Do you ever fall in a state of self-doubt and start to trust your life goals a little less than earlier because you saw a friend who is more successful than you are? I am sure you might have faced it at one point or the other. In fact, every one of us faces this state of self-doubt and dilemma every once in a while.
Now self-doubt can happen due to several reasons, and every different reason gives rise to a different set of possibilities and outcomes, but we shall only discuss self-doubt due to other people’s achievements and successes and how it can adversely affect our life goals. It is not hard to imagine that everyone feels a little envious of others’ success even though they might be our friends. We are social beings, and feelings like envy are normal and even helpful sometimes when you know how to let go of them. If envy creeps under your skin for a long time, then there is a high chance that you are turning toxic for yourself and that’s when the self-doubt starts to hinder your future.
What is self-doubt, and how do others’ achievements trigger it?
Self-doubt is the feeling that starts to linger around your head, and you become unsure of your capabilities, your goals, your plans and your future. Every person faces self-doubt at one point or the other. Not only us common people but even one of the most famous artist Leonardo Da Vinci faced feeling of self-doubt resulting in self-esteem and procrastination issues. He is known for the popular painting ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘The Last Supper’, but despite that, it is known that many of his works were left incomplete because of this human condition: self-doubt.
Self-doubt can happen due to a number of reasons one of them being triggered when we know about other people’s achievements and this happens when we start to compare yourselves to them with stuff that is related and even unrelated many times. Sometimes we know that the other person isn’t even doing and pursuing the same thing as you are, but their success in their field starts to push us in a state of self-doubt where we begin to question our goals and path.
This can be understood by a very relatable problem. Suppose that you are an academic student, and you want to have a career that is related to studies. This obviously requires years and years of studying and collecting degrees; then there is another friend who is more into gaming and video-editing and stuff. He is still in school with you and has already started earning well. It is a fabulous thing, and you are happy for him/her as a friend, but still, those feelings of self-doubt creep in. You start to question your goals and career and rethink whether your decisions are right or not. You feel bad that you aren’t successful as your friend even though you don’t even wish to the same things. His/her success makes you want to switch your choices and do the same thing as your friend did!
This is just one case that the youngsters deciding their careers and future can relate to, but they are not the only generation that is swept away by self-doubt due to the achievements of other people. Even the adults, after choosing their careers, want to make a switch or feel envious and resentful when they hear from a friend that is more successful than them. They feel sad and resent themselves for choosing the wrong career and start to imagine what would have happened if they had taken up a different career altogether when they were young. They forget the fact that they made the decision after thinking a lot in the past and even after years of dedication and hard work a mere five minutes chat with an old acquaintance and his success can throw you so deep into self-doubt.
What do we forget when we are drowning in self-doubt due to other’s achievements?
We might think we are strong and can control our feelings and decisions well, but when we are in a state of self-doubt, it is really hard to think straight. Thinking logically is swept off the table, and all you have left are feelings of envy, jealousy, guilt and resentment. This can impair your decision making capability to a significant amount, and you will likely regret the outcomes of the decisions you made in rage and when you were drowning in self-doubt. In the above examples, we read about one of the most significant parts of a person’s life- career decisions. We know what self-doubt can do to us and if we do change our paths and decisions due to self-doubt, can you guarantee yourself that it won’t happen again?
Obviously not! We are humans, and we constantly feel the urge to be better, but we shouldn’t forget our life goals for mere moments of self-doubt. We forget how to be rational; we forget the path we are leading on and why we chose it. In the moments when we are drowning in self-doubt all that we remember is the unsatisfaction we have for the life we are living and the decisions we have made, and the resentment and guilt follows.
What to do when you are drowning in self-doubt?
When you are in a state of self-doubt coming back to senses and being rational is hard. It can swallow you and your happiness if you don’t get over it on time. Your confidence and determination, and your faith and hope in your life goals are swept away and losing the direction for your life is something that nobody wants. Even though self-doubt is common human nature, there are some ways that can help you balance and get through the after-effects so that you don’t permanently lose the sight of your life goals.
Believe in yourself.
The first thing that you need to do, not only when you doubt yourself but always, is believe in yourself. You are the master of your brain and mind, and you have the power to change the way you feel. Trust yourself enough to believe that what you are doing is because you trusted yourself in the beginning, and you have to keep on doing that. Despite other people achieving their goals faster than you, know that you will also reach your goal when your time comes, but it will only happen if you keep on walking on the same path. Changing roads at every turn will lead you nowhere! So believe in yourself and trust your abilities.
Be vocal and convey your feelings to your loved ones.
Sometimes, if we bottle the feelings of self-doubt for a long time, they can become toxic and do us harm in the way we can’t imagine. They will affect our every decision and everything we do in life. We’ll be uncertain about everything, and when we are not confident enough of our decisions, we can barely achieve them, and then the endless cycle of self-doubt repeats itself. Instead of spiralling on this never-ending path, talk out your feelings. Be vocal about them; talk to a trusted person, your family, friend or partner, or if you don’t have one, then there are plenty of professionals that are just there to help you out.
Sometimes there is much less than we think about than we believe we do, and this can be done only when you put those feelings to words and let them out. So, talk them out and see the change that it will bring in you.
Don’t make any decisions when you are in a state of self-doubt.
Another important thing that you should remember while you are in a state of self-doubt is that never make any important decisions at that time. When you entirely doubt your goals and path, you aren’t thinking straight, and your judgment is clouded. Avoid making any significant decision for yourself that can make your life take entirely different turns that you may regret later. Wait for a while until you feel better, let those feelings of distrust and self-doubt shed away a little and then think what you have to do.
Stay away for a while from that person.
If you are unable to control your feelings of self-doubt when you see that person, then it might be good if you keep your distance from them for a while. It won’t help if they keep on rubbing their success stories on your face (even though they might not be aware of it). Stay away for a while, calm yourself enough so that you can think straight, talk your feelings out and then when you are capable of being rational and accepting, you can resume your interactions then.
This is a line that is probably said millions of times each day by people around the world, and however easy it is to say this line it is really hard not to do so. We are human beings and constantly find something that we need more and are unsatisfied about. There are very few people in the world who have mastered this skill perfectly and are in turn living a happy and satisfying life, free from self-doubt. Even though you should, you should constantly hustle to be better always compare yourself to the day you were before. That is a healthy comparison. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you immense feelings of envy and self-doubt.
The Bottom Line
Everyone achieves success at a different point in life. Some might reach there faster, and some might reach there’s a lot later. Everybody pursues their goal differently, and feelings of self-doubt also come as ripples in their way. But there is one thing that helps the people get to their goal, even though they get those feeling of self-doubt sometimes, they overcome them, let go of them, believe in themselves and carry on. This is how they achieve success, and this is how you will too!