Self confidence, noun: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
Trust. An important element needed in order to build a strong relationship. We use this word often and in regards to a relationship with other beings. The confidence we have in others that they will fulfill whatever it is we have bestowed upon them and the assurance that they will not betray it. It is built over time.
When you’re going through a breakup you can trust your best friend to understand your feelings and support you each step of the way to recovery. When you’re jobless and need a home, you can trust your parents to provide a roof over your head until you get back onto your feet. When you make a bad decision and need guidance and clarity in your life, you can trust your sibling to not judge you and instead provide you their opinion and support.
But can you trust yourself?
When a new job opportunity arises that is out of your comfort zone, can you trust yourself to take it and fly? When you want to learn a new sport, can you trust yourself to know that with practice and determination, you can excel at it? When you feel a certain way about words or actions that were said or done to you, can you trust yourself to understand that you have the right to feel exactly how you feel without feeling the need to apologize?
Trust is a word we typically use in relation with another being but rarely in relation to ourselves. The trust that we will be able to do whatever it is we put our minds to and the trust that we won’t fail ourselves.
I don’t trust myself, at least not yet, and that lack of confidence holds me down. I have control over my own thoughts, actions and emotions and am the sole holder of them, yet I trust others over my very own brain and doubt myself so deeply.
What I catch myself thinking often:
I messed up
Why did I do that?
Why did I say that?
Can I really do it?
Maybe it’s better I don’t do it in case I fail
What will he/she think?
I wonder if I look okay today
If I don’t look okay, what will they think?
I don’t deserve it
What if he/she doesn’t like it?
I’m so stupid
What if I get rejected?
What I catch myself saying often:
I can’t do it
In my opinion
All of these negative and typically fictitious thoughts weigh me down. Funnily enough, most of the time I’m aware that they’re exactly that. Fictitious. Distorted. Wrong. Yet, I constantly find myself thinking this way. I especially do it when I compare myself to others. I take the most ideal qualities I admire about someone and ask myself why I don’t also possess them. For example, if I see someone who learned a subject faster than I did, I assume I’m not smart enough. If I cry about something and next day I felt weak about it, I put myself down for letting out this natural emotion. Or if I consistently do well at work but one day I can’t figure something out then I cling onto that feeling of failure and disregard all of the other days of accomplishment. And if I did end up winning a game or acing a test, I call it luck. Even if there is a small percentage that believes I can do something or that it’s okay to feel a certain way, the other part takes over and convinces it to believe the negative. Therefore, I regularly question my own actions, doubt my own abilities, stop myself from taking on new opportunities, reject my own accomplishments and put myself down.
That, in turn, develops the way I speak. “I think” illustrates my lack of confidence and makes others question my words, “no” stops me from taking on new opportunities, “sorry” shows hesitation and “I feel” portrays ambivalence. I doubt myself so much, in fact, that I catch myself saying these words often, apologizing for things that weren’t in my control and getting angry at myself for feeling something I have every right to feel. It’s a vicious cycle. I mentally upset myself by thinking negatively, which drives down my confidence even more which in turn makes me use ambivalent and negative words which then again bring down my confidence.
This goes hand-in-hand with fear. Fear of saying something wrong, fear of doing something wrong, fear of failing and more. Because of the lack of trust on myself, I continue to live in fear. I am aware of it and I need to stop.
It’s about time we start trusting ourselves. Trusting that we have every right and every capability to do anything we put our minds too. And if we fail, it’s okay, because we can’t win at everything. But with practice, we can become better. And if we can’t be the best, it’s okay, because we’re not made to be the best at everything. Understanding these few lines will help us stop being so harsh on ourselves. The first practical step is to stop speaking negative words. It’s easy to apply in our daily lives by being more cautious of our speech. Think before we speak. Are we saying “sorry” when it’s not important? Are we saying “I think” when we’re sure? Are we saying “no” because we’re scared? Be unapologetic for trivial things, show confidence in our hard-earned abilities, accept new and scary opportunities with open arms and let out our feelings without hesitation. Some words need to be removed from our vocabulary, altogether. It’s an essential step to end this harmful cycle and be on the road to self-assurance.
Confidence is not a switch you can just turn off and on. It’s a process. We gain or lose it over time through careful thoughts, words and actions. With confidence comes a new life of fearlessness. Stop the bullying and start being a little kinder. We deserve it.
“If you want to fly, give up everything that weighs you down.”
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