People who chronically question their own judgments are more likely to become anxious, sad, suffer wild mood swings and avoid thinking about difficult problems, according to Herbert L. Mirels, professor of psychology at Ohio State University.I recognise a lot of that in myself and I think I recognise a lot of it in some of you, too - some of you who I like very much. If it's helpful in identifying a possible source of a lot of your worries and reassuring that it's not just you, or not just me, who has these sorts of feelings then it's got to be of some sort of use. I'd be interested in further resources about overcoming self-doubt.
Mirels led a team that developed a questionnaire to measure self-doubt, and then administered it to 105 OSU students. They found that people who scored high on self-doubt also had low self-esteem, chronic anxiety, higher levels of depression and a tendency to procrastinate, Mirels and his former graduate student Paul Greblo reported in a recent issue of Personality and Individual Differences.
Mirels thinks that people develop confidence or doubt in their ability to make judgments when they are children. They sense how their parents react to decisions they make. As they grow older, self-doubters tend to put off decisions in order to postpone feelings of anxiety -- which helps them in the short run, he said, but also leads to more feelings of uncertainty.
I'll write more about this later, but not immediately. In a twist of fate so self-referential it can only be true, I'm trying to write about my feelings on a number of related issues (for this is the "tricky entry" I've thought about and made reference to on and off for about a month now) but am finding the right way to express myself very difficult to come by.