We all have some of those inner demons that can quickly kill off our confidence. They drain our lives of our potential and purpose, and fill us with deep regret. But the trick is not to let them erode our big plans in life. In this article you will find 6 actions which you need to stop now to gain more confidence in life.
Living in the past
Often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us – Helen Keller
Stop living in the past, You cannot live a happy life if you are constantly living in the past, constantly going over mistakes from the past. Trust me I know, I’ve been there, and I have spent years going through past mistakes and the more you go over it the worse they seem, and the worse you feel. It plagues your mind with self sabotaging thoughts, thinking that everything always goes wrong for you, and stops you living a happy life.
Instead, try to take away the positives from past experiences. Learn from an experience, and you’ll learn more about yourself and what makes you happy. Whatever the lesson is, it will help you move on to bigger and better things if you take it to heart and let it guide you.
The best thing you can do for yourself today is to leave the past behind you. What has happened has made you who you are, but it doesn’t have to define who you become from this moment on. Focus on the present moment and your own happiness. Choosing to be positive will open you up to a happier life where you’re able to succeed, achieve your goals and will improve your self esteem.
Constantly doubting yourself
The only limit to our realisation of tomorrow will be our doubts of today – Franklin D Roosevelt
Most of us have experienced self-doubt at some point in our lives too, but you know what, it’s what we do with it and how we cope with it, which determines how we struggle with the self-doubt. Self-doubt holds you back feeding on our self esteem and self worth, and we tend to stand in our own way. We have a hard time seeing that there are also good things about ourselves. self-doubt causes a loss in motivation or concentration, or feelings of indecisiveness, guilt, shame, or worthlessness, this is when depression can set in.
You need to learn to start giving yourself credit where credit is due. The accomplishments you have worked for are real. We can be so critical toward ourselves that sometimes you need to use your friends feedback and a good way to try and get some good feedback good friends can be a very effective personality mirror. They can reflect things back to you that you may have difficulty seeing for yourself, and help build your confidence.
Self-awareness is one of the most powerful personal development tools. Make use of it by understanding the root causes of your self-doubt. What situations trigger bouts of self-doubt? If it’s a lack of skill in an area, do something about it. It’s only when you do the very thing you doubt you can do, that you realize how little you ever needed to doubt yourself to begin with.
Worrying about what people think of you
Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner – Lao Tzu
It is human nature to want to be liked and accepted by others, however, it often leads to people worrying too much about what others think of them. When you worry about what others think, you tend to think the worst, and start believing what you are imagining they are thinking …and that feeling just brings you down. The worst thing is that you are wasting time and energy, because you have no idea what they are thinking, and it could be totally the opposite to what you think.
What people think of you, cannot change who you are or what you are worth, unless you allow them to, people can’t make you feel a certain way about yourself. You only have one life to live, so why spend it worrying about other people’s opinions? Do whatever you want, be whoever you want. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. It is impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations so there is no point in burning yourself out trying to do so.
You need to make a conscious effort to stop giving a damn and to let yourself free. With practice it is a skill which can be mastered and once you truly understand how to let go, you will see the world as entirely different. This is your life to live, and at the end of the day you are the only person who needs to approve of your own choices.
When you are saying yes to others, make sure you aren’t saying no to yourself – Paulo Coehlo
So, what do I mean by people pleasing and why is it so detrimental to your self-confidence….? Well, a people pleaser is typically someone who will go out of their way to help, and who are more than willing to step up and do what is needed for everyone. Whilst that is a really nice trait to have, but often it is a form of validation… A people pleaser is someone who tries hard to make others happy. They will often go out of their way to please someone, even if it means taking their own valuable time or resources away from them.
People pleasers often act the way they do because of their insecurities and lack of self-esteem. People pleasers are perfectionists, and for some, it’s almost an addiction. The constant validation gained from being a people pleaser makes them feel like they are needed and useful. A people pleaser will automatically say yes to any request, but then immediately regret it. Then you are angry, both at them AND at yourself for saying yes.
If this is you, then you need to stop this and in order to stop being that people pleaser, you have to learn to not give an answer immediately. Try stalling your response by saying “let me get back to you” or that you need to check your schedule, or need to check in with your spouse. Just do what you can to buy yourself some time, so you can actually think about your response, then maybe reply to them later by text or similar with a polite “no”, which is so much easier than doing it in person. And, it gives you time to make the right choice.
Another thing to stop doing, is saying sorry! Another classic me problem. My boss once pointed it out to me, and gave me a right telling off for saying sorry all the time – in the nicest possible way I am sure! The chances are, you’ve probably said sorry at least a handful of times in the past week. People on average say sorry up to 7 times per day. That’s about 200,000 times in one lifetime, or a grand total of 56 hours saying sorry! Stop saying sorry.
Don’t feel bad for standing up for you; and remember, if you don’t stand up for you, no one else will. I encourage you to read my 5 tips on how to stop people pleasing here.
Comparison is the thief of joy – Theodore Roosevelt
Did you know that more than 10% of daily thoughts involved making a comparison of some kind. There are two ways of looking at comparison, there’s the downward comparison and the upward comparison. This article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_comparison_theory
explains a bit more, but basically the downward comparison makes us feel better by comparing ourselves with people who are worse off, and the upward comparison generally makes us feel worse comparing ourselves with people who have these amazing lives and seem to have it all together. That can leave us feeling totally inadequate, depressed and generally worse about our own lives. That having said, there are also times where that can be helpful to us, as it can push us to do better, and motivate us, but a lot of the time it does have that opposite effect.
Why not try and write a list of all the things that you love about yourself and your life, it may go against the grain a bit but you need to do it and be totally honest with yourself. What makes you different – and its not all about looks either, go deeper than that (although you do need to appreciate your looks and your health too!) It is also about your amazing family you may have, and the fantastic friends you have. You will start to become aware of all the good things you have about yourself, and it will in turn uplift you and help you feel better about yourself.
Practice gratitude, be thankful for everything that you have, and not just the big things in life, but those daily things you get to do and have. Just waking up in your comfortable bed, that first cup of coffee. That smile someone gave you when walking to the bus. The food you get to eat. Show gratitude every day, and watch how things improve and you get to have more to be grateful for. It also takes your mind away from comparing.
Like the food we eat, we also need to be conscious of the information we consume, we should only be taking in good quality information from reliable sources. If you want to reduce that upward comparison, you need to cut out the screen time/social media, maybe start reading some personal development books. If we lived in a media-free world with no images of beauty and no one knew how others were doing financially and socially, then the reality is we’d probably be happier.
Just know that you are good enough!
Face your fears
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action brings confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie
Fear manifests itself as a series of “what ifs.” “What if I fail?” “What if people criticize me and my ideas?” “What if people reject me?” Fear is a natural emotion to new situations and you wont stop that feeling anytime soon and actually we don’t want to completely get rid of fear altogether as there are times we need that fear for safety reasons, but … the “what if’s” come from a lack of confidence and a lack of belief in yourself. The fear of failing and of appearing foolish stops you from attempting new things, or something that your heart is calling you to do. You need to learn to embrace it, face your fears, take action and it will help you build your self confidence.
You can’t control what happens, but you can control how you react. Learn to recognise and understand your different responses to situations, then if you are responding to it negatively then intentionally turn your thoughts and change your reactions to a positive response.
The most successful people, follow that saying, “feel the fear and do it anyway” because they have more confidence underneath their fear. Focus on the big picture, not the small failures. You need to learn to trust yourself, to be able to learn from your mistakes. Accept yourself for who you are, and make friends with yourself as who you are.
As I said above, YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!
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