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Conquering Self-Doubt

Conquering self-doubt

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the 5 steps to overcoming and conquering self-doubt.

First a quick update:

“Secrets to breaking bad habits”
Apply the six steps to breaking and replacing old habits. Read my Newsletter

The evil in all of us”
Research says we all have the capacity to commit evil -atrocities, torture and abuse. Why? Listen to my hour-long discussion and debate on ” The evil in all of us ” with renowned Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University, author of “The Lucifer Effect” Philip Zimbardo. We examine: Evil and the human psyche; Stress and evil; Dangers of de-individuation; Religion and evil – evil committed in the name of God; The holocaust, anti-Semitism, Jews informing on Jews, and extraordinary behavior by Jehovah’s Witnesses; How technology and the media unknowingly encourage violence, murder and evil; Our fascination with evil and villains such as Batman’s “The Joker”; Gender differences -can women be just as violent and evil as men?; Why men cheat – the link to power; the antidote to evil and; our deepest hidden human desire.

Now, let’s talk about the five simple steps to overcoming self-doubt.

Last week, I gave an interview via satellite from Los Angeles to FOX 29 TV News in Philadelphia to reveal the secrets to overcoming self-doubt.

The news anchor Lauren Cohn asked me about a technique that is often promoted as being a key to overcoming self-doubt – “mindfulness.” Lauren asked me to define it.

Mindfulness is the state of being totally focused on the present moment and it is about separating yourself from your thoughts and not judging your thoughts. Mindfulness is a practice in Buddhism; it is also taught in modern day psychology as a way to deal with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorders and self-doubt. One of the translations of the original Buddhist term is “Right Mindfulness; the active, watchful mind.” The term a ‘watchful mind’ simply means being able to watch or listen to your thoughts but not react to them, to not let those thoughts control you by not judging them, by imagining them pass you by in a matter-of-fact manner. In other words, you distance or separate yourself from your thoughts as if you are an independent observer. Mindfulness can also refer to being fully present and aware of everything that you are experiencing in the moment – with all of your senses – aware of your body, your mind, your surroundings and even the taste, texture and sensations of the food you are eating.

But I do believe that mindfulness (the concept of separating yourself from your thoughts and thus having a vigilant mind) is only one part of the process of overcoming and conquering self-doubt.

As I revealed in the FOX 29 interview, we all have self-doubts. Given that I work with high-profile clients, CEOs and celebrities, I can attest to the fact that even the rich, famous and successful people have self-doubt which, of course, also explains some of their self-destructive and self-sabotaging behavior – drugs, addictions and so forth.

As I explained in my newsletter “Overcoming yourself”:

Sir Anthony Hopkins, the famous actor, who has been nominated four times and won an Academy Award for best actor in “The Silence of The Lambs” confesses to his battle with self-doubt and negative emotions:

“Self-doubt – and I’m loaded with it – keeps us grounded in a way. We’re not gods. But it can also be quite crippling. I have to actually boost myself against my inner nature, which had been for many years negative, destructive, all that stuff. I have to go against my own inclination and overcome. And there’s a resistance inside me that says, ‘Are you for real?’ Yes, I am.’”

It is also critical to distinguish between confidence and arrogance. When you see and hear the grand words and gestures by hip-hop artists and celebrities, ‘look at me, I am so great, etc’ they are often trying to compensate for how small and empty they feel inside. Thus, arrogance is the action that tries to say “I am better than you” and it actually comes from the subconscious belief of not being or feeling good enough. Confidence, on the other hand, is the belief and trust in your abilities (often based on experience) and the belief that no matter what happens or what comes your way, you will handle it and you will be okay.

Here are the five steps to overcoming and conquering self-doubt, and I would like to use the example of a reader Tony who said: “When it is time to approach a woman and to ask her out on a date, I freeze up because I doubt myself. Help!”

1. Evaluate your self-doubt

Mindfulness teaches you to focus only on the present moment and think about nothing else. Fear, on the other hand, is the anticipation of pain set in the future. Sometimes, we can neutralize self-doubt by simply evaluating the thought – how real is it? Our mind, The Great Trickster, will throw up thoughts of potential failure, embarrassment, humiliation etc. We can wash away the power of those thoughts by recognizing that we are not the thoughts – they are separate from us.  (Also see my book “Get what you want” for ways to overcome The Great Trickster )

2. Seek your own approval

When you set out to please everyone else and to get everyone to like, love and accept yo

u, then you set yourself up to experience fear and anxiety. FOX 29 anchor Lauren Cohn asked me “So I am not supposed to please my boss, husband or son?”

‘Lauren when you try to please everyone else and get their approval, then you can never be true to yourself, to who you are and what you want. But yes, you must also respect others’ I replied.

For Tony, his fear and self-doubt comes from the thought that ‘I must get the other person’s approval and if she doesn’t approve of me, then I am no good.’ That belief naturally creates anxiety because you don’t know what she expects or wants in order to give you approval and thus, you cannot be yourself – you are trying to act to become what the other person expects you to be. This creates extraordinary stress, pressure and anxiety.

3.  Find a purpose and meaning
I teach “Get yourself off of yourself and focus on helping others.” When you focus on helping others it overrides your fears and doubts. In other words, focus on how you can contribute to others. For Tony, focusing on what he has to offer to the lady – his personality, love, gifts, talents and so forth shifts the fear of ‘Am I good enough?’ to “I have something to offer and I can positively impact this person.’ The emphasis is on giving rather than trying to receive approval and acceptance.

4.  Reassure yourself

Confidence is the belief in yourself and your abilities. Reassure yourself that no matter what happens you will be okay, that you can handle whatever comes your way, knowing that you will be fine. For Tony, that infers that even if she chooses to say no or reject what he is offering, Tony will still be okay.

5. Focus on your talents and surround yourself with people who believe, support and encourage you

We naturally focus on what is wrong with us, and yes, there are times that we need to evaluate our actions and behavior, particularly if we have hurt or wronged someone. However, most children are raised by parents who point out only what is wrong with their children and rarely focus on encouraging their children to develop their talents. Thus, as adults we are often thinking about our failings and mistakes. Focus instead on what is right about you – your gifts, talents and abilities – what makes you unique, valuable and special. Don’t obsess about what is wrong with you – there are plenty of people around you who will naturally tell you what is wrong with you!

Begin now to surround yourself with friends and people who believe, support and encourage you.

You can also read more about self-doubt in my newsletter “Self-doubt”

And use my Supreme Self- Confidence CD/MP3 which works on reprogramming your subconscious mind to create a new, positive and empowering self-image and to raise your self-esteem so that you can feel good, supremely confident and stop those habits that are creating pain for you in your life right now.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & Clinical Hypnotherapist

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