Let’s face it. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is just have confidence in yourself. From health challenges to insecurities about appearance and peer pressure to be something we are not, we all face things every day that kill our self-esteem. Not a single one of these things is something that cannot be conquered though.
The importance of this cannot be stressed enough. Low self-esteem affects everything from mental to physical health, and even your ability to earn a decent living and achieve educational goals.
Here are six common confidence killers you can conquer and how to do so.
From junior high to the working world, there is nothing that will sap your confidence faster than comparing yourself to someone else. This is a difficult one to get past for many people. One of the reasons is that we are taught from a young age to compete and compare ourselves to others. This is a big part of business school and many other college disciplines.
However, a truly healthy person understands that the things that make them unique actually allow them to stand out from the crowd. This does not mean that a false pride is a good idea. It is important to be honest about strengths and weaknesses and understand that no matter how perfect the person you are comparing yourself to seems, they have strengths and weaknesses as well.
The question you ask yourself should be instead, “Are you the best you can be?” If you are better than the you from one month or one year ago, that is the only comparison you need. Strive for your own personal growth, and simply don’t leave room for comparisons. You’ll be more confident and, in the end, healthier for it.
2. Past Failures
“You’ve got to leave your behind in the past,” says Pumbaa in the Lion King. It simply pays to understand that failure is not final, and neither is success. The ability to stumble forward with confidence that in the end even the greatest setbacks can be conquered is more important than individual failures.
Of course, this is easier said than done. It is simple to say that leaving the past behind is critical, but it is much harder to put into practice. The key is to strive for victory and keep going until you have it. Set short-term achievable goals and put reminders in place to help you recognize how far you have come when things get tough.
Remember, just as with comparisons, the only thing to be concerned with is whether you are better than you were yesterday and if you are making progress away from setbacks toward more positive outcomes.
3. Physical Limitations
Everyone has physical limitations of some sort. No matter how strong someone seems, they usually have a physical limitation they don’t let slow them down. Some of these are genetic, and there is little to do to correct them. Others can be overcome with time and effort.
For instance, a weight problem can be overcome with diet and exercise. A stutter can often be corrected with the right application of natural speech norms and some simple therapy. Other things, like a heart condition or paralysis, cannot be overcome, but they can be mitigated by taking advantage of the mobility and health a person does have.
The key is not to focus on physical limitations, but instead to focus on physical abilities, and use those to move forward with confidence.
4. Lack of Preparation
Not being prepared for something is a huge confidence killer, but it is something you can totally overcome in most cases. First, unless something is simply sprung on you at the last minute, usually you know what is coming next. The question is simply what you will do with that knowledge. Will you stay up late or get up early to be ready? Will you go the extra mile, or will you try to wing it and get by?
Secondly, even if something is thrust on you without warning, you can still proceed with confidence. The likelihood is one of two things. Either there is something similar you have dealt with before, and you can simply apply the principles you have previously used to overcome this obstacle as well, or the others who are involved in the project are just as off-balance as you are, and you can use each other as sounding boards to get things done anyway.
The thing is, being unprepared can’t always be overcome, and it might turn into a lesson to learn from and move past, but you can still move forward with renewed confidence and new knowledge.
Fear is another confidence killer that can have a large effect on your health as well. Anxiety can lead to depression and other negative mental thoughts, which can impact your physical well-being. This is another difficult obstacle to conquer. It is easy to say “don’t be afraid,” but it is harder to simply dismiss fear, especially fear that is founded in reality.
One of the biggest fears people face is the opinion of others, and that is one that can easily be dismissed with the right mental attitude. Like comparisons and past failures, the key is to focus on self-improvement and the skills and abilities that make you unique.
Other fears, like those of speaking in front of others or even fear of conflict, can be overcome with time and practice. Don’t expect to be fearless overnight but concentrate on being less fearful than the last time you faced the same issues.
Many of the above confidence killers have their roots in negativity. The belief that you can’t do something, that you are not qualified, or your physical limitations make it difficult or even impossible perform a task are all negative thoughts. There are several keys to overcoming this condition.
- Guard Your Thoughts: Examine every thought in your head, and make sure they emphasize the positive in any given situation.
- Dwell in Possibility: The attitude made famous by Emily Dickinson will keep you focused on what is possible rather than the impossible.
- Remember your Own Value: You are a valuable, unique person who brings your message and advantages to any situation.
Be positive in your approach, and your mind and body will both thank you.
Confidence killers are tough to overcome, but you can conquer them. When you do, you will be mentally and physically healthier and also better able to face life’s challenges. It’s about taking care of yourself, and not comparing yourself to others.
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