Lack of self-confidence is an issue with which scores of people are grappling today. Stemming mostly from negative experiences and encounters, it causes hindrance in enabling one to become successful and live a fulfilling life.
Self-confidence is the path between being proud of oneself and self pity. It’s the perception of oneself where one does not think too highly of oneself or despise oneself. It’s the mirror in which you see yourself just as you are, acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses. Thus, self-confidence is the fine thread between pride and self condemnation. However, when this balance tips, one can either end up being a cocky person or may end up being an extremely timid person lacking self-confidence.
Lack of Self-Confidence Symptoms
- Difficulty in mustering enough courage to take any kind of initiative due to fear of failure.
- Fear of other people’s opinions.
- Fear of criticism.
- Pretending to be somebody they’re not.
- Assuming others are better than oneself.
- Avoiding social gatherings and events.
- Giving reasons for everything he or she does.
- Snapping back aggressively to criticism.
- Taking defensive postures like folding hands accompanied by crossing legs.
- Seeking people’s approval.
- Judging himself or herself by what people say and think.
- Inability to take decisions for oneself.
- Panicking and getting overwhelmed at crossroads in life.
Lack of Self-Confidence Causes
Neglect During Childhood
The saying ‘children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression’, fits in here. The years of childhood are the molding years in a person’s life and a dysfunctional childhood can conduce to development of an adult with issues of depression and self condemnation. Not receiving parent’s love and attention while growing up could cause the child to believe he wasn’t good enough for his or her parents.
Moreover, children living in families with constant quarrels between parents can cause the child to think he or she may somehow be responsible for all the problems and end up in self condemnation. When the child grows up, he or she lands up being a timid person, unable to face the world with confidence.
Sexual abuse during childhood years can result in lack of self-confidence in adulthood. Several children facing sexual abuse become shy and withdrawn. They do not want anybody to know what is happening to them, so they avoid making friends and remain aloof. The wounds caused by sexual and child abuse leave marks on their lives, which when left unresolved results in low self-esteem in the adulthood. Moreover, family with history of alcohol, drug abuse, etc. are also seen to result in children with low self-esteem.
Children and adults who are obese often find it difficult to boost their self-confidence. With ridicule at school and work, among family and peers, these individuals begin to suffer from poor self image. Having thinner friends who can fit into fashionable clothes as compared to their baggy outfits, makes them feel like trash. They begin to look down upon their appearance and begin to shy away from social gatherings.
High Expectation from Parents
Often parents with the desire to see their children successful in the future, push them into all kinds of classes and extra curricular activities. They spend a lot of money and time on their child’s development and keep telling their child how he or she should work very hard and be grateful since he or she has an opportunity to learn. They increase the pressure if the children find it difficult to cope up. This in turn results in reducing the child’s self-confidence. The child begins to feel he’s too dumb and that he is wasting his parent’s money and effort.
Controlling parents are those parents who wish to control the lives of the children in order to create well disciplined and responsible individuals. However, in this attempt they fail to let go of their children and prevent them from thinking for themselves. They keep criticizing their child and expect perfection. This causes the child to become fearful and discouraged. Controlling parents refuse to listen to their children’s opinions and desires and quash all signs of confidence from them.
Mother plays a crucial role in a child’s upbringing and her love nurtures the little ones, allowing them to blossom into wonderful human beings. However, narcissistic mothers are mothers who want love and attention from their little child. Instead of giving love to their young ones, these mothers demand love. For these mothers, their children are meant to fulfill only one duty, which is complying to their own needs. They refuse to acknowledge that their child has his or her personal needs. The child in turn begins to lose confidence and fails to understand why his or her mother’s love is confined to only when he or she does something she wants.
How to Overcome Lack of Self-Confidence
Lack of self-confidence conduces to increased levels of stress and depression. The person slips into the pit of depression and can even end up with disorders like bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses. The person may end up ruminating a lot on his or her weaknesses and may end up getting entangled in obsessive thinking disorder. Sometimes people who cannot handle overwhelming situations, begin to lose their self-confidence to such an extent that they begin to resort to extreme habits like cutting and harming themselves, thereby ending up having the cutting yourself disorder.
Some even end up feeling suicidal. This is why it is important to hoist oneself as soon as one recognizes that one is losing self-confidence. Dealing with lack of self-confidence can help keep all unwanted disorders at bay. Using medications like antidepressants will not solve the problem. One needs to understand they do not serve as long-term answers. They just stabilize a person for the time being, however, the problem does not get solved. Let’s have a look how we can build our self-confidence by resorting to a more dependable method.
You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
The first step to overcoming lack of self-confidence is to stop condemning yourself. Just stop nailing yourself for the weaknesses you see within you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and you are valuable to God! You need to embrace the fact that as humans we are bound to falter, bound to fail, bound to make mistakes. To err is human, so don’t place the bar of expectations so high for yourself. You do not need to do things perfectly and correctly the first time or every single time. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Give yourself some space.
Beneath the carpet of self-confidence lies a lot of disappointment, betrayal, pain and emotional wounds. Before you rip the curtain of self condemnation and move ahead to a new world of confidence, it is crucial to deal with the wounds hidden under the carpet. You need to list all the people who have hurt you in words or in action and forgive them. How does it help? Unforgiveness is like poison, which you are drinking hoping the other person will die.
However, it’s you who ends up poisoned. So let go, even though it may seem bizarre. Be it abuse, a narcissistic mother, controlling parents, betraying friends, etc. do not hold anything against those who brought you pain. Not forgiving them will only cause you to be stuck in your past and will never let you live a confident and pleasant life.
You have spent enough time ruminating about people’s opinions and what they think of you. You have spent enough time condemning yourself and avoiding people, however, now it’s time to talk and let out what you think and feel. Find a friend, an elder you can trust or a counselor and share what you have gone through. Letting it all out will help you get out of your past. Do not be under the impression that you are wasting somebody’s time by dwelling on your aches and pains. Share your sorrow and you will find relief.
Acknowledge Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Stop placing the bar of expectations very high. Acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and list them in a diary. Now, accept yourself for who you are. Understand that you as a person can only be stretched to a certain limit. Realize that you do not need to strive to be perfect, because this will only exhaust you. Spend time doing what you like and invest time into your hobbies.
Setting realistic goals for yourself will help you boost your self-confidence. For the goals left unaccomplished, accept the fact that you cannot achieve everything and sometimes you will fail. But, failure does not determine your self worth. Learn from the failure and use it to your benefit.
The best part about lack of self-confidence is that it is not an irreversible process. If you lack self-confidence, you can move out and tread the path of life with utmost confidence. The time we spend on this earth is too precious to be spent worrying, instead we are here to live abundant lives, just as our Creator intended us to live. May we uproot any kind of stumbling blocks that prevent us from enjoying life and may we live this life of ours to the fullest!