Eight women on how they overcame their self-consciousness and self-doubt
compiled by Sam Gonzales, contributor
It’s almost like a plague. Behind the beautiful Instagram posts and self-deprecating tweets grows a creature devouring the light within. I’m sure we’re all familiar with self-doubt as it looms over us. When I talk to people about this, one thing seems to ring true: everyone feels self-conscious and doubt themselves. It is present at night, when we’re alone, when we reflect on the state of other seemingly more successful people. But hey, self-improvement is difficult but that isn’t a good enough reason not to try. We asked nine incredible women how they try to overcome their self-consciousness and self-doubt.
Bea Dela Torre, Junior Product Manager at L'Oreal Makeup Designer/Paris
To be honest, it takes time and a lot of growing up to get over self-consciousness and self-doubt. It just came to a point that I started not caring about what people think and just started focusing my energy on achieving my end goal in life. It was hard but that's reality. All good things take time and patience.
Trisha O’Bannon, poet and performer
It's not really overcome, it's a daily battle! A lot of it is constantly reminding yourself that whether you see yourself in a good way or bad way, the power's completely with you. Only you have the power to change how you feel about yourself, or do something about it. And it's important to get to the root of it. If I'm feeling really shitty about myself, I make a list of reasons why and then later, when I'm not so emotionally charged, I weed out the ones I can change from the ones that I can't or don't want to. For the ones I can change (e.g. I feel too fat), I make a plan to do something about it (e.g. diet, exercise, self-love). The ones that I don't want to or can't, I have to learn to accept that it's part of me and it makes me who I am.
Some days are easier than others. The important thing is to know that it's always going to be a struggle, so you never feel like you've failed yourself. And so you never stop making an effort!
Writing it down helps, para concrete siya, hindi lang some weird abstract "I suck.” And you have to do it when you're feeling less shitty, or when circumstances are better. Alternatively, if you constantly feel a certain way about yourself, maybe you have to change that thing. ‘Di lang siya fleeting feeling. And having a concrete plan of action is also super empowering. Like I've gained a lot of weight which totally sucks for me and it's going to take a lot of work but when I laid down what I had to do lose weight, I already felt much better. A lot of self-doubt and self-consciousness comes from the feeling of losing control. So, do what you gotta do to take back that control in your life.
Andrea Beldua, photographer
I don't think we can ever completely overcome our self-doubt; it is a work in progress always after all. I used to be so much more self-conscious before though, and I think that stemmed from my youth and my inability to recognize who I really am. As I grew older, I learned so much more about myself through my passion for my craft. Although I know I have so much to learn, I know now that my talent and hard work will always be the defining factor of Andrea Beldua — not my physical looks. I am so much more than that. A quote that will always be relevant to this is one by Savannah Brown (from her poem "Hi, I'm a Slut"): "My body is a temple, I am the god it was built for."
Donna Virata, Marketing Associate at GlaxoSmithKline and blogger
I wouldn't consider myself 100% confident about who I am and what I do, but I do think I've improved tremendously from how I used to see myself. I think what helped a lot is:
- Understanding who I am, the things I value, my interests, strengths and weaknesses; and
- Understanding the people around me and beyond my circle, the things they value, their interests, strengths, weaknesses and how they actualize their goals.
It’s cliché but I realized everyone's different, and that although some people are born with advantages, it's still up to me how I can make the most of what I have. I accepted myself, considered myself as a work in progress and went on to develop my strengths and weaknesses. as in with concrete action plan. So now, even if there are times that I would unconsciously doubt myself, bigla ko iisipin na unproductive ‘yun and come up of a way to kill that doubt.
Bianca Umali, makeup artist
It was a process. It took a lot of convincing from my friends and family for me to actually consider makeup artistry as a full time job. However, what really made me take the plunge was the realization that I was more afraid of my inner demons than other people's reaction towards my chosen career. One day I just decided to make a Facebook page outing myself as a makeup artist and I didn't receive any negative feedback from anyone. I guess it's really true when they say your mind could be your best friend or worst enemy. Once you make peace with the idea that your doubts will never able you to move forward, you're already in the right path.
Lara Rapanan, co-founder of Habin PH
When I realized that I have full control of what my mind feeds my ego, I took charge of that process. I'm now mastering the art of weeding out the unnecessary from my life.
Mandy Cruz, performer
I honestly think I never got over my self-consciousness nor my self-doubt; I think that's something nobody truly "gets over.” I just got used to thinking more positively about myself than otherwise. Despite that, I still really feel that often I catch myself comparing myself to other girls: how much prettier they are then me, or smarter, etc. Internal misogyny never goes away. It creeps up on you and shuts you down on your lowest of low days. The best way I try and get myself back to being positive and happy with myself is to remember that other girls are not my enemy.
Other girls are not my enemy. Other girls are not my enemy. Lather, rinse, repeat.
I don't want to say "repeat until true" because I don't think I have to repeat it over and over again until it's true. It'll be true even if I don't repeat the phrase, it'll be true even if I don't think it is. I think overcoming self-consciousness and self-doubt — or at least suppressing it until you have the capacity to ignore it — comes hand-in-hand with accepting others. We are all different and unique; we are not each other's enemy. Once I understood this, I became a lot more confident with myself and it became easier to even stand up for myself and just as easy to stand up for others as well.
Christine Liwag, Social Media Specialist at Smart and blogger
Honestly, I'm not very sure if I've entirely overcome my self-consciousness already. Growing up in an all-girls school got me up on the insecurity game quite early. It was only in high school when I realized how "good" I am with the things I think I'm "good" at. I guess you just need to find your strength — use it, maximize your potential, and you'll eventually be able to let go of your self-doubt. It's a work in progress, definitely not something you'll be able to achieve overnight. Oh, and friends help too! Be with the ones who'll cheer for you all throughout. I'm sure you'll never look back to what once pulled you down. Like what Harry Winston said, "People will stare, make it worth their while."
Indeed, the road to progress is a constant state of learning. How about you? How do you battle consciousness and doubt? What are you biggest hurdles when you try to improve yourself? Let’s talk in the comments!
Fight the good fight, ladies.