How to cope with self doubt as a teen


Artwork by: Yedzi Flores

Believing that you can’t do something impacts a person immensely. This self-doubt can make it hard to succeed in school or life and we need to be able to cope with it. This can be hard but there are ways to cope with self-doubt. But, first, you might want to know what self-doubt feels like.

Junior Zavia Johnson (real name withheld) said, “Whether I’m questioning my ability to do a math problem I’ve done 100 times or it’s personal thoughts flooding into my head, I feel as if all eyes are on me 24/7.”

It can be overwhelming and stress us out, making us frustrated. An article written by Anna Chui called “How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck” said that self-doubt keeps us from progressing because we worry about things going out of control or “not going the way as expected.” Many people wish they could control everything that happens in their lives but that’s not how the world works. When change happens, the doubt sets in and people start panicking which can also affect our social life. 

Junior Tylar Jeffs said, “Last year, this huge thing happened and I was hit with a lot of anxiety and self-doubt. It completely pushed me down to one friend and [made me] not feel solid enough to talk to anyone.” This is a more extreme view on self-doubt but what Jeffs said is valid. Doubt and anxiety will creep into your mind and make you isolate yourself, causing a strain on your social life.

Johnson said, “as someone who has mental illnesses a lot of the times it is hard to not doubt myself. I tend to create scenarios in my head about something I want to do or think I should do but then it’s flooded with the “what if’s” and I don’t usually follow through.” This doubt can cause you to not go up and talk to the cute guy/girl in your Bio class or it can cause you to lose a potential friend. We need to socialize in order to become satisfied and the doubt ruins that. 

 However, while there are negative side effects to self-doubt, there are positive effects too. “A certain level of self-doubt is good because it indicates that you understand what you need to improve in order to do a better job,” Chui wrote. There are times where we doubt ourselves because we know we can improve a certain project or relationship. Our brain is silently telling us “you can do better” and that’s why some self-doubt is a good thing. We just need to know how to control it so it doesn’t overtake us.

One way you can control your doubt is by taking a step back and breathing. Especially if it’s a math problem you’re having trouble solving or if it’s a puzzle you think you’ll never be able to finish, stepping back and breathing is a good way to release that doubt.

Junior Khira Thanadabouth said, “I cope with my self-doubt [with the help of] all the love and support from my family and friends.” Not everyone is lucky enough to have a family they can talk to but people need at least one person to talk to in order to get over things. It doesn’t even need to be a person. You can write in a journal or do something else to record your feelings. and that can assist with any feelings of doubt someone may have.

After recording your feelings or talking about it, you can actually cope with your doubt and push through it. Johnson said, “It is okay to doubt yourself! It’s natural and it can even open your eyes too!” It is a natural process and it can open your eyes by showing you how to improve something. Remember to learn how to cope with self-doubt so it doesn’t control you and you’d be amazed at how it impacts your life for the better.