Almost half of British women (42 percent) admit that they lack confidence, according to new research by CB12. The are age female, would only award herself five out of 10 in the confidence stakes.
So what is confidence?
For the women polled, confidence included being happy to walk into a bar or party alone, being comfortable having their photo taken and being able to approach someone they find attractive. The women surveyed also said they viewed confidence as not caring about other people’s opinions of the,, going travelling alone and being able to confront someone when they are in the wrong.
It’s true that it takes allsorts to make the world – if we were all confidence and outspoken, no one would ever get a word in edge ways. But lacking self-confidence can have very negative effects – 87 percent of the women surveys admitted self assurance played a major role in their own happiness or unhappiness. One key area is in the career stakes, with 44 percent saying their careers would have been better if they we more self assured.
How to overcome low self confidence
We all experience setbacks in life at some point: the breakup of friendships or relationships, getting something (major or minor) wrong at work, feeling inadequate against an alpha sibling – there are so many variables. If we let every negative occurrences life crush us, it would be hard to leave home, let alone talk to other people and be seen. While we may appear to the outside world to be functioning, someone who lacks self-confidence knows, deep down, that they aren’t showing their full selves or potential to the outside world. But we must learn to ignore external stimuli. Don’t be affected by what people say or are likely to say about you. It’s important to build a thick skin.
It’s ok to fail
So you messed up at work, or forgot to pick your child up from school one day. It was a mistake, but you learnt something from it, and it showed that you’re human – not a robot.
Former UK prime minister Winston Churchill once said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Do you keep a record of what you need to do and what you’ve done? If you don’t it’s time to get yourself a diary. Journaling is also a big thing at the moment. Keeping a journal is a great way to write down all positive things that happen during the course of your day, week, month, year. It’s called a gratitude journal: you write down all those things you’re thankful for in your life, and you’ll be surprised by the number of positive things that are happening around you, which you may have missed earlier. This can help you think positively, and dispel your doubts. It can also help you break free from the stranglehold of negative thoughts that had lowered your self-esteem and generated doubts about your abilities and skills. Repeat to yourself every day that you are getting better at what you do, and feel the difference.
Is someone stamping on your self confidence?
Sometimes, a person or group of people in your life can be the main culprits in dampening a person’s self-confidence. Take some time to think about all your relationships – in your personal and professional life. If a friend is having a bad influence on your self-confidence, or if there is a relationship that’s being more of a burden than a pleasure, you’re better off saying something or walking away, wherever possible. Try to build new relationships with people you like and admire – people who are positive and are supportive of you. This will do your self-confidence a world of good.
Stop looking for a reason to fail
Stop wasting your energy on things that can go wrong – that’s such a distraction, and a waste of time because it may not even happen. Instead, focus on the things you have control of and learn to silence your inner voice if it is just telling you negative things.
A useful strategy is to visualise a situation that bothers or worries you and think about the people who have successfully crossed those hurdles, and ask yourself. If they could do it why can’t you? Think of yourself as someone who is brimming with confidence, and is ready to take up any new challenge. Make this a habit. You will find that you, too, can overcome these obstacles.
It’s not just a mind thing
Self-confidence is more than just a state of mind, your physical state also has an impact on it. Regular exercise will improve your energy levels, and make you feel fitter and confident. Similarly, dressing well adds a few notches to your self-confidence: it’s amazing how looking good and knowing that you’re well presented can go a long way. Simple things like sleeping well (yes, it’s possible with motherhood) will make you feel better.
Speak up for yourself
You must also learn to speak up for youeself. Don’t become a prisoner of your shyness: you want to speak, but your shyness does not let you do so. This eats into your self-esteem and self-confidence because you’ll perpetually regret not speaking up. You may know more than your colleague who is always the centre of attention because he has a view on every subject, but only you’ll know it if you never share your ideas. Others may find your views more interesting, if only they heard them.
Time is a healer
It may take time to change things. It’s unlikely that you’ll just transform from lacking self confidence one day to a total show off the next – take small steps to reaching a confidence-filled life. You’ll reach a point when you’re happier in your own skin and you’ll know you’re free from the place of feeling trapped by a lack of self-confidence.