Am I enough the way I am? Am I attractive? Can I really do this?

Questions like these keep creeping into our thoughts and make us doubt ourselves. Perhaps you know this too.

First of all, self-doubt is not uncommon, so you are not alone.

It's perfectly normal to feel insecure or nervous when faced with new challenges. But if your thoughts only revolve around self-doubt, it can have a significant impact on your life and be a burden.

Where does this self-doubt come from?

The causes of self-doubt can be as varied as the doubts themselves. In most cases, self-doubt is triggered by low self-confidence or self-esteem. However, there are also a few more specific triggers that can help you to better understand the reasons behind your self-doubt and thus to address and ultimately overcome it.

Make comparisons

Comparing ourselves to our peers is super normal and doesn't have to be problematic per se. However, the comparisons we make as adults often look like this:

That model in the commercial is prettier/slimmer/more attractive than me.


My female colleagues are more successful / more popular / more intelligent than me.

The problem with this? We tend to compare ourselves "upwards", i.e. with people who are "better" than us in our eyes. We can only lose in such a comparison and self-doubt quickly arises regarding our appearance or our successes. Recognizing this is an important step in getting rid of your self-doubt.


Another cause can be the expectations that those around you have of you. Two things in particular play a role here:

  1. You believe you have to live up to expectations. I'll tell it like it is: No, you don't have to. Certain expectations are certainly reasonable to meet, for example when it comes to deadlines in your job. However, the expectations placed on us are often not mandatory. So the first question you should ask yourself when something is expected of you is "Is this something I want for myself and my life?".

  2. The expectations placed on you are unrealistic. Expectations can be inspiring, stimulating and motivating, as long as they are achievable. If this is not the case, frustration is more likely. So ask yourself whether possible expectations can be fulfilled at all. Would you find them realistic and appropriate if they were placed on your boyfriend or sister, for example? If not, it's time to tick them off.


    Self-doubt can also arise from our early childhood experiences. One cause of self-doubt later on, for example, can be the parenting methods used by parents. If you were rewarded for your successes as a child by your parents giving you love and affection, this can develop into the belief "I am only lovable/enough if I am successful" or "If I make mistakes, I am not worth anything".

    Such beliefs and assumptions can lead to feelings of inferiority and cause us to doubt ourselves.

6 tips on how you can overcome self-doubt

The good thing is that you can learn to deal with your self-doubt. A good approach to self-doubt is always to strengthen your self-confidence and self-assurance. To be able to do this, one thing is particularly important first: acknowledge that you have self-doubt!

Accept what is

In order to be able to deal with your self-doubt, it is important to first accept that it is there. Self-doubt is only uncontrollable if you are not aware of it. However, if you are aware of your self-doubt, you can overcome it.

Try to be aware of your thoughts and catch your self-doubt "in the act", so to speak. This is the first step towards overcoming them.

Stop thinking

Once you have become aware of your self-doubt, you can also decide when it is getting too much for you. The thought stop is my personal favorite exercise because it is simply incredibly effective. It consists solely of saying STOP. Saying the word stop out loud (not just thinking it!) breaks through the self-doubt in your head and gives you the opportunity to assess whether the doubts are getting you anywhere or whether you would rather take a more positive perspective, for example by reminding yourself of your strengths.

Question comparisons

Comparing ourselves with others is a common cause of self-doubt. Try to question these comparisons in future:

  • Do you even want the things you are comparing yourself to?

  • Is the comparison realistic or are you comparing the body of a new mom with that of a model?

  • Is the comparison useful to you, does it motivate or inspire you?

If you answer no to these questions, the comparison is doing you more harm than good. Instead, compare yourself with yourself. For example, what were you unable to do in the past that you have now learned? This is often much more positive and helps you to recognize your strengths.

Change your focus

Are you aware of your strengths and successes?

Sometimes we get so caught up in our self-doubt that we forget all the great things we actually have going for us. Think about what your strengths are and what you have already achieved. If you like, you can use the following sentences as a guide:

  • What I like about myself...

  • It is particularly easy for me...

  • I am good at...

If you find it difficult to complete the sentences or you can't think of anything, ask those around you what they like about you or what you are good at.

Create new successes

To extend your list of successes, it is important to be able to celebrate new successes. This can help: Proceed step by step!

Try to set yourself realistic goals and break them down into small steps. This will make big tasks no longer seem so big and once you have regained the experience of being able to achieve something, every new beginning will be easier.

Worst-case scenario

And if things do go wrong? Mistakes are human and are part of you, just as they are part of me. Try not to judge yourself for mistakes and above all: don't be afraid of mistakes. If fear does arise, imagine the worst-case scenario: What is the worst thing that could happen? We often find that what we've been afraid of all this time isn't so bad after all. You might even learn something from your mistakes.


Self-doubt is totally normal! And they are not invincible! It can help to know where your self-doubt comes from so that you can understand and overcome it. There are many ways to overcome your self-doubt. The best thing is to try out what helps you the most and what you feel most comfortable with.

And what is always a good idea anyway: talk to your friends or family about your doubts. You will see that you are not alone.

October 26, 2023