How To Overcome Self-Doubt And Succeed

Medically reviewed by Arianna Williams, LPC, CCTP
Updated March 13, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Most of us experience self-doubt at times—it’s a normal reaction that often arises out of our desire to accomplish our goals and excel in life. You may want to succeed so badly that you place high expectations on yourself, or you may have experienced a failure that caused you to believe that future endeavors will end the same way, despite evidence to the contrary. 

A lack of belief in yourself can cause you to eschew important opportunities, impact your relationships, and affect your mental health. But it is also something that can be addressed and kept in check. Below we’re going to discuss the effects of self-doubt and how you can avoid them so that you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Online therapy can help you value yourself and grow

The effects of self-doubt

If you are living with excessive self-doubt, you may be inadvertently disrupting opportunities that come your way. When you lack confidence and/or don't trust your own abilities, it can be difficult to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks. This can lead to not pursuing avenues that might help you grow and improve your quality of life. Because of this, people struggling with self-doubt often feel stuck. They might not like the situation they are in, but they don't trust themselves enough to try something new.

Self-doubt can also cause an individual to feel that they don’t deserve affection or admiration from others, which may lead to trouble developing healthy relationships.

A lack of self-confidence can impact an individual’s career, academic success, and even their physical health. These feelings may also be a sign of a mental health condition like anxiety or depression. However, it is possible to work through feelings of self-doubt, develop a strong sense of self-worth, and live a productive, fulfilling life.

How to overcome self-doubt

The following tips can help you find the roots of your self-doubt, build confidence in your abilities, and value yourself more highly. 

Find someone to talk to

Often, the first step in overcoming self-doubt is expressing your feelings so that you can better understand and address them. Talking with a friend, family, or mental health professional can help you get to the root of your concerns and start to improve your self-esteem. Another person may have a unique, unbiased perspective of your abilities that you hadn’t considered. For example, they could help you realize that your lack of faith in your abilities comes from childhood insecurities that are still affecting you; or they could simply help you see your value by pointing out your proficiencies and positive qualities. Talking to someone can help you start to believe in and trust yourself.


Spend time with people who value you

Try to surround yourself with people who have a positive mindset and want to see you succeed. Being around people who may have a negative outlook on life can cause you to feel worse about yourself. Instead, try to spend time with people who lift you up and see the best in you. 

Think about how you feel after spending time with certain people in your life. Are you happy, motivated, optimistic after interacting with them? Or are you unsure of yourself, anxious, or pessimistic? If there are people in your life who cause you to feel self-doubt, consider setting boundaries or limiting the time you spend with them. You deserve to have healthy, positive relationships that build your self-esteem. 

Let go of the past

Do you feel strong self-doubt because you feel that you failed in the past? You are not alone. It can be hard to move forward in life after we tried something that did not work. However, if you look at the most successful people in the world, you will see that there is often a long list of failures in their past. Often, though, their confidence in themselves allowed them to keep going and helped them succeed in future endeavors.

Failure can be a learning opportunity that allows you to make changes and excel the next time around. Remember that mistakes are a normal part of the growth process, and they are not necessarily indicative of your skills. Try to forgive yourself, let go of the past, and move forward with a positive mindset.

Start tracking your success 

Taking note of your achievements every day can help you increase your confidence. Consider writing down three successes that you had during the day each night before bed. They don't need to be major milestones—just anything that improved your life, helped you take the next step in your pursuits, or made you proud of yourself. 

Your daily successes could be as simple as preparing dinner for your family or exercising, or as significant as completing an important project at work or paying off your student loan debt. As you continue this practice, it will likely become easier for you to recognize your successes, which can help you build self-assurance and decrease self-doubt. 

Avoid comparing yourself to others

If you experience self-doubt, you may feel like others are judging you. We tend to think that people care about what we are doing far more than they actually do. In reality, people are often so concerned with their own lives that they aren't paying much attention to what you are doing.

Part of increasing your self-confidence is trusting yourself enough to not worry about what others are thinking. If you know that you’re on the right path, the opinions of others need not dissuade you from doing what you know is best. You can give yourself all of the validation you need when it comes to your ideas and decisions.

Every person has different skills and talents. Doubting your abilities based on how they compare to the abilities of others can be counterproductive. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others and start acknowledging what your skills are. One way of doing this is to make a list of your positive qualities and aptitudes. Once you’ve done this, consider working on maximizing the utility of those things that make you unique. Developing your talents and skills can help you limit worry regarding perceived deficiencies. 

Instead of comparing yourself to friends, coworkers, or families, it can help to view them as a source of inspiration. For example, if you admire the achievements of a colleague, consider talking to them about how they got to where they are and how you can do the same. 

Online therapy can help you value yourself and grow

Improving self-confidence with online therapy

A growing body of evidence suggests that online therapy is an effective method of addressing concerns like self-doubt. For example, in a study of almost 300 participants, researchers examined the benefits of online therapy when it comes to managing feelings of low self-esteem related to depression. The results show that participants experienced significant improvements in feelings of self-esteem, empowerment, and overall quality of life six months after the end of treatment.   

Online therapy is a convenient form of mental health care that can help you build self-esteem and grow. When self-doubt is a concern, it may be difficult to make it to a therapist’s office. With an online therapy platform like BetterHelp, you can participate in therapy from the comfort of home, through video call, voice call, or in-app messaging. In addition, online therapy offers affordable pricing because online therapists don’t have to pay for costs like renting an office. BetterHelp’s licensed therapists have helped people build self-confidence and thrive. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar concerns.

Therapist reviews

“I’ve only been working with Dr. Clarke a few weeks but I’ve really been enjoying the process. She is very encouraging during each section and I know she’s actually listening to what I’m saying. I would very much recommend Dr. Clarke especially if you’re dealing with anxiety, self-esteem/-confidence issues and/or depression.”

“I have been seeing Amanda for 6 months and she has been able to get to the heart of a lot of things I did t even recognize. She was able to decode the language I was using about myself to help me see what is really happening. She is always insightful and incisive, asking the questions that are helping to put me on the path to a better self-image and understanding of myself and my motivations and values. I can't recommend Amanda highly enough.”


Self-doubt can be difficult to experience, potentially limiting your options in life and causing you to harbor negative feelings toward yourself. But it can also be kept in check when you know your worth and focus on what you bring to the table. If you’d like help decreasing feelings of self-doubt, consider reaching out to a licensed therapist online. With the right approach, you can build your self-confidence, improve your mental health, and flourish.
You are deserving of positive self-esteem
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