6 Common Habits That Kill Your Confidence – Part 2
Last week we talked about some of the most common ways your confidence can take a major hit. We discussed how “being a perfectionist” results from inflexibility with your expectations. We talked about how being a “people pleaser” can cause undue stress because you may neglect your own needs. And lastly, we learned how damaging it is to use social media to compare yourself to others, and discussed comparing yourself to a past “you” to see how far you’ve come. This week, we’ll discuss three more common habits that may lead to issues with self-confidence.
We often learn guilt when we are children – “You weren’t careful and now my favorite vase is broken,” or “You’re breaking my heart.” Although guilt can be beneficial, it is understood differently for adults than it is for kids. We’ve had plenty of years to grasp that a healthy amount of guilt can prevent us from hurting other people’s feelings, breaking laws, or even perform badly on assignments. Children may internalize the guilt and it may prove damaging in later years. Common examples include some of the following:
- Not doing enough for someone, even though you have done a lot for them, or when that person isn’t taking enough responsibility,
- Thoughts that you won’t or don’t act on, like feeling jealous of someone who had a new baby, or
- Having more money or better relationships than friends or family members.
To combat guilt that’s weighing you down, realize that these thoughts aren’t hurting anyone – only your actions can. You have learned from past mistakes. Remember that.
Living with Regret
This goes hand-in-hand with feeling guilty. Regret involves blaming yourself over a bad outcome, wishing you could change or undo a previous choice, or feeling a sense of sorrow or loss for what could have been. Regret often brings up painful memories, and you may relive a stressful or humiliating situation over and over again, which releases chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol. These can take a toll on your already weary body. On the other hand, regret can be beneficial. Regret can help you refocus on your priorities, and help you pursue a new (or alternative) path. It’s normal to feel bad about something you said or did (or didn’t say, or didn’t do). What’s done is done, and there is no way to go back in time. What you need to do is focus on the present and what you can do to stay on a healthy and happy path.
Thinking You’re a Failure
We discussed comparisons and how social media plays a big role in keeping us feeling inadequate. Often, we minimize the difficult circumstances we’ve been through and only focus on the negatives or the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s of life. This mindset may have begun when you were a child – not being as smart as your sister, or as athletic as your brother. In adulthood, it manifests as getting divorced, losing a job, not graduating from college, having too much debt, and so on. Once this “failure mindset” begins, it’s a hard habit to shake loose from. You may find yourself procrastinating on purpose, or being a perfectionist, or even being careless on the job. Step one to overcoming this mindset is to realize you have one! Step two is: Don’t believe you’re a failure! Recognize that each opportunity presented to you is a fresh start and a new chance to learn from your past mistakes and act differently.