I don’t know how to be confident.
Well.. not me, but I’m pretty sure some of you read that title and could totally relate with it. So I came here today to have a girl talk with you guys on it.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite a while now because I’m someone that struggled (and sometimes still struggle) with confidence. But since I had not gotten to a place in my life where I could boldly speak about it, I had to hold it off. As I mentioned in a couple of my previous posts, I’ve been going through therapy, and girlllll… it’s been a life saver, so I’m pretty pumped to chat about this topic with you guys.
Why do people struggle with confidence?
This is one question that I had to really sit down and think about. And from all my study and pondering, I came up with a few of these conclusions.
People struggle with confidence because;
- They are worried about what others would think of them
- They don’t truly believe in themselves
- They have deep insecurities they’re afraid might come to the light
- They are people-pleasers
- They’ve failed at something before
- They compare themeselves to others
- They want to be in control
- They are afraid of the results of their actions
And before I further elaborate on my conclusions, take a second and ask yourself if any of these points listed apply to you. If for some reason you find yourself agreeing with a few of them, I hope this post encourages you to look within yourself and tackle the areas that need strength.
They are worried about what others would think of them
If you’re someone who has never struggled with this, then yay you! But for girls like me who took others opinions in high regards, this was a huge struggle.
It can be difficult to feel confident when your entire life is based around others opinion of you. Thus, If you are struggling with this, there’s only one advice I can give you. Someone else’s opinion about you is NOT YOUR BUSINESS. To better rephrase it, don’t let someone else’s opinion of you determine who you really are. Because if you do, you would constantly lack the confidence to step out and be who you were called to be.
Some of the things I do to shut off people’s opinions:
- I take thier opinions (both negative and positive) and use it as motivation: Instead of allowing people’s negative opinion to drown my desires, I instead use it to boost my confidence and motivate myself. So for example, if someone tells me I can’t run a marathon because I’m overweight, instead of giving up entirely, I’d rather use their negative opinion to motivate myself to run. Life is too short to give up on something because someone else thinks you’re incapable of it. Cut yourself some slack and get on with it!
- I write down my strengths and focus on them: Sometimes the reason why we become so invested in people’s opinions is because we haven’t really figured out our own strenghts. And because we lack the knowledge of what we are truly capable of, we end up giving more weight to what others think. Writing down your strengths and focusing on them is a great way to look past the opinions of others and focus more on what you know to be true about yourself.
- I just ignore it: Like seriously, JUST IGNORE IT! I know this may sound like a difficult thing to do, especially if you’re someone who likes to overthink things. But trust me, ignoring it entirely would stop you from dwelling on it.
- Depending on the situation, I ask more questions: I do not recommend you do this often, but if the opinion comes from a friend, family member or spouse, sometimes I try to figure out why they have the opinions they do. I’ve come to find out that often times, thier opinions usually come from a place of insecurity within THEMSELVES, and other times it could just be out of concern. Either way, I try not to let it affect me, especially if it’s not from a place of genuine love.
They don’t truly believe in themselves
I was on the phone the other day with my bestfriend and the conversation went like this;
Best friend: Everyone tells me I’m smart and hardworking, but I just don’t really believe it. I want to get to a place where I truly believe that I am, not just because people are telling me that I am.
Me: You do believe you are smart and hardworking, if not you wouldn’t have applied to some of these jobs you applied to.
Best friend: *nods in agreement* HMMM I see…
Me: It’s not that you don’t believe you are smart and hardworking, it’s because you’re allowing those rejection letters define if you are smart and hardworking.
From that conversation, I could already tell that my best friend didn’t believe in herself enough because she allowed the rejection letters she kept receiving to have power over what she already believed about herself. And because of that, she started to lack confidence in her own abilites.
When you truly believe in yourself, regardless of how many times you get rejected, especially from something you’re good at, you won’t let the outcomes define you. And in my bestfriends case, she didn’t truly believe in herself, hence why she gave more weight to those rejection letters.
Don’t let your confidence be affected by rejection. Instead, let the rejections boost your confidence.
Some of things I do to stay believing in myself:
- I listen to motivational speeches: Life can really throw us down and often times a word of encourgament is all we need in order to get back up. So listening to a few TED talks and motivational podcasts encourages me to believe in myself again.
- I recite a mantra: I am a true believer that there is power in the tongue, so I make sure to recite my beliefs out loud in order for it to stick within. If anytime I get caught up in those sneaky thoughts of feeling like I’m not good enough, saying a mantra out loud does help to counteract the negative thoughts.
- I set little goals and accomplish them: A goal as small as deciding to drink 80 ounces of water today and actually accomoplishing it helps me believe that I’m capable of drinking more. If I can believe in myself for accomplishing the little things, the big things won’t seem too difficult.
- I reflect on past accomplishments: Looking back at past accomplishments and seeing how far I’ve come has truly helped me to remain positive about my beliefs.
They have deep insecurities they are afraid might come to the light
It’s impossible to be confident when insecurities are heavily present. In fact, lack of confidence is the result of insecurites that haven’t been addressed. So right now, ask yourself this question… what insecurity am I afraid might come to the light?
If you’re not comfortable addressing your own insecurities, don’t worry, I’d list some of mine here so you know that you’re not alone. Every single one of us (even that absolutely perfect celebrity) has an insecurity they don’t want others knowing about, and I hope that sharing mine will help you feel free to express yours as well.
Some of mine;
1.) My weight: I get insecure about this that sometimes I literally would put off recording youtube videos (when I badly want to) simply because my weight is not where I want it to be.
2.) I get so insecure about not being spiritual enough (with my faith).. and I know this sounds crazy, but I do.
3.) I get so insecure in relationships, and I often times imagine the worst possible things that could happen if I get into one. I even tell myself that I would sign a prenup just to be safe.
4.) My central incisor is misaligned and sometimes that makes me insecure (but I’m still not getting it fixed… LMAO)
5.) I sometimes feel insecure in school being an african female engineer in some of my classes. I sometimes think I’m not smart enough because of that.
6.) I get insecure about using my voice (i.e thinking my voice or opinion wouldn’t be heard)
These are just some of my insecurites, and honestly, when I present some of these insecurities to my friends, they often think I’m insane for even feeling that way about myself. But it doesn’t change the fact that I sometimes dooo… And it’s something that I’ve been working on for months now.
What I’ve been learning so much lately is that, darkness hides, while light shines. So putting out that insecurity and addressing it is literally the best way to receive healing and freedom from it. The more you talk about it and expose it, the less it becomes a burden to hide. So let it all out and embrace the confidence that comes with having those parts of you you don’t want others knowing about.
Some of the things I’ve been doing to deal with my insecurity:
- I speak about it: To my friends, social media, therapist, WHATEVER. I say it out loud. When you hide those parts of yourself, you literally give them so much authority over you. So go on….speak it out into the air and let others in on it. That’s the best way to take an insecurity and change it into confidence.
- I find ways to fix it: Some insecurities we have can be very unhealthy and fixing those insecurities do help a lot.
- I follow other transparent people: Listening to transparent influencers talk about their insecurities actually makes me confident with mine, and it’s great to know that I’m not alone on this.
- I stopped trying to be perfect: Says the girl who has been trying to live a perfect life off and on social media for MONTHS.. I had to give that up and actually let the real deal come out. I even quit faith posts, because everyone expects you to be perfect and super holy when you come out declaring you’re a christian, and I decided that enough was enough.
- I stopped caring what others thought: The reason why we give our insecurities so much power over us is because we care so much about what others would think if they found out those parts of us. But as I mentioned earlier, “PEOPLE’S OPINIONS ABOUT YOU IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS!” So I let it go.
They are people-pleasers
If anyone deserved a crown for people-pleasing, it would be me. Because for a very long time, I was a people-pleaser and absolutely HATED IT! It has taken a lot of therapy, prayer and definitely learning to use the block button to get to this current position that I’m in. And if not for these three things, I probably would still be stuck in a rut trying to please the next person whose opinion didn’t matter.
Part of my people-pleasing attitude came as a result of my childhood. Growing up, my parents placed so much value and emphasis on good grades, that each time I didn’t come home with a grade that was considered acceptable to them I was considered a failure. As a result of this, I believed that the only way to be valued was to work hard to please others, hence why I developed a people-pleasing character.
Thankfully, therapy has been revealing all this to me, and I’m glad I can finally throw that learned behavior into the trash.
Funny enough, a lot people believe that people-pleasing is a way of showing kindness, and even as a christian myself I fell into that belief that I constantly needed to put others above myself. Come to find out that all of it is total crap! In fact, trying to please others isn’t a selfless act, it’s actually more self-centered, because it assumes you think you have the power to control how other people feel and act.
Coming to that understanding has helped shape so much in my life, and I’m glad that I was able to break free from that flawed thinking.
If you struggle with people-pleasing, one advice I need you to take from here is the fact that you would never reach your full potential if you constantly stay trying to please others. And the longer you continue to do so, the more you’ll find yourself struggling with resentment and rejection.
How I’ve learned to get rid of people pleasing:
- I started saying NO: I learned not to care if people’s feeling get hurt if I said NO (especially to things I have no interest in) and I also made sure to not change my decision either.
- I placed high value on my voice: If you don’t have a voice, then the world would speak for you. And I had to learn that my voice mattered, regardless of if people disagreed with it or not.
- Choosing logic over my emotions: I am a true believer that our emotions can either make us or break us, and when it came to people-pleasing, I realized that my emotions were breaking me in pieces. So these days I choose logic over my emotions especially when deciding if to help someone out or not.
They’ve failed at something before
This is an issue for a lot.. if not most people…. and I’m definitely not exempt from this. Failure can be a huge factor in determining how confident we end up being, and often times, when we fail at something, we automatically lose confidence in ourselves.
But that doesn’t always have to be the case. It’s all about your mindset and how you choose to view failure. Some people are able to see failure as a stepping tool to their destiny, which in turn boosts their confidence, while some choose to see failure as a pull back which in turn destroys their confidence.
It’s really all about the glass half full or half empty logic. If you’ve failed as something, you can either choose to see it as a blessing or a curse.
I won’t preach to you about why I think failure can be a blessing, but instead I’d tell you that changing your mindset about failure changes your situation and confidence. Thus, if you want a boost in your confidence again, you can choose to be more positive about the failure than negative about it.
How I’ve learned to embrace failure:
- I redirect mission: Whenever I fail at something, I always ask myself these two questions.. is there another way to go about achieving this goal? What can I do to improve on what I currently know about achieving this goal? My answer to these questions really depends on the situation, but I try to consider all options available before quitting completely.
- I give up and change plans: Okay hold on… I’m pretty sure you’re like.. what Eleanor? that’s terrible, you’re not supposed to give up!.. But listen, society has taught us to never give up on anything, but one thing I’ve learned from failure is how giving up on one door sometimes opens the door to another. Often times, we get so caught up chasing dreams we were never supposed to be chasing in the first place, and when we finally hit a high wall, we get stuck on how to continue. In those types of situations, if there’s no window availiable to climb through or a guide on how to get past the walls, giving up and turning around is often the best decision. You never know, you may just find another path to something greater on your way back.
- I learn from it and improve: Failure doesn’t always mean abort mission, but sometimes it could also mean that we need to improve and become better. Instead of wallowing in the failure, learn from it and use it to improve yourself. That way you would grow in wisdom.
They compare themselves to others
Lets be honest, all of us, including you reading this post have compared yourself to someone else. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’ve once tried to change something about yourself because you wanted to be like someone else.
Most times, the reason why we compare ourselves to certain people is because of the attention those people are receiving. We see it, we like it, we want it, so we try to be like them in order to receive it. But by doing that, we fail to realize that we slowly start to lose our identity and self-worth. So my advice? Stop comparing yourself!
One of my favorite quotes from my role model (Bill Gates) is this; “Don’t compare yourself with anyone. If you do so, you’re insulting yourself” and girl… IS HE RIGHT! Because we often times forget that comparison is insulting. Not to the people we are comparing ourselves to, but to us.
Confidence comes from knowing you are unique, and nobody else in the world can be you. So let that be a motivation for you to stop comparing yourself.
Some of things I do to stop comparing myself:
- I think of how everyone’s purpose is different and why it’s stupid to compare: We are all called to do different things in life, so each time I get in the mindset of comparison, I immediately think of my own calling and focus on it.
- I focus on my strengths: This is so important, because if you don’t know your strengths, you would constantly look to others for it. So I make it a habit to focus on my own strengths and capabilities so I never have to worry about someone else’s.
- I block out the noise: The world has a way of telling us how to live and act. And if we constantly listen to the world, we would constantly find ways to adapt to those standards. I’ve learned that blocking out the noise helps a lot in staying true to who I really am.
They want to be in control
Control freaks would always struggle with confidence, because their confidence lies in their ability to have control over a situation.
This character is very dangerous because you will find it difficult to take risks that could be beneficial to you. Therefore, my advice to you is, try not to let your inability to control a situation affect the way you feel about the situation.
Things I do to let go of control:
- I work in teams: Thanks to Engineering, I never have to worry about leadership since the field requires teamwork. However, if you don’t happen to be in a field or position that requires teamwork, I would suggest getting involved in an activity that requires some form of collaboration. The great thing about teamwork is the fact that no one gets to be in charge, that way you learn not to worry about always being control.
- I think logically about control: Just because I’m the captian of a ship doesn’t mean I can avoid a shipwreck from happening. Having that understanding allows me to step back and reflect each time I have the urge to be in control.
- I learn to trust more: Sometimes, you just have to trust that everything would be okay, even though you don’t get to be in charge of how things happen.
- My faith: The world tends to make us believe we have the power to control everything. However, I’m a strong believer that God has more control over everything than I do. So relying on Him actually allows me to let go of my desire to be in control.
They are afraid of the results of their action
Fear and confidence don’t work together. Each time fear is involved, there is a strong possibility that confidence is lacking.
Thus, If you’re struggling to be confident because you’re afraid of the possible outcomes, I’d like you to ask yourself these two questions..
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
What’s the best thing that could happen?
I want you to really think about it for a moment and see where your perception lies. Because often times, we exaggerate the negative outcomes to a point that we literally talk ourselves out of giving things a try.
What I do to fight fear:
- I take more risks: If you don’t face your fears, you would constantly keep finding ways to hide. Therefore I make sure to take risks the moment I start to feel afraid.
- I play worship music: This may sound funny to you, but that’s what I do. My faith is important to me, and I find worship music as a great weapon to combat fear. It puts me in a state of calm that I desperately desire each time fear starts to creep in.
- I address it: Sometimes I like to know exactly what is causing the fear, so I proceed to address the root cause. That way I can properly handle it from the source and eliminate it completely.
I really hope you guys enjoy girl talks like this. Please let me know in the comments one thing that causes you to struggle with confidence..
Till next time,