Experiencing periods of lost confidence is completely normal. However, it can often leave us feeling vulnerable, fragile, and even afraid. When we’ve felt this way for a while, we might start to question whether our confidence will return at all. Therefore, we want to reassure you that it can and will come back, and we’ve got some tricks to help you on your way.
What is confidence?
There are many different definitions of confidence but for the purposes of this blog post we are looking in particular at self-confidence. Therefore, we will be using the Psychology Dictionary online definition of “1. Our self-assurance in trusting our abilities, capacities and judgements. 2. the belief that we can meet the demands of a task. To be confident on what I have done is okay.” We chose this definition not just because it comes from a reputable source, but also because it shows the multi-faceted nature of confidence.
There are three key messages within this definition of confidence which are worth highlighting. The first is the notion of “I know what I can do”. This can be difficult when we judge ourselves against others. I know I can write, but if I hold J.K. Rowling as the measuring stick to be a writer, I am probably never going to make it. Thus, this comparison causes me to lose faith in my ability. This is sad because there are lots of writers who will never achieve the fame, fortune, or success of my hero, but that does not mean they are not worth reading. Millions of books go without movies and theme parks, but still shape, comfort, heal, inspire, transport, transform, and inform those who read them.
The second is “I know how to do it”. This is about being able to use your skills, which can be difficult in a limiting environment. One of the reasons I left my last employment was that I felt there was more I could give if they just provided me with the opportunity. Being denied that opportunity shook my confidence because it made me wonder if they lacked confidence in me, or if I wasn’t doing a good enough job at the tasks I was already undertaking. However, if you keep a fish in a small pond, it will always be a small fish. So, if you have the confidence to do a task beyond where you are now, for goodness sake, do yourself justice and go hunt it down.
The third is “I know I did my best”. This can be difficult when our heart isn’t in it, whether that’s because of the way we feel, or because of the situation in which we are undertaking a task. Therefore, we owe it to ourselves to take care of our bodies and minds. Getting enough sleep, fresh air, good food, and water is going to work wonders in keeping us in a mindset of trying to do well. Not just that, but a healthy body means a calmer mind which is useful in making good decisions. As for a poor situation, ask yourself why, and what is keeping you there. At the end of the day, you have one life, and it is only you that must be faced in the mirror.
The positives of lost confidence
Whilst this is potentially another topic all by itself, there are some positives you can take from where you are right now. Firstly, if you feel low on confidence because you are in a new situation, congratulate yourself. Stepping out of your comfort zone is absolutely going to make you feel unsure about yourself but you did it. Secondly, feeling scared yourself can often make you more empathetic of others. Therefore, take a moment and think about who else might be feeling this way, who you could reach out to, or who might benefit from having someone walk beside them. Thirdly, and finally, this is an opportunity to find something new to learn. Look around you and ask what skills would make you feel more confident in this situation, how could you use those skills in other situations, and how should you go about getting those skills?
How to find your lost confidence again
So, bearing all that in mind, let’s look at some practical steps to get our confidence back.
- Learn about yourself: What are my strengths, the things I enjoy, the things I am interested in or passionate about? I know this can be hard; we don’t like to be kind about ourselves. If you are struggling, seek help.
- Do more of what you love: It’s that simple. There’s just one caveat: if the things you enjoy might cause harm to yourself or others, are illegal, or will have long-term detrimental results, please seek support.
- Increase your self-care: physical, mental, and emotional wellness is the foundation to confidence. Look at what you are doing now and make a plan for what you can do more of. If you need help, don’t be afraid to reach out.
- Find the positives: Lost confidence can create negativity. Therefore, celebrate the victories, no matter how big or small; find ways to help others; and look for the lesson in everything. There’s lots of people who can help.