5 Dumb Mistakes That Wreck Your Confidence & How To Fix Them

Be nasty to yourself. Call yourself ugly names. Swear at yourself. Beat yourself up, then put yourself down in the mistaken belief that it will make you do better. It does not. It just makes you feel wrong, feel bad, feel ashamed and then you get defensive. You get stuck in the past in the mistake.

Remedy: If you make a mistake, learn from it. This strategy gives you a direction and increases your confidence because you have deliberately thought about how to do better in the future. Learning from your mistakes is empowering.

Overestimate your ability, so you crash and burn when reality hits. Researchers James C. Kaufman and Michelle Evans in Psychology Today named this self-delusion, “The American Idol Effect”. It is particularly toxic when it is endorsed by your family.

Remedy: Get reality checks from people you trust to give you good, honest feedback that helps you sharpen your skills and legitimately build up your confidence.

Habitually avoid something every time you are afraid or anxious. There are times when the wisest course of action is to avoid. Do this all the time, however, and your confidence will vanish. When you habitually avoid, you are choosing to let fear rule your mind.

Remedy: “Do something every day that scares you,” advised Eleanor Roosevelt. I would add to her wisdom, “…and be smart about it.” Exercise your confidence muscle every day by doing something that is just a little bit scary for you.

Always stay in your comfort zone. Your world will get smaller and smaller as you become less and less confident in yourself and your abilities.

Remedy: Move out of your comfort zone just inches at a time instead of miles. Just a few inches a day every day will enhance your confidence quotient.

Constantly worry about all the things you cannot control. You are sure to lose confidence as you relentlessly focus on all the times and places that you are powerless.

Remedy: Acknowledge what you cannot do and then move on. Identify what you can do in the situation. It takes some thought and may not be easy to change your focus, but your confidence will dramatically progress as you practice this kind of thinking. This idea is poetically expressed in the Serenity Prayer.

Confidence Tip: EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, is a very effective method for quickly curing these mental patterns.

© 2017 Lynn Kennedy Baxter

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Lynn Kennedy Baxter, RN, MA
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapy
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