Confidence can be tricky because you feel capable in one moment and insecure in the next. It is a battle between you against situations or circumstances that makes you feel less confident.
Unfortunately, many treat confidence like an armor you put on given certain circumstances–if you have the right job, clothes, or …whatever. But, external factors do not make you a confident person.
Confidence is a deep belief and trust in yourself that guides your actions and how you confront an ever-changing world. Confidence gives you the resolve to push through challenging obstacles and the resilience to stand up when you fall.
But, confidence does not exempt you from hardships. Challenges, successes, and hardships intermingle in the sea called life. Sometimes, you are caught in a low tide. In those moments, it is easy to find yourself creating and maintaining confidence-depleting habits.
Below are just a few examples.
- Negative Self-Talk
We are all guilty of negative self-talk, even if said as a passing thought. It is easy to speak negatively to yourself in during distressing situations. You mentally scold yourself for not making the right choice, feel regret, or exaggerate a flaw if you feel ashamed.
But, what many of us fail to realize, especially in those moments, is the power of words. Words crystalize feelings and give them life; hence the words you repeat to yourself become your reality.
Masaru Emoto’s water consciousness experiment became a powerful example of the power of words. There are many more examples illustrating how negative self-talk affects emotions.
A way to diminish negative self-dialogue is by eliminating extreme vocabulary. Stop using words like always, only, and never. These words create a feeling of finality–making situations seem permanent. It’s easy to lose yourself and accept defeat when things seem final.
Instead, change your vocabulary to accept the changing nature of life.
In a distressing moment, think: “this too shall pass.” Try to see the bigger picture of who you are rather than focusing on a single flaw or failure.
Another habit that destroys confidence is people-pleasing. People-pleasing quickly destroys your confidence. This habit places your self-worth in someone else’s hands and whims. Living up to someone else’s standards and demands will only strip you from a sense of autonomy and self-assuredness.
I understand that you may want to make a good impression on others, but the best way to make a good impression is to be confident.
- Keeping toxic friendships
Toxic friendships are the physical manifestation of your negative self-talk. They make you doubt yourself, and you feel worse when you are around them than when you are alone.
There are many articles listing what a toxic friendship is or looks like, but those articles overlook the effect that time can have on a relationship. We all assume that over time a relationship grows. However, time too can turn a relationship toxic.
A relationship is made up of two people, but sometimes, one person may be going through a tough time alone. This can create distance and even resentments that harm a relationship.
A common tip to deal with toxic people is to cut them out. However, I’ve never been a fan of cutting people out of your life simply because things between you have changed. Not only is it rude and unsympathetic, but it is also disrespectful to the time both of you invested in that relationship.
However, if your relationship started out toxic, then address it. State your need for boundaries. It may be an uncomfortable conversation, but at least it was addressed, which is better than acting as if nothing has happened. Come to an agreement that you both will part ways– a mental health break. If all else fails, walk away.
- Making comparisons
Another habit that destroys confidence is comparing yourself to others. When you compare yourself, you make your worth, effort, and value relative to the perceived value you see in someone else. With that perspective, you will never be enough.
Hence, you live your life trying to fulfill self-imposed expectations. Please stop comparing yourself to others. If necessary, take some time off of social media, and remember that many of the things on social media are curated. Instead, write down goals and work towards them. Don’t expect overnight success, but don’t quit simply because you have not seen progress yet.
- Neglecting yourself
The last habit on this list is neglect. Neglect can encompass many things, such as not caring for your appearance or denying yourself something you truly want. Neglect destroys your confidence because it leads you to live a half-life– you live wanting things but never obtaining them.
It’s painful to want things and feel like you can’t obtain them. Feeling like this erodes your confidence and makes you feel helpless.
One way to challenge those feelings is by being courageous and disciplined enough to go after the life you want.
We all want to achieve a degree of greatness in our lives; hence we strive, struggle, fail and get back up. What helps up get back up is the confidence that we will stand again and move forward.
Confidence, or self-assurance, is the anchor that keeps you rooted when waves of doubt and fear ebb into your life. Difficult moments can make you waver, but your belief in yourself is what helps you keep moving forward.
Bauwens, C. (2022, June 7). 10 habits that are destroying your confidence. Coach Carlene. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://coachcarlene.com/2022/03/28/10-habits-that-are-destroying-your-confidence/
Horton, L. (2022, March 31). The Neuroscience Behind Our Words. BRM Institute. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://brm.institute/neuroscience-behind-words/
Lodge, J., Harte, D. K., & Tripp, G. (1998). Children’s self-talk under conditions of mild anxiety. Journal of anxiety disorders, 12(2), 153–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0887-6185(98)00006-1
Martinez, N. (2021, March 1). 5 habits that are destroying your confidence. Everyday Power. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://everydaypower.com/5-habits-that-are-destroying-your-confidence/
Sadeghi, H. (2022). The Scary Power of Negative Words. Goop. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from https://goop.com/wellness/mindfulness/the-scary-power-of-negative-words/