Overcoming Self-Doubt and Low Self-Esteem

Have you ever had moments when you felt you weren’t ‘good enough’?

These were moments of Low Self-Esteem. They sabotage your ability to live a happy and fulfilling life.

The key to overcoming low self-esteem (or anything else) is understanding what it is and what causes it.

Once you understand, you’ll know what not to do anymore and can begin taking the right steps towards creating a life you really love.



The word “esteem” originates from the Latin “aestimare” meaning ‘to estimate’ or “appraise’.

To have low self-esteem is to give yourself a low appraisal.

In other words, you estimate yourself to be worth very little.

How does that even happen? How could you even think that?

One way this happens is when you compare yourself to others and come up short.





Your feeling of worth comes from how capable and likeable you believe yourself to be.

Being capable means that you know how to do stuff – you can make things happen and get things done.

Being likeable means that you are someone that other people enjoy having around.

If you feel capable, you feel like you have something to contribute which in turn makes you feel more likeable.

The more capable and likeable you believe you are, the more valuable you estimate yourself to be.



People value things that they think add to their well-being and make their lives better.

If you don’t see the way in which you make other people’s lives better, you won’t see yourself as valuable.

When this happens, you’ll believe that you are not worth very much; that you are “not enough”.



Jealousy                                Insecurity                                      Perfectionism

Shyness                                 Need for Approval                      Fear of taking Action

Fear of Criticism                 Anger                                             Resentment

Pessimism                            Guilt                                                Shame

Nervousness                        Stress                                              Underselling Yourself

Trouble saying “No”         Difficulty Showing Emotion     Don’t Smile

Lack of Confidence           Difficulty Trusting People         Hatred

Fear Taking Risks            Avoid Eye Contact                        Violence/Abuse

Depression                         Unstable Relationships              Feeling powerless – a victim





Low self-esteem is often thought to be the root of all human suffering but it is not the actual root…. it’s more like the main stalk.

While it can be considered the main stalk that supports all the branches of suffering, Low self-esteem itself has a cause; a root.


It’s called: Self-Doubt.

Doubt is experienced as a feeling of uncertainty. (-)

Belief is experienced as a feeling of certainty.     (+)


As a negative belief, self-doubt takes away your feeling of certainty about you.

It’s a hole in your ‘Bucket of Certainty’ and it drains away your belief in yourself.

When you doubt your Capability, your ‘Bucket of Capability’ has a hole in it.

When you doubt your Likeability, you have a hole in your ‘Likeability Bucket’.

Guess what?

You have the ability to patch your holes and bring an end to your suffering.

Understanding what a belief is and how it’s formed gives you this ability.



Basic Things to Know

Your BELIEFS about yourself determine what’s possible for you in Life.

More Positive (+) Beliefs = More Possibility

More Negative (-) Beliefs = LESS Possibility

1 – A Belief is the Habit of automatically repeating a thought over and over. It runs on like an “engine” until you turn it off.

2 – Thoughts are the information bits you bring into your mind and come from what you pay Attention to

3 – Your Belief is the running ‘engine’ that controls the kind of information you pull into your mind. It’s a “Search Engine”.

4 – Your Doubt is the Search Engine that pulls in information that drills holes and drains your feelings of certainty.

5 – The way to shut down your Doubt Engine is to startup a new Belief Engine.

6 – You startup your new Belief Engine by consciously seeking only the information that supports your feelings of certainty and persisting until it becomes automatic. This does take some effort in the beginning but gets easier as you go and eventually becomes effortless.



1 – When you find yourself feeling incapable or unlikeable, allow this to remind you to notice what you are paying attention to.

How are you comparing yourself to others?

What do you notice about yourself and others that makes you feel “not good enough”?

How are you being treated, how are you treating yourself and others?

What are you thinking?

What kinds of things are you saying to yourself in your mind?

2 – Make a note of what you notice. Write it down if you can. This is the information that drills holes in your buckets.

3 – Realize that what you’ve written down is NOT ABOUT YOU, it’s about what you DOThinking is something you DO. Speaking is something you DO. How you react to an event is something you DO. How you treat others is something you DO.

You can change what you DO and therefore change “who” you are being.

4 – Know that there is more than enough information available to support any belief. Begin to look for and find the opposite information from what you’ve noted in step 2.

Remember that self-doubt is about feeling like there’s “not enough” in your bucket. So look for the ways in which you are enough. (See example below)

5 – Repeat Step 4 over and over until it becomes a new Habit. This new Habit is the Patch that allows you to fill your bucket and keep it full.


Imagine that you are at work and you offer a suggestion that gets shut down. The person even went so far as to say that your idea was stupid. Your feelings are hurt and you walk away stewing about it. You feel like this event has ‘ruined your day’ and now you’re in a bad mood.

Your ears heard the words “stupid idea” but your heart heard “you are stupid” so YOU feel rejected. The truth is your co-worker was rejecting the idea not YOU. Too late.

You have a self-doubt attached to your intelligence. In other words, you have a drill attached to your Smartness Bucket so anytime someone mentions (directs your attention toward the idea) that you have offered up something stupid, your drill is activated and it drills a new hole in your “I am Smart Enough” bucket. 

You believe that your Smartness is something that adds to other people’s well-being and makes you likeable. Now that you have less Smartness, you must be less likeable. 

Oh no, another hole in your “I am Likeable” Bucket! 

Self-Doubt is the Habit you’re running at the moment. It’s a little information-gathering engine – a Search Engine. You’ve just Googled “ways that I am stupid” and it’s in the process of retrieving the information in real time.

You start to remember other times you felt this way, other stupid things you’ve done, other times people called you dumb, rejected your ideas, all this information is flooding your mind and now it’s affecting your body.

You make a mistake, you spill your coffee, you blank on a person’s name…shall I go on?

Your feelings will affect how you do what you do. The body is designed to work congruently as one unit so when you are “feeling stupid”, you will do things in a “stupid” way, make “stupid” decisions, say “stupid” things and so on. This has NOTHING to do with YOU, it has everything to do with the engine you’re running.

Time to start a new engine.


STEP 1 – You take one slow deep breath and just relax your body as you gently observe the air going in through your nose, expanding your belly, and out your mouth. You make sure that as you breathe in this way your shoulders are not going up and down. You allow your belly to go in and out. (This activates your parasympathetic nervous system and takes you out of your body’s stress response to increase blood flow into the parts of your brain you’re going to need for the next step). You take a second deep breath.

STEP 2 – You remind yourself, “This isn’t about ME, it’s about the Engine I’m running right now. I intend to shut down this engine and start a new one.”


STEP 4 – You allow the information to surface. You look for every little thing you can find:  You were being smart enough when they hired you…. You were being smart enough when you got your driver’s license….. You are being smart enough now to startup a new engine….You are being smart enough to know that being smart is NOT the only thing that makes you likeable…etc 

STEP 5 – You are gentle with yourself and yet firm with your mind. This means that you speak to yourself with a compassionate tone of encouragement in the moments you find it hard to focus on the positive. You remind yourself can do it and take another deep breath to relieve any stress or tension.

STEP 6 – You persist until you start to feel better. This feeling is what lets you know the hole is being patched. You remind yourself that you are likeable and capable AND getting better all the time! 


Your faith in yourself is the doorway to Greater Possibility and a better life.

When it comes to building more faith in yourself, I hope this article has given you a good place to start.

Always keep in mind that things can only ever come into being when the conditions are right. It’s part of the Balance of Nature. When the conditions were right, you came into being as a component of Nature’s Balance. You exist as part of the Balance of Nature – your existence is required.

You are one of Nature’s gifts to itself and the fact that you exist is evidence that you are important. You matter.

Your presence makes a difference – this is the power YOU are.

Own your presence.



If you’d like to learn more about proven ways to build Self-Esteem, check out this great book (click here).

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