Confidence is a growth trait, meaning with practice you can grow this muscle. You can increase your self-esteem and confidence.
Part of growing your confidence is being aware of what kills your confidence (e.g. toxic or hurtful relationships).
If you grew up hearing how useless or stupid you were, you didn’t really get a chance to build a confidence reservoir.
“If you’ve never had a chance to build confidence you have nothing to fall back on in difficult times–there’s no positive self-belief system to help you out. You’ll automatically think you’re not good enough, attractive enough, clever enough, etc. as you’ve never had an alternative view.”(Hibberd & Usman 2015: page 18)
On the flip side, if you grew up feeling loved, listened to and that your opinions matter, you’re more likely to have higher self-esteem and confidence in adulthood. If you have a history of feeling confident, capable and loved as a child, then when shit hits the fans, you’ll be able to fall back on those experiences to get you through.
I know so many people who have confidence-killer stories from years ago (that they recall with stunning clarity) as if it just happened. Stories about guidance counsellors telling them they were stupid in high school, about mothers who berated them as children, or about school teachers who laughed at them when they made mistakes.Unfortunately, these bad experiences can be seared into our memories, and our psyches and last a lifetime…UNLESS we consciously work to rid ourselves of confidence killers and practice confidence boosting exercises.
What are the type of situations or people who deplete your confidence?
- Being overwhelmed with stress
- Not meeting expectations
- Family or Relationship Drama
- Comparisons with others who are more successful than you
- Imbalance of criticism vs praise (i.e. lack of praise & overabundance of criticism)
- Feeling ostracized/isolated (feeling like you don’t belong)
- The quest for perfectionism (that you NEVER attain, because it’s unrealistic)
What are the consequences of confidence killers?
- Procrastination & avoidance!!!!! (you just start over thinking everything, and worrying and thinking and worrying and thinking and worrying….but you never start DOING, or ACTING, or CREATING….you just think about it)
- Inability to accept praise or compliments (constantly externalizing your success to others…..(“oh, I couldn’t have done it on my own, it was my team, my supportive spouse, my neighbour, my friends, blah, blah, blah…”)
- You treat yourself poorly (you binge eat because of stress, you either over or under exercise, you turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with your increasing stress and decreasing confidence skills)
I feel really passionately about this material…..(I wrote a book about it, right!). So, please know this:
You can build your self-confidence. You can develop your assertiveness. You can expand out of your comfort zone by taking risks. You can be courageous. You can be a leader.
Hibberd, Jessamy and Jo. Usmar. (2015). “This Book will Make You Confident.” New York, NY: Quercus.