Self-confidence is an essential ingredient to a happy and healthy life, but it’s often hard to find.
And when your confidence leaves you, it can sometimes feel like you’re never going to get it back.
However, there are plenty of simple things you can do to get back to feeling like yourself.
And while there are no quick fixes when it comes to changing your self-image, introducing these four simple habits into your life will help break the cycle of low confidence and get you back to your best.
“I can’t believe you’ve messed up again”.
“You’re absolutely useless”.
“Why do you even bother?”.
Most of us would never dream of talking to someone else this way, but have no problem thinking things like this about ourselves sometimes.
And when we’re low on confidence, we often feel like we can’t get anything right. This only leads to more of this negative self-talk, which makes us doubt ourselves even more and therefore more likely to make a mistake.
The first step in breaking this vicious cycle is self-compassion.
Start speaking to yourself the way you would speak to a dear friend who you want to see become a huge success in every area of their life.
“Everyone makes mistakes, and you’re only human. Now what can you learn from this experience?”.
“No one is born brilliant at anything. If you put in the time and effort you’re guaranteed to improve, so stick at it!”.
“It’s amazing that you’re putting yourself out there and trying something new. You should be really proud of yourself for leaving your comfort zone – that takes a lot of guts”.
Realise that if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else?
And even if you have a super-supportive partner and your friends and family are always rooting for you, it’s not healthy for your sense of self-worth to depend entirely on other people.
So from now on, catch yourself when you spiral into negative self-talk. If you wouldn’t say it to someone else, you shouldn’t be saying it to yourself.
Instead, speak to yourself with compassion, understanding, and patience. Everyone is a work in progress, and you’re no exception. So, talk yourself back onto the right track so you can start working towards a brighter future.
We know this is easier said than done – especially when negative self-talk has become a habit. But if you talk to yourself like you’re worthless, you’re bound to feel worthless. That’s why self-compassion is the first step to regaining your confidence.
Establish your personal values (and live by them)
We all live by a set of values, whether we’ve consciously chosen them or not.
They make up the lens we see our lives through and the subconscious blueprint we follow whenever we make a decision.
Of course, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else or breaking any laws, there’s no right or wrong way to live your life.
But we often lose confidence in ourselves if we aren’t living up to our values, which we’ve often unconsciously internalised and never really sat down and seriously considered.
In Western culture as a whole, we place a lot of value on worldly success, status, fame, and beauty.
Unless you’re a millionaire celebrity who wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of Vogue or Men’s Health, you’ll no doubt feel like you’re falling short of these lofty ideals.
And when you’re falling short of the values you’ve internalised, it’s easy to lose confidence in yourself.
In the real world, the most confident people unplug from the status quo and live by their own values instead.
They take a job that pays the bills and spend all their free time making great memories with their friends and family.
Or they play an instrument or paint watercolours or write novels to express themselves, not to become a chart-topper or a best-seller.
Or they take on a new hobby or learn a new skill for the fun of it, not because it’s going to bring them riches or status or acclaim.
So if you feel like your confidence has deserted you, sit down with a notebook and write down the things that really matter to you – the values you want to live your life by.
Is it kindness? Generosity? Creativity?
It could always making your family your priority, or it could be standing up against injustice as part of a social or political movement.
It could even be to simply leave the world a better place than you found it.
Whatever your real values are – the ones that deep-down you truly think are worth pursuing – start living by them every day.
It’s far from a quick fix, but proactively choosing your values and then living in alignment with them is a surefire way to increase your confidence levels.
Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with other peoples’ highlight reel
Sometimes it can look like other people have it all figured out.
Look at some people’s social media pages or watch a celebrity on a chat show and it can seem like they have the perfect family, spend every weekend partying with their friends, and seem to be jet setting around the world every other week.
But it’s essential for your mental health and your self-confidence that you realise that this is people’s highlight reel.
It’s a heavily edited and curated version of their life that’s often a far cry from the truth.
That picture of their perfect family might have been the one moment they weren’t bickering that day. That night out might have ended in a drunken row. And those holidays might have put them deeply in debt.
So don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with other peoples’ highlight reel. Instead, remind yourself of the bigger picture – you’ve had some great moments too, and their life is certainly a lot less idyllic than their social media presence is making out.
This is a big step to getting your confidence back. Remember, comparison is the thief of joy.
Realise that you are not your thoughts
Often times we can’t control the thoughts that come into our heads. However, we can choose how we react to them.
Sometimes, this seems impossible. It can feel like there’s no divide between who you are and the thoughts that flash through your mind.
However, it’s important to realise that you are not your thoughts.
Next time a negative or unproductive thought pops into your head, simply observe it. Don’t judge yourself for having had it or identify with it – simply notice it.
We know this sounds strange and is a lot easier said than done in the moment. However, letting unproductive thoughts pass through your mind as if they’re floating down a stream is the key to overcoming the beliefs that are keeping your confidence down.
This takes plenty of practice, so don’t expect to be a master of it from day one. But separating yourself from each and every thought that runs through your mind is an essential step in overcoming the negative self-talk that’s bringing your confidence down.
While there’s no quick fix to regaining your confidence, these four simple habits will help you slowly and surely get back to your old self again. Stick with them and we promise they get easier over time as your confidence begins to rise. And if you feel like you need someone to talk to about your confidence issues, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today to arrange a counselling session, during which a professional counsellor will be able to work through your confidence problems with you. We can offer support to individuals throughout the UK via telephone and video call appointments.