Everyone experiences a lack of confidence from time to time.
Have you ever had those days when nothing seems to go right? You spill your morning coffee. You’re late for an important meeting. You get home only to find you’ve locked yourself out and need to climb through a window.
It feels like one thing after another and by the end of the day, you can’t help but toss up your hands in defeat. It’s days like those that leave us less confident and questioning our self-worth.
“What’s wrong with me? Why did I mess up the presentation so badly? How could I have forgotten to pack the kids’ lunch? I’m so stupid!”
However, a chronic lack of confidence can be utterly crippling.
Here’s how a lack of confidence can spiral out of control and what you can do to bounce back on track.
What Does It Mean To Have A Lack Of Confidence?
The phrase “lack of confidence” seems pretty self-explanatory. It’s not an abundance of confidence. It’s just the opposite: a lack.
But a lack of confidence can look very different on different people, depending on the circumstances. Some people lack confidence in their personal appearance. Others lack confidence in their ability to voice their opinions. Others lack confidence in their abilities.
Of course, no one is confident all the time. And it’s totally normal to feel less than stellar every once in a while.
But what happens when you begin to doubt yourself at every turn? You second guess your decisions. You feel reluctant to take action. You feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
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When a lack of confidence spins out of control, it can really affect your quality of life. And knowing where your doubts and fears come from is the first step in reclaiming the power that’s naturally and inherently yours.
2 Things That Could Be Subtly Crippling Your Confidence
It can be difficult to trace the origins of low self-esteem. That’s because when things happen that affect our confidence, we often don’t realize it until the fallout happens—and that can take weeks, months—sometimes even years.
Suffering from a chronic lack of self-esteem can be a cruel thief of joy. Instead of feeling excited, competent, and capable, you feel weak, powerless, and insecure.
But you can reclaim your confidence. Here are two things that may be subtly affecting your self-esteem and what to do about them.
1. Critical family and friends
The company you keep can have a huge impact on your self-esteem. Having critical friends or family members can chip away at your sense of self, leaving you with more doubt than confidence in your ability to succeed.
The effect of criticism from family and friends can be insidious. Sometimes, it seems like friendly fire. Sometimes it just sounds like a light-hearted joke. But these wounds can run deep. Over time, they can seriously harm your sense of self-worth.
How to deal with it:
Marisa Peer, Author of Mindvalley’s Uncompromised Life Program, suggests that people who criticize others often have the most criticism reserved for themselves. “The truth is, they’re really just unhappy with themselves,” she explains. “The trick is not to get defensive.”
Easier said than done? Of course. But realize that someone who picks at your faults is really just trying to deflect from their own bruised ego.
Do your best to acknowledge what they’re saying before letting it go. Sometimes just a simple, “Thank you for sharing that,” can put the topic to bed.
Self-criticism can be debilitating because when our criticism becomes internal, it can be very difficult to shake.
You know that little voice that chimes in when you screw up? The one that tells you you’re no good, or that you made a stupid decision, or that you can’t succeed? That’s the voice of self-criticism. And you’d be surprised how often that little voice runs the show.
How to deal with it:
Marisa Peer has a great suggestion for dealing with this form of criticism. She encourages you to change that niggling voice of self-doubt into your own personal cheerleader.
The first step is being able to recognize the negative self-talk when it’s in action. The second step? Flipping the commentary to something more positive.
Marisa suggests imagining what a supportive parent or teacher might tell you. Would they tell you that you’re no good and that you’re only going to screw it up? No. They’d tell you that you’re a rock star and that you should keep trying and that you’re smart enough to get this done.
“It’s okay to make mistakes because you learn,” explains Marisa. “Its okay for someone to point out your mistakes because you can get better. What’s not okay is to beat yourself up.”
So, what do you do to combat the voice of self-criticism? Share in the comments below.