Constructive Self-doubt

Modesty can be the best policy. An exaggeratedly high opinion of oneself may be protective, but it has a downside. Too much self-confidence can make us insensitive to others. In contrast, self-doubt can help us see ourselves more realistically. Self-doubt can be healthy and give us a more balanced sense of ourselves.

Ayan (2018) reports that research shows that we do not necessarily know ourselves. We can have distorted impressions of ourselves of which we are unaware. Emily Pronin of Princeton University specializes in self-perception. She explains that some of our distortions are based on our seeing ourselves as morally good. Although recognizing how others fall short, we may not see how we do too. 

Ayan (2018) goes on to say that others see us more accurately than we see ourselves because we cannot really be sure about how we affect others. Our not being able to see our own facial expressions and our body language can leave us mistaking how others are reacting to us. Feedback from other people can give us a more complete view of ourselves and a clearer understanding of our social impact.

Hendricksen (2018) proposes that self-doubt has an upside. A healthy dose of uncertainty promotes self-monitoring of our interactions, which can result in our getting along better in our relationships. Our self-awareness can help us think before we speak. Tact can minimize conflict and enable us to get along better with others.

If you would like to discuss this issue further, please Contact Me.


Ayan, S. 10 things you don't know about yourself. Scientific American Mind, 2018, July, Online.

Hendricksen, E. Why everyone is insecure (and why that's okay). Scientific American Mind, 2018, July, Online.


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