You’re poised and composed and capable.
You hold your head high, even in the face of adversity or difficulty.
You’re able to take on challenges you’ve never dreamed of, and handle them well.
You have deep inner self-assurance that you’ll work out the solution to any problems that arise.
Does that sound like you?
Or are you more fearful of what obstacles might arise during the day?
Do you have a deep knowledge that you’re not good enough, that you’ll never measure up?
Because here’s the thing you might not know.
Your thoughts and behaviors might be holding you back.
Here are nine self-confidence killers you need to stop doing now, so you can gain the self-confidence you need to tackle your wildest dreams.
1. Believing yourself
People with low self-confidence are often very sure of themselves. They believe they are worthless or inadequate.
What you need to do is be less sure of yourself. Be less convinced of your own opinion, and start to entertain the idea that maybe you’re wrong.
Maybe other people don’t see you as useless or defective.
Remember the ugly duckling? It was convinced it was a failure — the worst duck in the world. It had to cast off that belief to step into its true role, as the beautiful swan, it truly was.
So stop believing so strongly in your insignificance, and start trusting that you’re just as good as the next person.
2. Thinking too much
Stop thinking and start doing. Good self-confidence comes from healthy living, so stop thinking and start acting.
Focus on looking after your body. Eat healthy meals, get some exercise, and you’ll start feeling stronger.
Along with the increased physical strength, you’ll experience a happy side-effect. The increased self-confidence that comes from feeling good, and knowing you look well too.
Concentrating more on your body, and less on your mind will allow self-confidence to sneak up on you. So you’ll be feeling stronger and more capable in no time.
3. Mistaking learning for failure
A long time ago, a mentor of mine told me that the only true mistakes are the ones you don’t learn from.
When a child learns to stand, they spend days and days practicing. They stand up, then fall down. They stand up, then fall down. For days.
But no one tells them they’re failing, and they don’t believe they’re failing. They know they’re learning. They only really fail if they give up, and stop trying.
Learning doesn’t mean you get things right on the first go. It means you give it your best shot and see what happens. Thomas Edison said,
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Imagine if he’d stopped trying. We’d be sitting here in the dark!
4. Befriending negative people
Take a moment and think about the people you surround yourself with, and ask yourself this question. “Are they good for me?”
You can boost your self-confidence by making a concerted effort to hang out with the right kind of people. The ones who make you feel good about yourself.
People who are full of positive energy give us positive energy too. Have you noticed?
So minimize the contact you have with people who bring you down and maximize your exposure to positive people. Ones who are always happy to see you, who support you, and make you feel valued.
5. Berating yourself
Ever get to the end of the day — exhausted — and start mentally listing all the things you didn’t do? A lot of us do it, but it doesn’t do much for self-confidence, does it?
So, the next time you start thinking, “I haven’t done…” stop and think, “No, I’ve done enough!”
It doesn’t matter how much you’ve done, what you’ve achieved or how hard you’ve worked that day. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent the day lazing about.
Just think “I’ve done enough.” It will give you reassurance, and it’s great way to stop berating yourself.
6. Listening to others
Listening to other people is fine if they’re giving you positive messages, that are genuine and heartfelt.
But it’s not a great idea to listen to people who make you feel bad about yourself, or uncertain in your abilities. So learn to be critical of who and what you listen to.
Even if they’re trying to be helpful and give you good advice, remember that other people will say and do what works for them.
It’s fine to give their methods a try if they seem OK, but ultimately you need to find solutions that work for you.
7. Waking too early
Self-confidence requires a certain amount of positivity. But waking up too early, or not getting enough sleep, affects your mood and your outlook.
In NutureShock, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman describe how sleep deprivation affects positivity.
“Negative stimuli get processed by the amygdala; positive or neutral memories gets processed by the hippocampus. Sleep deprivation hits the hippocampus harder than the amygdala. The result is that sleep-deprived people fail to recall pleasant memories yet recall gloomy memories just fine.”
Lack of sleep also makes us less resilient, and less able to take on challenges. Being low on sleep also tends to make us perseverate.
When we perseverate we find erroneous solutions to problems, and can’t come up with better options. We know the solution we have is wrong, but we’re incapable of coming up with alternatives. So, be sure to get plenty sleep if you want to boost your confidence.
So, be sure to get plenty sleep if you want to boost your confidence.
8. Sabotaging your goals
People who lack self-confidence often set themselves up for failure, often inadvertently. Sometimes it’s because they’re so focused on perfectionism that nothing short of flawless is good enough.
Sometimes they aim so high that no one could achieve the goals they set.
Often it results in a self-fulfilling loop. The failing to achieve goals and desires simply confirms that they’re useless, ineffective failures.
So stop setting yourself up for failure by making it impossible to succeed. Start setting realistic goals.
If you need some help, try using a reasonableness test. Ask yourself if this goal is reasonably achievable for another person. Would you expect they could get the results you’re aiming for, in the time allowed, with the resources available?
9. Dramatizing everything
We often overdramatize things. It’s OK, we all do it. We get caught up in the emotion of the situation and can make things seem bigger than they are.
When we feel threatened we think the worst possible thing might happen, and we won’t be able to cope with it. This results in anxiety and an adrenal response.
We can become tense and sweaty, with an increased heart rate and difficulty concentrating.
The critical thing is to recognize it.
If you’re experiencing this sort of stress, don’t over think. Accept it. Get curious about what you’re feeling in your body, and where you’re feeling it.
Practice fostering a sense of calm curiosity so you can face the truth with an open mind.
You know that job you’ve always dreamed of, the risk you’ve longed to take, or the life you could never aspire to? They could be closer than you think.
Self-confidence gives you freedom from self-doubt. It gives you greater strength and capability, and freedom from fear and anxiety.
It also increases your self-worth. The more self-confidence you have, the more you value yourself and your abilities.
So stop killing your self-confidence. Instead, nurture it and watch it grow.
Before you know it you’ll have the confidence to go after things you never imagined.
You’ll be living your dreams, and feeling fabulous.
What have you got to lose?