In my practice as a Life Coach & CBT Therapist, most issues clients come with will have low self-confidence attached to it in some form. If it’s someone who wants to do better at work, there will be a confidence problem holding him back. Or a person wanting to achieve better work-life balance, only to discover the work is really a ‘comfort zone’ and the need for more ‘social life’ is not what he really wants deep down. When the client presents a goal in this form, we call it an ‘imposed belief’. It means the person feels he ‘should’ do something rather than what he really wants because friends and family members tell him to. The person won’t be ready for change until underlying issues are examined and addressed. The first step towards increasing confidence in someone who is stuck in his or her comfort zone is realizing it and admitting it.
People are often amazed they lack confidence in certain areas, whilst overflowing with confidence in other areas. This is perfectly normal. You might find you’re 100% confident as a manager in your job, but when you’re facing the prospect of chatting someone new in the bar, you turn into a nervous wreck. Why is that, you wonder?
There is not one simple answer to that. The reasons often lie in our past, relating to traumas and negative experience we have been trough. For instance, if you’re suffering from a crippling lack of confidence when it comes to delivering a presentation in front of your colleagues, look back at your life and try to remember the situation you first felt like this in. Was it at school? Did your parents say something that hurt you and that memory is now affecting your performance? Or does someone at your office remind you of a negative person from your past? What happened in that particular situation?
Inner confidence starts with ‘being aware’ and being honest with yourself. Ask yourself why that particular area is affected. In confidence coaching, I use a range of therapy tools and exercises to target areas of low self-confidence, drawing on existing resources from where the confidence is already flowing. Each of us has our own resources to a healthy self-confidence because we successfully apply them to some areas; it’s learning how to add to them, adjust & apply them to the affected areas that will make a lasting change.
Many people are overly critical of themselves. They live in constant envy of others who ‘seem to have it all’, not realising these people have their own problems too. People who are trying to excel in every area of life are setting themselves up for a fall. No-one can be perfect and no-one can do it all. And when they can’t, they add a new ‘failure’ to their list of already long self-esteem (often incorrectly identified) issues.
The truth is, everyone experiences situations and problems that will lead to a blow to their self-confidence. But it’s how we deal with those problems and choosing how to feel about them that makes a difference. Confident people smile; they hold eye contact; they dress well; they hold their heads up- and yes, they do these things even if they don’t feel confident. It’s a ‘fake it until you make it’ belief that drives them.
Our body and mind are very closely linked. Try this exercise: sit down, let your body go limp, look at the floor and curl your mouth downwards. Now try to feel joy! It’s not possible, is it?
What about this: stand up, stretch your arms high up to the ceiling, look up and smile. Now try to feel sad! Almost impossible, wasn’t it? That’s because our minds react to our body postures. These two above postures I described were ‘assigned’ to our feelings in the past, even as far as our childhood.
My advice to you is:
Ask for help if if you feel you need help. Increase your confidence by learning more about yourself & why you react to certain situations in certain way. Don’t be afraid to leverage the tasks at home and at work, and don’t be afraid to admit you can’t do something. It’s ok to say ‘no’.
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