This is Part 2 of a twin sister post! Missed the first one? Check it out here and then flex your muscles with these ten ways to grow your confidence.
Stop! When you’re stuck in the mud, the worst thing you can do is keep spinning your wheels. It makes an even bigger mess. Pause, take a deep breath, and get focused in the present moment. Only here can you begin to think and see clearly enough to get out of the rut. (Quick trick: breathe in slowly for 8 counts, hold for 8 counts, and slowly exhale a full 8 counts. This is called Box Breathing. The Marines use it and it’s amazing for focusing your mind and thoughts. One intentional, focused breath can bring you right back into the present and calm any worry over the past and anxiety over the future. There’s a reason breathing is so integral to meditation.)
You don’t need anyone’s uninformed opinion. You don’t need anyone’s unsolicited advice. All they will do is keep you right in the mess of discouragement and immobility. If they haven’t earned the right to speak into your life (aka earned your trust and confidence), they don’t get a vote.
“No one is bleeding and nobody died” is a phrase we use a lot in our house. A little dark maybe, but we’ve literally experienced a crisis where someone died. Most (ALL) other problems and blows to our confidence don’t even compare. So there’s no reason for us to obsess over the mistake and punish ourselves. Nobody really wants to hear you keep complaining about it anyway.
Find those 1-2 people who will sing your song back to you when you’ve forgotten how it goes. People who remind you of your strengths and encourage you that you have a valuable contribution to make to the world. These are NOT people who will help you complain and justify what happened or “reassure you” that it’s fine to continue to marinate in misery by rehashing what happened over and over. *A note on this: I experienced a monumental (at the time) disappointment and embarrassment when I was in junior high school. After patiently waiting for me to cry my eyes out, my dad looked at me square in the face and said, “Crying is not going to fix it. What are you going to do now?” I still use this model in my adult life. Give it a good cry, then get to work.
Pull out a book or podcast that inspires you, draw from scripture, music, exercise, or meditation and prayer. What makes your blood pump hot, and body feel strong and mind feel centered? Do those things FAST. The longer you wait, the longer it will take for your confidence to come back.
Part of growth is intentionally refining and improving ourselves, especially when we blow it big time. However, if that self-assessment is all negative with nothing positive, you’ll keep yourself discouraged. Brain science shows that our brains suffer physical damage when overexposed to negativity and criticism. SCARY.
What positive progress have you made? Was there anything good that came out of the mistake or accident that robbed your confidence? What did you learn? Sandwich your constructive self-criticism between 2 positive statements. This also helps you keep things in perspective (see #3 above).
If inaction breeds fear, action cures it! Give it a good cry, and when you’re ready, let it go and get set to move forward. As one of my mentors Sean Key says, this can take 4 minutes, 4 hours, 4 weeks, or 4EVER! What do you need to do in order to get your confidence back? Sometimes it means humbling yourself (even more) and making an apology. Often it means assessing what happened and admitting failure to yourself or other people.
Seems simple enough but the first step is the hardest.
A peer of mine from high school recently made headlines after a tremendous weight loss. He said, I didn’t lose 150 pounds. I lost 1 pound 150 times. Celebrate the little victories and they’ll string together to make bigger ones. Too often we wait until we’ve reached the giant goal to be proud. There is always something to acknowledge, praise, and remind us that we’re doing a great job – no matter how small or slow the process may seem.
It will be messy, you will stumble, and sometimes you will stray off the path. People will laugh and you will be tempted to listen. Put your blinders on and keep going anyway.
Confidence is absolutely and completely up to you. No one else has the power to take it from you, and nobody else has the power to build it back. It takes daily, sometimes minute-by-minute work. So which tool can you start using RIGHT NOW to start growing and building your confidence? Comment below and we’ll cheer you on!
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Jessica is a writer, musician, entrepreneur, wife, and mom. Jessica's mission is to write "real" - shining light into the dark places of the tough stuff we all experience. She and her husband Jack live in Houston, Texas and have weathered the storms of grief, infant loss, adoption, and a marriage that almost fell apart. Jessica and Jack have 4 children, LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and brand new baby Elisha.