How To Overcome Self-Doubt and Insecurity: 3 Experts Share Incredibly Powerful Tips + Strategies To Overcome Self-Doubt


“I seek strength, not to be greater than other, but to fight my greatest enemy, the doubts within myself.” 

― P.C. Cast

P.C. Cast Self Doubt Quote

A sincere thanks to all the awesome experts who shared their best tips, insights and strategies on how to overcome self-doubt and insecurity.

# Self-doubt is learned from early childhood experiences

Doubt is the opposite of belief.

Both can affect our lives daily but in some people doubt may be more prevalent. Different types of doubt exist such as reasonable doubt (doubt that may occur in a trial), preferential doubt (doubt when no proof exists that an expectation may take place), and emotional doubt (self doubt). Belief and doubt are both learned from early childhood experiences but here we will focus on self doubt.

There are a number of factors that contribute to how we see ourselves.

The family dynamic is one of the most important facets. Learning is natural as we grow and with learning comes mistakes. How those around us (family) react to those mistakes can set the foundation for future thought processes.

Other elements that may affect our view include social interactions (bullying), socioeconomic status or even culture (for example, where one gender is deemed inferior).

Early life experiences develop into core beliefs.

These types of beliefs become deep seated and contribute to automatic thoughts.

The negative core beliefs/automatic thoughts tend to be carried silently which only reinforces the self perception.

In this concept self doubt stems from negative core beliefs manifested in childhood by early negative experiences. The high expectations of family, bullying by peers and other elements (socioeconomic status and culture) set the wrong tone for positive self growth.

Changing core beliefs/automatic thoughts is possible

The level or intensity dictates the appropriate treatment. For mild self doubt techniques such as the thought stop technique can be effective. This technique is not about suppressing the negative thought but replacing it with a positive one. This takes time and practice but can be beneficial.

Another technique that may work for mild self doubt is the use of positive affirmations.

Positive qualities that you have written down are placed around your home and work area. These are reminders we all possess negative and positive characteristics.

However if your self-doubt lies deeper affecting you daily and significantly impacting your life, help is available. Finding a qualified therapist who has experience in working with changing negative core beliefs and automatic thoughts can be a game changer. If you don’t know where to start, talk with your PCP. They have access to resources that may not be easily found elsewhere.

Humans sometimes focus on the negative even if the positive outweighs or out numbers it.

Learning to recognize our many positive qualities and accept the few negative ones can bring peace. Whether you experience mild or significant self-doubt, help is available.

Cheri Allyson Brunory, MA, NCC, LPC -

# Take time to identify your beliefs and values

Do you find that you doubt yourself and don’t feel secure with who you are?

Have you taken the time to reflect on who you are? What beliefs have shaped you? What you value?

If not, no worries.

We live in a fast-paced society and the thought of even doing a little something for ourselves, can sound like another task added to our to-do list. But if I can make a suggestion, I would encourage you to take some time to identify your beliefs and values.


Well, the hope is if you know what brings meaning to your life and what drives your behaviors, you might develop a sense of security knowing the choices you make are in line with what is right for you. You might also be better able to respond to situations because you know that your responses derive from your past experiences.

Let’s play with a scenario where you might doubt yourself and your abilities.

Say your manager, someone a lot older and with many more years of experience, asks you to present a deal to a perspective client. You might begin to wonder “why me?” “Why choose a young adult, in their 20’s, fresh out of college, and with way less years in the industry?”

Having these beliefs can lead to thoughts like, “she’s setting me up for failure.” “She wants me to fail at this so she can fire me.” “She made a big mistake choosing me for this.” “Why didn’t she choose Jill?!”

But why do these thoughts happen?

Well, if your belief is that young adults are not as competent or effective as someone who is older and has been in the field for 10+  years, you might not feel deserving of the opportunity. Having this belief, will naturally leave you feeling completely insecure about who you are.

But say, you shifted those beliefs and values.

Say you believed that any individual that has worked diligently in their field and has gained the necessary education to fulfill requirements for the position, deserves the opportunity to apply their skill set.

If you believe that a person with passion and drive can succeed, regardless of years on the job or the age of the person, then what types of thoughts might you have? What kind of feelings would be different if you valued the flexibility, creativity, and spontaneity a “green” person in the field can offer? 

I would think that if you had this type of belief system in place, you might think different thoughts. These thoughts might range from “my manager can see my strengths and trusts me to apply my abilities” to “I am thrilled to be provided the opportunity to apply my knowledge and skill set.”

If you haven’t caught on already, our beliefs and values have an impact on our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. If we think we are not worthy, deserving or capable of doing A-Z and we are at a loss of what we truly value, we might feel lost and disconnected from who we are.

So, how do we identify our beliefs and values?

We need to identify what matters most to us. What brings meaning to our lives. You can start with creating a list of your top 10 values.

 - What is important in your personal and professional life? 

 - When reflecting on recent choices that were difficult or easy to make, what is about those choices that led you to make your decision? 

 - What values did you adapt from your childhood? What makes you feel ambivalent and uncertain? 

Sometimes this can cue us that whatever is being presented does not align with how and who we are. 

 - How has your past influenced your perspective?

Reflecting on these simple things, acknowledging how our beliefs play a role in how we interpret situations and behaving from our values can help us to decrease our self-doubt and increase a sense of security.

To know thyself, is to know what provides value and meaning to your life and what makes you, you. Your experiences shape your beliefs and your values shape who you are and your choices.

Claudia Stanley, LCSW –

# Accept that it’s natural to feel insecure, and that feelings are not facts

Every person on the planet feels insecure at times.

It helps to know that this is a natural part of being human. Comparing yourself to others is generally a losing battle, because you’re not even comparing apples to apples.

Comparing two humans is like comparing an apple to a coffee table. They’re entirely different, even when there seem to be some shared qualities or experiences. 

Each of us has a unique genetic makeup, temperament and personality style, and our own set of life experiences and social and cultural influences. Nobody else in the world has your exact combination of these factors, so comparing yourself to someone else is entirely futile.

It also can help to recognize that everything is subjective.

Often, when we feel insecure, it’s because we’ve decided (whether consciously or not) that we HAVE to be a certain way in order to be a decent human being. The reality is that those standards are made up.

Things like good, bad, pretty, ugly, smart, stupid, right, wrong are all just ideas that we each define for ourselves. Smart for one person could mean, “has a robust vocabulary,” and smart for another person could mean, “knows how to maneuver into a tight parallel parking space.”

Neither definition is wrong.

The things you are striving for only matter if you decide they matter. Ask yourself, why does X matter to me? What if it didn’t matter so much?

When you start to challenge your definitions of “good enough,” “smart enough,” and “successful enough,” you can stop holding yourself to a standard that isn’t enhancing your quality of life.

Remember that feeling insecure is just a natural part of being alive.

When you get caught up trying to “solve” feelings of insecurity, you end up wasting your energy, because as soon as you achieve whatever your brain has decided will make you “secure” (whether a certain job title, accolade, body size, or whatever else), something else will pop up that’ll make you insecure. It’s a game of emotional whack-a-mole.

Don’t fall into the trap. Accept that it’s natural to feel insecure, and that feelings are not facts

Just because you feel a certain way doesn’t mean there is an objective truth behind that feeling. Ironically, giving yourself permission to be imperfect and make mistakes will actually help you feel more secure in yourself. You’ll realize that it’s not the end of the world if you mess up sometimes, and you’ll be a lot kinder to yourself and enjoy your life more.

Dr. Paula A Freedman Psychologist, PsyD -