Self doubt and lack of confidence can seriously hamper an individual’s happiness and enjoyment of life. It is not uncommon for people to feel as though they can’t go for opportunities that arise, nor take risks and do what they really want to do, because they don’t think that they are good enough.
It is normal to question ourselves occasionally and to sometimes feel a little out of our depth. This can actually be a positive thing, because it can encourage us to develop a certain skill set for example. We may also question our self worth or direction at critical life junctures – such as puberty, when entering parenthood, starting or ending a relationship.
The problem is with constant, irrational worry. Endless concern about failing is enough to make many people not ever try. Sadly, the fear that things might not go to plan can be more debilitating than the reality ever could be. We may not know the meaning of life, but I feel quite sure that it isn’t to hide in the shadows in case somebody laughs at us.
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” ~ William Shakespeare
Therefore it is vital that we nip the cycle of self doubt in the bud, and take the time to nurture strong self confidence. Self confidence can be broken down into two elements, self efficacy (where we feel pride in achieving something through our own hard work and determination) and self esteem (where we trust in our own ability to handle something).
The Good Human has identified steps that can be taken to do just this, they can be easily incorporated into everyday rituals and will support all aspects of our lives.
This one may sound cliched, and too obvious. But it is simple and effective and is one that can not be missed. If you spend all of your time worrying about the negatives then that is what you will notice, that is what will crop up in your reality time and again.
If you consciously and gently return to the positive side of any thoughts that drift through your mind, then your life will become more positive. It is really that simple! Your thoughts make your reality…. you are in control of your mind, not the other way around.
I will not deny that this can be tricky in today’s modern and fast paced world. We are bombarded with negativity and complaints. So, if you want to focus on the positive you need to actively control the flow of negativity and also do something to boost the flow of positivity. Negativity can be controlled in many ways, you can turn off the TV, read uplifting material, detox the energy sapping friends from your life.
And how to incorporate positivity? You will have to ask yourself what works for you. Stepping out into nature, taking a dip in the sea, waking up ten minutes earlier to meditate or trying a yoga class. Either way, it is up to you to focus on the positive in every way you can.
Each and every one of us is ‘blessed’ with an inner critic. A little whiny, or downright nasty voice, who constantly likes to remind us that we are not good enough. They like to replay all of our past failures, and keep a track of every time we were embarrassed or looked stupid.
Nobody is immune to this, and you can’t really make it go away forever. That is because it is a part of you. What you can learn to do though, is see it for what it is. A scared little piece of your ego that doesn’t want you to be hurt. It isn’t very clever though, it doesn’t have the foresight to realise how good you will feel once you overcome the self doubt that you feel.
All it can do is nag you and try to discourage. But remember, you are in control of your mind, not the other way around. Try thanking your bitter inner critic for being such a valiant and consistent defender against embarrassment, albeit a misguided defender. You honestly don’t need to listen to what the voice is saying. Try it!
While you are busy standing up to your inner critic, have a think about your outer critics too. They often come disguised as our closest loved ones. An over-caring mother, uncomfortable spouse or jealous sibling. Once again, you can thank them for their concern, but like the inner voice, they can’t know the greater good behind your actions. So as long as you are not attempting something deadly (and sometimes even if you are), you can trust your own intuition above all else and do what is best for you.
If you really find it difficult to stand up to the inner and outer critics, try to fill the space in your head with positive affirmations to drown them out! You can do it silently… believe me, it works.
Be kind to yourself! Take care of yourself! Stop beating yourself up!
So many of us are so hard on ourselves, in a way that we would never accept from a friend. So start to see the good in yourself and nurture that. You can begin to trust your intuition and follow your instincts when you realise that you are actually pretty wise. Then have gratitude for that! You are connected to an infinite wisdom, you only have to believe in yourself for it to be so.
Take a break from your work and connect with your loved ones. That could be your friends, family, your pet, therapist or even a tree. Just reconnect, get grounded and enjoy the feeling, without judgement or agenda.
This is a big one! Stop comparing yourself to others around you. For one thing, you never know the full story of someone else’s life. You are only comparing that which you can see before your eyes – so it can never be accurate. And more importantly – it doesn’t matter! You are the only you that there will ever be, and you have the power to be the best version of that!
While you are at it, ignore what they think! It is not even about you. Other people’s opinions of you are just as inaccurate as your opinions of them. When other people judge you they are actually judging a reflection of themselves that they see.
What is the worse that can happen if you set one goal, and then a month later refocus your direction slightly? You are the Captain of your ship, and there is nothing to stop you from readjusting your course as much as you like. Self correct and reassess your goals – just go ahead and set some goals. Get started! It is not set in concrete.
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit. ~ E.E. Cummings
Read uplifting books, listen to joyful audios, self-help guides, ‘how I became a millionaire’ autobiographies. Anything that gets your juices flowing, and stops you focusing on how Dave down the road went bust! There are so many success stories out there, so go and find a mentor that helps you to slay your self doubt.
This should help you to stop making excuses, stop procrastinating and have the courage to just take that next step towards the life of your dreams. It only take a series of small steps!
This is one that comes up regularly on The Good Human. When you can be mindful and fully conscious in the moment, then you are not feeling anxious about the future nor dwelling in the past. It is very hard to have self doubt when you are not thinking about past failures the whole time. It is also hard to be fearful of future embarrassments when you are not worrying about what could go wrong.
You can only make a difference on the moment you are in, so remain present in that moment.
Take a good look at yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. This way you can build on your areas that need some work, while knowing you can rely on the naturally stronger areas. Be aware of your own limits, realistically, and that should help to stop you spiralling into irrational fears.
“Low self-confidence isn’t a life sentence. Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered–just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better.” ~ Barrie Davenport
Don’t let yourself get too comfortable! The longer you remain snuggled on the couch the more daunting it is to get up and out into the world. The same is true of the sea – if you haven’t swum in months it can easily become years.
Let yourself get used to the feeling of nervous butterflies, it is exhilarating to get right out of your comfort zone and burst into life! You will really know you are living.
A sure-fire way to an instant self confidence boost is to smarten up the reflection in the mirror. You should start by working out on a regular basis. Improved fitness and a strong body will help support your self confidence, as will the endorphins that flood your system after exercise.
Dress sharp, with a clean, pressed and flattering outfit. Take the time to do your hair and makeup. Look at your posture. Walking with a stoop, or sitting hunched over as though you are apologising for taking space is not the way to self confidence. Your body language says so much about you – so fake it until you make it if you have to. Hold your head up high and walk tall.
While you are at it, look at how you speak. Do you almost whisper when you are nervous? Speak up and don’t rush. Your message to the world is important, so let us hear it. And don’t forget to smile!
When you talk about yourself to others, be very careful of the language you use and what you say. Speak kindly, and be honest about your achievements. Dragging yourself through the mud is not the same as being humble. You do not need to be boastful, but do be mindful of the fact that you are listening to everything you say. If you define yourself as someone who can never amount to anything, how do you expect your subconscious mind to back you up?
What are your thoughts? Are you someone that is nagged by self doubt? Or do you feel empowered and self confident? We would love to hear from you!
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