Dear Therapist: I suffer from self-doubt
I suffer from a lot of self-doubt. I feel that I have not achieved anything in life. I have the constant urge to become perfect. My parents are very supportive and wonderful, which sometimes makes me doubt if I even deserve them. What can I do to get rid of these thoughts?
— Name withheld
Dear Writer, perfectionism when channelised correctly can help individuals push through obstacles and accomplish things. The flipside, as noted in your case, is that it can become crippling and lead to self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness. I find it a bit troubling that in today’s age, we measure our worth by tangible successes with the inherent idea that without it, we are nothing. What you need, however, is to cultivate a sense of being enough. What this means is that we are more than the money we make, the degrees we possess and the cars that we own. Rather than looking at achievements, try looking at your strengths and the kind of person you are. This way, you are not limited, which can further enable you to act on your plans rather than being paralysed by anxiety and self-doubt. You can also try using affirmations whenever you struggle and learn to challenge self-doubts by using positive self-talk, rewarding yourself and practising self-compassion.