How Confident Do You Feel?
We talk about ‘losing confidence’ – so where does it go. If we ‘lose it’, does somebody else find it or is there a BIG stockpile of confidence just waiting to be discovered somewhere? I’m sure I’m going to discover it someday soon…
Actually, if I’m honest, over the last few years, I’ve developed more confidence and belief in myself than I’ve had for many years. I may be a bit plumper than I was and with a few more wrinkles appearing each day, but I’m still far more confident in my late 50’s than I was in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s.
- Because I’ve challenged the beliefs I held about myself and that I clung onto for far too long. Beliefs that when I took the time to challenge, I discovered many were completely unfounded.
It’s never too late to regain the confidence you’ve lost and there is no perfect ‘age’ to do this. The perfect time is NOW – regardless of how young or old you are, it’s possible to boost your confidence!
I’m doing some research about Confidence and it would be brilliant if you’d let me know how confident you currently feel and whether there’s a particular area of your life that you lack confidence or suffer from low self-esteem.
On a Scale of 1 – 10, How Confident Are You? 1 being very low and 10 being very high, let me know in the comments box below…
5 Key Factors that have the capacity to ZAP our confidence:
There are lots of reasons we lose confidence in ourselves but considering the 5 key factors below are a great place to start challenging yourself and identifying who and what is zapping your level of confidence. Once you know the root cause, you can start to take steps to build your confidence back up in lots of areas of your life.
We’re all born with 100% confidence and we start out in life with just 2 fears, the fear of falling and fear of loud noises and yet there are few people who by the time we reach adulthood, haven’t developed a number of fears or lost confidence in ourselves in varying degrees and in different areas of our lives.
There are some key factors which have the capacity to zap our confidence quickly or maybe eat away at our level of confidence over a period of time. These include:
- Those little remarks that friends, lovers, family or colleagues make
- The expectations we set ourselves
- The expectations other people have of us
- The comparisons we make – comparing ourselves and our abilities with the people around us.
- Our beliefs
Let me give you some examples…
The little ‘remarks’ that can have a BIG impact
I remember when I was about 12 years old and I was working on a project with a school friend when she said:
“No Wendy – I’ll do the writing – you’re writing’s too messy” – Until that moment, I’d never really thought about the appearance of my writing but that little comment stayed with me throughout school and followed me into the workplace. If we had a meeting and someone was asked to scribe on a flip chart, I’d shrink away from it, being embarrassed about the ‘state’ of my writing!
Sometimes it’s small comments made by people in our lives over a period of time that gradually impact on our self-esteem and how we view ourselves. As children, we’re learning about ourselves and the world and we often develop beliefs about ourselves based on the feedback we receive from the people who are closest to us. The reality was though – did it really matter if my writing didn’t look perfect – what I eventually realised was that it was the quality of the words and not their appearance that really mattered. Could my words make a difference to people even if they weren’t written in perfect ‘calligraphy’ style?
I remember listening to my parents praising my sister’s drawings – she was 5 years older than me but listening to those comments and making comparisons between my drawings and hers, led me to believe that I was rubbish at art.
That belief remained in place for the next 40 years… and yet was it really true? No – it absolutely wasn’t! Obviously, her drawings were going to be better – I was 6 and she was 11! It took me 40 years to consider that maybe my ‘belief’ was based on incorrect information that I’d gathered, often as a child who didn’t know any better!
What ‘beliefs’ are you holding onto that may be worth challenging? What ‘comments’ have you taken on board that were simply incorrect?
What about those darned expectations?
Oh yikes – we often set ourselves ridiculously high standards and we expect too much of ourselves and sometimes it’s other people who have expectations of us.
Gosh – I remember the expectations my parents had for me. They expected me to pass my 11 plus – so did my teachers and the disappointment I saw in their faces when I failed, stayed with me for a long time and from that moment on, I lost confidence in my ability to ‘sit exams’.
When I sat my GCSE’s, my mind went blank and I sat for the first 40 minutes of my history exam staring at the paper and not remembering a single thing. I’d lost confidence in myself as a result of the disappointment I’d seen in the faces of my parents and teachers and the expectations they’d placed on me and more importantly the expectations I’d then placed on myself.
As a result, I undervalued my abilities for a very long time.
I’ve seen new mums ‘expected’ to know how to look after a new little baby… and then feeling like they’ve ‘failed’ when they struggle.
What expectations do you have of yourself or do others hold that maybe unrealistic or not even what you really want for yourself?
Who are you comparing yourself to?
When I moved to my new school at the age of 11, I looked around and felt like a giant. I was head and shoulders taller than any of the girls or boys in my class. I remember making the comparison and feeling embarrassed and as a result, for several years, I lost confidence in my appearance. I stooped my shoulders in an effort to appear smaller and I continued to compare myself unfavourably against my friends. By the time I finished school, my friends had grown taller than me – we just grew at different stages of our lives and yet those feelings I created from the comparisons I made, influenced how I felt about myself for years after I left school.
When I look back on photographs, I can see myself now as incredibly slim and yet I recall feeling fat because I compared my shape unfavourably to the shape of my friends and that feeling of not being good enough continued throughout many years of my adult life and it really did hold me back.
Then there are the comparisons we make because we feel that someone can do something better than we can – and so we develop the belief that we’re rubbish at something and that we’ll never be good enough…
The truth is that we all have the capacity to learn and develop our skills and yet we may do this at different times in our life. It’s a bit like the tale of the Hare and the Tortoise… we cross the line but at different times depending on what else we’re doing in our lives.
Is it time to challenge our beliefs?
By the time we reach adulthood, those little remarks we’ve heard from others or we’ve told ourselves, our own experiences, the comparisons we make and the expectations of ourselves and those around us, often combine to create the beliefs we hold about ourselves.
How many of the beliefs we hold are really true?
If you’re experiencing a lack of confidence or low self-esteem in some areas of your life then it’s worth taking some time to really challenge yourself about the root beliefs that you’ve developed and you can do that by completing some of the exercises I put together as part of the Brilliance Within Life Audit.
If you’d like to jump straight to Section 4 of the Life Audit which covers ‘Beliefs’, leave me a comment and I’ll send you a copy and if you want to get the full Life Audit, simply subscribe to the Brilliance Within Blog by leaving your name and email in the subscribe box and you’ll start to receive each of the 8 sections over the next few weeks.
I’d love to hear from you so please leave a comment below and let me know whether you’re confident or whether there are some areas of your life that could do with a Confidence Boost…