Most of us will be able to remember a time when we needed a bit more confidence or even a trace of confidence! There are times when we feel absolutely great, in our stride and others where we feel flimsy and lacking in the boost of self-belief that can move us forward in the direction we want to be going.
Confidence is all about belief and understanding of your own personal experience and this is why it is such a complex thing. Confidence is kept well inside of us (you can feel it when you have it and you know when it isn’t there) yet it can be quickly and easily bruised by other people and situations.
I personally know how something seemingly small can put a huge dent in your confidence. I had a colleague who would question my every move (micro managing) which lead to me becoming seriously lacking in confidence at carrying out my own job. Because of this, I began to hate the job and I stepped onto a slippery slope of self-confidence bashing and slowly pushed myself further and further away from my confident base. It even started to affect other areas of my life, making me think I couldn’t park my car properly or write my blog… I now know that all that was completely wrong, I’m a great at parking, I am a successful entrepreneur and I have started writing for other blogs and websites.
The thing is, we don’t choose to lose our confidence. Nor do we choose to let other people take it from us. It is merely a process of repeated action and creation of beliefs.
By this I mean that because of my colleague’s action to question my every movement, I started to think that he had reason to doubt me. I then created (with the thoughts in my head) a new belief by listening to him and repeating the thoughts over and over and over until they were well embedded and squashing my self-belief and confidence. Although my colleague was a catalyst, it was all my own doing. I was feeding the wrong thoughts and letting other people’s words influence my own thinking.
All too often we compare ourselves to other people that we believe are better than us in some way, that they are more successful, more beautiful or generally more confident. What we actually can’t do is truly know that as a FACT. We are creating an image of ourselves and projecting it onto other people that we don’t really know inside out. You see, we are the creators of our own confidence slips and trips.
As I mentioned earlier, even the most confident people aren’t as confident as we think they are. They, too are carrying out the same self-destructive self-analysis and projection as you are!
We need to realise that we are all human, in every wonderful shape and form that makes us so very unique and individual. To keep our confidence we need to see our own strengths and powers that lie within us.
Take my work experience for example. If I really was bad at my job, then why hadn’t my boss taken me aside and said something? Why were my annual reviews (I hate the word appraisal!) so good and filled with positive response? Why did my (other) colleagues help campaign for a pay rise for me? The facts pointed in the direction of me being great at my job! But I just didn’t see it. What I have realised is that my colleague was putting his insecurities onto me. He wasn’t doing his job properly and was taking it out on me. I honestly don’t think it was malicious, but I also don’t think that he realised what he was doing. (not that it is an excuse for the behaviour!)
When someone makes a judgement on you, stop and look at the facts. Don’t think of past behaviours where you have been under the influence of someone putting their insecurities onto you. Look at the situation RIGHT NOW. You will more than likely see that the person judging you actually has the traits that they are projecting onto you.
And most importantly don’t feed the beast (the negative thoughts) as you will give them strength and build them up so much that they will eventually crush you from the inside out!
I know that you can think of times when you had confidence in abundance. Perhaps before you met your power-hungry colleague, insecure partner or oppressive adult parent. When you were a child, you would do everything you wanted to do, you had confidence (although you didn’t know it then) and would give everything a try. Only when people started to condition you with their feelings and judgement did you start to poke your confidence and wonder whether it was really as strong as you had once thought.
Remember those times. You can get back to it. We are all capable of maintaining a healthy and balanced level of confidence in our lives. We must just take care of our own internal thoughts and voices and keep encouraging them to be positive. That way you can feed them and starve the beastly negative thoughts that knock you down.
Confidence comes from within. You feel it when you have it and you know when it isn’t there. You need to build upon the feelings of having it there and notice what goes with it. Do other people tell you have great you are? Do you have great supervision sessions with your manager?
If you find that the people around you aren’t feeding your inner well-being and confidence then you need to review their need in your life. I left my job with the micro managing colleague and have never looked back. My confidence shot through the roof and I am so much better than ever. The truth about confidence is that you need to maintain control of it. It is yours so protect it!
Sometimes the biggest confidence boost comes from deleting the toxic people from your life and realising that it was them and not you all along.
All in all, remember that confidence is controlled by you and only you – don’t let other people have access to it!
The truth about confidence is that you already have it, right there inside you! All you have to do is bring it back to the front and nurture it!