How to Overcome Self-Doubt

Aug 04, 2022

Summary

  • We can't overcome something if we don't understand it. You must understand self-doubt and its purpose. Self-doubt arises from our survival instincts and arises from the “reptilian brain” also known as the “survival brain” which is programmed to help us survive. It's programmed to help keep the body alive from potential threats.
  • Acknowledge the purpose and the reason for which you experienced self-doubt and recognize that when this survival mechanism is working properly, it keeps you safe. Be grateful for that part of you, if it wasn't for that reptilian survival part of our brain, we would not be alive. 
  • Face the thing that your nervous system or the reptilian brain thinks might cause you harm. Take action anyway and you’ll begin to teach your brain and body that it's actually safe and there is no threat. Overtime, you will raise the baseline or the standard for things that your body is comfortable with when you’re leaping into new life experiences.
  • Learn to relax the body when it goes into the survival state. There are many different techniques to regulate your nervous system. The breath is one way. Take deep breaths into the bottom of your belly, to expand your diaphragm, which then expands the full capacity of your lungs.  That's one of many ways to relax the nervous system.

Full Transcript

Introduction

Beautiful humans. Welcome to another episode of Become Unlimited with Jonathan Perez, where every week together we explore what it really means to live an unlimited life. So if it interests you to become unlimited in your life, make sure that you subscribe for weekly training and conversations with thought leaders around human potential and what it really means to unlimit your mind and unlimit your life. This week, we're going to dive into the topic of self-doubt, and self-doubt is something that's really close to my heart because it's something that I've really had to overcome in my life. And I want to help you understand and know how to overcome self-doubt in this training. So I'm going to go through four steps to overcome self-doubt and these four steps are going to give you a process of understanding, but also some tools to equip you for when self-doubt arises in really any area of your life.

So anything that arises in your life, a challenge, a situation you're going to be able to have the understanding of what self-doubt is for you to really work with it in the moment. 

Understand where self-doubt comes from.

Okay. So step number one involves understanding what self-doubt really is. The thing that I've noticed after more than five years of exploring this work, learning about transformational work, high performance, and people really wanting to do their best in life, master their life. And they encounter self-doubt often, as I do, as every single human being does, the thing I've noticed the most is that no one really understands what it really is. They know when the self-doubt arises, but they don't know why the self-doubt is there. So what I've learned in my own life is that we can't really overcome something if we don't understand it, or we can't really master something or master a skill, if we don't understand it.

So the first thing we want to make sure that we do is to understand what self-doubt is and where it comes from. Okay. So that's the first thing we're going to do here. I'm going to take a moment to give you my greatest understanding and my own explanation of self-doubt. And to understand that we have to know that self-doubt first and foremost is a normal part of life. Every single human being on earth experiences self-doubt so if you're experiencing self-doubt, there's nothing wrong with you. I promise that there's nothing wrong with you. You're normal and self-doubt arises as part of the human experience and as part of the way that our brains are programmed for survival. So there's a part of our brain. They call it the reptilian brain in other terms, from a scientific perspective, but it's really the part of our brain that evolutionarily it's programmed to help us survive.

It's programmed to help keep the body alive. So when we begin to imagine or think about new ways of living different things that we want to take on in life that begin to potentially take us out of our known experience, the body, that part of the brain, the reptilian brain, it gets signaled and says, whoa, this person is wanting to take on something new in their life that actually feels unknown to us based on our previous experiences. Yeah. So to that reptilian part of your brain, the survival part of your brain, it's signaling it and saying, Hey, this person he's thinking, or she's thinking of doing something that feels really unknown to us. And that might mean that we can't predict the future. Yeah. The brain can't predict the future. And if it can't predict the future, it's unknown and therefore it might be unsafe.

So because it's unsafe, at least the way that the brain, the reptilian brain is thinking about it, it then sends the thoughts into the brain equal to that self-doubt. Yeah. So it sends thoughts such as, don't do it because this might happen. Or if you take that action, you might experience this or this might go wrong or you'll never succeed. All of those types of thoughts that are simply trying to convince us to stay in the same known reality. Why, again, it's because the survival part of our brain simply wants to keep us safe. It wants to keep us from dying. It wants to keep us from experiencing pain. So that's really its job.

Acknowledge the purpose and reason for which you experience self-doubt.

So then step number two is to acknowledge that part of yourself, acknowledge the purpose and the reason for which you experienced self-doubt. And I want you to really think and be grateful for that part of you.

Why? Because if it wasn't for that reptilian survival part of our brain, we would all be dead because we encounter certain things in our environment that actually might cause us harm, right? That might cause the embodiment or this physical body to die. So when the actual survival mechanism is working properly, it prevents you from dying. If you will, or from experiencing pain or getting hurt, think about the moments where maybe you've been on a hike and there's an edge. Yeah. There's an edge on the survival part of your brain that says, Hey, don't get too close to that edge because you know what'll happen. So that's useful if you can really think about it in that way. And when you can acknowledge that, that's really the purpose of it. We can feel grateful. And in the moments of self-doubt, my practice that I invite you to take on is to thank that part of yourself and say reptilian brain or right, body, thank you for wanting to keep me safe.

Thank you for wanting to protect me and thank you for wanting to really hold me back from certain experiences that you believe might cause me pain. Okay. And it's simple. It's a simple acknowledgement of how the human experience and the body operates because it's not good, bad, right or wrong. It's just understanding that it's a normal part of life. 

Taking action anyway.

And then step number three, leads me into taking action anyway. Okay. So one, understanding where self doubt comes from, number two, being grateful for that part of yourself that holds you from experiencing pain and ultimately from dying, right? It's a normal part of the human experience. Step number three is to take action anyway.

We begin to teach our body that even though it thinks it's going to experience something bad in the unknown, you take action anyway, and you begin to teach it, you show it that it's actually safe. So then you start to really raise the baseline or the standard for things that your body is comfortable with taking on in the unknown. But that only happens by facing the thing that the body in your nervous system or the reptilian brain thinks might cause you harm. So when you notice that you take action anyway. So I just want to give you a quick example that I personally use with my clients to really explain how this works. So imagine a little puppy that has been traumatized. It's been really, you know, yelled at, maybe beaten and it's really traumatized in general and it's in the shelter and then you go to the shelter and then you pick up the puppy because you want to raise that puppy and show it a better way of life. Yeah. So you can imagine when you pick up that puppy that's been traumatized.

Okay. And it's at home now, and you're trying to really do your best to show it that it's safe here in this house. It's safe to be outside. It's safe to go on walks. It's safe to play. Now you can imagine that based on that standard or the standard for the dog of what is safe, the survival, the reptilian part of that dog is going to send it thoughts that it's very unsafe, don't trust. It's going to doubt anything that you try to get it to do. Why? Because it feels very unknown based on the dog's experiences. Right. So how would you treat the dog then? Well, you would do your best to try and show that it's actually safe to go outside, right? You put them outside in the sun and then the dog recognizes, wow, it's actually safe out here. I didn't die.

And then what happens is that now you exposed the dog to something that was unknown and the body, the nervous system, the reptilian brain of the dog has now recognized that it's actually safe. So the next time it's not going to doubt that experience of going outside anymore. It's going to actually just go after it. Okay. So work with that example, because it really translates if you let it land that we simply have to face the things that we want to overcome and take action anyway, for us to really begin to raise our standard or our baseline for feeling comfortable in the unknown, right? To be able to teach ourselves our nervous system or our body, that it's actually safe. And over time, just like that puppy, the more that you expose yourself to new experiences and new things in the unknown, you start to train yourself and your body and your nervous system to show yourself that it's actually safe.

Okay. So it's really about exposing and taking action anyway, to show and teach ourselves that it's actually safe.

Develop and work with practices to regulate the nervous system.

And then number four, it's to continue to develop and work with practices to regulate the nervous system. Okay. So as a human being, we have that ability to really be conscious and intentionally relax the body when it's experiencing maybe that, that self-doubt, that might even move into anxiety. Okay. So step number four is to really use different techniques to regulate your nervous system, to relax your body. And the one I want to give you today is simply your breath. Your breath is the easiest way in the moment to begin to relax the body. Especially if you take action into something that feels unknown, that's going to be the moment that you're going to be able to consciously begin to work with your body to relax it.

So if you want to work with your breath, there's a couple things to understand, because most people, they are breathing very shallowly and I've had to work with this a lot over my life to really understand what it means to breathe fully and deeply. So most people breathe like this. You can see my shoulders. And that essentially is not allowing you to fully expand the capacity of the lungs. So what you want to do instead is to take deep breaths into the bottom of your belly, to expand your diaphragm, which then expands the full capacity of your lungs. So if you notice, if I breathe into my diaphragm, my chest and my shoulders don't really even move.

So just notice. So that's one way. And then when you're doing conscious breathing, you want to relax the body by elongating the inhale and elongating the exhale by at least five seconds each. Okay. So you would inhale into the bottom of your belly for five seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth or through your nose. Either one is fine, and then you can elongate either one of those, if you choose to, but you can do that practice anywhere at any time. And you don't even have to tell anybody that you're doing it. And that's one way to relax the nervous system. If you're in a meeting, maybe you're in a Zoom meeting or something that's triggering you and just really agitating you and creating those moments of self-doubt, anxiety, whatever, use the breath to anchor in. 

Okay. So in review, overcoming self-doubt, step number one is to understand self-doubt where it comes from and why it happens in our human experience. Step number two is to really think and acknowledge that part of you for the purpose that it serves of wanting to keep you safe from pain. Step number three is to begin to take action anyway, to teach your body, your nervous system, the reptilian brain, that it's actually safe in the unknown to take new steps in life, to take action anyway, to teach it that trying new things that's actually safe. Okay. So then step number four is to begin to learn techniques and skills and tools to regulate and relax your body to relax your nervous system. The breath is one way. If you want more reach out to me, I can provide those to you. If you found this valuable, please make sure to subscribe. Please make sure to share it with someone who you feel would gain value from this. Until next time.

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