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8 Things to Remember When You Doubt Yourself

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Your confidence can be knocked in so many ways when you’re living with a mental illness. You can feel like you aren’t good enough to do anything, not even the things that you used to do or love.

Shaking out of that mindset can seem like a huge task, but it’s an important one. Even if you stop thinking negative thoughts for just minutes, taking action against them is worth doing. Here are eight things to keep in mind:

1. You are your own worst critic.

Your very own mind can be your own worst enemy. If you’re feeling low, then it can be easy to slip into a low opinion about yourself. Emotions are much more powerful than we give them credit for, yet we allow them to completely take over.

When feeling sad, frustrated, angry or anything in between, blaming yourself for those feelings is how things tend to go. This makes you feel like less of a person because it’s you that’s getting in your way of good feelings or even having a good day.

2. Small changes can lead to big changes.

However much you would like to stay in the feeling-sorry-for-yourself pit (which is probably your bed or couch, mine is either/or), the only way to get out of that pit is to get out of that pit.

Doing something small like cleaning your apartment (or even smaller like doing the dishes ) will move your body and mind out of the pit. It’s not an instant or long-term cure, but small tasks will get your self-doubting brain thinking about something else, even if it’s just for five minutes.

3. Nobody else sees you how you see yourself.

Remember you have people who love you in your life: family, friends or a significant other. And they love you for a reason. You bring something to their lives, which makes them care for you and want you to stick around. You bring value to their lives. That value is what you should try to focus on.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to somebody close to you. I bet they’ll be happy you got in touch for their help.

4. You have talents that are unique to you.

That thing that you used to do? Yep, you can still do it. If you can’t physically do it, then I bet you can do something else that’s similar. Self-doubt is the biggest killer of creativity.

Sometimes I can’t bare to put pen to paper because I feel like either a) nothing will come out or b) whatever comes out is going to be worthless. What spurs me on to get back on the writing horse is the nice things people say to me about my writing, plus the fact that I actually need my writing more than I need validation from it. It’s how I express my feelings and how I make myself feel better.

Don’t let that Negative Nelly in your head tell you that your talent isn’t worth anything anymore. Nobody can do what you can do the way that you do it.

5. Everybody’s paths are different, so stop comparing.

Easier said than done, but comparison can be such a confidence killer. When I see successful writers on Twitter, I’m green with envy at first, and then the self-doubt kicks in, telling me that my writing will never be that good nor that successful, so I should probably stop now and never publish anything again.

Comparing what your friends, family or old school friends’ lives to your own is never going to make you feel good about your own life. Believe it or not, somebody out there is always going to seem to be doing better than you. Slowly step away from Facebook, LinkedIn or any social media platform and go about your daily life as you wish to live it. You’re doing great, trust me.

6. Think about how far you have come.

There’s a very old philosophical quote that says, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” When I first read it, I realized a year or so ago I would have been so jealous of the life I lead now — I’m living in a beautiful city, in a lovely apartment with a very handsome and kind SO. How lucky am I!

Sometimes it can be really hard to appreciate the life around you, especially in this modern day and age when everyone is looking to the future and always making plans. When you’re feeling low about yourself or your life, try to remember what you dreamed of as a kid or a teenager or even just a few years ago. There will be something you have done or have now that you had always wished for when you were younger. Hold on to that.

7. Take good care of yourself.

Sometimes feeling better about yourself can be achieved by simply taking better care of yourself. It may feel like you’re not worth the effort — which as silly as that sounds, I have thought the same, too — but you very much are. Putting on a piece of clothing that makes you feel good — a dress you only wear for special occasions or t-shirt that brings back a lot of good memories — is a great start.

Taking a bath, doing your nails, putting your hair in a style that you’ve always wanted to try — they’re all good little things that will at the very least change the way you see yourself (quite literally in the mirror). Doing things for your body is a good way to go to. Yoga, walking, drinking herbal tea, cooking something delicious are all positive things you can do to nourish your insides.

8. It’s not forever.

Letting your self-doubt stir inside your head can drain your confidence and energy. Writing down all of your self-doubt may seem like you are just bringing it to a boil again, but it can help relieve yourself of all those negative thoughts.

Getting them out of your head and onto a piece of paper can feel like a weight off of your shoulders. But whatever you do, do not keep this piece of paper. This piece of paper needs to be destroyed. Tear it up. Scrunch it into a ball. (Safely) burn it. Show those bad feelings who’s boss. These thoughts won’t control you forever if you decide not to let them. It just takes that bit of courage to let them go.

However impossible it may seem, you can be in control of how you feel. It just takes a little step into the right direction for a happier mindset and a happier you.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? If you’d like to participate, please check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: July 7, 2016
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