Self Confidence – How To Lose It And How You Can Get It Back

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It is well worth discussing what self-confidence is, before describing how you can change your low self confidence into healthier and empowering confidence.

As human beings, we carry out many tasks automatically and without having to think too much about it. An example would be riding a bike. Even though we might have gone through a few years of not using a bike, if we needed to, we would not find any difficulty in getting back on a bicycle and riding again. This is because we have done it so many times before that we know just what to do and do not have to give it too much conscious thought. So if you were to ask someone, how confident are you that you can ride a bike, as long as they had learned to ride a bike in the past, they would probably say ‘very confident’. They feel confident about it because they have done it many many times successfully before. In fact they now give very little thought to actions required to ride a bike. It all happens automatically.

This can be called a type of self confidence. Knowing something so well, that as the saying goes, you could do it with your eyes closed or you know it like the back of your hand.

Now when someone says that they have low confidence, they can so easily make the mistake of encompassing their whole life with this label. They might even say ‘I never have any confidence in myself’. By saying this out loud to others who will listen, or even thinking it to themselves, they will be setting up a self-fulfilling prophecy. The label you give yourself or the label you accept as being true will invariably mean that you start to fit yourself to that label, and, can make it your own living reality.

However, that person above will be able to successfully accomplish many things confidently but, and here is the big ‘but’ they will not use these successes as evidence of confidence. They will dismiss or belittle them in some way (e.g. saying “I was lucky”) so that they can maintain this need to say they have no confidence. This is a pity as it is only through taking a realistic view of what happens in their world, will they then be able to feel more confident about themselves.

It can be quite startling how someone will say they have no confidence and yet 5 minutes later they will tell you about some amazing things that they do such as talking in front of 10,000 people, or they go mountain climbing. Despite undertaking these events, which ordinarily seem nerve-wracking events, they may still say that they have low confidence.

So confidence or the lack of it, has a lot to do with how you view yourself. If this is the case then really it is down to a perception. Perceptions are not a true reflection of reality all of the time. Often perceptions, even between just 2 people, can be remarkably different even though these 2 people have in reality, experienced exactly the same thing.

Perceptions are the filters we use to process what happens around us. Our perceptions can make us feel good, bad or indifferent. They can give us a boost of energy or deflate us into an anxious and fearful mass. Our perceptions have power.

Our perceptions are, more often than not, based on our past conscious and subconscious experiences. They are our way of analysing what happens around and enabling us to decide the implications for us. When experiencing anything, our minds will very quickly compare the current experience to past experiences and, these past experiences will indicate how we should react to this current experience. If we have had a bad experience that seems very similar to the current experience, we will feel in a similar way to the feeling we associated with that past bad experience.

So our perceptions are based on past experiences and what we have learned from them.

This gives us a clue about how we can change and become more confident. Our perceptions can be so inaccurate and if they were formed at a young age may also have lacked understanding. Most of us have had the experience of perceiving someone or some situation in a particular way, only to realise that we got it completely wrong. With this in mind, although our perceptions are a form or protection and are meant to enable us to weigh up a situation quickly, they can also be wholly inaccurate.

Healthy and robust self-confidence begins by accepting that your perception of yourself may be wrong in certain matters. For example, some friends will be astounded when someone announces (may be on a drunken evening), that they have low confidence. These friends will say will all sincerity that they find this hard to believe as they always appear confident and in control. Yet that person will still insist that they lack confidence. Obviously the signals that they are externalising are not the same as those that they are internalising. Often the person who appears to be the most confident and out-going will have terrible doubts and internal conflicts. The external bravado will be their way of masking how they feel inside.

Balanced self-confidence begins by admitting and accepting more evidence of what you can do well. It also begins by accepting positive and complimentary comments made to you as well as other forms of evidence. In the past you may have dismissed a positive comment that was said to you because you didn’t know how to handle it. You may even have made a joke of it or tried to dig up the tiniest fragment of evidence as to why you don’t deserve such praise. Many people say something like this ‘Oh, it was nothing’.

It would be virtually impossible to retain your self-confidence if you are someone who always dismisses or belittles their achievements. So make up your mind from today not to do it. Decide from this moment onwards to say just two words when someone says something nice or complimentary to. The two words are ‘thank you’. Try it out next time and see how you feel about it. It will help you start to feel the confidence that has always been theyre waiting for you.

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