What you can do about low self-esteem & insecurity
Confidence – the #1 mindset resource you must have in order to build & maintain a successful business.
Your thoughts & feelings determine your actions and outcomes, so they have to be positive and motivating.
In fact, the number one cause preventing women from either starting a business or not succeeding at it – is FEAR.
Why is confidence so important?
Confidence is essential for all areas of life, and can determine pretty much everything:
- The quality of your learning
- How you communicate & influence
- How attractive you feel & appear
- The quality of your relationships & interactions
- Your career and earning
- How you deal with challenges
- Your decision making & action taking
- Opportunities presenting themselves to you
“Confidence is the only key. I can’t think of any better representation of beauty than someone who is unafraid to be herself.”
~ Emma Stone ~
What determines the level of your confidence?
- Your beliefs about yourself
- Some value you feel you’ve got to offer others and the world around you
- Your SELF-WORTH
Having a strong sense of self-worth naturally helps to have more confidence and be able to increase confidence in the less-confident areas.
This is because it allows you to believe that you’re able to get better.
So your confidence is tied to your self-esteem but they’re NOT the same.
Causes of low confidence & self-worth
These can be varied. Most come from childhood or early experiences, but also from ongoing social and cultural structures or interactions.
“No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~
1. Criticism or rejection
This can be from parents, family, friends, peers or colleagues. If this has been a repeated experience, you will have most likely developed some negative beliefs about yourself, buying into what you’ve been told.
Particularly childhood trauma, which can make it hard to trust or interact with others while creating a (subconscious) belief that ‘it was my fault’ or ‘I deserved it’.
3. Goals you haven’t achieved (yet)
Perfectionism may have something to do with it or maybe you’re being hard on yourself for not having achieved some goals by this point in time.
Perceiving this as a ‘failure’ increases your feelings of inferiority and unworthiness.
And this probably comes from comparing yourself to or feeling envious of others:
4. The media
The media also makes you feel inadequate. Constantly telling you what you should be like; what you should have, what you should look like, what you should be achieving or should have already achieved or how to behave in order to be attractive or successful.
5. Social media
You’re then fed with even more unrealistic images of what others choose to present to the world in order to fit in with what’s perceived as the ideal.
Forgetting this is a completely unreal show of people’s lives and selves (who are most likely looking for others’ approval themselves and that’s why they’re posting), you then continue to compare yourself to them and feel even more inadequate.
6. The world around you
So much shit going on, and you might feel like there’s nothing you can do to change things, and at times it feels like it’s doing its best to put you down, to make you feel worthless, helpless and powerless.
You might even fall into the victim mentality trap.
But underlying all these are just 2 factors:
Our usual star-misbehaving feeling.
Fear of criticism, rejection and generally what others think of you. You want to belong, be accepted, acknowledged, liked, loved, approved of or applauded.
JUST BE YOURSELF
That might sound banal and we love to say it in words, post inspirational quotes about it or teach it to the next generation, but in fact – it’s still people’s GREATEST FEAR.
You might think that fear of failure is a separate matter but in fact the concept of ‘failure’ wouldn’t exist without the negative judgement or evaluation we attach to it which we want to avoid.
2. Negative beliefs
Beliefs will always determine your experience.
Beliefs you have about yourself – who you are and what your limitations are will inevitably create more of the same experiences which have created these beliefs…
You feed them and on them… it’s a vicious cycle.
One very common belief that stands in the way of confidence is the belief that YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH. This is usually subconscious.
So how can you increase your confidence and self-worth?
1. Take responsibility
This is the first thing you need to do, as always.
No one can hand you self-belief or love. I repeat; no one else will ever be able to give it to you.
Not at this point. When you were a baby or a child then yes, you first came along with a healthy sense of self and then your specific experiences either helped to strengthen it or they took away and weakened it.
But you’re not a child anymore, and blaming whatever circumstances won’t get you anywhere.
You might have moments, when others show you appreciation, respect, love or kindness which raise your confidence – but again, confidence is not the same as self-worth.
And even though that kind of confidence might be constructive, it could also end up being tied to specific skills, situations or people and make you feel like you ‘need’ those to feel good about yourself.
“If you don’t know your own worth and value, don’t expect someone else to calculate it for you.”
~ Unknown ~
2. Let go of the fear of judgement, criticism & rejection
Learn to give much less of a shit and not let people’s negative stuff in.
Often, even those who come across as confidently rebellious or who like to accentuate their ‘individuality’ are looking for attention through that.
So remind yourself you’re living your own journey and no-one else’s. Just as they’re living their own and not yours.
JUST BE YOURSELF
There’s literally no-one else you’d be better at being.
“Discard all thoughts of reward, all hopes of praise and fears of blame, all awareness of one’s bodily self. And, finally, [close] the avenues of sense perception and let the spirit out, as it will.”
~ Bruce Lee ~
3. Compare yourself to no-one
Remember that what others share and show the world is often not the real or whole story. They’re also worrying about others’ opinions so they’re only showing what they think is acceptable.
Most people struggle with the same human challenges & insecurities. They’re also searching for peace, meaning and fulfilment, regardless of how big their house is, how many holidays they take or how successful they seem to be.
So again – remember that everybody’s got their own story and they’re all valid. And that your story is different.
Just because something has usually been done in one way doesn’t mean you have to do or experience it the same way.
Just because you’re fed with ideas about what you should achieve by a certain time, or what is acceptable or desirable, doesn’t make it law. These ideas are simply cultural and social conditioning.
Or in other words, they’re opinions that have been repeated to us over and over.
But you’d probably agree that society as a whole is pretty messed up. People aren’t ‘happy’ or content overall, so surely these opinions haven’t got it exactly right.
SO, JUST MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS & FOCUS ON YOUR OWN JOURNEY.
4. Change your self-sabotaging beliefs
When you have negative beliefs about yourself, you’re gonna find it really difficult to take any action. You might also be sabotaging positive stuff that does come your way.
How are your goals supposed to materialise if you don’t truly believe in them?
Your subconscious wants things to fit with beliefs you’ve got. This is because your mind is most comfortable with ‘being right’ or ‘knowing’ what to expect. So you need to change these mindsets on a subconscious level.
5. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good
Give your attention and time to those who make you feel good about yourself, who you can learn from or who inspire you by their own example.
This will support and push you forward.
If someone is putting or keeping you down, it’s usually cuz they suffer from low self-esteem themselves. So by doing this they try to make themselves feel better.
Sometimes they might be doing this unknowingly. But your time is too important to waste.
So either be aware of this and find ways to help them feel better, or otherwise you have to know when to pay them less attention, or even let them go.
This isn’t selfish. This is taking care of yourself – you deserve better.
It might take a bit of effort. But it’s SO worth it.
And isn’t it even more effort to continue suffering from feeling insecure – and later also regretting all the stuff it prevented you from doing?
Just imagine what it would be like – feeling more fearless, self-assured, and so comfortable in yourself!