Do you want to learn how to be more confident? Most of your confidence issues lie in the negative beliefs that you’ve accepted about yourself. You live in self-judgement, and like most people, you’ve likely become your own harshest critic.
In this article, I’ll share some of my story about overcoming low confidence, and what you need to know to overcome it too.
“He wouldn’t like me if he knew the real me.”
“I’ll never be as successful as her.”
“He wouldn’t like me if he saw the car I drove.”
“Why can’t I be skinny like her?”
“I wish I was prettier.”
Do any of these statements sound like something you or a friend would say? Do you know someone in your life who thinks like this on a daily basis?
Let me ask you this: How would you feel if someone said any of these things about your son, your daughter, your husband, or your best friend?
You’d probably feel pretty angry if anyone said anything less than great about these people. Personally, I know that I would be upset if someone said these statements to anyone close to me.
How to be more confident: Your standards for talking to yourself are lower than how you talk to other people. And that’s a problem.
I’d think they’re judgemental and rude. Why, then, do we lower our standards for what it is that we say about ourselves? Why is it okay to talk down to ourselves, but not everyone else? How is that different?
We as human beings spend a lot of our time in judgement of ourselves, but yet we become outraged when this same judgement is shown to anyone else we know.
As a matter of priority, we have to realize that this harsh judgement of ourselves is detrimental to our mind and our confidence.
Often, these negative mantras are ones that we’ve invented in our own mind. Sometimes these are even statements that actually have been said to us before.
It’s very common for us to remember events in our past that became defining moments when we internalized them. We gave a bad meaning to the event itself, but much worse, we attached that bad event to our very identity.
In my entire youth and most of my adult life, I never felt pretty enough. I never felt lovable enough.
All of this was because the people who mattered to me the most and were supposed to love me the most… didn’t give me what I needed. It conflicted with the mental blueprint I had of how life should be.
Neither my expectations nor my basic human needs were met.
That can do terrible things to a person’s mind. Of course I let it. It was too painful not to.
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you likely know that I grew up in a dysfunctional family. I know, I know. “Dysfunctional is the new functional”. It’s all too common now, but the childhood I grew up with left me dealing with some long-term confidence issues. I’m sure many of my readers are facing the same thing.
After everything, I’ve come out of it realizing something very important.
How to be more confident: Forgive the people and circumstances that led you to believe everything negative about who you are.
To forgive these people and the wounds they left on my confidence, I had to see them through compassionate eyes. I had to see that they were just doing the best they could for who they were and what they had at that time.
It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that they could not be bigger people in those moments. They just weren’t ready. Some of them never will be. That’s not my fault.
Even better, I realized that these were beliefs that I created myself. These things really did happen to me. Mean things were said to me and about me. But how I reacted and what I chose to believe was up to me.
It can make you either angry or relieved to accept this about yourself. You have a choice…
You can be angry and bitter toward the people or circumstances that made these beliefs possible, and at yourself for never letting go. Or, you can choose to feel relief that it was YOU who chose to make this a part of you, and that you have full control over releasing it.
If I was able to come out of a life of emotional neglect, with verbal and physical abuse, able to conquer my limiting beliefs… I know that you can, too.
When we catch ourselves saying we’re not “enough” of something, we have to question it. We have to ask ourselves how true that really is.
Yes, as I mentioned, these are sometimes things we were actually told. I remember overhearing a conversation between teachers at my elementary school. They said that I would never amount to anything because of the poor family I was from.
My brother was always in one kind of trouble after another. My Mother, an alcoholic, rarely showed up to school completely sober. My father never played any part in my life, and was totally out of the picture.
After hearing that conversation, it really stung. We always look up to people like this as an authority figure, and when an authority figure says something like this about you, it’s pretty hard not to take it personally.
Of course I did. Worse, I made it a part of me. I believed it at the time. “I’ll never amount to anything great. I’m from the wrong side of the tracks, and good things just can’t happen for me.”
I said it again and again in my head. In that moment, I’d basically brainwashed myself. You’ve probably done this before, too, maybe even without realizing it. If you have, it has more than likely manifested itself in a very real way.
We continue to find proof for these beliefs in everything we do and see. I was a C student consistently, except for sports.
Boy, sports was where I sure excelled – but I definitely took my grades as a sign that I didn’t have much potential. I never gave myself the grace I deserved for all the stress that made it so hard to apply myself.
I believed that I was nothing, and I would always be just that.
My mother never taught me how to take care of myself, or to embrace and enhance my femininity, so I never felt pretty enough. Being rejected for it didn’t make it any better for me.
So, someone said you aren’t “enough” of something. How real is that? Can you BECOME something better, or is this just… you? Will you never be enough?
Just because someone says something about you or something happens to you that leads you to believe you aren’t enough does NOT mean you never will be.
That doesn’t have to be the end of your story. You become anything you BELIEVE you can become, and what you APPLY yourself to become.
Understand that when you want to become better, it must not be from a place of wanting revenge of some kind, or even just to prove them wrong. Sure, success is the best revenge. But it MUST be, first and foremost, from a place of love for yourself. Realizing that you CAN and should be better, but not because they said you couldn’t do it – because you deserve it.
This was so powerful for me during the phase of my young adulthood when I was overweight. I wanted to be skinnier and to feel prettier.
But nothing could make my goals stick better than wanting health and a better quality of life first, with a prettier body second. Why? Because anyone deserves that much!
We can get a little sappy with the whole idea of “self love”, sure. But self-love is actually such a huge part of being confident that you’re going to have to get over that.
Realize that anything said about you or anything that happened to you that would magnify your imperfections is not the ultimate truth.
Even if it really was true at the time, your imperfections are never your identity… unless you allow them to be. Call out your beliefs for what they really are. Accept that your identity is what you make of it.
You are not what anyone else or your circumstances suggest that you are, unless you yourself attach it to your very being.