7 Things That Undermine Your Confidence
There have been times in my life where I have relied on my wardrobe, experience, credentials, connections, bold attitude, and more to give me confidence. While there is nothing wrong with any of these things, they are not the source of confidence.
In college, I chose to take a law class my freshman year despite it being an upper level class. The subject seemed interesting, it fit my schedule, and, having done well in high school, I didn’t even think twice about the difficulty of the course until the first day of class. I soon realized just what a newbie to college I really was! It was obvious that the other students in the class were far beyond me.
I worked hard; I studied like crazy to keep up, and did well until the day I was supposed to give a presentation in class. I meandered to the front of the class and did my best to project confidence as I began to speak.
About five minutes into my presentation, I began to break into a sweat and my heart began racing. Not exactly the way I envisioned the presentation playing out! I had no idea what I had said, where I was in the presentation, or what to do to salvage the moment. It was humiliating to stand before a class of older, wiser students, red in the face and confused!
To tell you the truth, my confidence was shaken! For years after that moment, I avoided public speaking. I doubted myself and my abilities. I never wanted to experience that level of insecurity again!
We all have tasks or aspects of our lives that make us unsure. Places where more confidence would be a tremendous help not only for us, but for those around us. The upper classmen in the room that fateful day couldn’t escape that awkward moment. Ugh!
It would be nice if it was as easy as donning a cape like superman to tap into your confident self! Sadly, it’s not that easy!
So what’s the secret to operating in a more confident way? It all begins with awareness; being super clear about…
- Me! When I have a clear sense of who I am – my fears (especially my Fear Monster), personality, values, calling, passions, goals, strengths, weaknesses, and identity in Christ it allows me to be more confident.
- Who the source of confidence is – God is love, and knowing, really knowing, that I am extravagantly loved by Him is a powerful confidence booster!
- What to focus on – When I focus on me I see all the bits that don’t measure up, aren’t enough, and aren’t significant. When I focus on Him and reflect Him in my unique way; just BE and that’s where confidence resides – when you can just BE!
- Fear and how trips me up. Choosing to accept and saturate my life in His love and actively allow Him to shine through me in my own unique way. When my focus is living from that loved place I’m more confident.
God has quite a sense of humor. Now I actually enjoy the opportunity to teach a workshop or speak. I am free to be myself; imperfect and loved! No trying to impress or be best like I felt I needed to be back in that dreaded law class!
Now and then I get off track. I engage in behaviors that undermine my confidence. Here are just a few:
When I compare myself to others, I’m using the wrong gauge. God has created me to be me a one-of-a-kind unique woman! The question is not am I doing as well as or better than so-and-so, the question is am I walking fully in who God created me to be? Am I following His lead and being obedient?
Fear will convince me that I’m incompetent, rejected or lazy. It will sway me to believe that I’m weak. There will always be someone who is thinner, smarter, or more successful, etc.!
When I accept responsibility for my life and my success, is it empowering. It puts me back in charge of my life and motivates me to grow, change, and face challenges. There is no need to blame, deflect, make excuses, minimize, or get riled up. I know that God is there to help me even when it’s hard!
3. Ignoring my Limits
Yes! Ignoring my limits or boundaries! When I try to control others and manage everything around me, it’s exhausting. And its effort wasted. I can only control me and my choices, and when I do, I experience forward momentum in my life and enjoy more confidence too.
4. Operating out of Fear
Fear is consuming! It makes me forget who I am. It entices me to do life backwards and get my needs met and feel important in ways that backfire on me.
Life is scary! We all have a Fear Monster, yet the quicker I am to recognize its presence, remember how loved I am by God, and who He created me to BE, the easier it gets. Knowing that I am loved no matter what and that His love is not dependent on my performance changes everything! It sets me free to make mistakes – it’s all a part of learning and growing! That’s when fear loses its sting.
Complaining keeps me focused on the negative! It takes my focus off the person I want to be and causes me to dwell on the lack or the perceived lack I’m feeling. It pushes the people around me away and attracts more negativity. And it’s a tip off that fear is at work in my life.
6. Focusing on Me
Time spent with people who genuinely care about me is energizing and builds me up. That’s the kind of person I want to be – one who is focused on others in a way that leaves them feeling loved and treasured. When I am confident, I am free to focus on others and there’s no need to worry about what they are thinking about me. It allows me to be vulnerable and creates a safe space for others to be vulnerable too.
Insecure people tend to talk about themselves, rarely inquiring about others (self-focused). Or they tend to hyper focus on others so that they don’t have to reveal themselves (self-avoidant). Confident people are genuinely interested in others, and not afraid to be transparent.
7. Keeping the Wrong Company
Negativity is contagious. That’s why I must be wise about who I chose to spend my time with.
The flip side is also true – positive people are also contagious! Their positivity and encouragement are invigorating!
You may have noticed a theme. Fear plays a fierce role in challenging your confidence. Trying harder isn’t the solution! I worked like crazy to put that presentation together for my law class and that did nothing to boost my confidence! However, if I knew then what I know now about the depth of His love for me and that there is nothing I can do to be loved any more than I already am, I might not have had a need to prove myself by taking that class in the first place! It would also have allowed me to admit that I was a freshman and in over my head; that I needed help and time to adapt to college life.
What behaviors are you engaging in that are undermining your confidence?
Ready to get to the root of what’s preventing you from being the confident person you long to be? Here are a few ways you can begin to increase your self-awareness and identify the beliefs and habits that are keeping that from happening:
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