Understanding the cause of your low self-confidence is the key to overcoming it. Without confidence, it’s easy to stay stuck in situations or environments you dislike.
Take Willow for example. Willow is a graphic designer working for a large agency. She enjoys the work she does, but she wants a more flexible schedule. She has been considering going out on her own and launching a graphic design business, but she is terrified of taking the leap.
When asked “what was holding her back?”, she came to the honest realization that it was her lack of confidence. She is fearful that she wouldn’t be able to find clients, bring in a steady income, manage a schedule, and everything else that comes with owning your own business.
Reasons People Lack Confidence
Frequent Self Criticism: Are you always worried about what others see when they look at you? Do you fret that people won’t like you because of your hair, skin, or nails? Do you complain about how you look or think your personality is dull?
When you have a constant string of negative thoughts about yourself, it’s hard to feel confident. Instead of being a mental bully, pause and take a step back. Take out a piece of paper and list three good qualities about yourself. It can be challenging to look inward, but give it your best shot. What do you hear others say about you? If you can’t think of anything, ask a supportive friend or caring family member what they love about you.
Trauma: Trauma comes in many forms. Being bullied on the playground as a kid, being sexually assaulted, watching your home burn to the ground are just a few examples of events that can cause trauma. When we try to make sense of this trauma, our brains try to create a reason for it.
In many instances of trauma, you may go straight to blaming yourself. You may think you were bad and deserved it or that you didn’t say or do the right thing. Chances are, there is nothing you could have said or done differently.
When you have low self-confidence stemming from trauma, it can be helpful to seek out a professional counselor or therapist to help you work through these feelings.
Unrealistic Expectations: Sometimes, it’s not about what you think about yourself – it’s about what you expect. If you’re a perfectionist, you may believe that everything you do needs to be perfect.
People often struggle with unrealistic expectations and low self-confidence believe that their identity is tied to the things they do. This creates a problem when you do something imperfectly. Then you label yourself a failure or fraud.
The best thing to do in this situation is to take a step back and ask yourself if you would have these exact expectations for anyone else. For example, would you expect your best friend to move and have her new home organized within a day?
Past Decisions: Everyone has a past and everyone has done something they are ashamed of or embarrassed by. Some even become hyper-focused on what they’ve done previously. Are you constantly reminding yourself of all the ways you’ve messed up? Do you find yourself rehashing past decisions? Maybe you feel that your identity is linked to your past mistakes.
These types of thoughts fail to acknowledge that you are a human being capable of growth. Regardless of what you might have done or thought in the past, today is a new day. That means you have another chance to be a new version of yourself. Rather than beating yourself up over the past, it’s time to start practicing self-forgiveness.
Low self-confidence doesn’t have to be a curse you carry around for the rest of your life. With awareness and coaching, you can overcome it and embrace a more confident you.
Journal Your Thoughts
Not only can journaling help you work through some of your feelings, but it can potentially help you identify the reason for your low self-confidence. Try thinking through and answering these questions.
- Do you frequently criticize yourself for shortcomings or flaws?
- What’s from your past is holding you back from becoming confident?
- How can you reach for self-forgiveness and let go of your past?
If you need additional tools to help you reflect on what’s holding you back, download the free workbook below.
Whether you realize it or not, confidence impacts every area of your life. If you struggle with this skill, don’t worry. You CAN build your confidence one step at a time. Don’t let low confidence hold you back any longer!
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