Understanding low self-confidence
Most people will assume that confidence is a feeling or a knowledge of how to do something, but I argue that confidence is a skill that just like any other skill needs to be nurtured and developed.
For an example, lets look at riding a bike. We aren’t born with the ability to ride a bike, but we learn through trial and error how to ride a bike, and then we develop confidence in our ability to ride a bike. If we fall off our bikes, our confidence will be knocked, leading us to feel frightened or apprehensive about going back on a bike incase it happens again.
We retain the knowledge of how to ride the bike; however our feelings cloud our thoughts and make us doubt our ability to ride a bike. We know how, we just don’t think we can anymore due to our failure, so we have to re-learn how to ride our bike alongside our feelings.
For every activity we perform in our day to day lives we had to develop confidence in our ability to do it! From the easy tasks like brushing our teeth, to the really difficult like driving a car or flirting on a night out.
So, when it comes to low self-confidence, you can see that it’s our feelings and our fear of failure that is holding us back rather than us being useless or doomed to fail! As you can see when we experience a failure, it can cause a domino effect that destroys our self-confidence.
But everyone will experience failure at some point in their lives, so why doesn’t everyone have low self-confidence?
The answer is simple - it all comes down to your relationship with failure!
It’s said that when Thomas Edison was re-designing the lightbulb he failed over and over again. But when interviewed he laughed it off and said “I’ve not failed, I’ve simply discovered 100 ways not to re-design the lightbulb!”
This is the gold standard for a relationship with failure; we get taught at an early age by society that failure is something to be disgusted in. But failures are the building blocks to success.
Re-evaluating your relationship with failure can be tricky, as you’ve probably spent many years believing that failure is a bad thing. So start small by simply acknowledging your failures, then diagnose why it went wrong.
Wishing you good emotional health.
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About David Borrill
David is a CBT Nottinghamshire based Counsellor working with adults and children around various sexual health, gender identity and sexuality issues.