Confidence and Self-esteem | How to Build Yours.
It is unhealthy to have low confidence and self-esteem. To build and maintain these two, not overdoing it, should be like your daily bread. You will know how.
I remember the day I started blogging, I did not have the confidence. I just started writing but I was pretty much scared of failing.
Actually, I had no idea what blogging entails other than writing and posting. But persistence kept me going with zero confidence. Even with the less or no achievements since I started, it has contributed on how I feel about myself!
Let me tell you something…one of the worst enemies to your confidence is your own mind. Whatever you feed your mind will not in fact, NEVER be “puked” by your mind. Whether positive or negative, it picks!
According to most counselors, 90% of our thoughts are negative because we have evolved to be in constant alert for danger and threats to our survival.
I have been a counselor for many years and before I mention any one’s story, let me start with mine briefly….LAUGH IT OUT if possible…enjoy!
How I first learned to build my confidence and Self-esteem.
I Failed My First Job Interview Miserably!!!
Briefly, it was in 2011 at Aga Khan hospital after graduating two months ago. I was looking for an internship. Early in the morning I was at the department of community health with my papers.
I asked the secretary if I can talk to the HR manager. Unfortunately, she had not arrived. Later, I saw a curvy woman in miniskirt, shape like an hourglass…gorgeous so to speak!
She was just reporting and then leave for a meeting. She got the message I had come with. To my surprise, after greetings she asked me to sit and have a one-on-one interview.
Huh…her curves made me anxious to an extent I could not even tell her my name, the course I studied!
Anxiety made my heart to beat so fast, my pants were “full of confidence” instead of my head. Pardon me…
Sincerely, anxiety killed my confidence and self-esteem. I just stammered all along. I was asked to leave my papers then they would call me if possible.
Unfortunately, I gave up the very day, on my way home. I felt the embarrassment of not delivering. They never called me.
Fortunately, time-to-time interviews build my confidence and self-esteem. I did not want to embarrass myself again otherwise, I would not get any job as a result.
Now, as an experienced and professional counselor, I have been in sessions with several and unique clients. Behind whatever medical issue they were coming with at my office, since they need counseling, their confidence was lacking.
Therefore, this constant negative question ringing in your mind of “what if?” is what brings you down eventually.
For instance…uhmn, what if they laugh at me? what if I start stammering? What if I don’t deliver? and so on.
Generally, confidence and self-esteem fall under one basis. Which one? How much I like myself, value myself.
You may be mingling with friends who drink or maybe smoke but since you value yourself, your health, your boundaries stay unshaken! You will not do whatever they are doing just because they do…NO! (Have good friends whom you can build each other).
In fact, those of us who try so hard to make people like them end up being taken for granted or even bullied.
Therefore, self-esteem is just based on our thoughts and we can control them. Something like “I am being me, doing this for me whether you like me or not, I don’t care…”
This negative headspace is currently at a critical level since the most affected are teenagers and the youth.
For example, in my home county, Mombasa, teenagers are joining gangs, robbing and injuring/killing people. The core reason for this is recognition, they want to feel more important than to feel safer.
Causes of Low Confidence and Self-esteem.
1.) Stressful life events such as divorce.
As an example, divorce can destroy your self-esteem to the core. Such stressful events may create guilt and shame to most people. Nevertheless, physical and emotional problems may occur hence some lose hope in the end.
2.) Trauma or abuse.
A post-traumatic event may exact lots of damage to your self-esteem. If at all nobody is ready to help or on your own accord, you just decide to give up, building that confidence you had before, your self-esteem will be hard.
3.) Having friends with bad influences.
Remember what I said about friends? Having a few good friends is better than a bunch of bad influencers.
The negative acts they engage themselves in around you, may be of dire consequences to your confidence and self-esteem because it is done repeatedly (in your presence).
Your mind gets used to anything done repeatedly. Never accept that smoking or drinking once will not be a big deal. It is a trap! You are definitely killing your self-esteem.
4.) Mood disorders such as depression, anxiety.
This is what affects most just like my interview story above. For those who are undergoing depression, to build confidence and self-esteem is like a myth.
It will take a very long time for them to own it or sometimes never because depression may lead to suicide.
5.) Poor school performance or unrealistic goals.
In Kenya, cases of youths or teenagers doing nasty things to their lives due to poor school performance is common.
Parents neglect them for not making them proud academically. Therefore, most youths engage in drugs, gangs or even prostitution because they find themselves not worthy to their societies.
Anyone who plays an influential role as a parent or carer can lead you to low self-esteem if he/she does not support you.
By the way, if you have had yourself in this negative self image, thinking to be out of it is nearly impossible.
The quickest way to change or build your confidence and self-esteem is actually by changing your physiology- MOVE YOUR BODY. I normally tell my clients to exercise to distract themselves from those negative thoughts.
In addition, physiotherapists would agree that exercise can physiologically increase your sense of well-being. How? By providing “feel-good” endorphins that help reduce anxiety and boost your confidence.
According to psychologist Guy Winch, the following are some of the ways you can build your confidence and self-esteem:
1.) Use Positive Affirmations Correctly.
You may use or say a statement with confidence about a perceived truth and as a result, you make a significant change in your life.
Affirmations like “I am not going to rest until I achieve what I have been yearning for” reprogram your subconscious mind unlike saying “I will work hard”. They encourage you to believe some things about yourself and surrounding.
When you use positive affirmations the right way, you will definitely help yourself challenge and overcome negative thoughts and self-sabotaging.
2.) Identify Your Competencies and Develop them.
Build your self-esteem by figuring out your core competencies and find those opportunities and careers that make them more noticeable.
Everyone has an area of interest in life. Be it playing soccer, acting, cooking; dare to show your real image and achievements to improve your self-esteem and confidence as well.
3.) Learn to Accept Compliments
The power of positive words is so underrated in our society.
I believe you have been in a situation where you feel down on yourself and unsure of your abilities. Then, someone comes along and cheers you up.
The moment you take those compliments positively with genuine replies like “Thank you!”, “I appreciate” and so on…you are building that confidence and self-esteem. Don’t be resistant to compliments!
4.) Eliminate Self-criticism and Introduce Self-compassion.
Self-criticism can easily and negatively impact on your sense of self-worth. This normally creeps in when your self-esteem is low.
No one in reality is all bad or good. Therefore, criticizing yourself is almost useless since it entirely focuses on weaknesses and not strength.
Just do yourself a huge favour and introduce self-compassion. Be warm to yourself when undergoing pain and personal shortcomings. Don’t be ignorant or hurt yourself with self-criticism.
5.) Affirm Your Real worth
Perceive yourself as worthy, be authentic and a positive force in life. Such healthier emotional habits build your confidence and self-esteem because they depict how much you love yourself.
Affirm that you are a powerful force to be reckoned with. May be you are a basketball player and you have been on the bench for quite a while, list the qualities that make you a good player or rather do a SWOT analysis.
Build that self-esteem, confidence and maintain it for your betterment.
Mmaka Abbas. (2020). Jamii-Health Blogger & Community Health Officer/Health Counselor. Mombasa County. Kenya. https://jamii-health.co.ke/