9 Things That Can Happen When We Doubt Ourselves | The Good and the Bad Effects of Self-Doubt

Currently, doubts have a stigma where people think of them as something negative. That’s why you’ll always see posts telling how bad doubts are and how to remove them from your life. However, I want to take a different approach, and I would like to give you what happens when we doubt ourselves, both good and bad. That’s right, I went through some research and found both good and bad things that can happen when we doubt ourselves.

What happens if you doubt yourself is that you start experiencing uncertainty and start feeling incapable of doing things which causes fear. While doubts can cause many bad things, they can be a means for us to be logical in handling matters since you can use them to build a growth mindset.

So what I mean is this.

Self-doubt affects us by harming our self-esteem. This makes a person doubt and second-guess themselves when faced with difficult challenges. Furthermore, it causes stress. However, we have the power to react to these doubts and make them beneficial for us.

In this blog post, I have nine things that would happen when we doubt ourselves. I included both the good and the bad to have a neutral perspective. My hope is for you to understand that doubts are not inherently bad. By understanding both its advantages and disadvantages, you would finally know how we react to these doubts that matter.

1. Doubts prevent us from reaching our goals

Doubts prevent us from reaching our goals for the simple reason that it often makes us procrastinate.

It is pretty normal for people to freeze upon having doubts. For example, if you doubt that you will finish the project on time, most will even forget about completing their assignment.

When I started my career in content creation, such as YouTube and this website, I had many doubts.

In fact, my doubts held me back for years. These doubts prevented me from even trying and starting.

That’s why it is essential to understand that one of the bad things self-doubt can do to us is it prevents us from reaching our dreams.

Once we start doubting ourselves, we can run away in fear. This is why knowing how to react to these doubts is very important.

2. Doubts can reduce our confidence

Doubts can cause a person to lose their confidence because doubt prevents them from proving themselves.

Absolute confidence comes from skills. It comes from proving yourself.

For example, when I was starting to teach a few years back, I was scheduled to teach in front of a hundred and fifty students.

The thing is that I was 22 at that time, and I am teaching people who are even older than me.

Furthermore, I am a stutterer. Yes, I became a YouTuber and a lecturer, even if I am a stutterer.

That time, I doubted myself a lot. However, I still did my best, and the outcome was excellent.

I got many good reviews from my students, and I became a regular lecturer for three years.

The thing I want you to notice here is that I correctly handled my doubts. I did not stop myself from doing something because of doubt.

Instead, I forced myself to try even if it was scary. That’s how I built my confidence.

Now, think of what would happen if I didn’t take that teaching job. I will be filled with regrets.

And that’s not the life I want.

Regrets destroy our self-esteem, which leads to breaking our confidence. When we are always running because of doubts, we won’t be able to prove ourselves.

Confidence is built by proving that you can achieve something, and if you prevent yourself from even doing it because of doubt, it is easy to break your confidence.

For a full tutorial on how to show confident body language, I have an illustrated blog post where I gave some insights into how you can quickly project confident body language. If you are interested, you can find the blog post here: How to show confident body language | Complete with Illustrations

3. Doubts can make us highly negative

One of the common trends I see with highly negative people is that they always negatively react to doubts.

For example, if something is a little bit hard to do, they will just give up, saying that it’s impossible.

The thing is that it prevents them from even proving their abilities to others.

Furthermore, being negative is contagious. Being around negative people can even make you very pessimistic about reaching your dreams.

What’s more, is that it slowly breaks your confidence. The more you run away and be negative, the easier it is to lose confidence in yourself.

That’s why people who give up easily are negative. Being negative is a byproduct of doubts.

Imagine how often do we doubt ourselves then think that we couldn’t do it. So we just procrastinate.

The problem is that our goals will always be here, waiting for us to do something about them.

As long as it stays there, it will always lead to stress, which I will explain in the next section.

4. Doubts can lead to stress

Doubts can cause a lot of stress. Overthinking, which is the core part of doubts, can cause stress.

One reason is that the thought of our dreams will always be inside us, waiting to be done.

That’s why you will see people with lots of regret in their old age. These dreams that most neglect due to doubts will always be there.

Furthermore, constantly thinking can quickly tire our brains out. Thinking is useless if we don’t do anything about it.

For example, if I just think I’ll make my Channel without actually doing it, that thought will always linger in my mind.

The longer we contain these thoughts, the harder it is to manage them, leading to too much stress.

Not only that, a study from the Anxiety, Stress & Coping Journal also reported that self-doubt is heavily correlated to burnout and stress. [1]

In the study, 362 participants and school administrators completed questionnaires, and by analyzing the data gathered, they found a strong correlation between doubts, stress, and burnout.

5. Doubts can cause Fear

In my other blog post discussing the relationship between doubt and fear, I’ve explained that fear is a product of doubt.

Basically, doubt is an act of logically thinking of how we can handle things. It is an ability to measure our current strengths and weakness concerning the task at hand.

How we react to doubts is what separated them from being good, or being bad.

If we react to doubts about whether it is a sign that we should run away, then that’s fear.

If we try to face these doubts to learn something new or have some challenges, then that’s courage and confidence.

Fear causes us not to learn things and accept our current situation no matter where we are.

Fear prevents us from trying and learning new things which are bad.

This is also why a lot of people are trying to remove doubts. The truth is, they should try to remove fear instead.

For more information on the topic, I made a blog post explaining the cause of doubt and its products: fear, courage, and confidence. If you’re interested in the topic, you can find the blog post here: Is doubt a form of fear?

6. Doubts can build courage, curiosity, and confidence

I talked about how doubt causes fear. However, I also said that doubt has other products like courage, confidence, and curiosity.

When we handle doubt the right way, we can use it as a form of measurement.

For example, when I was first starting to make websites, I had no idea how to create one. Thus, it is normal for me to have doubts about my abilities.

But instead of running away in fear, I tried to do something about it. Since I know that I am a terrible writer, I learned how to write.

Since I am bad at designing a website, I learned how to create one properly.

Am I now very good at it? Not really, but after about 200 plus blog posts, I can say that I am improving.

The way I reacted to my doubts is what matters. As you can see, I took it as a challenge that I needed to learn the things I needed to reach my goals.

You can do it too.

What’s good here is that the more you do it, the more confident you’ll be. Much like how my first success in lecture gave me the confidence to build this website and a few months ago pushed me to make my own YouTube Channel.

I make self-improvement videos on YouTube, and I gladly invite you to check my Channel to learn more about personal development. You can find my Channel by clicking here.

7. Doubts can make us more logical and rational

This is another advantage of having doubts. I told you that doubts are not all negative.

Cambridge dictionary defined doubts as: “(a feeling of) not being certain about something, especially about how good or true it is.”

If we can see Cambridge’s definition, we can see that it is a feeling of not being sure.

It is our logic or rational thinking talking to us.

That’s why when we feel doubt, we tend to overthink.

Doubts validate our actions. It helps us understand if our efforts were right or wrong.

For example, everyone knows that stealing is wrong. That’s why your conscience will give doubts whenever you try thinking about it.

Doubt prevents us from acting on whatever we want. It helps us become civil.

Imagine a society where everyone can do what they want. It will cause some chaos.

That’s also why our ancestors survived using doubts. They were able to tell if hunting a tiger with bare hands is realistic.

Since you can use your doubts in that situation, you will probably say that it’s not.

That’s why we learned how to be good team players and how to use tools.

The same way as to how doubts of what if we can fly lead to airplanes, what if we can have some light that isn’t dangerous led to the light bulb, and what if we can remove dust more efficiently than broom led to the vacuum cleaner.

These are all because of logical thinking, which comes from doubts since these doubts can start our rational thinking.

8. Doubts can affect our relationships

A research study from the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reported that doubts could lead to mismeasurement of love between partners, which is not ideal for relationships. [2]

The research found out that partners who always have doubts tend to underestimate their partner’s love for them.

This leads to insecurities and more negative perceptions of their partners.

Furthermore, as I said earlier, doubts can make a person extremely negative, which is always bad for social interaction.

A few to no people want negative people around them. They want people who would support their dreams and give them some encouragement.

That means being too negative or too much self-doubt can significantly affect a person’s social life and relationships.

9. Doubts builds a growth mindset

Lastly, doubts can lead to a growth mindset.

Let’s end this with something positive.

A study from the Psychology of Sport and Exercise found out that people who have self-doubt tend to learn new things more efficiently than people who are overly confident. [3]

They even reported this: “Some self-doubt may be beneficial in exerting optimal effort on new exercise tasks.”

The reason is pretty simple. Since they have doubts about their abilities, they need to prove themselves.

This means they are more than willing to learn new things.

This is the growth mindset in which a person in doubt will do whatever it takes to learn.

This is much like how I learned how to make videos from zero. I knew that I didn’t know anything about it, so I got serious about studying it.

Thus, as you can see, you have two choices when in doubt.

You can run away in fear, or you can handle it with courage. All of us have doubts. Even the best people out there have doubts.

But what separates them from others is that they know that doubt doesn’t mean running away from challenges. It only means that you have a challenge ahead.

Only the things I love.

ongjason.com is reader-supported. When you buy through links on the site, I earn an affiliate commission.

If you’re following me, you’ll know that I believe it is essential to have some tools, whether it’s for personal development or lifestyle in general.

So, here are the things I love.


If you want to learn things for free, I recommend watching my YouTube Channel. Click the Button Below to go straight into my Channel. 🙂

Okay, let me first explain my Channel.

I believe that I really can’t explain everything too well on my blog. That’s why I created a YouTube Channel so I can easily explain a lot of things. Plus, I believe that Video Sharing is the future.

Recommended Books

The next thing is books. Books are, for me, one of the cheapest ways to get invaluable information. We can learn personal development, finance, career, relationships, and many more from books.

Here, I will be listing my favorite books in different categories.

  1. For Beginners7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – Personal development has a lot of concepts and ideas to learn. Thus it can be really hard for beginners to know where to start. Thus, I recommend this book since all the basic concepts of personal development are here(except finance, check what I recommended for that)
  2. ProductivityThe One Thing by Gary Keller – This book teaches us the power of focusing on one thing which is the ultimate source of productivity. The concepts taught are what I am using to constantly publish YouTube videos while maintaining this website.
  3. Busy?Make Time by Jack Knapp – This book teaches us how to make time for the things we love. The concept is really simple but I think that makes it a book worth reading.
  4. HealthLifespan by Dr.Sinclair – This Book teaches about the latest scientific research on lifespan. In his book, he has shared numerous things he is doing to slow down his aging process. This can be as easy as eating less which he recommends.
  5. FinanceThe Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason – Perhaps one of the first books I’ve read about Finance, this book for me is the best if we are talking about learning basic finance such as basic saving and investing. The concepts are very simple but effective.


Take this advice as a grain of salt.

I don’t recommend buying Audiobooks one by one. I mean, audiobooks can be quickly finished by listening while working out or doing some mindless tasks.

So here is to save you some money. Just go for a monthly subscription to Audible. I believe that you will save a lot of money with that plus, they usually give freebies to anyone starting.

My Audiobook Recommendation will always be the same as my book recommendations, but I personally like The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. I like how she is so casual while reading her book.


  1. Burke, Ronald J., et al. “Predicting Teacher Burnout over Time: Effects of Work Stress, Social Support, and Self-Doubts on Burnout and Its Consequences.Anxiety, Stress & Coping, vol. 9, no. 3, 1996, pp. 261–75. Crossref, doi:10.1080/10615809608249406.
  2. Murray, Sandra L., et al. “The Mismeasure of Love: How Self-Doubt Contaminates Relationship Beliefs.Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 27, no. 4, 2001, pp. 423–36. Crossref, doi:10.1177/0146167201274004.
  3. Ede, Alison, et al. “Self-Doubt: Uncertainty as a Motivating Factor on Effort in an Exercise Endurance Task.Psychology of Sport and Exercise, vol. 28, 2017, pp. 31–36. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2016.10.002.

Similar Posts