How to be more confident
TAKE A MOMENT TO CONSIDER WHAT MIGHT BE GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOUR CONFIDENCE. BECOMING MORE CONFIDENT MIGHT BE EASIER THAN YOU THINK, SAYS HARRIET GRIFFEY
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.”
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.”