A lot of people talk about coping with low self-esteem, but there is less discussion about self-esteem that comes and goes . The truth is, when it comes to self-esteem, most people fit in the middle of the spectrum. They feel fairly self-confident one minute and then anxious the next.
Does this sound like you?
If you can identify with swings in your confidence, here are some ways to cope:
Understand Emotions are not Dictators, they are Indicators
Though it’s not always easy dealing with uncomfortable emotions, understand that they are part of our evolved warning system. We all have emotions for a reason, and they can be used as helpful guides in our lives, reminding us how we feel about things. Sometimes, however, this system can break down (as in the case of depression and panic attacks). Generally speaking, our emotions are there to help us, but they don’t get to dictate our actions.
Understand Sometimes a Loss of Confidence is Justified
Sometimes when we have a sudden loss of confidence, it is completely justified. For example, you may have started a new job and don’t know all the ropes or players on your team. One day you pitch an idea to your new boss and colleagues. Most of them react favorably, but one or two people have a negative reaction. That negative response is likely to rock you disproportionately because you feel you have a lot to prove and want to keep your job.
Our psyche has been designed to react to any kind of uncertainty or mixed signals with anxiety. If it weren’t for our ability to find and react to possible dangers, human beings would have gone extinct a long time ago.
The moral of the story is, don’t make your loss of confidence even worse by chastising yourself for feeling less confident. In many situations, it is a common reaction.
A Loss of Confidence Can Help You Make Better Choices
Often when we feel a sudden loss of confidence, it is a signal that we need to make better choices. Our intuition is trying to get our attention and let us know, “Pssst, you’re not doing it quite right,” or “This wasn’t what you had in mind.”
Instead of panicking about your lack of confidence, write down your thoughts and feelings about it. Find out what the underlying issue is.
Some common things to help your confidence are:
- Finish what you started
- Test your strategies to see if they are really working
- Ask for feedback
Typically, our self-confidence comes back as quickly as it left us. But for some, this might not always be the case. Some people struggle day to day with low confidence because they have underlying low self-esteem. These individuals would greatly benefit from working with a therapist to uncover where these feelings stem from, and how to manage them in the future.
If you or someone you know lacks self-confidence because of a low self-esteem and would like to explore treatment options, please contact me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.