Disappointing others is bad enough, but when you let yourself down, the effect can be devastating. And, it can brew into a storm of self-doubt. It may feel as if you failed, which takes you down a notch or two—or three. You may begin to believe the inner voices that say, “I can’t.” “Who do I think I am?” And, “It’s never going to work for me.” That kind of inner self-talk means belief in yourself has taken a hit. It’s a clear sign that now is the time to learn how to restore confidence and get back to the business of reclaiming your power. But how?
We’ll get to that in a minute, but first, you need to understand why you can’t stay in this rut of uncertainty. The danger in lingering too long in the world of disbelief in yourself is it can eat away at your sense of self-worth. You question whether you’re good at anything. And, you may wonder if all your plans and ambitions are just pipe-dreams. What happened to all your confidence? Where did it go?
The negative thoughts that swirl around in your head can stop you in your tracks. Even worse, it can bring up nasty emotions such as shame, guilt, and fear.
But, the truth is, deep down inside, you know you’re better than your last failure or disappointment. You just need to take a step back, become your own best advocate, and cut yourself a break. Then take a few steps in a new direction.
Reclaim Confidence in 10 Steps
The first four require an inward look.
1.Show compassion and give yourself the same understanding you would give your best friend or a colleague in the same position. What would you say to them to make them feel better? Say the same things to yourself.
2. Become an objective observer and review what happened without passing judgment. What could you have done differently? What can you learn from this experience so you can do it better next time?
3. Allow the emotions to come to the surface. Acknowledge them, feel them, and process them so they can move through. Harboring strong emotions like fear, guilt, shame, or anger will keep you stuck where you are. Only when you honor what you feel, are you able to release those emotions so you can learn and move on.
4. Give yourself room to breathe, but don’t wallow in the emotional upheaval. When you can step aside for a while, you can open new channels of creativity. Think of this as an opportunity to let the door close with the disappointment firmly locked behind it. Then, invite the windows to open. Be intentional about what you want your next step to be.
The next five require you to get into action.
5. Get curious. What unique approaches can you take to get a different result? Tap into your network of resources to help brainstorm the possibilities. Research options, test out a few, then choose one to implement, taking one step at a time. You may notice a bit of that old fear popping up about now. Don’t worry—talk yourself off the ledge and take a step in the new direction.
6. Focus on what you’re good at. Make a list of all the things you do well—and make it an exhaustive list. Include things like making the best chocolate chip cookies, being kind to others, a great organizer, a good writer, an exceptional trainer. You get the picture. When you have a list of accomplishments like this to reference, you will always have a tool that reminds you of the value you bring to many different people and areas of your life. You’ll feel your confidence building as you create this list.
RELATED VIDEO: The Road to Confidence
7. Prepare to begin again using all that you’ve learned through this process. Regaining confidence takes practice and builds over time by doing things well, and learning from the mistakes you make along the way.
8. Find reasons to celebrate as you achieve small victories. Since you’ve already learned to show yourself compassion, honored your emotions, and allowed new windows to open, there will be many reasons to applaud your successes. Take time to pause and reward yourself. The progress you make along the way will restore confidence like nothing else can.
9. Practice resilience, because the act of bouncing back each time there is a failure or disappointment will make you stronger. And, when you activate your resilience like you would a muscle, you become more flexible. As a result, your confidence builds, and you can step back into your powerful self.
RELATED ARTICLE: Resiliency in the Face of Adversity
The last one will become your friend as you restore confidence.
10. When all else fails, recall several times in your past when your confidence soared. What were you doing? Why was your confidence so high? How did it make you feel? Write down in technicolor-detail what you experienced, remembering all the facets of these certain times in your life. Use this exercise to help restore your confidence today by remembering what that felt like.
Think of all the confident times in your life, starting when you were young, until just before this last time when your confidence took a hike. Imagine each experience as a patch of beautiful fabric in brilliant and radiant colors. Now, visualize each separate piece sewn together into something you can wear. I call it the Confidence Cloak.
Each time you feel disappointed in yourself, or as if you’ve failed at something, take your cloak off the hanger and drape it over your shoulders. Take a deep breath.
Remember how you want to feel. Go through the ten steps to reclaim your confidence, then wrap yourself in your Confidence Cloak and step back into your power restored.
If you are facing adversity and living with uncertainty about how to move beyond it, you may wonder if it’s even possible. Making choices that move you forward can be hard, and getting some guidance may be just what you need. Start by exploring how change can impact you? And learn how to move through it with more dignity and grace by reading my free ebook, then let’s have a chat. Click here to take the first step: From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.
This was written so magically and was exactly the voice I needed in my head in this moment to get through an unexpected hit on my self-confidence. Thank you so much.
This is where I am today Thank you for sharing . May God’s Grace keep you
I’m happy you found the article at the right time, Mary. Thank you for your blessing.
This is so beautiful and gentle. Exactly what I need to read as I journey through a process of healing. As painful as it is, the moments of reflection are actually quite powerful.
Going through something really difficult that I didn’t quite see a way out of yet. Reading this gave me hope that a good direction is waiting for me to get there.
Nila … I’m happy you found something helpful in the article. I wish you well on your journey through and beyond your difficult situation. Reach out if you need more help. ~Maria
I attended the funeral today of the Queen in anticipation of videoing and photograph the event from Constitution Hill. It was a long day of 6 hours waiting for the coffin to pass by whilst practicing so any times how I would digitally capture the gun carriage with its precious load.
The carriage eventually passed very close to me and my camera filmed the cloaked coffin, sceptre, orb and crown but I pushed the wrong button and failed to save the unique images too late to re- capture them.
My world collapsed at my stupidity after such a long wait. I was in a state of despair
Then I read your article. I recalled all those occasions of success in the past as you suggested and they had one thing in common. They all were at times I had given pleasure to others. Today was intended to satisfy my ego and to prove to myself how clever I was.
So I do not have my own video or a photo tucked away of today’s sad occasion to show off my talent as a photographer.. I have something more important. An image burnt into my mind of a unique moment in history which I so close to, not a digital image tucked away somewhere.
Thank you. My self worth using a camera is still a bit shaken but I now see that what I did by just being there was indeed what I needed and nothing else matters. No one else will be vicariously contented by sharing my images.They will have so many others to look at as time passes.
I can only imagine your dismay, Godfrey, but I love how you turned it around for yourself! I’m happy that my message helped. Keep believing in yourself. I’m sure your future photographs will be even better now that this experience has opened heart and put your ego in its place. Wishing you much success.