Build up your self-trust
Second-guessing is often caused by not trusting ourselves. Self-doubt can happen as a result of critical parents, perfectionist tendencies, low self-confidence or pessimistic thinking.
“When you are low in confidence,” says positive psychology expert Caroline Miller, “research shows that you are more likely to doubt your perceptions and judgment, and make you feel that you need the approval of others. This behavior can lead to depression, anxiety and procrastination.” (Caroline’s upcoming book Authentic Grit looks closely at this phonemenon and many others affecting women and power.)
“Lacking confidence in our judgments indicates a feeling that the world is out of control and that you don’t have the ability to ground yourself with your own positive choices, which is an indicator of pessimistic thinking,” Caroline explains.
Pat Pearson, the author of Stop Self-Sabotage, says we torment ourselves with self-doubt because we are mirroring the people we grew up with, but we can change if we shift from negative to positive thinking.
Here are six expert tips on how we can end the self-torment of second-guessing.
1. Notice and replace
“The first step is to notice your negative thoughts and then intentionally intervene with a better thought,” Pat says. “When you tell yourself, ‘I will be fine,’ your mind doesn’t believe it, so instead, start a sentence with ‘I choose’ and say something you can believe. For example, say ‘I choose to do everything in my power to create a positive outcome.’”