What is self-confidence? We use the term a lot, but do we really know what it means? According to Webster, self-confidence is "confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities". Self-confidence gives you the ability to try new things and face uncertainty.
How It is Lost
Okay, so we are all on the same page as to what self-confidence is. Why do people lose it? That's a good question with no one right answer. Everyone has their own reasons, but they can be summed up in a few large categories.
Lack of Positive Support Growing Up
This is a big reason many of us have trouble generating self-confidence. Our formative years are a big reason we are the way we are today. Support we receive develops our self-confidence. Lack of that makes us feel unworthy and unable to achieve things. It can lead to co-dependency and depression.
While I received a ton of encouragement, I found myself highly criticized growing up. Yes, my parents were proud of my good grades and let me know it, but they had to be good. Bad grades garnered disappointment and lectures. My self-confidence was non-existent and dependent on making others happy. I was never quite good enough.
When we fail at something, self-confidence starts to fade. Sometimes it takes several failures in a row to see the depletion of our confidence. We see failure as a sign we aren't good enough. That is how society has conditioned us.
Instead of encouraging when one fails, society has pointed out only the failure. In a sense, society has created our lack of self-confidence.
Treated as a Doormat
If one was treated as a doormat growing up, they will struggle with self-confidence. They are taught that they are worthless and deserve the harsh treatment. These domineering people want control and will get it when self-confidence is at a low.
Too many people are brought up being treated as doormats. They are dictated to and not taught to stand on their own.
Tips on Increasing Self-Confidence
So how do we overcome all these obstacles? It has to be done deliberately without expecting results overnight. Here are a few tips to help you.
- Find things you excel in. You should focus on these and improve your abilities. These are things you can't feel like a failure with, and any issues are minor which you can overcome easily. For me, that is crocheting. I know I can do a good job at it so it is something good for my self-confidence. If I make a mistake, I shrug it off and fix it because I know it is nothing. I'm good at it so I don't lose my self-confidence.
- Step away from toxic people. These people want to bring your confidence level down. They are downers who will not give you the support you need. You do not need them as they will strip away any self-confidence you might have. Yes, it might be easier said than done if they are family, but you can keep them at arms length.
- Find encouraging friends. Who you surround yourself with impacts how you feel about yourself. They will boost your self-confidence and help you laugh even at your mistakes. They become your support group.
- Keep trying. Never stop trying things you "fail" at. Remember that failure is not bad. It is only that you learned how not to do something. You are learning from your mistakes so you can help others later who do the same thing.
- Read inspirational material. Do you see those cool quotes that are inspiring to people? They can be great to read throughout the day. While they aren't going to change your self-confidence levels, they do give you a pick me up and also can stick with you throughout the day and beyond.
Self-confidence will take time to build back up. You have to want it and continue to strive for it. You also need to find a great support group to help you. Trust me, I've been there. My self-confidence still struggles, but I find when I have great support that I can find success.