Self-doubt is the ultimate self-betrayal because YOU are the one telling yourself that you CAN'T or SHOULDN'T do what you WANT to do! Self-doubt is the most damaging and self-defeating behavior there is because it is criticism that comes from within.

Unfortunately, we mask this criticizing self-saboteur by telling ourselves that it is really our friends, family, coworkers and/or community members who will disapprove of us if we set out to accomplish our desired goals, but the sad truth is... YOU are the one telling yourself you can't or shouldn't do what you want to do.

In your defense, you should know that you were PROGRAMMED to doubt yourself. When we were children, well-meaning parents, teachers, minister, and other adults taught us to question what others would think of our behaviors. These well-meaning adults taught us that their opinion mattered more than our own.

And they were right to do that because as children we need the guidance of adults who understand the consequences of our behaviors. The unfortunate part is that many of these adults controlled our behaviors using self-esteem damaging tactics because they didn't know how to be more nurturing and caring. We carry our damaged self-esteem into our adulthood because there seems to never be a point at which these adults say, "OK, you're ready! NOW it is OK for you to value your own opinion about yourself above the opinions of others!" So we are left with the constant need and desire for validation from those around us. What's worse is that many of us spend our lives NOT doing what we really want to do because we inwardly fear what others will think of us.
Self-doubt is defined in the dictionary as, "a lack of faith or confidence in oneself." It sounds so simple, but unfortunately, one who is plagued with self-doubt has a carefully structured web of thoughts and feelings about him or herself that creates sound justification for this "lack of faith or confidence."

You don't have to live with self-doubt! It is SELF-manufactured and it can be SELF-extracted. You should always question your inner doubts. If you have a desire to do something, you must assume that – somewhere inside yourself – is a part of you that knows you could and should accomplish your desired goal.

What happens when we experience self-doubt?

Self-doubt creates an inner tug-of-war between wanting to do something and then, almost simultaneously, feeling like you can't or shouldn't do it. You feel excited and motivated and then suddenly you feel immobilized and defeated. It causes YOU to stop YOURSELF from doing something you actually WANT to do.

Self-doubt is the act of criticizing yourself before anyone else has the chance. It is the ultimate betrayal! YOU are telling yourself you are not worthy of the success you seek. It is bad enough when the people you love and respect tell you that you are not worthy or capable of the success you seek, but it is the ultimate show-stopper when you say those things to yourself.

If you grew up being "programmed" to doubt yourself you most likely are so very skilled at sabotaging yourself before you even get started, that you aren't even aware that you are the one stopping yourself. You may mask it by telling yourself that "other" people would disapprove of your behavior, but the fact is... YOU are the one who stopped you from moving toward your success before they ever even had a chance to try to stop you!

To Break Free from the Self-Sabotage Behavior of Self-Doubt, you must become aware of the inner tug-of-war! This is an unmistakable signal that you have a desire to do something that is in conflict with your inner programming. (It is NOT a signal that you should NOT do what you want to do. It is merely a signal that you have old programming that is out of alignment with your adult goals and behaviors.)
If you experience the self-sabotage behavior of self-doubt and it prevents, stalls or delays your journey toward the success and happiness you desire you can begin making changes by using the basic rules of "Stop, Look and Listen."
STOP: Stop fighting the inner battle. It's a fact that "What you resist will persist." So stop resisting the struggle and stay present to what's going on inside. Pay close attention to what is going on inside of you that triggers, inflates, and prolongs your inner feelings of self-doubt.
LOOK: Look for the common threads. Perhaps you feel self-doubt when you are in certain situations or with certain people. Make a list of the times when you have felt self-doubt and try to recall what was going on just before you began feeling self-doubt. Did you see yourself failing? Did you feel like someone else would disapprove? Remember, YOU are the consistent denominator in each situation, so you must be prepared to take responsibility for the role you and your inner beliefs played in creating self-doubt. Consider that self-doubt is merely a programmed response that – once you uncover the triggers – you can change it into a healthier, more effective response.
LISTEN: Listen to the inner dialog associated with the inner conflict. What is it trying to tell you? What does it want you to know? What is it afraid of? Whose voice is it? Is it you telling yourself something negative or is it someone else’s words and voice that are running as a recording in your head?
Use the information you gather to begin locating the true intentions of your feelings of self-doubt. As you uncover the intentions, you can begin shifting your inner beliefs to create new, positive beliefs that direct you toward confidence in yourself. You CAN live the life you dream of living!

If you feel that you need help getting to the old programming and shifting to more supportive beliefs you should consider my SuccessEsteem Coaching program and the step-by-step processes in the Break Free From Self-Sabotage Behavior Self-Guided Workshop. We can help you to uncover the inner programming that is creating your self-doubt and help you to transition the underlying positive intentions into healthier, more effective programming. And WOW... what a great experience it is when you Break Free from the Self-Sabotage Behavior of Self-Doubt!!! Check us out at

LifeWorks Training & Development

Author's Bio: 

Troyann Williams is a highly renowned SuccessEsteem Coach. She’s been helping people Break Free from Self-Sabotage Behaviors since 1985. Troyann is a "been-there, done-that, knows what she's talking about" success coach!  For FREE INFORMATION on the true nature of self sabotage behavior and to learn about a step-by-step process for Breaking Free from Self-Sabotage Behaviors, go now to ==>
Copyright 2009. This article is reproducible in full only, including website address.

Troyann Williams | LifeWorks Training & Development
PO Box 10008 | Greensboro, NC 27404
Phone: 336-855-5433