Life would be much easier and more fun if we were blessed with abundant confidence in all areas of our lives. But it seems that life blesses some people with natural confidence and others are left wanting to be more confident.
We might look at people who appear confident and think how lucky they are. We assume that they were raised in families that happened to instil confidence in them. Or maybe they’ve been surrounded by people who made them confident.
We might think that confidence is something that only certain people can have, because of special circumstances in their lives. And that if we missed out on those then we will somehow always be ‘less than’.
This narrow picture misses a vital piece of the puzzle. If you feel lacking in confidence, please take heart.
That missing piece is the answer, and it’s staring you right in the face.
What if I told you that you were born confident. We are all born confident. Every single one of us.
The solution is not about becoming more confident. The solution is to reclaim the confidence you already have.
Here are some signs of low self-confidence
We can struggle with lack of confidence in our appearance, abilities, relationships, careers, decision making, and social situations.
Here’s a few examples of how lack of confidence shows up:
- Overworking – spending long hours at your desk, whether that’s at home or in the office. You over-give, and you never seem to switch off. You’re looking at emails late at night and as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- You’re still single, even though you really want to find love and a meaningful relationship. The whole dating game is a minefield and you haven’t figured out how to do it comfortably. You tell yourself you’re “not good at relating to people”.
- You feel intense anxiety in some social situations so you try to avoid them.
- You hate conflict and would rather give in to others’ demands even though it makes you feel bad. If someone mistreats you or owes you money, you’d rather just let it go and try to forget.
The lie we’ve swallowed about how to be more confident
When we feel lacking in confidence we’re told it’s a “YOU problem” and that we have to change.
So we strive to be thinner, prettier, smarter, more hard-working, more accomplished. We strive to have more qualifications, to ‘prove’ something to ourselves or others.
But we’ve forgotten the real truth.
We can’t reclaim what is our birthright from somewhere outside of us. You’re already perfectly fine just the way you are.
Real confidence does not come from changing who we are. Real confidence can only be reclaimed from within.
You were born confident – and you can reclaim it.
We all start out in life with the same measure of confidence as everyone else. We’re all born with the same ‘bucket’ of confidence, if you like. Our life experiences shape what happens to that bucket.
Negative experiences make holes in the bucket and our confidence leaks out. So we have less available when we need it.
Positive life experiences reinforce the bucket and repair any holes, so no confidence leaks out.
You can reclaim the confidence you already have by finding all the things that take it away.
You need to repair the holes in your bucket!
Real confidence comes from deep within.
Confidence comes from the Latin word ‘fidere’ which means “to trust”. Self-confidence is having trust in yourself. So what takes away our trust in ourselves?
One thing that takes away our trust is allowing all the negative chatter in our heads to run free and unchecked. The voice that tells us we’re not enough, or not worthy. That voice that tells us all the things that could go wrong. It’s a constant reminder that we’re ‘not ok’.
That negative voice makes us so uncomfortable we try to get away from it. We tune it out by constantly being busy or distracting ourselves. We try to keep our minds active so we never have to hear what’s really going on inside.
But that negative voice is only one part of you. If you let it, it will continue to drown out all the other parts (including the parts that know you’ll be ok no matter what).
Three simple steps to begin to reclaim your confidence
This is a long journey, and there’s no shortcut or quick fix. But there are steps you can take to begin the process of learning to trust yourself, and that you’ll be ok no matter what.
- Notice the times when you feel less confident. Pay attention and listen to the chatter going on in your head.
Note: If your usual habit is to keep busy and try to block it out, this step will be quite difficult, but do what you can. Even 2 minutes of attention will be helpful.
- Write down exactly what that voice is saying to you.
Note: If you hate writing, or find it difficult, then whisper the words outloud. (in a place where you won’t be overheard or look ‘wierd’!) The point of this is to get the words out of the silence of your head and become conscious of them.
- Sit quietly, and ask yourself “is that really true?” “What could be an alternative view?”
Note: This might be the hardest step of all. At first you might find it impossible. But as you take regular time to sit quietly, you will gradually allow other voices and parts of you to show themselves. I’ve written more about how to do this here.
By taking time to truly listen to yourself, you can learn how to find that still, quiet voice of strength and confidence within you. The part of you that is not held back by past experiences, fear or doubt. This voice can become your ‘cheerleader’. It can become the antidote to the poison of your negative chatter.
In this way you can begin to fix the leaks in your bucket and reclaim your natural confidence!