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Don't do these 5 things if you want to be more self-confident. Photo: Mark Alexander @lostpeony

It would be reasonable to assume that my confidence went down after the death of my partner. Right? Well, wrong. Actually. I lost my confidence half way through our relationship which made me hopeful about getting it back.

I began to look into different factors that could have affected my confidence through the years. Here are 5 of these factors:

Don’t underestimate your abilities

In my case, at least, the lack of confidence was mostly due to questioning my abilities. I knew what I could do and I knew that I could do it well. Instead of accepting that and building on it, I was fixated on the things I wanted to do but couldn’t.

After my partner’s death, I sat down and evaluated my skills set, my abilities and my ambitions. Seeing it all black on white made me realise that I was equipped with the skills and knowledge to work towards my goals and realise my ambitions.

If that sounds familiar to you, I urge you to spend some time evaluating and listing your expertise, skills and ambitions. Use that list as the basis of your plan of action. You will be much more productive and motivated knowing that you can do everything on your To Do list.

Believing in your abilities is one of the major contributors to your self-confidence.

Don’t take the blame

I am not one for arguments and I avoid confrontation. In the early stages of my partner’s death, I took this to a whole new level. I would walk out of uncomfortable situations with my head down as though it was my fault for whatever issue was on the agenda.

Of course that behaviour didn’t help me and it didn’t help the situation either. It distracted from the real problem instead of dealing with it. Not to mention that it made me look “bad”.

It took me a while to build up the courage for it but now, I look for answers and for solutions. If need be, I am not afraid to point a finger towards the real problem either.

Don’t be too self-critical

I used to go to extreme lengths to make sure that my work met my ridiculously high standards. I refused to do work if I wasn’t certain about the end result.

That affected my confidence in a bad way. It made me question my skills and abilities. It also made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.

We all have our limits and we are not perfect. Make your limits work for you rather than against you.

Don’t think about past failures

The moment I began to celebrate my successes (no matter how small) I felt like a different person. I felt like a winner and that pushed my confidence up.

There is no point living in the past. It’s happened and we have no control over it. Learn your lessons and move on – it really is that simple.

Don’t be a pleaser

There is always that one person who tries too hard to please everyone. It’s a part none of us want to play, let alone – own up to it. Well, once upon a time, I was that guy. I wanted to please everyone and nothing was too much to ask of me.

It became my thing and people used to take advantage of me. It took me a while to realise it and when I did, it knocked my confidence.

Things couldn’t be more different now. I know my self-worth and I do things for others but not because I want to please them. No. I do things for others when and if I can because I want to help.

People respect me for that and nobody contacts me at inappropriate times asking for favours. That makes me aware of my self-worth and it contributes to my confidence.

Being confident is not about behaving like you own the place. More often than not, that sort of behaviour suggests the lack of self-confidence. Work on improving your skills, knowing your self-worth and don’t be afraid to assert your authority if need be.

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