How to be more self-confident, even at your lowest low
We all have our days when we don’t feel confident enough.
Maybe it’s related to our bodies, our positions at work or even when it comes to doing a simple task.
Family counselor and divorce coach Lauren Millman said most of us have these days.
“It’s human and normal, but some people truly live their day-to-day lives with low self-esteem, and find life challenging and a struggle, often at every turn. This makes life a true lonely struggle for some,” she told Global News.
She added over the years, she had spoken to hundreds of patients who wanted to improve themselves in this area.
Dr. Terra Dafoe, a therapist at The Mindfulness Clinic in Toronto, added there are so many sources of people’s low self-confidence and it can range from not hitting your goals to transitioning to a new part of life or even your upbringing.
“We are hardwired to connect to other people and with connecting, we are constantly observing how we stack up compared to others,” she explained. “If we feel we are not as good enough, it threatens our sense of connection.”
Both experts list their top tips on managing low self-confidence, besides seeking a professional.
Know why you feel this way
“There are a few key things to ask yourself first. The first is, why do you feel this way? It’s important to understand the reasons why we feel the way we do. Write them down. Often, when we see things in writing like this, we realize that our concerns may, in fact, be unfounded or incidental, or not consistent and more dependent on external aspects of our lives,” Millman said.
Figure out your triggers
We all have those things that make us tick, even when it comes to our confidence. “Understanding the triggers and situations as to why you feel the way you do can help you identify situationally what to avoid, and set up the environment and your mindset differently for a different outcome,” Millman explained.
“Part two of this is then going into those situations where you feel uneasy, and practising behaviours that build self-confidence and self-worth. And just be yourself.”
Dafoe added this also means paying closer attention to social media, and how much of it dictates our self-confidence. “Try to be conscious and intentional of your use. [Social media] is the best versions of people.”
Carve out time for things you love
Dafoe said this shouldn’t replace a form of therapy, but sometimes doing things that bring you a sense of pleasure unique to who you are will make you feel better overall.
“Whether it’s reading fiction or going out to a movie or spending time with family, find something that brings you joy.”
She added this could even mean finding something that makes you feel a sense of achievement.
Know who you are
“Knowing who you are, as opposed to the aspect of what you are, as in your job, title, etc… I often ask my patients to write down all the wonderful and meaningful qualities about themselves, so they can see, on paper, who they actually are and what values, morals and ethics they stand for,” Millman said.
When people do this exercise, they realize their value and importance.
“Seeing is believing, and when we write things down, it’s there, in black and white, our thoughts and feelings, and we’re writing what we believe,” she continued. “Because we write what we believe, it’s true and real, it’s from here that I’m able to lead my patients into the practice of increasing their self-esteem and confidence.”
Know it happens to all of us
Dafoe said try supporting yourself with more kindness, acceptance and compassion, realizing most people go through these feelings.
“We’re all human, and we’re all works in progress,” Millman added. “Throw the penchant to compare yourself to others out the window. Just be you, and remember to like you.”
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