Confidence is sexy. Very much so! It is nice to meet people who are sure of themselves (without being arrogant), know what they want, and have complete certainty in their abilities. They walk with their heads up, shoulders back, chest out and they believe their own hype. The confidence radiates off of them.
If you are not one of these people yet, wouldn’t you like to be?
Some people were once confident, but their self-esteem has suffered a huge set-back, due to various reasons. As I am sure you are aware, self-confidence can take a long time to build, yet unfortunately, a short time to smash.
It is extremely obvious when someone does not possess this desirable quality. Indeed: heads bowed, shoulders slouched, eyes fixed on the ground are obvious tell-tale signs. Lack of self-confidence makes you vulnerable to exploitation, manipulation and your life being dictated to you. I should know – this used to be me years and years ago!
Building confidence can be a struggle, but the process is definitely easier if you can identify and avoid toxic habits that threaten to undermine this goal. If you are lacking self-confidence, here are some confidence-destroying habits to avoid:
1. Basing how you feel on the approval of others
This is an absolute no-no! If you constantly wait for others to fawn over and praise you, you could be waiting a very, very long time. It is always nice to receive a comment from others in appreciation of what you have done, but relying on others to confirm your ability or effort is dangerous. You should not need the validation of others to feel good about yourself. Validation from yourself is enough, and anything else you receive is a bonus. Some people, upon realising what you crave, will deny you what you seek, even if you have done very well. Honestly judge how you have performed yourself.
2. Putting yourself down
Even in jest, if you constantly talk negatively about yourself, you will eventually start to believe it. So no more:
“I’m so stupid!”
You don’t want to engineer a self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t voluntarily bring clouds to your clear skies – if those clouds get too heavy with your negativity, they will rain on you, eroding your self-confidence and dampening your spirits.
3. Punishing yourself severely when things go wrong
Berating yourself for something you shouldn’t have done is natural. Maybe you are angry with yourself for over-indulging on junk or your favourite foods when you have vowed to eat healthily and in moderation; partying when you should be studying; enjoying the sunshine when you should in fact be working etc. You get the drift. I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point.
But harsh and prolonged self-punishment only serves in reinforcing that you have failed to live up to (usually unrealistic!) expectations and perceiving yourself as a failure. I used to be guilty of this. Sometimes I would give myself such an action-packed schedule – you’d think I was Wonder Woman! – and be extremely angry and disappointed with myself when I couldn’t complete it all.
4. Allowing others to treat you badly
This can have an absolutely devastating impact on your self-confidence, especially if you are suffering at the hands of your nearest and dearest. It may start off with a few minor incidents and gradually spiral out of control. The inability to draw the line on what you will and will not tolerate causes you to at first question yourself, then feel unsure of yourself, then be filled with constant self-doubt, and ultimately feel worthless, timid and miserable.
Cut out the self-confidence destroying habits. It won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Believe in yourself and all that you can offer to the world. Let your confidence bloom!