Ways to deal with self-doubt and criticism

The most severe critic one can have is their own self. Throughout our lives, there are instances where we doubt ourselves immensely. For many, this occurs during the teenage years when an individual is confused about all the changes taking place all around them and is looking to find ways to cope.

For others, this self-doubt may plague them even beyond the teenage years, often worsened with anxiety or depression. Low self-esteem could also result from exposure to toxic people around us who belittle us and our actions.

What is self-doubt?

At times, re-evaluating your decisions and actions is necessary, making sure you correct any behaviours that are wrong in whatever way and can affect you and those around you negatively. However, criticising yourself must end somewhere and knowing where the line needs to be drawn is essential. Learn how to identify when your self-doubt has reached toxic levels – some of the behaviours discussed below point towards such a state.

Blaming yourself for everything

If you feel like every problem around you is directly your fault, there are chances you are being too hard on yourself. Even feeling like a mistake on your part is an extremely big deal when everyone around you is telling you it isn’t, means your inner critic is being too harsh.

Thinking you will never achieve what you want

Those suffering from severe self-doubt often tend to think they will never get what they want. Because of this feeling, they tend to put in a smaller amount of effort or get demotivated easily, something which influences their lives in a negative way.

Feeling like someone else is better than you

This is an especially toxic trait and needs to be gotten rid of as soon as you realise you possess it. If you are constantly comparing yourself to a friend, a sibling or a colleague, know that something needs to be done to counter such feelings.

How do you help yourself?

The first step in changing your life is realising that there is a need for change. Once that has been established, you can start moving forward and actually taking steps to bring about that change.

Incorporating these actions into your life will definitely help you deal with low self-esteem and self-doubt and improve your quality of life by a great deal.

Learn to ignore the critic

This basic step may be a tough one to take but once you have mastered this, the road ahead becomes significantly easier. When your mind starts telling you why you will fail or why you’re not good enough, stop before you lose control of your thoughts. Try and distract yourself by watching a movie, reading, immersing yourself in work, or any other activity that will keep you busy. This way, you won’t have time for all the unnecessary and negative thoughts and they won’t slow you down.


When you’re feeling extremely low because of self-doubt, take a step back and think. In the past, have things actually ever been as bad as you thought they were going to be? The answer will likely be in the negative, confirming that you are overthinking and there is little truth in your negative assumptions and thoughts. On the contrary, you can also think of all the times you succeeded so that you can know that you are worthy and capable enough to achieve everything you want.

Once you do this, you’ll realise you aren’t the failure you’ve made yourself out to be.

Start writing things down

A method of dealing with excessive self-doubt or negative thinking is by keeping a journal. In this journal, you can write down the negative thoughts you have and next to them, you can write counter-arguments. When you take out the time to do this, you will have answers to the negative ‘what if’s and ‘but’s that you keep thinking about. It will also allow you to tackle your fears in a systematic manner as everything will be laid out in front of you. When all your thoughts are just roaming around in your head randomly, chances are you won’t find a way to counter them.

Alternatively, keeping a journal also helps you keep track of your life. You can see your progress which encourages you to put in further effort.


One of the most foolproof ways of feeling better about yourself is to talk to someone. This could be a parent, sibling, friend, partner or colleague. When you voice your fears and concerns to someone, they will have counter-arguments which will give you some perspective. Suddenly, the problems which seemed enormous and unsolvable will become quantifiable and you will be able to find solutions to them.

Seeking professional help is also an option which is always available to you. If you feel like you don’t want to talk to someone you know, go to a professional -they will have the experience and skill set to give you the guidance you need.

Stop setting impossible goals

People tend to have unrealistic expectations from themselves until they realise that they cannot deliver everything they thought they could. That is when they start to get worried and doubt every decision they made in the process. To avoid this, consider what is doable and work towards that, even if it requires you to take baby steps.

And as mentioned above, it is important to not compare yourself to others. Every individual has their own personal struggles and achieves things in their own time and that is okay.

Learn from your mistakes

If you didn’t make any mistakes, you would be a robot. Realising this – knowing it beyond a shadow of a doubt – is extremely important. When you do make a mistake, try to think of what can be done the next time around to avoid it. Beating yourself up about it excessively will achieve nothing so learn to better yourself without the unnecessary mental torture.

Putting these steps into action may difficult at first because change is not easy but you must start somewhere. Once you begin to move in the right direction, you will eventually learn to keep your inner critic in check and lead a healthy, positive life.



Dawn Cady


Dawn Cady is Australia’s premiere transformation & pain management coach and winner of multiple awards for her groundbreaking work. The Neural Alignment Method®  is Dawn’s remarkable brainchild, bringing together the world’s best healing and mindset techniques. With unique expertise and passion, she has helped countless others to achieve real, tangible success, along with a renewed enjoyment and satisfaction in all areas of life.