― William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Some say “build on your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses”. But it's not your strengths that feed self-doubt, it’s the weaknesses that make you feel unworthy and doubting of achievement. If my granddaughter in the video didn't work on her weakness, she would not be the much improved dancer she is now, 2 years later.
Eliminating or merely accepting some weaknesses will be the remedy to remove self-doubt. To use a simple example, if you can’t shoot baskets, you either practice like mad to get better, or you accept that you are a bad shot and move on to bowling, or something else. Of course it is a lot easier to accept being bad at basketball than being a bad parent, husband, or wife. That’s a weakness you must focus on to improve.
Some, like Tennessee Williams go forth bravely with their self-doubt but suffer in it.
“I don't believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.”
― Tennessee Williams
If you read some of my previous posts, you’ll see that in my earlier years I suffered just like Tennessee Williams. Like Mr. Willaims, I braved though what many others did without requiring braveness. I also avoided some things I should not have.
Some self-doubters may be born with their affliction, but I doubt it. Parenting, however, will certainly be a major factor. Nurturing is a key. Introducing your children to new things is part of nurturing. Kids need guidance and reassurance, and if it’s not there, they don’t know if they are pointed in the right direction.
Some parents are too busy to nurture. Single Moms with multiple children often have this problem. So do busy entrepreneurs and the “go-getters” of the world. Then there are the demanding parents for whom nothing their child does is good enough. These parents are without balance. They don’t know when or how to praise and are ignorant of the good it does in the right proportions.
Some people have a mindset that they don’t deserve success. Don’t raise you children to feel that way, nor let them feel that it is safer to be 'small'. Some live small because, that way, they don’t have pressure to keep up. But here’s a thought, keep up with what? You are on this earth to improve yourself for yourself. When you do that, you can then help others.
Some simple thoughts on preventing or easing self-doubt in your children.
Let your children know they have value just by being themselves.
Get them involved with dance, sports, scouting, etc. Exposure is good for them!
The earlier in age you introduce your child to something, the less the likelihood of them being afraid of it. Like the girls dancing in the video.
Let them know you sometimes have self-doubts too, but those doubts never stop you.
Self-doubt doesn’t mean you can’t perform or do well. Let that doubt help prepare you.
Help your children gently face their fear. It is the only real way to conquer it.
Let them know that no one notices or remembers their mistakes as much as they do.
Make sure your kids hang out with winners, not losers; supporters, not doubters.
Correct or suggest these phrase changes to your child (and yourself). Replace:
· “I should” with “I will”
· “I could” with “I did”
· “I can’t” with “I’ll try”
· “I wish” with “I’m going to”
· “I want” with “I ‘m going after”
· “I’m afraid” with “I’m brave to try”
If helpful, let them know about faking it until they are making it. Most will never recall they had ever been faking.
And what do your kids have when self-doubt is removed? CONFIDENCE!