Confidence is key. Thats what everybody says, yet no one ever tells you how. It is almost like it is meant to be something you can just do automatically but I never understood how to do it. I have always envied those people that walk around, head up high, full of confidence – there is something admirable about having that level of self love and confidence.
It is one of those words that is just thrown at you ‘be more confident’. Well sorry to tell you everybody, its not quite that simple.
Pretty much anyone in my close friends/family could tell you that I definitely reached the bottom of the ‘self confidence ladder’ at the beginning of last year but with determination I have been slowly climbing my way back up step by step.
I’m not saying it is the easiest climb in the world but boy is it worth it. I also can’t say I am at the top quite yet (I’m pretty sure there isn’t a top), but I am climbing further up day by day as I begin to believe in myself and it feels amazing.
It all began when I contracted glandular fever – the illness didn’t cause the problem but the lack of social life during recovery most certainly did. Friends stopped visiting, I had lots of time to spare lying around doing nothing and it sends your mind into overdrive. There was nothing to do so all I would do is think, think, think….
“It must be because I’m an awful person”
“I’m worthless – no one has bothered to visit”
“Its must be my fault I got ill”
“Everything is may fault”
It sounds crazy looking back now but that is the point that my brain got to. The point where I was actually blaming myself for contracting an illness that I had no control over?? I had never really experienced such negative emotions before and wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it (cramming them all into the back of my mind in hindsight was not the best way!) – I have slowly been figuring out ways of dealing with these thoughts and I am a lot better off than I was a year ago from now.
Rule 1: Do not blame yourself! There is always going to be the “what if’s” to a story or situation but I just had to let them go. I mulled over most of these what if’s for over a year and they ground down on my every single day. They would circle around in my head again and again and there was just no need. I couldn’t help that I was poorly and I couldn’t help that I overestimated the reactions of some people and that they didn’t meet my expectations. This was the hardest thing. Not the isolation, but the inability to understand how those I thought I could rely on weren’t there. Every single day I told myself it was all my fault. I’d scroll through old conversations, scroll through old photos and blame myself for ruining it all. STOP RIGHT THERE.
This is the worst possible thing you can do so I have discovered. Blaming yourself is not going to help the situation. No matter whether there is something you could have done differently or not, if there is no way of changing the situation, blaming yourself day in, day out is not going to make a difference. One of my favourite sayings – you can’t change the past, but you can change the future. Be the change you want to see, go out there and do it. Don’t sit around mulling over what you could have done differently – put yourself out there. As soon as you are able to do this, you learn to find other things that are important and this was my first move in gaining back my confidence.
Rule 2: Don’t worry about the future – Don’t worry about where you are going to be in 5 or 10 years from now. Make yourself happy in the here and the now. You never know what is going to happen tomorrow- so why live worrying for it. This was one of the biggest mistakes I have been making over the past 2 years. All I think about is the future and worry about the future and I forget to enjoy the moment. Every time I make a decision I am worrying about what it will lead to in the future, just enjoy things now! Obviously I am not disputing the fact that considering the future is very necessary to stay motivated and to make sure that you will be comfortable in the future – but the point that I am trying to make is that if you’re worrying about the future more than you are enjoying the present – you’re doing it wrong.
Worrying about the future would leave me completely depleted and unable to enjoy the present moment and this had a detrimental effect on my confidence. It is crazy how simply admiring the little things around you can help you to admire the little things about yourself also.
Rule 3: Start doing things for yourself. I never did anything for myself – I would always make my decisions based on how I knew others would react, what others would think of me because of it, whether others would agree with me or not. A lot of the time leading me to make a decision I didn’t even want to make in the first place. If everything that you do is for other people how are you going to maintain your mental wellbeing. Look after yourself and then look after everybody else. If you want to join a band- join a band. If you want to go for a meal by yourself – do it! Don’t let society and the opinions of those around you change your decisions. The second I started to try and do this (I’m still learning) I noticed that I was actually even more able to help others as I was feeling more motivated to do so because my own self well being was improving.
This is where I feel my confidence has improved the most. Believing in my own decisions and doing things for myself has given me so much confidence.
So, if you are to take anything away from this post, let it be this. The most important thing is you. Do not blame yourself for situations out of your control, do not let the future have a hold over you and do things that you want to do – for yourself and not for anybody else. It will do your confidence a world of good.
Anyways, I’m off