Is it normal to feel that everything you done is wrong and can never be confident even after getting good feedbacks and constantly telling myself that i am good enough? Why do i always doubt myself and feel so worthless
Hi @user140, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been feeling this way. I would like to thank you for mustering the courage to come forward and share this with me. I imagine it must be very frustrating and tiring to be in your position and to be feeling this way frequently.
I think we’ve all probably experienced self-doubt at some points in our lives – we naturally wonder if we are doing well enough, or if we are capable of meeting certain expectations that may be tied to responsibilities entrusted to us. To some extent, a certain level of self-doubt may even be constructive as it indicates that we understand what has to be improved on in order to do a better job. Experiencing a persistent sense of self-doubt, on the other hand, can end up significantly affecting your life in an adverse manner over the long-term.
I wonder if you’ve heard of the term imposter syndrome? Imposter syndrome is an internal psychological experience in which one believes that they are not as competent as others perceive them to be. This may manifest in persistent self-doubt, even in areas where you may excel. You may read more about this here (1). If this sounds relatable to you, then here are a couple of things that we could do:
1. Examine your thought processes.
To start off, consider thinking about whether there are specific kinds of situations that trigger such self-critical thoughts. You could record these situations down, along with the automatic thoughts that appear when such situations take place. Subsequently, we could evaluate these thoughts by asking ourselves if it makes sense for us to believe these thoughts. We could then work on replacing these negative automatic thoughts with a more rational, balanced thought. Here is a thought record sheet which includes guiding questions for you to refer to as you try this out (2).
Often, the process of overcoming self-doubt may involve concerted efforts to replace the negative thoughts that may automatically appear with positive affirmations, like you mentioned you’ve been doing by telling yourself that you are good enough – so you are on the right track! Don’t be too discouraged if it doesn’t make you feel uplifted immediately. It takes time as well as practice to fully internalise new perspectives, and sometimes we may need reminders along the way as well. You could refer to your thought record sheet in the future as a self-reminder.
2. Be mindful of the way you speak to yourself, and practice self-compassion.
What do you say to yourself whenever you happen to make a mistake? If the persistent sense of self-doubt that you experience is accompanied by extremely high expectations of yourself, then you may also have the tendency to agonize over small mistakes in your work. Sometimes, we doubt our own abilities because we don’t want to leave any room for mistakes. However, at this point, I’d like to remind you that we are all human, and we are all prone to making mistakes along the way. Mistakes are bound to happen at some point, but it is entirely up to us how we’d like to react to them. Instead of allowing these mistakes to paralyze us, try using them as opportunities to learn. Whenever you feel yourself becoming self-critical, you could also try asking yourself what you would say to a friend in a similar position. Remember that you are always your own worst critic. You may like to refer to this post (3) to learn more about how to be more compassionate towards yourself.
3. Identify values that are meaningful to you.
Consider taking a moment to clarify your values and what matters most to you. Bear in mind that values should be continuous (that is, unlike goals, they cannot be completed), action-oriented rather than outcome-oriented, and focused on yourself. An example of a value is “I want to treat others with respect”. When we are cognizant of the values that we stand for and the things that matter most to us, we can then focus on working towards aligning ourselves with these values. As we live trying to align ourselves to our values, making mistakes or being criticised from others will naturally become less consequential in the way we perceive ourselves. What are the values that matter to you? You could use this worksheet to help you explore this (4).
Lastly, if the sense of self-doubt persists to the extent that it makes it difficult for you to function in your daily life, I would urge you to seek Professional help. You could approach your school counsellor or refer to this page for a list of services you could reach out to (5).
I’ve linked the resources mentioned below, in hopes that you’ll be able to find something that would benefit you. It’s a journey, but it will be worth it! Feel free to check in again if you have any follow-up questions. I wish you all the best.
(1) Imposter Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, and Coping
(3) Forgiveness - #2 by YuanYang
(5) Get Help Now Page - let’s talk
Hi @YuanYang, thanks for the reply. I am still working on it, it still happens from time to time especially during submissions period but I am trying to deal with it. I have another question, is it normal to be even doubting if your friends are real friends? Often times when I am with my friends in real life, its just normal interactions but when i text them but never reply, I feel that they find me annoying. I would look for them when i have problems but they have other friends that they look for when they have troubles. Am I thinking too much? They are very important to me but I feel that I am not that important to them.
Hi! Thank you so much for building the courage and taking the time to share your struggles!
IMO it’s normal and alright for people to have moments where they doubt themselves but it is possible to have those thoughts excessively. So I think it’s great that you’re able to notice that maybe it’s too much. I think now you can try and ask yourself where you got this idea that you are lacking in some way? [Was it that someone told you that you are? Was it that you observed by comparing yourself with your peers? Or maybe it’s that you have high expectations of yourself and you haven’t been meeting them?]
I think it would be great if you remind yourself that it’s alright not to be perfect or to make mistakes or if you are falling behind others, you learn at your own pace and there’s no need to be so harsh on yourself while you’re still learning. Just because you haven’t met your goal doesn’t mean you are worthless or that you aren’t enough, you have your own strengths and eventually you will also reach your goal so take your time!
Ah BUT I’m not a professional so I may be wrong but I’m glad if I helped you in any way