Why Working On Your Low Self-Confidence Matters
Low self-confidence is not your fault. Do not let your lack of self-confidence stop you from living your life to the fullest.
Self-confidence, your belief in yourself and in your abilities, is one of the magic ingredients for a happy fulfilling life. And when we are lacking it, we should make an effort to make it grow as it is possible! And when we do make an effort to improve our self-confidence then absolutely everything becomes possible!
How Does Low Self-Confidence Impact Your Life
When you are lacking self-confidence you most definitely, one way or another, limit yourself from living to the fullest. How you feel about yourself and what you believe about yourself determines how you take decisions and live your life. With low self-confidence you might stop yourself from following your heart and from dreaming (big). And if you do that, how can you possibly live a truly fulfilling life?
You might self-sabotage your success, you might skip opportunities of growth and adventures simply because you are too afraid not to be good enough to join. And once you do get into action you might be analysing your own (and others´) behaviour and performance into detail long after the moment is gone. You might experience overwhelm of overthinking and even anxiety when the opportunities (do not) show up.
When you lack self-confidence you might also have difficulty to say “no”. You might not be courageous enough to fight for your needs, instead keep putting the needs of others in front of your own. You might also experience lack of clarity regarding expectations — you might be living up to the expectations of others and not of your own.
Where Does Low Self-Confidence Come From?
Self-confidence, your belief in yourself and in your abilities ad ideas, is closely related to self-esteem, the way you perceive yourself and how you feel about who you are and what you do(1). The lower the self-esteem, the lower the leve of self-confidence.
Lack of self-confidence is of course not a conscious choice! They even say it is not your fault, as different factors such as genes, cultural background, childhood experiences and other kinds of life circumstances and experiences contribute to it (2).
You might have experienced lack of affection and positive interactions in your childhood, you might have experienced trauma in your life or you might be living in a cultural or societal context filled with norms, expectations and limitations. A mix of factors and circumstances shapes the way we see ourselves and what we believe about ourselves.
My Personal Journey Of Building Self-Confidence
While we are not able to change our childhood and past experiences, we do have the power to gain self-awareness, reshape our self-image and thoughts and increase our self-belief.
Self-confidence has been a bit of struggle also for myself throughout my life. Traumatic experiences from my childhood (including alcoholic father and being bullied in the beginning of my school journey) gave origin to deep sense of shame and fear of strangers, which are clearly the parts of my journey that have impacted the most my sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence. The higher the risk of failure and judgement (especially the judgment), the higher the fluctuations in the levels of my self-confidence.
However, with the years passing, through consciously seeking to get to know myself and working on my self-awareness, together with the ever-growing life experiences and knowledge, also my sense of self-worth and self-esteem have improved, thus contributing to stronger level of self-confidence. Yet I do know how easy it is to travel back to that little frightened girl, just show me the right triggers! Thus I deeply believe that being mindful and intentional throughout our days is an important part of creating and living a beautiful life for ourselves.
Throughout the last years I have been investing time into developing my self-awareness, taking stock of my strengths and accomplishments, while fighting consciously against my negativity bias (it is so human to focus on the lack and failures while forgetting all the goodness and greatness of our life and accomplishments). And of course, me starting to own fully my personal story and getting comfortable with vulnerability have made me way more courageous than ever before. I am not exaggerating if I say that owning my story has been the most impactful part of this journey. Well, we are all “forever work-in-progress”, right? I am sure if I (starting out as an introverted timid perfectionist child) have managed to come this far, so can you!
How Can You Improve Self-Confidence?
Neuroscientist Stacie Grossman Bloom says that if we make a decision to be more confident, and then keep practicing it, the learning is reinforced and similarly to anything we practice regularly, also confidence can become on a cellular level of our brain “hard coded” as part of who we are (3). What a great news to know that you can actually build your self-confidence by practice and turn it into part of “who you are”!
While self-confidence is not something you are fully readily born with, it is also not something you can learn from a manual. It is a mix of self-acceptance, your well-being, your previous experiences and your belief in yourself. It is something that you can develop and make grow and it most definitely benefits form experience and time. I invite you to read my previous article about “How Can You Grow Your Self-Confidence Muscle” to find out more about the 6 steps or parts of the journey I consider relevant based on my own experience and research.
Self-awareness — Self-awareness is the non-negotiable starting point for any aspect of personal growth and development. Before starting to take steps to grow the muscle of self-confidence it is important to take some time to understand in what situations your lack of self-confidence shows up.
Vulnerability — Most often self-confidence is in high need in situations that require courage, such situations challenge us and carry some sort of risk of failure or risk of being judged by others. Following Brene Brown´s advice, in order to live our life to the fullest we should really own our story and get comfortable with our vulnerability. Dr Brené Brown suggests that if we are willing to choose courage over comfort, then failure can become our most powerful path to learning (4).
Strengths and accomplishments — Once you have got comfortable with who you are and what matters to you, it is time to take stock of all the goodness you have created in your life. Reminding ourselves of all the great things that we have accomplished is invaluable as it reinforces our trust and belief into our strengths, abilities and capabilities, into our power.
Resilience — Life has seasons. We all experience ups and downs and challenges. Think about the biggest challenges you have faced throughout your life. Think about the biggest failures you have experienced. How did you overcome these moments? How did you make it to the “other side”? What was the learning and wisdoms of nuggets you collected throughout these moments? Create your own “power bank” of wisdom.
Unpowering your limiting beliefs — We all carry with us a some limiting beliefs, some ideas that we believe to be truthful even if they are not true. Limiting beliefs help you to stay in your comfort zone. They can help to protect you from fear — from fear of failure, but also from fear of succeeding. Challenge them! Check facts! Turn them into positive empowering belief instead.
Create mastery — Lack of self-confidence is often contextual or showing up in specific situations (“first times” and beginnings). Being curious and investing your effort into gaining insights and improving your knowledge and skills can be of great value in such situations. However, the first step, even if with shaking self-confidence, has to be taken!
The journey to stronger sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence is a journey, thus be patient with yourself. Be curious and be kind. And sometimes the best thing you or what you need to do is to ask help from a specialist. Do not hesitate to get in touch with a psychologist, a therapist or a coach if you feel that you could benefit from that support on your journey.
While low self-confidence is not your fault, then letting it to come between your fullest expression and your dreams.. might be!
Do not let lack of self-confidence to write your story! It is in your power to work on yourself and become the best version of yourself, courageous to follow your heart and move towards your dreams.
I see you.
I hear you.
You are not alone.
Me and so many others are on a similar journey, today and every day.