February 11

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10 Ways We Lose Our Confidence

By Jessica Allen

February 11, 2019

confidence, marriage, personal growth

Are you operating at 100%?

I’m not talking energy level, although that’s important, so if you’re droopy I highly encourage you to eat a great dinner and GO TO SLEEP tonight. That’s what we’re doing in our house.

I’m talking confidence. Are you operating at 100%? Or are you shuffling through your day living less than you were meant for?

For a long time I thought having confidence meant I had to be a big, brash, loud, bad-a$$ person. Crushing goals and slaying my day.

That was exhausting. The chase, I mean. It’s absolutely fun to crush goals and slay the day but I can’t do it as that loud kind of person – I’m not made that way. (Bless those of you who are!! We need your energy and excitement in our lives!)

When I realized that confidence means “all engines humming in my own sweet spot” (my own definition of the word) I felt SO FREE. It also made me realize how yucky it feels when one of those engines has a wrench in it, or worse, isn’t running at all. Confidence is the fuel for so much good that comes out of our lives and work. When that confidence is depleted, everything suffers.

This is a buddy post – you’ll definitely want to pair it with its (way more sexy) twin: 10 Ways to Get Your Confidence Back.

If you’ve ever made a big mistake, you might know how it feels to lose your confidence.  (You also might like to check out this post, if you haven’t already.)

With the wind knocked out of me, my confidence is nowhere to be found.  What takes over is panic, despair, total over-inflation of the magnitude of the situation, and complete self-bashing.  (I know I cannot be alone in doing this.)

However, crazy enough, it’s usually not the major blows that zap my confidence. The majority of times I realize my confidence has taken a hit, it’s the result of little erosions over time.   

There are times I feel on top of my game, rocking my signature look, winning at work, sailing smoothly at home, thriving in my relationships. But then little by little I add a pound here or there, stop listening or plugging into mentors, lose touch with a friend who builds me up, and let negative self-talk creep into my internal dialogue.  Then one day I wake up and realize I’ve lost sight of that amazing powerful version of myself. 

If we’re similar in any way (and we definitely are), I bet you’ve found yourself in the same place at some point. Maybe you’re there right this second. WHATEVER YOU DO do not get onto social media. Your fit, funny, and extroverted friends will shut you down in one scroll.

Instead, scan this list of confidence potholes and ask yourself some honest questions. What am I feeling? How did I get here? What do I want to do about it? There are lots of things that make our confidence tank. These are just 10. And then be sure to check out this post’s twin sister. Stella got her groove back and you will too.

10 reasons you might have lost your confidence

You searched for your security/identity in the wrong thing.

Things such as work, relationships, or whatever our definition of success is. 

When these foundations of “shifting sand” inevitably shift, we’re left with an eroded sense of self.  If my confidence was in my title, and I lost my title, who am I now?  If my confidence was anchored in achieving this goal or this opportunity, and I miss it, then what am I?  Or, if my confidence was in the role I played as wife/mom/friend, and now that role has shifted, so where do I belong now?

You left your winning arena.  

Where do you crush it?  Where do you really shine?  If I’m great at hospitality, but I haven’t hosted or cared for anyone yet in 2019, my confidence is probably suffering.  If you’re great at creating things, or connecting with people, or public speaking, or photography, and you haven’t done it in awhile, I bet your confidence is dwindling away.  We’re given gifts so we can use them, not sit on them.  We won’t feel fulfilled – or confident – if we’re not standing in the right arena.

You stepped outside your comfort zone. 

Trying something new should be uncomfortable.  (My first Body Pump class knocked me into a heaving pile in the back corner.)  If you expect to master it the first time, or foolishly leave your sense of humor at home, you’re setting yourself up for failure and a total blow to your confidence.  

You failed – and stayed there. 

Failing is NORMAL.  We fail forward to success.  But the common mistake we make is that we fail and never move beyond it.  Winston Churchill said: Success is not final and failure isn’t fatal – it’s the courage to continue that counts. 

You listened to the wrong voices, outer and inner. 

The most destructive influence in our minds… is ourselves.  There is more trash-talking going on between the ears than ever really occurs in real life. What are you saying to yourself? 

Also, are you allowing less-than-encouraging voices speak into and over your life? If they haven’t earned your trust, they do not get the rights to your mental real estate. Raise the rent and kick them out.

You compared yourself to others. 

BIGGEST FASTEST WAY to feel rotten.  This destroyer of confidence is so prevalent, and so gnarly, that it deserves its own article. Stay tuned. The comparison game is deadly because we never compare our best to someone else. We’re always comparing our WORST to someone else’s highlight reel.

You didn’t keep the valleys of growth in perspective. 

Not every season is a Super Bowl winning season.  Some seasons are for rebuilding.  Setbacks are inevitable, but misery is a choice.    

You focused on your weaknesses rather than my strengths. 

Want a lifetime of frustration?  Focus on refining all your weaknesses instead of working in your unique strengths. Try the VIA Character Institute or Strengthsfinder 2.0 – two cool tools for discovering your unique set of leadership and communication giftings.

You strayed off the path and wandered in indecision. 

Personally, this is my greatest source of busted confidence – waffling back and forth while obsessing over a decision.  All it is, is inaction.  And inaction drains our confidence (and willpower, and influence, etc.)

You abuse yourself. 

We’ll punish ourselves more cruelly than anyone else ever could.  Do yourself a Frozen solid and “let it go!”

So now what?

Wherever you are right now, it probably happened little by little, over time. It’s normal, it happens, and it’s okay. However, it’s NOT okay to stay there. The world needs the highest and most confident version of you. Your children will learn from your model of confidence, your marriage will grow when you bring your best to the table, and everything you touch will benefit from your increased self-assuredness.

Once you figure out the potholes you’ve gotten stuck in, then you can find a way out. Here we go…

HP,

J

Who in your life needs a boost? Send this their way!

Jessica Allen

About the author

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 four children: LJ in heaven, Grace, Jackson, and Elisha.

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