Self-confidence, in short, is a measure of how we feel about ourselves. Everyone has a sense about their value and worthiness of respect, and where you see yourself on the continuum can influence your overall well-being. While people with high self-worth (and self-compassion) often feel good about themselves and their progress through life, others with low self-worth often battle feelings of shame and self-doubt.
What Causes Low Self-Confidence
Low self-confidence can often be a symptom of several mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. However, issues with self-worth can also be caused by an unhappy childhood, poor academic or professional performance, or ongoing stress due to relationship troubles or financial setbacks. Other times we just may struggle feeling good about ourselves, and seem to have lost our way.
How It Affects You
Self-confidence issues often operate in a vicious cycle. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you may stop going out for social events or responding to your friends, fearing that you don’t belong or otherwise questioning their motivations. This becomes somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy: pushing others away before giving them the opportunity to do so, and making it difficult to maintain a healthy view of yourself.
Harmful Self Talk
People with low self-confidence often spend lots of time criticizing themselves. Below are some ways in which people with low self-confidence might engage in harmful self-talk.
- “It’s all my fault”: Holding oneself accountable for things outside one’s control.
- “It’s not good enough”: Refusing to believe successes or compliments are earned.
- “They hate me”: Assuming neutral interactions are signs of disapproval or dislike.
- “It’s going to go wrong”: Imagining all the bad things which could happen in the future.
- “That couldn’t have been worse”: Interpreting events as all good or all bad.
- “Why did I do that?”: Rehashing scenarios that have already happened, punishing oneself for past mistakes.
- “That will ruin everything”: Interpreting one event as having excessively large consequences.
Sleep & Self-Confidence
Sleep and self-confidence are intertwined. A study from the International Journal of Behavioural Medicine found that those who had less than 6 hours of sleep had lowered optimism and self-esteem compared to those who got 7-8 hours of sleep.
Being well-rested is one of the simplest ways to boost self-confidence. Mindfulness, structured schedules, and bedtime routines can help you increase your sleep quality and length, which will in turn have positive effects on your self-confidence.
Issues with Self-Confidence
People often cope with self-confidence issues in different ways. Below are some examples of how some people react to feelings of unworthiness.
Imposter syndrome gets its name from the fear some people feel that they don’t deserve their accomplishments. They feel as though they are imposters, and sooner or later, their failures and flawed self will be revealed. Common (but unhelpful) ways to deal with this anxiety include perfectionism and its cousin, procrastination.
Everyone compares themselves to other people—in the era of social media it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Comparison rarely leads to positive outcomes and becomes a problem when it negatively influences the way that you feel about yourself. The best person to focus on is becoming better than a prior version of yourself.
Rebellion and Victimhood
Some people with low self-confidence may act like a rebel, as if they don’t care what others think of them, acting out by breaking laws or defying authority. Others take a victimhood mentality, believing they are helpless in the face of challenges and using self-pity to avoid changing their situation.
Identify Your Strengths and Talents
Everyone has positive qualities. Part of my job is to help people build confidence in their professional and personal lives.
How Low Self-Confidence Affects You at Work
The way you feel about yourself directly affects your productivity and job performance, which in turn affects your career success. Most people fall victim to the negative mindset and the limitations they put on themselves, and lack faith in their abilities that they are up to the task of fulfilling their professional goals. Imposter syndrome and ‘comparitis’ can absolutely get in the way of performing your best.
How Therapy Can Help Elevate Performance
By building confidence, you can upgrade your work performance and attain your professional and personal goals. I can help you focus on your strengths and talents and get creative in how we use and apply them to achieve what you want. This is an important part of the work we do where your “failures” and “flaws” will no longer take central stage in your life.
Here at Pacific Integrative Psychiatry, we approach mental health and sleep issues with a holistic framework.
Call us to set up a consultation where we can talk about your needs in specific detail and create a path for you to follow to improve your self-confidence.
Take The First Step On Your
Perhaps you have questions you’d like to ask before you make a decision to become a patient. Our patient coordinator is standing by, happy to answer any questions you have to determine if Pacific Integrative Psychiatry is right for you.