Feel like you don't fit in? 10 ways to access self-confidence
Your self-worth is such an important thing to understand because it’s how you feel about yourself that determines whether you treat yourself well or give up on yourself. And, whether you succeed in anything in life depends on what you believe you deserve and are capable of. Many of us live from a place of believing we are unloveable or unworthy.
Here, I'll take you through 10 practical steps to change a low self-worth mindset, and the limiting core beliefs of "I don't matter" or "I don't belong."
1. Fact check it. Is it true?
For instance, if you’re telling yourself after each time you hang out with others that they might not like you, is it really true? Or are you generalising?
2. Think about what influences your self-esteem
Take an inventory of historical or societal influences on your self-esteem.
3. Name the judgement
It might help to create a 'core belief log' (accumulating evidence). Then, recognise when you have that judgement, and replace it. You may need to separate out the judgement that you tell yourself, like "people don’t like me" from the depression that comes with it. One step at a time, construct and strengthen positive core beliefs, e.g. "I'd like to see myself as...likeable, popular, etc..."
It’s also normal to wonder if people don’t like you. In fact, some people won't like you. Think about what it is that someone might not like you for? Was it their stress that made them not like everything that day?
4. Normalise the thing you feel judgement about
For example, maybe you talk to yourself. You might know people who would judge that and think it’s not OK. But it is pretty normal. So, normalise it for yourself. Guaranteed, a million others are doing the same thing as you. There’s nothing you can do that hasn’t been done before in terms of human behaviour.
5. Find out what you feel not good enough for
Then, develop an accurate sense of your strengths and weaknesses.
- What are you good at?
- What are you interested in?
- What do you value?
- What do you not really care whether you’re good at or not?
Once you’ve worked out what’s behind the critical judgement, then you can just agree or disagree with the judgement. You also have the opportunity to turn it into a positive. That’s a powerful shift.
6. You have the capacity to learn self-worth
We are not born good at everything we might later have skill or capacity for. Like exercise, learning self-belief is a muscle to be toned. You’re not necessarily born with self-worth. Maybe stick to comparing yourself to yourself, not to others. What can you do to improve? Discover how you can actually shine, and what you’re good at.
7. Believe that you are worthy
Replace the core belief of not being good enough with one where you are worthy. Practice saying to yourself, “I think you are good enough.” Change the way you talk to yourself, recognising that you already do that. We talk to ourselves in our heads all the time! Change the script. Talk to yourself in second person “Ann, do this nice thing, instead of scolding yourself for not being right” or “Tom, do you really want this?”
This way of talking to yourself feels more like support and guidance.
Explore what you actually want to offer the world, rather than what you think others want from you, or achievements. Values instead of achievements.
8. Try to feel good enough
Usually, people will tell you to try on the feeling of being good enough; to act as if you are. This is a good thing to try. But you can also try the opposite. Don't try and feel good enough!
Find ways to connect instead. Disengage from the game of trying to prove yourself. What is important to you? What values do you really have? How can you bring that into your life? Interact from here. Communicate about it. Rather than seeking external validation (which is fleeting).
9. Realise that you are not perfect
Another thing to try is to do everything perfectly or imperfectly. Then, you are likely to start to realise that perfection is not the thing to measure yourself by. You may also start to discover what it is you actually want, rather than what you think you should be. This is about developing an internal reference.
10. Learn to see that some things are unfair
Sometimes your feelings do fit the facts. For example, prejudice. This is so unjust and simply not ethically right. Find people who have a different way of being and who say nicer things.
According to research, perfectionists are less happy and less concerned with meaning in life. ‘Good enough' people are happier. No one is great all the time. ‘Normal’ is somewhere between great and terrible. That’s where most of us really live.
Some ideas here were inspired by a Nicabm on working with anxiety. You can buy the full training programme at nicabm.com.
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