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How to gain back my confidence?


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Hey everyone! I am back seeking a bit of advice.

I posted regarding a guy I was seeing and just an update there, but things are still progressing and doing so in a positive manner. I am very happy.

 

I am posting today as my post mentioned some things about needing to work on my own issues.

So, today we were speaking about how I compare myself to others and feel that I am not good enough. He was very sweet in his reply, and he always finds the right words to say that no one has ever said to me before and I often cry (I am an emotional person haha).

 

I had a relationship before that really lowered my confidence. I honestly lost all my confidence and I often hate opening up about things within my family. My ex made me feel ashamed for things within my family from divorces to addictions. He also made me feel disgusted with myself to the point I would not wear shorts and I hated my curly hair for some time. I really just felt like I was not good enough for anyone and that my family was terrible.

 

So fast forward to maybe last year or a bit before, I realized that I needed to fix these thoughts and to work on getting his voice out of my head. I went to a counsellor then I stopped and recently restarted with another one. The last one I felt was not the right fit for me. So, I am in the process of working on things.

 

However, after this talk with my new guy today, I feel triggered in that sense that I am going to scare him away because of these negative thoughts. He always says to me that I have negative thinking and I need to change it. I agree with him, he is not wrong. Everything he said today was correct and I need to change.

 

I need to change for myself first and then second I need to change because I do not want to keep hitting this wall in relationships. Either a relationship with him or in the future, whatever is in the cards!

I just do not want to keep being that girl that when I get complimented that I reply with a “no I am ugly” because I am sure that is draining for him or anyone!

 

I am seeking suggestions on what tools others use to help with their confidence or self-esteem.

I know counselling will give me all the tools as well, but I am seeking more advice, or articles or books that some felt helpful when they were in a similar situation.

 

So please share anything that you found to be helpful that maybe my counsellor does not know, or we have not gotten to yet! I am open to hearing from everyone 😊

Also to add that I have started the gym as I always feel so good afterwards and I know I need to gain control of my physical health. So i started that and switched my eating habits as well. So I am not just sitting and doing nothing, but I am trying to find tools and ways to change myself from inside out. 

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Honestly, I'm not sure there is any specific thing, strategy, or external source that helped me. It's been more of a combination of internal realizations mixed with support.

1. The reassuring words of a true friend. When all hope seemed lost, there was one person who believed in me and was there to remind me that I'm actually pretty ok. That makes all the difference in the world. If your guy is doing this for you, believe him and take his words to heart. Internalize it until you start believing it and saying it for yourself.

2. Understanding that we are all flawed. No one is perfect. We all have strenghts and weaknesses, good and bad qualities. No one is inherently better or worse then someone else. Everyone struggles to some degree with feeling confident and "good enough." Even those who seem like they have eveything still probably feel insecure at times. If even someone as educated, successful, and admired as Michelle Obama can admit to depression and insecurities about her appearance, then it's okay if we have our own insecurities.

3.Seeing that other's opinions don't matter. There will always be people who criticize or try to tear things down, usually because they are weak and insecure themselves. But they don't matter. What counts is what we think of ourseves. We are the ones who live with ourselves all the time. We are the ones who know ourselves best. The important thing is to look yourselve in the mirror and be proud to just be the person you are. Embrace being you. Do what you love and makes you happy. When that hapiness is internal, you can brush aside everything else and just be free to enjoy it. Find the things that spark joy in your life.

4. Volunteer. Seeing that you've done something worthwhile, helped someone in need is a major boost to your feelings. It gets you out of the negative mindset and focused on things that are constructive and postive. It helps you see that you are a good person and that there are other good people who recognize that goodness in you.

5. Write it down. Journal your thoughts to get them out there. If your having a bad day or feeling down about yourself, writing about it can be a good release of your energy. Also keep track of the good things - your good qualities, positive moments, uplifting messages. Reread those to remind yourself of them. 

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Keep working on your physical health because when you are physically healthy,  your mental health greatly improves.  Usually,  a lot of physically unhealthy people are mentally unhealthy.  There is a strong sound body,  sound mind connection.  Most definitely.

Try not to whine about yourself to your guy and practice feeling gratitude for anything you can think of.  Count your blessings because it will cause you to become silent regarding whining and having the "woe is me" attitude.  If you continue to constantly complain about yourself,  your guy will burn out from having to constantly be the supportive one.  You don't want to chase him away. 

Put yourself in your guy's shoes.  Would you want to hear what you're saying repetitively?  You would eventually grow sick 'n tired of it.  🤨

Be industrious so you won't have time and energy to be so hard on yourself.  Becoming self confident is a process.  Know that no one is better than you.  You are just as important and worthy.  Be good to yourself and the complaints will decrease. 

Feeling grateful helps build self confidence because millions of people are worse off than you.

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6 hours ago, Lea1113 said:

I am seeking suggestions on what tools others use to help with their confidence or self-esteem.

 

It depends from what you derive your confidence about. Some do it from personal success, whether its school, or job, or even stuff like looks or material things. Others do it through other people and their interest in them, so for example, men chasing you would mean that you have some worth. You are now in a relationship and that also means he saw some worth in you. Declining that and saying "No I am not" would indeed chase him away in time. So its good that you want to change that.

If you think that losing weight would make you feel better and confident enough not to crush your boyfriends intentions to call you pretty, go for it. Though, in my opinion, lots of the stuff like that comes from the head. So, counselling is a great option you chose to do. 

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12 hours ago, Lea1113 said:

Also to add that I have started the gym as I always feel so good afterwards and I know I need to gain control of my physical health. So i started that and switched my eating habits as well. So I am not just sitting and doing nothing, but I am trying to find tools and ways to change myself from inside out. 

Before I read this I was going to say when I'm feeling less confidence because of a life  situation -work or personal -my daily workout often snaps me out of it and/or gets me far down that path.  I am almost 58 and have been working out regularly since 1982 and daily for about the last dozen years.  I don't see at as control over my health -it's a lot simpler-it's simply daily choices I make and I also have a structure and routine that-on the downside -can be seen as quite rigid but for me personally it keeps me honest. It relates to exercise, hydration, and diet but I don't and won't do a strict diet because of a past (undiagnosed but very real!!) eating disorder.  

Also I am a fan of fake it till you make it.  I had very low confidence of returning to my career after 7.5 years as a SAHM.  After 5.5 years I started interviewing and networking heavily and I had to do a lot of self talk to get me through -interviewing again, promoting myself, emailing countless numbers of people I knew and knew of as part of my search, etc.  I'm petite but I make myself walk tall - I have mantras in my head to get me through the rough spots and I used similar mantras when I was dating (from 1980-2005) and was nervous about a first date or a sixth date or needing to tell a man what I needed from him in order to continue seeing him.  Etc.  Fake it till you make it is a really decent tool IMO. Dating required a really thick skin.  

And yes certain volunteer work -especially when I was a SAHM volunteering as a fundraiser for the local public radio station required me to think on my feet and use parts of my brain that I didn't use as often with my young child.  I also volunteered at homeless shelters, schools, and even right after 9-11 near ground zero.  It reminds you of your own strength and resilience and stick-to-it ivenness.

I love how you see how important it is to do daily stuff and take action not just read self help books and repeat endlessly "ok gotta work on myself'.  Good for you and good luck.

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Two things helped me. A workshop on my job taught me that the negative voice I ran in my head was not just a habit, but an option. I was to focus for 21 days on catching my default negativity whenever it came up, and remind myself that I can choose to view each situation differently. I was to replace the judgmental tone and reframe my inner arguments with the voice of an inspiring coach who sees me through a lens of owning the potential for life skills such as resilience and optimism. This really worked. Keeping a notebook to report my progress to someone was really helpful—but I wouldn’t make that the boyfriend. Make it someone more neutral, less romantic.

The other thing was to spend one day avoiding the spotlight. Walk through the day being as invisible as possible, but allow any interactions when approached. But make those encounters about supporting the other person or people and allow them to lead the conversation. Just listen. Don’t react, wait to respond when appropriate. Keep it short and simple so you can learn where else they want to take the conversation. Be passive but alert. I nicknamed this relaxed state “my observer mode”. I found it so rewarding that I continued it the next day and the next. It’s become my default state. It removes anxiety and competition. It allows people to teach me more than I could have imagined. It has also drawn people to me who I might have otherwise alienated with over-assertiveness in order to impress them. Instead, they’re attracted because they feel heard. This mode has released me from a habit of comparing myself with others because in a relaxed state I can see and appreciate the unique value in all of us—including my own.

Sure, I still have some assertive moments or days, but I’ve learned well that allowing rather than controlling is far more beneficial in most cases. It teaches me how to inspire rather than force, and I’ve found it to be a far easier way to manage others and a far easier way to live.

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A lot of times self confidence comes from something you're good at and you continue to hone those skills whatever it may be.  As you immerse yourself into something you like and practice getting better at it with whatever endeavor,  your self confidence will soar.  It can be with your job,  work,  hobbies,  cooking,  keeping a beautiful,  uncluttered,  organized,  clean house,  organizing everything you can think of,  being industrious in any capacity,  taking great care of your health and your options are limitless.  You have untapped hidden talents and gifts.  Everyone does after they delve into it.  ☺️

Self confidence comes from healthy distractions.  It changes your mindset and you have the "can do" spirit.  You become a very positive person and you'll grow to actually love yourself which exudes your security.  It truly does work to completely transform your life.  You'll also make yourself very attractive because you are of sound mind.

Don't live in the past.  Be your own person.  Then you will become strong and tough and nothing screams self confidence louder than that!  👍 😋

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I'm glad you are getting counseling.   Do not confuse your counselor with your new BF.  

Yes, sharing makes people closer but learn to keep your own counsel.  A new SO doesn't need to know your deepest darkest fears early on.   Let a new SO earn that level of trust before you make disclosures.  

Stop saying you are triggered regarding scaring him away.  Trigger is a big word with a depth of meaning.  You are not triggered; you are exercising common sense & appropriate caution knowing that you can't dump every bad thing on a new person in your life because that will overwhelm them & cause them to retreat out of your life.  

Work on your own self esteem.  Give yourself a compliment every day.  

When someone else compliments you just say thank you.  Don't elaborate.  Even if you don't believe whatever good thing they said, simply say thank you.   In a quieter moment reflect on the compliment.  If you generally respect the speaker's opinion, consider that the person was being truthful & perhaps your perspective about yourself is what is warped. 

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Remember that confidence comes from within you. It is your inner strength that helped you survive your other relationship in the first place. You are already a strong person. You had the faith and confidence in yourself to break free of that. You had the strength to admit your struggles. And you have the wisdom to seek help from whatever source might work. You already possess the qualities that will help you. Everything you need is within you. You just need to believe it is there.

And don't think you have to be perfect or get it right away. Don't pretend to be something you are not. If you have times where you don't feel confident, that's fine. We are all insecure or lack confidence at times. Be okay with those times. Feel how you feel in the moment, fully experiencing it. Then process it, focus back on the positives, and continue forward. Remember, its not how many times you get knocked down, its how many times you can pick yourself back up. And you've got the ability to pick yourself up and run.

 

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