Here at my practice in Bexhill I see lots of people who struggle with self-confidence. This isn’t a problem unique to Bexhill as I frequently discuss confidence issues with clients all over the world via Skype.
Why is it that low self-confidence is such an issue?
There can be many reasons. Often low self confidence has it’s roots in our early relationship with our parents or siblings; sometimes bad childhood experiences such as bullying and abuse serve to shape the way we view ourselves. The cumulative effect of “put downs” and ridicule lead us to form a view that we are somehow less worthy than others. .
This view of ourselves becomes a rigid template upon which we hang our identity. Yet, so often, these, what I consider to be, “false beliefs” are never challenged or even questioned. More often than not they are accepted as established facts, yet these so called “facts” are just “opinions”.
It is time to challenge and re-shape these opinions. Here’s how:
1. The first step in improving self-confidence is to accept responsibility for change and growth. By this I mean, to make a decision to change the patterns of behaviour and thinking that keeps you locked in a cycle of insecurity.
2. Stop spending time aimlessly drifting; stop procrastinating and do things on time. Recognise your own needs: sleep, relaxation and a good diet.
3. Are you a dreamer? If so, make some goals so that your dreams can come true.
4. Take risks, share in groups, give feedback to others. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and admit you’re wrong. Don’t refuse help when it is offered.
5. Start asserting yourself and stop saying yes when you really want to say no. Stop being a “people pleaser”.
6. You are an OK person. You do not need to depend on others for a sense of importance. You are of equal worth.
7. Speak up, believe in yourself. Remember, no one can insult you or put you down unless you allow them to so. It is how you feel about yourself that really matters.
8. Behave towards yourself as you would a friend you care about. Listen to your inner compassionate voice not your inner critical voice.
9. Lower your expectations of yourself. No one has to be perfect. Avoid self pity at all costs. Poor me, poor me.
10. Remember you are unique; you have a lot to offer, you are special and there is only one of you in the world. You are a worthwhile person.
Begin to make changes now. Improve your life by changing your outlook.
Until next time, Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist