Treatment of poor self-image and self-esteem by a psychologist in Oslo

I doubt myself. How to be free from the shackles of self-doubt.

Self-doubt affects and paralyzes us in ways we both see and do not see.

Do you notice that you are a little stuck? That life has become a bit tame, or that you have more negative thoughts about yourself, some low self-esteem? Maybe more difficult to deal with challenges at home or at work? Then an underlying self-doubt can be an underlying cause.

When self-doubt takes over, when we are unnecessarily uncertain about our abilities or competence, it affects how we feel and perform. When we know more about how doubt affects us, we also know how to free ourselves from it.

The doubt has come true

Do you sometimes think that "it's just the way it is", "I can not do it", "I need help with this", or do you ever say "do not know" a little quickly without thinking about the problem?

The statements may have a degree of truth in them, but it can also be an expression of a self-doubt that amputates and sabotages your life in secret. Self-doubt has disguised itself here, by becoming a part of how you experience yourself, others and the world around you.

The invisible doubt deceives you, while at the same time believing that it helps you. Its logic is that you can not stand a life as with more open doors, with greater freedom and opportunities. 

The reason is that such a life also includes several potential frustrations, disappointments and adversity. Doubt reduces whether you end up in such situations.

The result can be that you miss out on challenges. You may experience being a little stuck and that all weekdays will be the same. If life meets you with loss and adversity, then you can also experience an increased degree of anxiety, brooding and worry. 

This is because the invisible doubt undermines our ability to handle change. We think we are not able to deal with what has happened, which makes us overwhelmed and anxious. 

At the same time, doubt has also stolen from us development opportunities, which means that we do not seek new challenges and that life when it arises becomes overwhelming. 

Others doubt me

Self-doubt can also attack you from the outside, by placing it in other people around you. 

You experience that, for example, friends, family or colleagues doubt you, and your thoughts take the form of: "Should YOU really do that?", "What do YOU have to offer?"; "You're that kind of person"? 

The self-doubt that has its real origin inside you, transports itself here to others. You can conclude that they are probably right, and are chained in your life. 

We lose touch with our own intuition and power. We do not like to try to disprove our thoughts and rather find ourselves comfortable with the information we think we obtain from others.

Even if you see the doubt, it is also a hidden actor here, as the real origin is in yourself.

So even though the doubt apparently comes from outside, the experience of what others think is something that often comes from within. 

I doubt myself

Self-doubt does not always disguise itself as external reality. You can also be aware of your self-doubt, that it is a companion that you notice has been and is present in your life.

Like habits and other companions in life, it is sometimes difficult to let go. You notice that it costs you and keeps a new way of being in life away. At the same time, you also see what the contribution of doubt to yourself is.

 An expression of this may be that you think "if I do not doubt myself, then something terrible can happen", "if I do not doubt I do not perform as well", "if I do not doubt then others will make fun of me ». 

In other words, we are a bit stranded - we are a bit hesitant and experience that doubt has a helpful benefit.

Here the doubter often gets help from his "companions", avoidance and passivity. - One can become a little evasive and waiting, which unfortunately can lead to a bit of a standstill and that we do not get anywhere. 

I do not want to doubt myself

You may also have gotten to the point where you notice that doubt takes over inside, you see how it has limited your life and you feel that you do not want it that way anymore.

If you are here, a lot is happening inside you. This is because you end up more in a battle between the healthy part of you, the part that wants to emerge with needs, desires and courage, that will live its life free from the shackles of doubt; while the doubting part does not want to lose the grip. It constantly returns with the goal of inhibiting us and puts obstacles in the way, with gradually increasing strength as it is challenged.

This fight on the inside is about the doubt having lost its grip. This can be intense - emotions can come to the surface, which sometimes becomes overwhelming. If you feel you are more here, then you are probably on your way. Here are also some thoughts on how to continue the process, as well as how we work with self-doubt in therapy. 

Here you can read more about therapy at Psykologvirke.

How can we doubt ourselves less? 

If you experience yourself as a victim of your own self-doubt, then the first step is to get to know your own self-doubt. Instead of forcing it away, get to know it. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. 

In this familiar phase, it is a matter of noticing in what way the doubt operates. Could it be that some of the operation of doubt is hidden from you - do friends of yours say that you should doubt yourself less? 

The next step is to register when the doubt arises for this will give you clues about the origin and mission of the doubt. Notice when the doubt becomes more intense - when you notice that you are writing yourself off, when you are sure that others do not believe in you. 

Once you have noticed this - ask yourself the question "what if the doubt is not right now" and "what can I do about my own self-doubt now?" What if it's not true that others doubt me? What if I do not doubt myself, what happens then? 

If the doubt goes away, something happens, but a few different things can happen. Here, your mission is to notice what is happening instead of the doubt. 

Such a process of change also entails a necessary mourning process. Grief often brings with it an understanding of the mission of doubt, as well as a processing of the ravages of doubt in the past, lost life opportunities, but also a preparation for a future, where doubt is not allowed to work in secret.

These shifts and changes can be somewhat overwhelming to deal with on your own. It can therefore also be useful to work with this in therapy for a period of time.

How do we work with self-doubt in therapy.

Psychologists train to uncover self-doubt. Here, several therapies can be helpful if it is ISTDP, emotion-focused therapy or others. When we explore your difficulties, a problematic doubt will be revealed. Doubt comes from the hidden darkness, so we help you light up the doubt with you, so that we can learn about your doubts together.

Doubt can take all forms as shown above: 

When the doubt is in the light and as it lets go a little, we observe with you what changes occur. Grief over the lost opportunities of the past is replaced by a shift inside. Then a healing power emerges in you, with motivation for a different future.

There is something in you that will no longer doubt and that will live a life with all possibilities. The healing mechanism brings unconscious emotions that contain more information about the origin of the doubt.

At the same time, the second part, the one who wants to keep these feelings in check, will also grow stronger. This can result in us experiencing more anxiety and stress. We may feel slack and nauseous and we lose focus a little easier. 

The more unhealthy part can also take other measures when the doubt fails. It activates other "helpers" who, for example, take the form of taking more distance, becoming more self-critical or feeling more tired.

In therapy, we as psychologists will be with you from moment-to-moment in these shifts. We regulate anxiety when it comes and train together to endure the emotions. When the doubt tries to make a comeback or any of the doubt's allies come on the scene, we are vigilant with you to deal with them.  

When doubt lets go

Eventually the doubt gives way and you can live life with a new degree of freedom, where you let yourself be more informed about what you want and want, what your values are and how you want to contribute to others around you. 

This can also be somewhat confrontational - when the doubt does not give you a tunnel view of your own possibilities in the world, the possibilities can be overwhelming. 

But breathe - you have plenty of time and enjoy every day that comes, enjoy the gift that life is, and create a life that you want to live based on this. 

Eventually, the doubt becomes a guest who comes to visit, but who no longer takes control of your home. 

When you are in the driver's seat, you can welcome the doubt, but still take control and seize the opportunities that are there, and create a life that you want to have.