How To Defeat Self-Doubt

‘It takes 1,000 ‘atta boys’ to erase one ‘you’re an idiot.’~Dr. Phil.

Self-Doubtis the mentality of critiquing and questioning your potential, achievements, goals, purpose, and drive. Also, it is a lack of faith in self-confidence and abilities.

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Table of Contents

Causes of Self-Doubt

Childhood & Upbringing

Lack of encouragement and support from parents, friends, or family.

Negative Speech

Being told by others you are not good enough, you are worthless; you have no skills, talents, or abilities.

Your Internal Dialogue

What you tell yourself daily. Repeating thoughts of self- sabotage.

Past Mistakes & Failures

Dwelling on your past mistakes and failures instead of accepting and learning from them.

Lack of Self Confidence

Saying; “I can’t do that! I’m not good enough.”

Comparing Yourself to Others

Saying; “She’s so much prettier than I am. “He has more to offer than me.”

Childhood & Upbringing

Some refuse to believe that your childhood could have a deep impact on your adulthood. However, the statistics are astonishing.

A study published in Child Development 2014 revealed how valuable emotional support affects a child’s development from the early age of three to three and a half. The lack of this support discovered how it affects a child’s education, social life and romantic relationships even well into adulthood.

The Bible talks about how parents should raise their children.

Ephesians 6:4

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eph 6:4).

Proverbs 22:6

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 22:6).

I am not a firm believer that all problems in adolescents and adults stem from their parents. However, I believe that how parents raise, talk, discipline, and guide their children has a great impact on their childhood development and self-worth.

If a parent speaks negativity over their child, it can create a sense of self-doubt, low self- worth, and a negative outlook about themselves and others. Parent and child relationship plays a crucial role in the child’s identity, worldview, and adult development.

In their online article, (Sexy Dolls, Sexy Grade-Schoolers? Media & Maternal Influences on Young Girls’ Self -Sexualization; published online 6 July 2012), Christine R. Starr and Gail M.Ferguson, explains;

“parents play a particularly salient role in their young children’s gender role development as the first same-gender models young children have” (p. 464). From birth, a child is taught how to suckle from their mothers and are either dressed in blue or pink to show the sex of the baby. Gender socialization starts early because as the baby develops they are more likely to watch the parent or adult that shares the same sex.”

As you can see from the above research and Bible verses, parents are a significant influence on their children’s developmental process.

How does this apply to one’s self-doubt?

How your parents influenced you can affect your issues with self-doubt. If your parent/parents spoke negativity over your identity or ambitions, you can have carried those damning comments into your adulthood. They can make you question yourself when you try to challenge yourself to achieve any decision-making process that could further your self-worth, self-esteem, or identity.

Examples include; Applying for a job, going to an interview, stepping outside of your comfort zone, exposing yourself to the public, feeling uncomfortable around others, reaching and achieving your goals and dreams.

As the Bible states in Ephesians 6:4;

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eph 6:4).

If a parent constantly puts down their child, it could make the child become discouraged and resent their parent or parents. This could lead the child to look at authority figures in a negative light in thinking that those in authority are demeaning, dominating, and controlling.

How do you stop the cycle?

Ephesians 6:1-3 says;

Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

“Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise:

If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Eph 6:1–3).

The first step is to remember we have a command from the Lord to honor our parents. I understand that this may not be an effortless task for everyone, depending on the parenting skills, nurture, and encouragement from certain parents. However, it is a command nonetheless.

If you are a child that has suffered at the hands of a parents’ lack of care, love, and guidance, remember the command is about honoring your parents, not agreeing with everything they did. It is about respect and honor. I am a firm believer in not liking, agreeing, or following everything that a person in authority says, suggests, or demands, but there is a level of respect and honor that comes with the position, and this is what we honor and respect. The position, not always the person.

Steps to overcome parents’ impactful self-doubting influences.

  1. Try talking with your parents.

If your parents are still alive, try sitting down and having a heart to heart with them. Explain to them how you’re feeling. This is not a time to shift blame on them or bring guilt or condemnations upon them, but this is the time to express how their negativity has affected you throughout your adolescence and adulthood.

Sadly, if your parents have departed, you can try to visit their grave and talk to them about your feelings. Keep in mind that there will not be any conversation from your parents that will transpire, but this could be a beneficial factor in you receiving some kind of healing and closure.

2. You can try to journal or write a letter to your departed parent.

This is also a very helpful tool in receiving some form of closure. It is you still expressing your thoughts and feelings and an empowering concept that your voice is still being heard and validated.

3. Last, you can role play with a pastor, parent figure, counselor, or close family member or friend.

This activity is to help you release your feelings, pains, and emotions with an individual that you can have a conversation with and could grant you some form of apologies, affirmation, or love that you did not receive, and so very much need to hear, from your departed parent.

The individual plays a stand in for your parents as you sit across from them and express your hurt, pain, resentment, or any other feelings or emotions you need to release.

You have the power in this activity. You can ask the individual to remain silent and not to offer any feedback, or you can grant them permission to interact. The choice is yours.

Negative Speech

Negative speech is another key element in self-doubt.

One of the biggest lies, I believe, we are told as a child is the proverb, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names and faces will never hurt me.” Although this proverb may hold some form of truth, and could be a statement of courage however, the long-term impact of constant insults proves otherwise.

Words carry power.

The book of Proverbs tells us,

Proverbs 15:4 Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

25:18 Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 15:4). ; Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Pr 25:18).

Once our cognitive thoughts become bombarded with negative speech, we can give it power by continuously replaying these negative thoughts through our internal dialogue. We replay these demeaning thoughts in our everyday lives before we embark on a new job adventure, obtainable goal, pursuable dream, or any other life empowering decisions.

These negative thoughts then become self-sabotaging false truths we believe and give power and life to that rob us from obtaining our true identity and reaching our full potential as the individual God created us to be.

How to Stifle Negative Speech

  1. Don’t give power to what others say about you.

The only people’s voice that should matter in your life are those that know you, love you, care about you, encourage you, and believe in you.

2. Who’s voice matters the most? God’s!

God’s voice is the most important and most influential voice in your life. Why? Because He knows you the best and always has your best interest at heart.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Je 29:11).

3. Renew your mind with positive thoughts.

Philippians 4:8-9

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Php 4:8-9)

What God says about those who believe.

I am a child of God.

John 1:12

I am a friend of Jesus.

John 15:15

My old self was crucified with Christ, and I am no longer a slave to sin.

Romans 6:6

I will not be condemned by God.

Romans 8:1

I have been accepted by Christ.

Romans 15:7

The hardening of my mind has been removed in Christ.

2 Corinthians 3:14

I am a new creature in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17

I am God’s workmanship created to produce good works.

Ephesians 2:10

God supplies all my needs.

Philippians 4:19

God loves me and has chosen me.

1 Thessalonians 1:4

Your Internal Dialogue

Believe it or not, we push the play button on our internal voice recorder every day. We’ve loaded it with recordings of disappointments from our upbringing, negative speech from others, our past mistakes and failures, lack of self-confidence, and comparing ourselves to others.

All the negativity we have collected from others through our life we repeat before every decision, opportunity, goal, and dream we set out to achieve. We give them power! We replay them in our internal dialogue daily. Sadly, at times, we can still hear the voice of the individuals who spoke those destructive words over us.

Our mind is a battleground for our true identity. If we begin to believe all the negative speech that has been spoken over us, and we give them power by cultivating and nurturing them with self-doubt and self-sabotage, we will sacrifice our true identity, succumb to the lies, and lose the battle; losing ourselves in the fight.

Proverbs 23:7

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:

The Holy Bible: King James Version (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Pr 23:7). (2009). Logos Research Systems, Inc.

How to Press Stop on Your Internal Dialogue

  1. Renew your mind.

You must renew your mind with true, encouraging, and empowering thoughts of who God says you are.

Remember, God created you for so much more!

What others have said over you or labeled you do not define who you are. God is the ultimate authority of your true identity. Why? Because He is the one who formed you.

Psalms 139:14-18

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as they wove together methey wove together me in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.

They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 139:14–18).

2. Bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Rip off the labels others have placed on you and you have given power to.

Bring every negative thought to the truth of what God says about you. (link to table below)

2 Corinthians 10:5

casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

The New King James Version (2 Co 10:5). (1982). Thomas Nelson.

3. Repeat and memorize true sayings of who God says you are.

You renew your mind and stop the negative internal dialogue by pushing out the negative speech with positive truths.

Write or print out the below chart and memorize a few of the true promises God has pronounced over you.

Write and post them on your mirror, bedroom wall, or wherever you will see them daily so you can replay them whenever you encounter an empowering moment and push out the negative speech you have played before.

It can take two months or longer to change a habit or behavior. Although this may seem like a daunting task, it is not impossible. Remember, you did not create this negative internal dialogue in a day. You created it by believing years of negative speech from others and cultivating and giving power to it. Don’t quit! Don’t give up!

Who I Am In Christ

I am able.

Philiphians 4:13

I am accepted.

Ephesians 1:6

I am anxious for nothing.

Romans 8:1

I am a conqueror.

Romans 8:37

I am beautiful.

Psalms 149:4

I belong to God.

John 17:9

I am blessed.

Ephesians 1:3

I am confident.

1 John 4:17

I am loved.

Romans 5:8, John 3:16

I am protected.

Psalms 91:14

I am safe.

Psalms 4:8

I am valuable.

Luke 12:24

I am worthy.

Revelation 3:4

Past Mistakes & Failures

Are your past mistakes and failures holding you back from becoming the individual God created you to be?

We can become paralyzed by our past mistakes and failures. They can cripple us from ever becoming the gifted, talented, and priceless individual God designed us to be.

Dwelling on our mistakes and failures creates in us a low self-worth that affects our God-given potential and purpose. It condemns us and pulls us further into self-doubt, depression, and despair. This is not who God created us to be!

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Jeremiah 29:11).

We can spend so much time looking in our rearview mirror that we can’t see the future and all the blessings God has prepared up ahead for us.

You can miss the rest stops that you so desperately need, and the exit ramps to get off the road of your past and take a new direction.

What have you allowed your past mistakes and failures to hinder you from obtaining? Joy? Peace? Acceptance? Quality time with your family? God’s unconditional love?

Why do we do this? Why do we allow our past to determine our future? Why do we give it so much power? I’ll tell you why. Because we believe it! We have given it power and replay it daily in our internal dialogue. It sounds crazy, but it’s true. Think about it. What comes to your mind whenever you try to step out and try something new? “I can’t do that. I’m not good enough.” “I wish I could be as good as so-and-so.” “I’m not smart enough.” “I’m worthless.” All the past destructive voices that were spoken over us replay in our minds and we believe them and never listen and grasp the True Voice of God, who He says we are in Him.

If you have read this far and feel like this is preachy, then you are missing my point entirely. I am not writing to preach to you. I’m writing to encourage, uplift, and for you to be empowered to be set free to become the person God has created you to become and fulfill your purpose .

Don’t believe the lie that there is no help for you and that you will always be bound by your self-doubt.

I am writing from experience. I have been bound by self-doubt for years. As I am writing this blog, I can still hear those destructive voices from my past saying, “You can’t do this. You’re not intelligible enough to write.” “You will never amount to anything.” Noone wants to hear what you have to say.” However, there is a louder voice that I hear and believe that says, “You have been created for so much more.” “I have equipped and empowered you to fulfill your purpose.” I have given you a voice to encourage, strengthen, and speak truth to help people experience true freedom.” God’s voice always speaks louder if we are listening.

Philippians 4:13

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Philippians 4:13).

How to overcome your past mistakes and failures

“A failure is not a loss. It’s a gain. You learn. You change. You grow.”

Clovis G. Chappell

  1. Own your mistakes.

You must take accountability for your mistakes and failures.

We are living in a culture that wants to blame others for all of our problems. This will never set you free. This has always been an issue with humanity. It started in the garden of Eden. Humanity never wants to face our faults. We want to blame others. Why? Because we never want to take ownership for our faults. It is a pride issue.

Isn’t it ironic that we don’t want to own our mistakes but we suffer from self-doubt? We don’t want to face our faults because we don’t want to believe we aren’t good enough. But we believe all the lies that people speak over us and replay them daily in our minds. Do you see the circle of despair that we entrap ourselves in by believing this lie? This is why you are not experiencing true freedom.

2. Learn from your past mistakes and failures.

You have failed for a reason. Either you made a wrong choice, didn’t heed the advice from someone who tried to guide you, or you didn’t outline your plan well. Whatever the reason, learn from it. Look back and see what you did wrong and why you failed. Take notes and learn from it so you don’t make the same mistake again. There is a difference in saying I failed and I’m a failure.

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Pr 12:15). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

3. Forget the things that are behind you.

Aren’t you tired of being on the road of your past? Constantly going in circles with no exit in sight? Constantly looking in that rearview mirror at all the baggage that you are hauling on your journey of life? It’s time for you to unhitch the U-Haul and leave the baggage alongside the road. It has weighed you down long enough.

Jeremiah 8:4

“Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the LORD says:

When people fall down, don’t they get up again?

When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Jeremiah 8:4).

Philippians 3:13-14

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:

Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Philippians 3:13–14).

Lack Of Self Confidence

Webster defines the following three as;

self-confidence -a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

self-esteem-confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

self-worth-a sense of one’s own value as a human being.

Although these look good on the service, and they are imperative to human development and identity, there is one key word in each definition that we must focus on. That word is OWN.

You may think, “What is wrong with the word own? Aren’t we talking about ourselves?” Yes, we are focusing on self-doubt. However, each of these definitions can lead to a wrong sense of ourselves and WHO empowers our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. The importance of this recognition is how we will experience true freedom from our self-doubt.

Understanding where our confidence in ourselves lay is the key to fulfilling our purpose and being empowered to complete that purpose and having confidence in our gifts, talents, and abilities to complete the tasks at hand.

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Jas 1:17). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Realizing that our gifts, talents, and abilities come from our Heavenly Father ensures our confidence and in the One from Whom they came.

If we place our confidence in ourselves, and in our own abilities, it becomes a slippery slope of an issue of pride. How? Because we then become the god of self and rely on ourselves instead of relying on the God who has equipped and empowered us with the gifts, talents, skills, and abilities we have received and developed through the years. When we rely on ourselves, we become limited. How? Because we are drawing from a limited well of self abilities instead of drawing from a never ending well of living water-God being the source.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Pr 16:18). (2016). Crossway Bibles.

How to develop a genuine sense of self-confidence

  1. Put your confidence in your Heavenly Father.

Psalms 118:8

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.

The New King James Version (Ps 118:8). (1982). Thomas Nelson.

Putting your confidence in God is the first step in developing a genuine sense of self-confidence. It is an acknowledgement that you can not do things on your own. You realize you are a limited individual and you need help from a limitless source. That source being your Heavenly Father.

2. Have confidence in your God-given abilities.

Once you have placed your trust and confidence in God, you then can place your confidence in your God-given abilities. How? Because you now understand the source from Whom they came from and it gives you a genuine sense of self-confidence knowing that you don’t have to rely on yourself and ponder how you will have the strength, wisdom, or intellect to fulfill your purpose. You now have confidence in the One who supplied you with every good and perfect gift you possess.

3. Have no fear.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The New King James Version (2 Ti 1:7). (1982). Thomas Nelson.

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you from fulfilling your purpose. God has equipped you with everything you need to accomplish your assignment and purpose. God has created you for a purpose. Your life has meaning and value. There is not another you! There never has been or ever will be! Grasp this truth! Believe this true! Meditate on this truth! YOU ARE AN ORIGINAL! Don’t settle for a carbon copy of what your self-doubt has defined you as over all these years. The lie of being a false sense of who you really are. Truth is, you are a divinely created original!

Comparing Yourself To Others

When we compare ourselves with others, we diminish God and the gifts He has given us. How do we do this? We do this by envying others’ abilities instead of having confidence in the God-given gifts, talents, and abilities He has entrusted to us. We think, “I wish I am as pretty as her.” Or, “I wish I had his intelligent.” This is definitely a self-worth destroyer.

2 Corinthians 10:12

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (2 Co 10:12).

Accepting the truth that you are a unique individual and you have God-given abilities that others do not possess, you will experience true freedom that you have never experienced before. You will walk in your true identity and self-worth, realizing that you are now empowered, encouraged, entrusted, and edified to complete the purpose God has created you to fulfill.

How to cancel comparing

  1. Accept you are unique.

Accept that all your imperfections are actually unique qualities that others do not possess. Another way to look at them is God’s fingerprint embedded in your design. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created you. Don’t reject your uniqueness, embrace them. They are what make you one of a kind.

Psalms 139:14

Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 139:14).

2. Realize others are God’s creation and are unique.

When you realize each individual is God’s creation and has a specific purpose, understand that no amount of comparison can extinguish your flames of self-doubt. Why? Because you could never be them because God has created them for a specific purpose that you could never fulfill because you do not possess the abilities to complete the assignment.

However, resist being discouraged because you also possess a unique purpose and God has empowered you to achieve every plan He has laid out for you.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Je 29:11).

3. Embrace your true self.

Now that you have the steps to overcome self-doubt, embrace your true identity and end the lies of self-doubt.

Embrace that you have worth and value and God has created you for a purpose. Step out of your comfort zone and have confidence in the God that has created you and in the gifts, talent, skills, and abilities He has entrusted to you.

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2015). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ro 8:28).


  1. What steps will you take today to put an end to your destructive childhood upbringing? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to talk to?

2. How will you remove the labels of the negative speech that others have spoken over you and you believed?

3. Within the upcoming week, how will you train yourself to press stop on your self-doubting internal dialogue? 

4. How will you unhitch all the baggage from your past mistakes and failures and embrace the fact that you can not go back and change them, but only learn from them and move forward?

5. Now that you have discovered that your confidence doesn’t rely on yourself but on God, how will you surrender your confidence to Him and step out in faith to complete the purpose God has created you for?

6. Embracing the fact that you are a unique individual, how will you stop comparing yourself to others and accept that all your imperfections are actually specific characteristics that no one else possesses? How can you appreciate the uniqueness of others instead of envying them?

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Published by Kevin Moore

I am an inspiring writer, life coach, and christian counselor who is passionate about individuals being empowered, encouraged, entrusted, and edified through the life-changing power of Jesus Christ.

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