How to not be your biggest enemy: Overcoming self-doubt

Camille Birdsong | Staff Writer

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Bruce Mars | Pexels

Self-doubt is a lack of faith in oneself, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Quite frankly, that is something that college students deal with on a daily basis.

No matter one’s classification or major, many students find themselves in those moments of worry or self-doubt.

“One thing I doubt about myself is second-guessing myself,” said Toria Graham, a Hampton University sophomore business management major.

“In math especially, I’ve always struggled with thinking I was never right and automatically assumed what I worked out was wrong. My teacher would tell me that what I put down the first time was actually right, but I didn’t believe in my abilities.”

Sometimes self-doubt is wondering if you are good enough for a certain role or worrying you won’t pass a test.

“I doubted my ability to perform exceptionally well on exams,” said Kara Cunningham, a sophomore finance major and leadership studies minor.

Self-doubt can lead to anxiety and depression, according to an article by The Huffington Post. This can lead to serious physical ailments such as weight gain, high blood pressure, chronic fatigue and increased mortality rates for those with heart disease.

For some students, self-doubt may be a feeling of having to go above and beyond. Many people feel that their best will never be enough, and they have to push themselves.

“Although I was never diagnosed with anxiety,” Cunningham said, “I usually always got anxious the night before I took my exams. It was always the feeling of ‘I have to do more than pass, I need to get an A or above.’ This feeling was followed by my headaches and the inability to focus on studying. My mind would wander to my Spotify playlist, outfit for the next day, or what product I should lay my edges down with.”

How can someone overcome self-doubt? Alex Malley, bestselling author of The Naked CEO, suggested in a Forbes interview that the key was countering self-doubt with self-confidence.

According to Malley, “The only way to build self-confidence is to take a risk and take action despite your fear of failure, messing up or embarrassment. If things work out, then you now know you can do more than you think. If things don’t work out, you now know that you can handle more than you think. Either way, you’re better off.”

Self-confidence is a fancy way of saying “believe in yourself.” Understand that doubt is a part of being human, find a circle of believers and make your mission greater than your fear.

“I overcame my self-doubt by believing in my intelligence and thatI was capable of mastering the material. This not only boosted my confidence but ultimately ended up being the reason I excelled,” Graham said. “As a student, I think it’s important to know you are smart and not to go in feeling defeated. You have to know that anything is possible if you believe!”


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