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The Surprising Cause of Self Doubt



Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

You’ve likely never lost sleep thinking about how capable or awesome you are. Self-doubt is formed from those thoughts that keep you up at night. What causes this pain-in-your-ass thinking pattern, though? Surely you’d rather not constantly doubt your own worth, your own mind, and your own abilities. What creates this gnarly beast and how do we reel it in?

Self-doubt is formed from a frozen conclusion you made at some point in your life. In a nutshell, belief forms self-doubt. O.k. We can all go home now!

But really, you formed these beliefs when you were much younger, and you had much less power to affect change. Because the emotional self doesn’t experience time, that belief becomes frozen – still affecting you now, even if someone said or did something unkind to you decades ago.

Maybe you lived in a family that doubted your intelligence, or beauty, or innate worth. Maybe the world re-infected you with low self-worth because you then acted in ways to support those erroneous assumptions of your closest family members.

It doesn’t really matter who got the ball rolling. The fact is it can feel like trying to push a boulder up a steep driveway once you start to believe something different about yourself.

Fascinatingly, emotional abuse – those unkind words or subtle looks of disdain can be much more damaging to long-term self-esteem and contribute to the formation of self-doubt than even physical abuse. This is because we can think back on physical abuse and know very clearly that it was wrong. It is very tangible, and therefore often easier to heal from. It is the insipid, quiet kind of underhanded compliment or sly instigation of fear, often subconsciously used by our family members and peers when we are young and impressionable, that sticks with us.

Then, when we’re much older, and perfectly capable of forming our own opinions and beliefs – even about ourselves – we find we are still thinking with the minds of our abusers. It’s the wagging finger which forms our self-opinion, the voice of the ego (the father of all lies) which is creating our reality, not the still, small voice of the Divine. That voice was cut off and stifled long ago.

Self-doubt causes us to be small. It impedes our ability to have fulfilling relationships, succeed in business, and even experience true health and happiness.


It creates toxic shame. We end up acting out the abuse we saw as young, evolving souls, on ourselves.

Here’s the beautiful thing about recovering from self-doubt, though. All you have to do is change your beliefs. You are already perfect, even in your imperfection. You no longer need to shrivel up inside yourself, hiding your true light so that others don’t feel overwhelmed by your Divinity. That’s their bag of lies – not yours.

So how do you heal from self-doubt?

  1. Notice any destructive patterns you engage in and know that this is internalized abuse. You are repeating the pattern of your abusers, only now you do the work for them. Sadly, they learned the same pattern from their abusers. It only stops when you see the root cause of your actions.
  2. If your creativity is cut off, you are likely suffering from self-doubt. The writer Sylvia Plath would attest to this fact, as would thousands of artists, writers, and generally-creative folks. Healing self-doubt reignites your creative abilities.
  3. Decide right now that you will no longer abuse yourself with hateful inner-talk. This inner disdain leads to action. The actions you take will change when the inner dialogue – the beliefs you have about yourself change.
  4. If traditional psychotherapy doesn’t work for you. Talk to a friend. Find a shaman. Do some soul work, but know that the Still Small Voice is the Voice of the Divine, always at the ready to heal your pain.
  5. Learn more about toxic shame. It’s a term because it is very real. It is also energetically lower than even the emotional vibrations of hatred and anger, so it must be dealt with for your energetic body to heal. It causes us to literally “freeze” due to a fight-or-flight response, making it impossible for us to realize our dreams. Only when it is healed, can we then move forward in life.
  6. Absolutely refuse to be around people who feed your self-doubt. Once you start to love yourself and adopt new beliefs you will naturally attract supportive, loving people, but in the meantime, detox yourself from people who continuously cause you to feel “less-than.”

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