Do you struggle with expressing yourself ? Do you find yourself staying quiet during meetings and conflicts? You might be struggling with confidence issues. This article explores how confidence issues start and its impact. This will be an eye-opener to help address issues pertaining to self-esteem.
What is confidence?
Confidence is belief in one’s capabilities, viewpoints and worth. The right amount of confidence helps you carry yourself with heads held high, but with feet firmly in the ground. Individuals who are confident trust themselves to achieve great things. They approach any situation with boldness. They rely less on others to reassure them. These individuals look at their lives in terms of growth and enhancement.
Signs of low confidence
Low confidence usually stems from low self esteem. While it is usually to have some of these signs from time to time, especially while encountering new life events, individuals who have low confidence have these more constantly.Here are some signs which indicate confidence issues.
1. Self-doubt: If you find yourself constantly doubting your ideas and opinions, you may be having issues with confidence. Not feeling sure about you choices and viewpoints, makes you keep to yourself more often.
2. Negative thoughts: Negative perception and devaluing oneself by engaging in overthinking, imagining the worst outcomes. Assuming negative comments from others.
3. Indecisiveness: Poor decision making skills and depending on others to help you make any decisions.
4. Fear of failure: In an attempt to be good enough, doing tasks which they believe they have competency in. Fear of making a mistake can show up through procrastination, avoiding challenging work, avoid taking initiative etc.
5. Comparison: Comparing yourself with others on different parameters like career growth, money, friends, knowledge etc.
6. Minimising strengths: These individuals downplay their achievements and strengths. It’s also hard for them to accept compliments and praises
Can you relate to these signs? Click here to speak to a psychologist
Is confidence connected to childhood experiences?
The root cause of confidence lies in genetics and environment you are raised in. If your parent struggled with confidence issues, there are some chances that you might too. Parents and/or caregivers’ ways of upbringing determines the way a child builds their idea of themselves. Overinvolved and neglectful parents both play a key role in child’s self-esteem. Harsh and strict parenting conditions a child to believe that they are not good enough. Whenever a child attempts to do something, if the response is critical and undermining, the child bases that they are not capable. If a child encounters a failure and it’s treated as unacceptable, the child is being conditioned to believe that failure and mistakes are unfavourable.
Environment plays a major role when it comes to concerns with confidence. A child growing up in a place where there is constant comparison, worth based solely on achievements starts to question their worth. Highly competitive environment might lead the child to focus more on challenges rather than feeling proud of where they are at right now.
Peers plays an important role in helping us determine an understanding of ourselves. Children form their perception of themselves not only through what their parents, caregiver and teachers tell them but also their friends and peers. If a child is rejected by others, made fun of, side-lined, the issues of confidence stems up. The child either tries hard to adapt with other peers or gives up during that process. They can also raise identity issues in a child especially during adolescence.
Traumatic events can lead to lower confidence levels. Traumatic events include encountering a loss, unwell caregiver, abuse, and harassment etc. These incidents impact a person’s self-esteem and lowers the confidence majorly.
Media and society’s standards can lead to issues with confidence. Unrealistic body image, career and life expectation can put a lot of pressure. These unrealistic standards cause individuals to devalue and undermine themselves.
How to increase your confidence?
Can you improve your confidence level as you keep growing? Yes definitely! Our brain is plastic, that means we can unlearn and relearn anything. You can train yourself to start focusing on your positive and work with the critical conditioned voice. Here are some ways you can start your journey to increase your confidence
- Awareness Catch yourself whenever you find negative self doubt thoughts coming in. If you find yourself struggling with procrastination, think of it arising from your fear of failure or making a mistake.
- Positive self talk Recondition your brain to focus on positives of the situation and yourself. Daily affirmations, counting your strengths trains your brain to focus on the favorables.
- Celebrate small victories Reward yourself for small wins. Classical Conditioning in Psychology speaks highly of a behavior can be conditioned with appropriate rewards. And this has been a legitimate tool to increase self-esteem. It is crucial to set goals and milestones in your self-esteem journey and reward yourself from time to time.
- Draw Boundaries: Learning to say “No” can be quite challenging for people with low self-esteem. But it is important to have sound boundaries in place in order to feel confident to take up any daunting tasks.
- Do a competency mapping: Take assessments to test your key performing areas and aptitudes and choose your career after consulting with a professional. This will help you revive your self-esteem from the get go.
- Cross verify your beliefs and your principles: Studies have shown that people with low self-esteem often struggle to correlate between what they believe and what they need to act upon. Drawing thought bubbles and labeling these emotions can help bring clarity on which goal needs to be prioritised.
- Challenge your limiting beliefs: listening to your inner critical voice will help address unresolved / unattended critical incidents from past experiences.
- Journal: using journal prompts such as : i feel low on my confidence when….” how do i feel when i feel low…. Etc can help address recurrent patterns of negative beliefs.
- Speak to a professional: it is always wise to talk to a professional and equip yourself with the right set of tools and to cope with daily stressors and challenges.
Low Self-esteem is a classical example of strained childhood experience , it could be due to the corporal parenting style adopted and the constant comparison with peers in academia. This is inturn sits with the child during his growing and is explicit during the onset of puberty. It is important to address this as early as one recognises the signs of low self-esteem otherwise can be quite detrimental to the kind of personality they will adopt and have a deep impact on their relationships and choice of career.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do confidence issues impact one’s personal life?
Confidence issues impact a person’s overall sense of self as it makes them believe they may not be capable. In personal life, confidence issues prevent you from speaking your thoughts and ideas clearly, confront others, making independent decisions and question your self worth. These can cause anxiety and depression too.
Q. How do you own yourself with confidence when surrounded by critical people?
Surrounded by critical individuals, it can be hard to keep your confidence up all times. But it’s not impossible to do so. Setting boundaries, speaking up assertively when criticised are some ways to stand up for yourself and put limits on what you receive from others. Working with a therapist will help to maintain your progress in these areas.
Q. Is it possible to rebuild your inner world to increase your self esteem?
Yes, it is. We have the capability to change our narratives that are limiting us. By challenging those beliefs which do not serve any purpose, by supporting and nurturing yourself, you will be able to increase your self esteem.