Everyone wants to feel confident, fulfilled, happy, and to feel on top of the world. We all believe this to be important and it is, but we believe to obtain this level of confidence you need to be somebody in the eyes of others!
What drives self-confidence is our self-worth which feeds our self-esteem and shapes our self-belief. Unfortunately, we live in a world whereby our internal self-acceptance is heavily dependent on “what I think you think of me!” In other words, I need you to validate me, so I feel worthy.
We see this everywhere; social platforms project images of how we should look. We get excited by how many likes we get on our posts. The compliments our bosses give us to even what success looks like. When we buy into this form of approval it shapes how we see ourselves and
impacts our self-judgment and self-talk. I know this from working with clients and personally.
Most people if they believe they are not keeping up with societal expectations will come down hard on themselves. Speaking negatively to ourselves and blaming ourselves for not “doing it right, working harder, being better”. This results in doubting oneself and this will only shrink your sense of worthiness. Leading to a drastic decrease in self-confidence. For many clients, this resulted in them pushing themselves harder because now they had a fear of failing. A negative cycle will result in emotional burnout. According to Timothy J. Legg Ph.D. exhaustion, “is a state of feeling emotionally worn-out and drained as a result of accumulated stress from your personal or work lives. Emotional exhaustion is one of the signs of burnout.”
I was too hard on myself pushing myself to do more because I wanted validation from people in my life. Yet the story inside of me was a negative one. “The story you tell yourself about yourself is why you suffer”, says Dr. Gabor Mate, world leading Trauma Expert. When this happens, we will take ourselves to our mental and emotional limits. We will be emotionally exhausted from the stress of my demands and expectations so I would feel like somebody while my sense of self-confidence crumbled.
To build self-confidence you need to build your self-esteem. But we need to unhook it from being dependent on external validation. Do we need to do this because with our sense of worthiness linked to validation to others then what happens when the validation does not come? This is when self-doubt and self-rejection kick in because we personalize “what’s wrong with me”.
So, what can we do to grow a healthy sense of self-confidence? Believe it or not, self-compassion is the tool to awaken a sense of self-acceptance. As your sense of self-acceptance grows so does your self-trust then self-confidence.
Think of a plant in a pot and it’s dying. The first thing you would do is check the environment. Is it directly in the sunlight, is it too dry, or watered too often? Primarily you would look at the conditions that might be harming the plant. You wouldn’t look to the plant and blame it for its illness. Now imagine you are the plant. Stop blaming yourself and let’s support the conditions that have robbed you of your self-confidence.
Holding compassion for your humanity is recognizing you are only human and cannot be everything to everyone. When you reframe your inner narrative from “I can’t do this I’m not good enough” to “all I can do is try and learn as I try, my best is my best”. This will motivate, encourage you and build your sense of worthiness which will shape your self-confidence.
Here are some exercises you can do to develop your self-confidence:
1. Let Go Of Judgement
Don’t judge or reject your feelings. If they are painful, try to journal them. Once you have journaled, close your eyes and repeat “I love and respect myself for being me”. You are telling the unconscious mind it is ok to be who you are. Usually, if we feel negative emotions, we believe it’s not ok to feel these, which is self-rejecting. Journalling or speaking to someone who is a safe person about our feelings and repeating that mantra will awaken a deep inner trust.
2. Create Safety In The Body
Whenever you are in an uncomfortable situation or around someone with whom you feel discomfort ask yourself “What do I need? This question will create safety in your body allowing you to manage the situation. You will have a sense of self-accomplishment which builds your worthiness.
3. Lower Expectations
Stop with the “I Should”. It holds too many expectations and usually should be another person’s expectation. Change the word “Should” to “I can if I want to” or “I am willing to try”. This is encouraging and will feel more supportive than instructing yourself to “I should”.
4. Be Your Own Best Friend
Remind yourself “What do I do for a friend if they felt this way” then give this to yourself. Maybe speaking kindly, self-appraisal or touch. Self-touch is deeply healing and lowers cortisol – the stress hormone. I usually get clients to place their hand on the heart as they repeat silently
“I am safe. I am well” Mantras along with a touch, ground you into your positive, soften stress and create calmness.
The Solution Therapist is an accredited transformational therapist having worked for over 16 years with clients around the world. Her work has been featured in Thrive Global, USA Today, Hollywood Digest as well as TV appearances. She was great success in awakening people to the authentic selves whilst healing deep wounds and traumas.