5 Ways to Overcome Chronic Self-Doubt with Proper Self-Concept
Self-doubt is a monster. Sometimes it seems that it only takes a moment's disappointment to break down a year of confidence. What many don't realize is that this is because we don't know ourselves quite as well as we should(or think we do). Knowing yourself thoroughly, all of your strengths and weaknesses is a goal that should be pursued above all others.
It affects our experiences in this world directly and importantly, how we deal with failures. If you fall and don't know why you fell then your fears can become irrational. One who has gained self-awareness and self-trust can instead say, 'Oh, I fell because I didn't respect my weakness in THAT area. Next time I will prepare.'
It can be as simple as that. Here are some tips to help you grow your confidence as you get to know yourself.
1. Don't Let The Past Drag You Down
“Anyone who isn't embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn't learning enough.”--Alain de Botton
Many times it is difficult to stay positive because of the past. Maybe you broke a New Year's resolution or don't like the person you were last year. Sometimes the easy confidence of others can drag you down as well. The thing is if someone is TOO confident all the time, it may mean that they aren't learning from their mistakes.
Do you have any confident friends that make the same errors over and over yet never seem to learn from it? Yes, they are confident, but is that the kind of confidence that you want? Monsters only get stronger when you stick them in a dark place. It is healthier to know one's strengths AND one's weaknesses. After all, courage comes from seeing adversity and facing it even though you are scared. That is what separates it from foolhardiness. Your past is not an anchor, it is your roots.
2. Realize That Flattery Can Be Poison
"She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.”-- Anais Nin
Everyone has natural gifts. Looks, confidence, and efficiency are just a few of them. The list is almost endless. When others, envious of these gifts, shower you consistently in praise it can be easy to become reliant on this and then to put things off or misunderstand the lessons of failures. Worse, If people are constantly giving you compliments it can distract you from the parts of you that you can GROW.
Take flattery with a smile but don't be blinded by it. Remember that it simply helps you to identify inner strengths that you don't have to waste time on now because there are other aspects of you that you can develop. Add some depth to your character. Would you rather be a pond or the sea?
3. Get A Hobby To Explore Your Interests
"Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby. This is also true of religion, although you will not find me saying so in print."--Dave Barry
One thing that can really get you out of your shell is a hobby. Everyone has a passion that they keep to themselves. Collecting old books. Fixing cars. Maybe even sewing or crochet. Are you a painter? You should encourage these expressions of the self. The more developed your passions become then the more developed you will become.
Never forget that artistic expression isn't just a necessary outlet, it is a part of you. As you become more adept at your hobby you become more certain in the knowledge and trivia associated with it. You will become an expert. With expertise comes confidence. Do you see where we are going here?
Take a little time for yourself, for your hobbies, for what are they if not the expression of your soul?
4. The Only One Who Has Your Self-Interest Completely In Mind Is You
“If you seek happiness through someone else's perspective, you might as well get comfortable in sorrow."-- Unarine Ramaru
This one is important. No one has your best interests in mind more than you do. No one knows all of your delights, your sorrows, or your guilty pleasures. No one knows how much you like that first coffee in the morning or a new sunset. That memory of the scent of a favorite lover that you keep with you. There are so many complexities that go into an individual that another person simply can't comprehend.
Oh, in a lifetime, two people may become close, but ultimately we pass through this life in a vessel which filters all the light around us through a prism which we've fashioned and decided to call a soul. Sometimes it is a little scratched and sometimes it is so fine that one see more colors than others. Have you ever had a loved one make a decision for you that, on paper, sounded like something that would benefit you but in practice, you actually hated it? Ultimately only you are close enough to decode your own soul as completely as possible.
Accept this and explore yourself as much as possible. You are the only one with the map that shows where the treasures, the monsters, and all the places which are scary, wonderful, and unique to you are. Learn these places not only for your own self and your own confidence, but because the day will come when you will share these places with one or more special people. It is imperative that you can guide them there safely so that they can experience as much as possible of the real you, safe from the monsters of self-doubt and the past.
5. Realize That Non-Constructive Worry Only Makes You Tired
"If you spend all night worrying about the battle then you will be tired in the morning when you must fight it."-old Viking proverb
Worry can help us prepare but there is another side to the coin. Worrying when there is nothing you can do about something can be crippling. Get in the habit of calming yourself and forcing yourself to sleep when this happens. It is difficult, at first, but repeat the proverb we've listed to yourself and let the lesson of it seep in. Think about it.
Won't you need your strength tomorrow? If the thing you are worrying about is indeed so mighty, is it not best to conserve your energy so that you can face it, head-on, with a good night's sleep behind you? It is just good sense. How well do you function at work when you are tired? If you go on a date tired, are you at your wittiest, your most charming? Conserve and grow your energy when you are facing a difficult issue. That way you can focus all of your power on the problem, all of yourself. Who knows? It just might be enough to win.
We believe in you. Believe in yourself too. Use these tips and silence that inner critic. Then show us what you can REALLY do.