Confidence is a big topic that comes up frequently. Losing confidence, getting more of it, and what does it even mean? You have unwavering confidence in one area of your life and struggle with it in another. I spend a lot of time thinking about it because it applies to everything- taking on challenges and having the courage to show up, putting yourself out there, getting back at it after a setback. The self-doubt and internal monologue surround it can be deafening. Self-doubt is normal. Being shaky at times is to be human.
But what do you do next? Here are 7 of my favorite tips.
- When you catch yourself with a critical internal monologue, have a plan or mantra. Saying things like, “It’s ok.” Or, “No, I am not doing this.” Or even contextual mantras like, “I am doing my best and that is enough. Even if other people don’t understand or accept it, it doesn’t mean that I am bad.” Sometimes I simply just say, “NO” when the critical voice starts up.
- If you are having a hard time coming up with something nice to counter negative thoughts, talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend. This is taken right from how to practice self-compassion. You’d never say the things to people you love that you say in your own head.
- Journal. Write down negative thoughts as they come up. Explore where they are coming from. Ask yourself if the belief about yourself is actually true or if it’s coming from an uncomfortable emotion. Keep asking why.
- Meditate or practice mindfulness. This will help you notice when the judgy, mean voice starts chirping sooner. There are even specific self-compassion meditations you can do. The category of this type of meditation is called Loving Kindness Meditation or “Metta”. Sounds hippie, but it works. Jeff Warren, a meditation instructor who has been on my podcast has a bunch of guided meditations I love in the Ten Percent Happier App. In his compassion meditation, the self-acceptance mantra is “May I be well.” That one works for me, but you can find one or make one up that works for you. An expert meditation instructor in the loving-kindness realm is Sharon Salzberg. Check her out too, and she even has an entire podcast about it.
- Try to avoid comparing yourself to others as much as possible. I know it’s realllllly hard, but looking to others to see how good or bad you are is the opposite of self-acceptance. Struggle with comparison? Here’s the antidote.
- Ditch perfection. No one is perfect. There will be things that don’t go according to plan. There will be rejection. There will be flaws. It is guaranteed. But that is human, that’s normal. And the things that make you imperfect are what make you uniquely you. And that’s okay because you are enough. I know I constantly feel inadequate and like I’m not enough due to the messed up vision in my head of what it’s supposed to look like or the picture that someone I’m comparing myself to is painted. None of it is real. I remind myself that accomplishing more things or being the best at something really will not make people love me more.
- Forgive yourself for mistakes. I struggle with this one too. I get hung up on my mistakes and cringe. This goes hand in hand with rejecting perfection. Making mistakes means you are trying and doing big things.