Is It Really Self-Doubt?



What is doubt?

When we say we’re experiencing self-doubt, what are we talking about? Self-doubt is, well, doubting yourself. Pretty simple. But I think it’s become a catch-all phrase for beating ourselves up. (And writers tend to do that a lot. Just saying.)

Let’s dissect this, shall we?


verb: doubt

  • 1. feel uncertain about.

disbelieve…have misgivings about…question…feel uncertain or unsure…hesitate;


Basically, you’re unsure. You’re questioning something (yourself, in this case).

We’d say something like, “I’m not sure this is a good idea.” Or, “I’m not certain I’m up to this.” Or even a flat-out, “I don’t think I can do this.”

Does that sound familiar?


Or does this?

“I’m not submitting my story. I’d never win.”

“This chapter is crap. Forget editing…I’m deleting it.”

“I can’t believe I ever thought I could write.”

“What was I thinking, calling myself an ‘author’? What a joke.”

“Everyone else is so much better.”

“No one will like this.”

“I’m a fraud.”

“I can’t write.”

“I suck.”

Does that sound doubtful? Because it sounds pretty UN-doubtful to me. It sounds certain. Which is the opposite of doubt.

It sounds like…judgment.


verb: judge

  • 1. form an opinion or conclusion about.

form the opinion, conclude, decide…believe, think, deem…regard as, rate as;


When you form an opinion (whether you think it or voice it), you are judging. Judging yourself, your work, your worth.

When you say these things, with certainty and conviction, you, my friend, do not have self-doubt, you have self-judgment. We need to differentiate between the two, call it what it is, and do something about it.


My Sunday thoughts in (slightly over) 200 words.ThoughtBubble

Do you really have self-doubt? Or are you judging yourself? (I know what I’m doing… And I intend to stop. Easier said than done, but I’m damn sure going to try.)


51 thoughts on “Is It Really Self-Doubt?

  1. Okay, you got me! I am guilty of all the above, and worst of all, despite severe talking to, I don’t seem to be able to stop. Maybe I am waiting for some little miracle to prove me wrong. Hope its not too long a wait!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’ve had a difficult time thinking of what to say in this reply without being hypocritical or ironic. My first thought was, “Pfft. Doubtful.” Or something along those lines.

      I’ll just say I’m thrilled you’re going to read Hinting and I really hope you like it. (Or think it’s brilliant, even.) Thank you! πŸ™‚ Also, I don’t think you’ll be wondering what you’re doing. Just saying.


  2. Excellent distinction, Sarah. Maybe it’s age, but I don’t do these so much anymore without also charging fearlessly ahead anyway. Failure is the tradeoff for growth, and since it’s my steady companion, I accept what it has to offer. πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish I could present myself as this completely together person. Alas, I’m more genuine than confident. So I tell it like it is. For better or worse. *shrugs* That isn’t to say I don’t charge fearlessly ahead. I do that, my friend. Oh, yes. πŸ˜€

      Interesting your mention of accepting. I have a post half written about that since my One Word for 2017 is “accept”. There’s a lot to that, isn’t there?

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’d like to rid myself of the doubt and judgment for good but I suppose I can settle for charging fearlessly ahead even while dealing with them.

        Ooh… “Let Go” I love it. πŸ’– That’s an awesome focus phrase. (I spend some days taking a deep breath and focusing on “Release”.)


  3. Omg you are so right! That is so true, Sarah. There is a huge difference between the two that I wasn’t even aware of. Thank you. You should write a self help book, you know. Not the traditional kind, but more of a memoir type thingy. Hugs to you! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ˜‚ A self-help book! I need to be able to help myself before I can do that, no? Thanks, Ali. πŸ’– πŸ’– πŸ’–

      Right? There really is a huge difference. And, like I said, I think it’s become a default to say we’re having self-doubt when, really, we’re judging ourselves or our self-esteem/self-worth is low. I mean, doubting yourself or something you’re doing can be a good thing (to a point). It helps you take a step back/rethink/not jump into anything. Judging almost always leads to attacking ourselves.


  4. Great post, Sarah. Self-doubt and judging yourself, wow, I see the difference now. I think self-doubt might be a little easier to get out of. Too bad we judge our own talents so harshly. But of course, I have a terrible book wasting away in a folder of mine…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, there’s a difference, isn’t there? I’m such a word nerd. But it made me shift my focus a bit. Agreed. Self-doubt is probably easier to overcome. *shrugs* Maybe.

      You know, that last sentence (about your terrible book wasting away) actually made me cringe. I hope you bring it out, give it some fresh air, and see what it can do. At the very least it has potential, no?

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t even know what to say about this. I mean, thank you on the “excellent observation” part but arrogant? Do you really see yourself that way or are you being funny? I would never use that word to describe you. Interesting how we see ourselves.


      • Nope, not joking. I do my best to temper my conceit when interacting with others, so I don’t draw attention to the fact (except with my co-workers who already know the world revolves around me, therefore they encourage air of superiority that surrounds me). I also mentally check most of what I say and write to avoid bragging, because that’s just off-putting and I’d like to keep my friends. But yeah, I’m pretty arrogant. Not to say that I don’t take suggestions to improve, whether that be in my writing or some other part of life. But I rarely ever consider myself inadequate in an area that I’ve put effort into, and I’m unashamedly proud of my skills.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Holy crap, are you serious? If someone gave me a sheet with 50 lines and asked me to fill them with 50 adjectives to describe you, “arrogant” wouldn’t be on there. Not even near the bottom when I’ve run out of ideas. I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

        P.S. You can send some of that my way, if you think you’re TOO arrogant. Just a thought…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. The occasional doubt sneaks out of the cedar chest I keep upstairs every now and then. No lock is perfect, but normally all I have to do is leave a bar of chocolate out with a glass of wine (or two if it is being particularly stubborn) and I usually can recapture it and send it back where it belongs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, there really is a big difference. I guess we don’t think about it much until we’re in the middle of it and realized we’re verbally beating ourselves up and telling others we’re having a “bit of self-doubt”. (And by we, I mean me.) πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

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