How to banish doubt and live a life you love

The key to happiness lies within yourself, but doubts and fear can stand in our way. Here are ways to banish your doubts and help yourself to live a life you love.

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  • Do you ever have those moments when you get discouraged? When you think that life can't get worse? When you wonder if there will ever be a time when you feel successful, loved or happy? You are not alone. They happen to everyone. The real question should be how do you banish your doubt?

  • Discouragement is one of life's harsh ways of keeping us down. Trials, failures, bullies and even our own selves can stand in our way of happiness. The areas of a person's life where doubt usually lives are relationships, career and self-esteem.

  • Relationships

  • Doubt is a scary thing in a relationship. It can affect trust, and when there is no trust, the relationship is in serious danger of not succeeding. If we doubt our partner in any way, consider counseling. On the other hand, relationships are a great way to help lift you up when you doubt yourself. I always go to my husband for support when I'm feeling down. He does not judge, blame or criticize me; he just comforts me. I am the same way with him. A good friend is someone who knows when to give comfort verses a pep talk, or at least knows how long to wait until giving the pep talk. Your friend should be able to lift your spirits and motivate you. If you are hanging around people that bring you down, perhaps you should make new friends. Negativity is contagious and can sabotage your efforts for wanting to stay positive.

  • When you're not in a romantic relationship — despite your best efforts — doubt can creep in and make you think: what's wrong with me? Usually there is nothing wrong with you; you just haven't found someone you're interested in yet. Take this time to grow personally. Become the best possible version of yourself. Take chances, live abroad, get your education and do those things that those of us who are married wished we did before we settled down. If you're not sure what those things are, ask your married friends. My point is to not sit back and wait for your soul mate to come, live your life. They always say you'll find love when you're not looking for it, and that has some truth to it. Being confident, adventurous and successful are very attractive qualities.

  • Career

  • A big part of being happy is enjoying your career. It is easy to stay at a job you hate or don't find satisfying because you're already there. It is familiar, it is secure and you're getting by. But is it what you dreamed of doing as a kid? Is it what you went to college for? Or is it just something that pays the bills? Rejection, doubts and fears often stand in the way of going after something you want. If you feel it is not possible to obtain your ideal career, ask yourself why. The only thing standing in your way is yourself. Step out of your comfort zone, put your excuses aside and keep pursuing your dreams. It is never too late, and you are never too old to change careers; just make sure you are happy along the way. Don't wait for your dreams to come true to be happy, find it in your daily living.

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  • I find working toward a smaller goal is a great way to experience accomplishment on the way to something bigger. Perhaps you are not at your dream job yet, but if you start off small, take some classes, apply for some entry-level jobs at your dream company, or expand your portfolio — it will help you reach your bigger goal. Don't be afraid of rejection, if it does happen try to learn from it. Ask whoever rejected you for some feedback, and perhaps it will help you with your next try. Every rejection I get I use as motivation to keep going. It just makes me stronger and work harder for what it is I really want.

  • Self-esteem

  • Doubt can affect self-esteem in several ways. It can make you feel bad about how you look physically. It can make you feel like you're not smart enough. It can make you feel like a horrible person. It can be hard to get out of these slumps, but it is vital to do so. Ways I try to avoid these particular doubts is by exercising regularly, being humble and remembering my successes.

  • By exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, I feel better about myself. Even if I am not losing weight or inches, I just feel better overall. This could be a result of the endorphins, but I believe it is because I am doing what I need to be to have a healthy body. There is also no better way to fight off those body image doubts than by sweating them out.

  • Being humble means I am admitting I am not perfect and want to find ways to improve myself. If someone is critical of me, I try not to take it as a personal insult, rather I use the advice to my advantage. There is a fine line between constructive criticism and being a bully. The way to distinguish the two is by trusting and loving the person the advice is from. A person who loves you would be considerate of your feelings. Don't forget all the things you've accomplished so far in life. Graduating high school, becoming a parent, running a 5K, whatever it may be, you've already made some good choices. All of these things can lift your spirits and enrich your life.

  • Being happy is the key to loving your life. I hope these words of advice will give you the courage to let go of doubt and realize the potential the lies within you.

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Megan Shauri graduated with a bachelors in anthropology and a masters in psychology. She is a mother of twins.

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