Perhaps you have always considered yourself to be a competent and confident person. Life and life situations were mostly managed with ease and you had no difficulty in making decisions. But recently you’ve noticed that life has started to feel a little difficult. You find yourself second-guessing your decisions, no longer sure if you’re making good choices and you’re feeling pressured that keeping up with your contemporaries is requiring more and more effort. You’ve noticed that you’re not feeling as confident as you used to – and now you doubt your competence in even ordinary activities which you used to love and look forward to – sometimes the very thought of them fills you with dread…
Perhaps your loss of confidence has come as a result of a sudden or unexpected change of circumstance; the loss of a job or loved one, an illness or accident, a relationship break-up, or missing out on a longed for promotion. Or perhaps it’s been a slow decline due to a constant pressure to keep performing to a high level, maybe with long hours, and most likely coupled with a lack of appropriate support structures. Life has a habit of reminding us who is boss and soon lets us know if we are trying to do too much for too long. Soon the inevitable happens and something breaks – our productivity, or our health, or our confidence – or all three…
So how do we pick ourselves up and rebuild our confidence? The first task is to ensure that from a physical and mental health perspective we are not suffering any issues – so a thorough check-up by a medical professional is always a good idea to rule out any health concerns.
After that consider re-prioritising what is important in your life; are you trying to do too much or trying to please too many people, being always available, not saying “no” or “help required”, even when it’s pretty clear there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done?
Are your expectations too high? Maybe you’re using a benchmark which is not appropriate to measure yourself against. Remind yourself of your good qualities and your successes in the past. Maybe this is just a life stage of lower energy due to other factors which means you can’t give 100% of yourself to a particular project or activity at this time. Be kind to yourself, enlist the support of others to assist or to give yourself a much needed break.
Ensure your close circle of family and friends are supportive of you and your choices – being careful to ensure you don’t allow toxic people or relationships to sap your energy and/or your confidence. It might be time to remove yourself from a relationship if being with that person is clearly doing you harm - the relief you’ll feel once you have done so will indicate you’ve made the right choice.
One good strategy that works for me, is to “fake it until you make it”. Even if I’m not feeling confident, by putting on the air and demeanour (through mannerisms, clothes and/or other props) of someone who is confident it can help me get into the right frame of mind. Give yourself permission to try something different; you might even find you enjoy the activity or project more, plus you have now expanded your usual repertoire of responses.
If you want some help to get back your confidence give me a call!