I don’t know why I find it so hard to believe in myself, or why I’m not very confident. I questioned if I should write this post at all, as I try to be a positive voice, but I suppose life isn’t always sunshine and daisies. Then I was feeling guilty about not being able to help much during this awful pandemic, as health staff are working so hard to save lives and other keyworkers are keeping the shelves stacked and the lights on.
My counsellor pulled me up on this and said:
When giving a safety briefing, airline crew often tell parents that in the event of an emergency, they should put the mask on themselves before their child. It feels counterintuitive but if you want to help others then you need to be well and able to help yourself first.
So, the first thing I need to do is stay on the road to recovery and tackle this self-doubt that keeps me feeling stuck.
I think a large part of it stems from my avoidant behaviour. In the past, time and time again, when things start getting tough, I quit. As much as I hate to admit it, as the little voice in my head tells me that quitting is weak. But at least I have the strength to get up and keep trying. The thought that I’ll fail if I try is absolute rubbish! Sometimes success is just the ability to keep going when others give up. I don’t need to be perfect or brilliant at something straight away.
Then there’s my solitary nature. A bit of time alone can be restorative and fun, but in my case, I think the scales tip too far and I isolate myself. I’m crap at asking for help so instead I’ll plough on – bottling up my emotions in the process. And we all know that’s a bad idea.
I’ll try and keep this short, but another point I think I need to acknowledge is that I’ve made anxiety a big part of my identity. If I think about doing something new and out of my comfort zone, I think well I can’t do that because I’ll be too anxious. I’ll never achieve x,y or z because of my anxiety. Truth is there’s so much more to me than anxiety, why should it dominate the rest of my life?
So summing things up here are some things I’ve learned about self-doubt and how to gain confidence. I hope it’s useful if you feel the same.
- Work on resilience. If there’s something that’s important to you, do your best to keep going with it. You don’t have to aim for perfection, just do your best. Then when you achieve a goal, however small, you can build on it and hopefully this will give you confidence.
- Ask for help! If you’re struggling and feel like giving up, having another perspective on things can take you out of that negative mindset. If someone else believes in you, it will help you believe in yourself.
- Focus on everything you have to offer. What are you good at? How would you describe your personality? I’m sure you’ll find there’s so much more to you than anxiety and if you’re struggling to see that, go back to point 2 and ask someone you trust.
I hope I’m able to follow my own advice!