How to be more con­fi­dent


In the Moment - - Wellbeing -


Of­ten what stops you can be as sim­ple as that in­ter­nal, self-crit­i­cal voice, the one in your head that con­stantly judges and snipes at you, un­der­min­ing your con dence. This voice is sel­dom rooted in re­al­ity – how do you know, re­ally, what that stranger in the train car­riage thinks of you? Chal­lenge it. That crit­i­cal voice is sap­ping your con dence. Ques­tion it. What ac­tual ev­i­dence do you have for what it’s telling you? In re­al­ity, you can have no real idea of what an­other per­son thinks, and the look on their face prob­a­bly has noth­ing to do with you but comes from their own thoughts, anx­i­eties and pre­oc­cu­pa­tions. Why should you care, any­way? Counter your in­ner critic with more pos­i­tive a rma­tions – those that are as ac­cept­ing, tol­er­ant and lov­ing of your­self as you would like to be of those around you.


This is akin to self-sab­o­tage, but very dif­fer­ent from fak­ing it be­cause it stems from a lack of self-be­lief. You imag­ine that you will be some­how found out as an im­poster, not re­ally ca­pa­ble of what you say you can do – even though you’re do­ing it! This comes from an in­se­cure place within and some­times hap­pens when we’ve made a re­cent step in progress but our con­fi­dence in our abil­ity to do so has not kept pace. In­stead of think­ing what’s been achieved is good, it’s un­der­mined by the sus­pi­cion that we’ll some­how get found out. This is also a voice that the in­ner critic some­times uses: iden­tify it for what it is, then ig­nore it.

“It’s never too late

to be what you might have been.”

George Eliot


This can be a fea­ture of our in­ner critic. Some­times, when we are un­con­fi­dent about some­thing, we un­con­sciously do things that ei­ther stop us try­ing, or prove our­selves right. We set our­selves up to fail, and then tell our­selves: "There, I was right, I knew it was im­pos­si­ble." Self-sab­o­tage is an un­help­ful strat­egy be­cause, ul­ti­mately, it pre­vents you from do­ing things that could be suc­cess­ful and might help en­hance your con­fi­dence about fu­ture ef­forts.


It’s one thing to be pre­pared but it can be un­help­ful to over­think a sit­u­a­tion, to fo­cus on worst-case sce­nar­ios to the point where the idea of what could (but prob­a­bly won’t) hap­pen makes you so anx­ious, you won’t even try. There’s no point un­der­min­ing your own con­fi­dence by per­sis­tently fo­cus­ing on what can go wrong. Bet­ter, in­stead, to en­sure you have done what you can, then let it go. Re­mem­ber the times when the worst didn’t hap­pen? That’s a far more ac­cu­rate view of life, so fo­cus on that.


Imag­in­ing the worst might feel like mak­ing good prepa­ra­tion for an un­fore­seen event, but there’s a dif­fer­ence be­tween do­ing a rea­son­able risk as­sess­ment – "it looks like rain, I’ll take an um­brella" – and as­sum­ing that some­thing cat­a­clysmic could hap­pen. This just cre­ates un­nec­es­sary anx­i­ety, which, in turn, saps con­fi­dence.

Imag­in­ing a catas­tro­phe around ev­ery cor­ner can some­times come from a place of some­what bizarre logic or mag­i­cal think­ing where, at a sub­con­scious level, we con­vince our­selves that by imag­in­ing the worst, the imag­in­ing of it some­how stops the worst from hap­pen­ing. We even have ev­i­dence to prove that imag­in­ing the worst works: we thought it might hap­pen, it didn’t hap­pen, so there­fore our think­ing of it must have stopped it hap­pen­ing. None of which, ra­tio­nally, is true.

The worst didn’t hap­pen be­cause it sel­dom does. Wor­ry­ing about some­thing that prob­a­bly won’t hap­pen is just un­help­ful and un­der­mines con­fi­dence. Learn­ing from past ex­pe­ri­ence and chang­ing your think­ing on this will re­move a huge amount of anx­i­ety and you will au­to­mat­i­cally feel more con­fi­dent.

“There came a time when the risk to re­main tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took

to blos­som.” Anaïs Nin “No one can make you feel in­fe­rior with­out your con­sent.”

Eleanor Roo­sevelt

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