affected my decision-making, stopped me from pursuing potential opportunities and held me back no end. I spend a considerable amount of time second-guessing myself and overthinking to the point that it can be exhausting.

I’d like to give you a happy ending here with some advice on what I’ve done to turn this around. However, I can’t. Self-doubt is something I work hard on and more than likely will always be part of my life.

Yet, I was thinking recently about how we’re always very quick to complain about our negative characteristics and how they hold us back. But what if there are some positives to being this way too?

I always say life is about balance and like yin and yang, there is darkness and light within everything. Can we look at some of our ‘negative’ traits and see something good?


Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.

Brene Brown

Humans aren’t wholly good or wholly bad. We’re complicated and unique. Our backgrounds and experiences shape how we react to situations and events. We also tend to see ourselves quite differently from how other people see us. Are they also seeing our negative patterns in a different way?

So here are 6 reasons why self-doubt isn’t always a bad thing

  1. Self-doubt means you care. Have you ever had a sleepless night worrying about whether you’ve done a good enough job or that you said the wrong thing? Well, at least you care. Of course, you can care too much. But surely it’s better to care than be apathetic and lacklustre?
  2. It’s often a way we protect ourselves from what we regard to be challenging situations. Often we use self-doubt to hold us back. However, there are occasions where it’s right to be doubtful because we’re being realistic. We’re having feelings of self-doubt because it’s just not the right time or situation for us.
  3. People who suffer with self-doubt tend to be hard workers in my experience. They work harder because they question themselves, rather than thinking they don’t need to make any effort.
  4. Self-doubt can make you more open because you ask others for advice and guidance. Whilst we shouldn’t judge ourselves by the court of public opinion, it can help to ask other people for input. We don’t always have all the answers.
  5. Personally, I see nothing wrong with a bit of humility. Us self-doubters tend to have it in spades. The opposite of humility is arrogance and I would much rather be around someone with humility than a know-it-all who’s always right.
  6. Brene Brown delivered on of the most popular Ted Talks of all time on the power of vulnerability. Our self-doubt can make us vulnerable, but we can use that vulnerability as a power for good helping us to open up and make greater connections with others.

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