Struggling with Low Confidence?

struggling with low confidence?

The one thing you can do today if you are struggling with low confidence. 

We all want more confidence, right?
That quiet, inner knowing that we can trust ourselves and our abilities.

Even though I was determined to Stop Being the Victim and regain control by rising back to the top after my nervous breakdown at the age of 26, I struggled with low confidence.

I thought that I would have more confidence once I achieved my goals.

First, it was to complete a degree, then a diploma, a few more diplomas, another degree, and then a master’s degree. Surely all my qualifications and credentials would give me more confidence, right?

Why then, did I feel so unsure of myself? So drained and depleted of energy?

Why, after many years of trying to better myself, was I still struggling with low confidence?

What was going on here? What was I missing?

Not Enough

Every day I was pushing myself to “get it right”. To “be good” and “not to fail”.

In my efforts to better myself, my inner critic became very loud. It constantly judged me to do better.

Instead of feeling on top of the world, I struggled with “Not Enough.”

I’m not good enough. Not smart enough. Not funny enough. Not quick enough. Not skinny enough. Not pretty enough. Not young enough. Not charismatic enough. Not … I could go on.

I am sure you will be able to relate! In fact, this is one of the most common things that come up for clients in therapy.

Each one of us has an inner critic who tells us we are not enough.

But who is this voice telling us we are not enough? Where did it come from, and do we really need to listen to it?

Blame Your Culture

Our inner critic is none other than the echoing voices of all those influential people in the culture we grew up in. The voices who told us how to dress, how to look, how to speak, how to behave.

Even before you were born, your culture decided who you had to be.

Think back to your early years. I bet you were only good enough when your parents, teachers and society were pleased with your performance.

Unfortunately, our value and sense of worth grew out of society’s expectations of us.

How many of us now feel unworthy? Insecure? Or have a fear of failure because of these expectations?

What’s worse, if we deviated in any way from the dominant culture around us, we were frowned upon. If you were of a different cultural background or had different religious views, abilities and sexual orientation, you would have fallen short of meeting your society’s expectations.

The question is, what does it take to be enough? What does it take to be just okay?

A Reflection

Over the years, I discovered how vital it was for me to stop worrying about what other people thought of me. Besides, their opinions of me were only a reflection of themselves!

To give you an example:

Whenever I facilitate a large group, I often do the following activity to demonstrate this concept. Since we are not together in person, I encourage you to write one word in the comment section below to describe me.

What one word would you use to describe me to someone else?  

Hopefully, there are enough descriptive words in the comment section below for you to notice how each person’s idea of me is very different. Some descriptions may be similar, but overall, they are all very unique.

While I may feel flattered or hurt by some of these comments, they don’t describe who I really am.

Looking at the word you chose to describe me, know that it’s only a reflection of your own judgement. Of those things you consider to be worthy or unworthy. Based on your values and how you were raised. And there is no right or wrong about it. It just is.

Besides, I may not even agree with you. I may see myself as someone quite different.

So who is right? You or me?  

No Greater Poverty

I love this quote by Mother Teresa, who was well known for her work with the poor and orphaned children in India.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”

I would take this quote one step further and say:

“There is no greater poverty than not liking, loving and accepting ourselves.”

The Solution

From my experience, true confidence came, not by learning and mastering new skills, but by accepting all the parts of me that I once rejected.

There was the rebel part, the weird part, the quiet part, the misfit part, and more recently, the part who was hospitalised because of a nervous breakdown.

In fact, there were so many vulnerable parts to explore. To gather and heal.

I had to learn how to step beyond the illusion that these parts were bad, faulty and something to be ashamed of.

True acceptance only came with embracing the awareness of all that I am. Who I truly am.

Confidence Quote

In case you are wondering, there are many ways to explore, accept and heal these different parts of oneself.  

What worked for me was a combination of talk therapy, art therapy, play therapy and meditation.

The poem, Devil’s Child is an example of how I used a combination of these therapies to make peace with, and accept all my quirky, unique parts.

devil's child

Healing Meditation

For now, I encourage you to listen to the following meditation if you are struggling with low confidence and need to work on accepting yourself.

This meditation is based on the Dr Eugene Gendlin’s focusing technique and is something I often use in my work as a counsellor and art therapist.

So, when you are ready, sit back, get comfortable, and enjoy this focusing meditation.

Please know that you do not have to struggle to work on developing more confidence on your own. It helps to have someone to talk to. Book a therapy session with me today if you would like extra guidance on coping with self-acceptance. 

Laurinda Jones Blog

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