By Jenn Bovee, LCSW, CRADC, CCHt, EMDR Trained
Someone with low self-confidence is often easy to spot when we see it. It’s the person who can’t make eye contact. It’s the person who walks with their head facing their feet. It’s the person who talks in a really soft or passive tone. But what about low self-confidence that isn’t quite so obvious? What might that look like? It typically consists of being socially withdrawn; having excessive preoccupation with personal problems; experiencing fatigue, insomnia, and/or headaches; being hostile; being overly sensitive to criticism; not believing in yourself or in your abilities; constantly comparing yourself to other people; and the list goes on. This is a pretty general list. Low self-confidence is usually something that internally either you know you have or you don’t. Externally, you are either able to cover up and hide it, or you aren’t.
Of course, there are different levels of self-confidence ranging from those who think they are the BEST person on the planet to those who think they are the WORST person on the face of the earth. But no matter where you fall in this spectrum, I suspect we could all use a bit of a confidence boost. I want to empower you with tools to increase your self-confidence with ease and grace. My suggestions include:
- Fact Check the Negative Thoughts: Look for the evidence that the negative thoughts you entertain are true. Is there actually hard cold proof that these thoughts are accurate? More often than not, these thoughts are not factually based. If the thoughts you are entertaining are not based in truth, then you need to replace them with positive thoughts. It’s a waste of time to have thoughts that are lies or not accurate.
- Keep A Success Log or Book: It’s easy to get caught up in the things that go wrong, or the things we don’t do good “enough.” Instead of focusing on all of that negativity, I suggest that you keep a file, a book, a box, etc. I want you to find a place where you can keep positive comments and successes. When someone sends you a card in the mail and says, “You did a great job,” or Thanks for all your help.” I want it to go in there. When someone sends you a Facebook message and says, “I couldn’t have completed that without you,” I want you to print it off and put it in there. This is your own personal brag book. Then when you start to doubt your own greatness, you commit to bring out this book or box and review how phenomenal you are.
- Act As If: This one sounds super trite, but I promise it’s much more powerful than it sounds. So often in life, we have to act our way into a new way of being. For just twenty minutes each day, I want you to pretend as if you think you are a super confident person. That’s it. Just pretend. Notice what is different. How does it feel to live in a body that oozes confidence? How does it sound to talk with so much confidence you don’t doubt every word that comes out of your mouth? Make a game out of it. Have fun with it. The more fun you make it, the easier it gets.
- Imagination/Visualization: Again, this is going to feel super simple, but it’s not always easy, which often confuses people. Every night as you are going to bed, take five minutes to imagine or visualize yourself going to work or going to school the next day. Pretend in your mind that you are interacting with the people you interact with every single day and just imagine what it would be like to feel and be confident. Just notice what that looks like. Observe how that looks. Allow yourself to engage in a confident manner. Don’t judge it, don’t judge why it’s not happening in your life right now, don’t judge why it’s not easier for you. We often get caught up in the judgment loop. Do your best to stay out of the judgment cycle.
Self-Confidence is really something that comes with practice and encouragement. The more we practice and encourage ourselves, the more it grows. If you feel that you are struggling with self-confidence, and it is having a negative impact on your life, reach out to a trained professional for guidance. This bit of guidance can make all the difference in the world!
For help with any mental health issue, contact The Mental Wellness Center at 309-807-5077 or e-mail info@TheMentalWellnessCenter.com. Their office is located at 205 N. Williamsburg Drive, Suite D, Bloomington. They are invested in empowering you to return to—or achieve, possibly for the first time ever—a state of complete mental wellness.