The choice we all have that I posed in last week’s blog was: Do you want to live with growing self-acceptance and access to more joy or continue to deny your brilliance and live in discomfort?

As a reader, you’ll recognise the former is a core part of the work I do and the way I try to live my own life. I’m hoping we’re travelling that journey together.

One of our hurdles to greater and more holistic self-acceptance are our doubts. They are voiced by our inner critic, or we hear the doubt in someone’s voice and believe it. They pop up in the middle of the night and keep us awake. We see them in our futures and relive old ones from our past.

Our brains are wired to protect us, to keep us safe and to try to predict what’s going to happen next. Our brains receive around 11 million bits of information a second and can only “read” around 50 bits per second. Then it has to make an instantaneous decision on what to do next – fight, flight, freeze or fawn.

Doubts can be one of the filters our brains use and impacts more than just our self-acceptance.

Doubt isn’t a single thing. It’s complex with multiple roots.

It might be made up of procrastination (read more about its causes and how to deal with it here and here) or from prior experiences that you felt others judged you poorly – for example being laughed at or made fun of as a child – or didn’t go as you wanted – perceived or real failure – or where you were compared to others – an off-hand slight, school grades or being the butt of a joke. The imprints of these can morph into four things:

Black lady with gorgeous curls, biting her thumb, looking anxious about something on her mind

Skewed self-knowledge

This is the accuracy of how realistically we see our behaviours, our actions and our motivations. Rather than seeing what makes us unique as a strength to leverage, we may respond to experiences, feedback, observations that what sets us apart is not to be valued or undesirable and unlovable.

Skewed self-knowledge impacts our decision making as our doubts reinforce our negative self-view – we accommodate others’ preferences and diminish our own. We dither and abdicate from making a decision. 

It also significantly impacts our self-acceptance as our doubts seek to undermine our self-knowledge about our brilliance.

Low self-worth

Our motivation to do things for ourselves comes in part from what worth we see in ourselves. Are we deserving of nice things, love or respect? Doubts in this area can create the perfect cocktail for our Victim archetype to pop up. That sense of helplessness, that we’re useless, a burden, no use to no one and that we definitely can’t be worth others helps, so best not ask.

When our self-worth is reduced by doubts, our self-belief evaporates and we’re unable to claim what is or could be ours in life, work, relationships and our wellbeing. 

Lacking self-esteem

One of the doubt generators that can be more fleeting. If you operate from a mantra of “I’m not enough” and a more cynical or pessimistic view of the world, doubts can multiple or appear from nowhere fueled by our worries, untruths or zero evidence.

Self-esteem can also be linked to circumstance, timing and those around us. One bad blind date doesn’t mean that you won’t meet Mr or Miss Right on the next one., but low self-esteem brought about by doubts can stop us from taking action, trying again, learning and adapting until we crack something.

Missing Self-confidence

Closely linked to anxiety, fear and doubts is our self-confidence. We lose the ability to trust ourselves and try new things or mitigate risks successfully. We hold ourselves back and turn in on ourselves with plenty of self-criticisms and little self-compassion. 

So how can we move forward to greater self-acceptance and access to joy?

You’re doing the right thing by reading this and recognising your sources of doubt or the impact of self-doubt in the big things, like in your relationship, your career or your wellbeing, or the small stuff, like your choice of sandwich filling or which socks to wear.

REd headed woman staring into the distance through a window with her head in her hands

And keep tracking your doubt generators. Ask yourself:

  1. 1. What triggers them? 
  2. 2. What meaning am I creating?
  3. 3. What evidence do I have to support that meaning?
  4. 4. How does that make me feel and want to act?
  5. 5. Do I wish to continue to hold onto that meaning?

If it is a “heck, no” then ask yourself

  1. 1. What else could I choose to interpret that trigger as meaning?
  2. 2. Now how do I feel?
  3. 3. And what actions can I now take?

If it’s a “yes, I do”, well that’s for another blog.

This is the approach I teach my clients – we break the cycle of creation and build greater self-knowledge, self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Black lady with gorgeous curls, biting her thumb, looking anxious about something on her mind

I’d love to say that a couple of time “around the track” and you’ll be marathon ready. I’ve used this technique on and off for several years personally and with clients – and it is still one that I frequently use as part of my journaling and with my coach. 

It leads us to explore and discover more of ourselves. It demonstrates to us our unlimited resourcefulness to solve our dilemmas. It creates a path to new opportunities and actions. It creates the motivation towards things we value and need.

It creates a more realistic view of our strengths as well as the inner satisfaction in our actions and efforts. Or in other words, greater self-acceptance.

I’m about to beta test a new coaching programme, who’s foundations are in creating self-acceptance through deeper self-connection, leading to self-trust and clarity in where you want your life, career, leadership and wellbeing to take you. If you’d like to be a pilot participant, let me know by dropping me an email: sarae@saraepratt.com