Confidence isn’t gained overnight. It’s not simply telling things to yourself until you believe it. You have to break through the doubts that you have and get to the root of why. I am sharing the things in my past that I doubted about myself and had to really work through. On top of that, I asked you all at @hackingtheworkingmom on Instagram what you doubt about yourself. Disclaimer: I am just a human with her own experience and not an expert. Anything below is just my thoughts.
As I wrote this article, I realized: At the root of it all, who do you want to be? How do you take baby steps to get there? Confidence is being comfortable in your own skin.
Let’s dive in and talk about how to do the work.
My doubts in the past:
- I’m not pretty enough
I don’t know if there is a person on the planet that hasn’t struggled with if they are pretty or handsome enough. Writing this actually still begins to make me tear up, so maybe there is a little more for me to work through here or maybe I empathize with those that struggle knowing how it feels. Our culture tells us what pretty is. It tells us what we should wear. How we should do our makeup. What clothes are trending. Until you realize that beauty isn’t truly defined by what our marketing companies would like us to believe, this will continue to hold you back. You don’t need to buy a damn thing and the quotes about beauty coming from the inside are true. I
My only advice here is to dig into your past. What has made you feel less than enough in how you look? What have you allowed to be the metrics for looking good? Why aren’t you pretty? Is your nose too wide? Are your thighs too “thick” for a gap?
These aren’t things that don’t make you beautiful. As I worked through thinking that my nose was too wide, thigh gaps can’t be a real thing, my hair was too thin, and my fingers are fat, I began to look at the people I love. If they told me those things about them, I would tell them that isn’t true. That they are stunning just how they are. I compared myself to those around me and wanted to look like them instead of being comfortable in my own skin.
Why can’t we love ourselves the way that we love those closest to us?
The work: Whether someone in your past has constantly put you down or you simply are you own worst critic, notice your beauty and say it out loud to remind yourself daily. I have a gentle spirit. I see the best in people.
I want to be happy. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy.Even as I try to compile my own list, I switch to “want”. Those are goals, but not what makes me beautiful. This shit is hard!
Let’s try this again:
I am kind. I want to help those around me. I believe people are doing the best they can. I am a good mom. I am smart and capable of many hard things. I have a bright smile.
Quit focusing on your hair or body and figure out the rest first.
- People will figure out that I don’t know what I am doing and I care about how I am perceived.
NEWS FLASH: No one knows what they are doing!!!!!
Oh sure. Some people have more expertise but we are all figuring out life and rolling with the punches. One of the most freeing things that I have done is be super honest online about the things I don’t have together.
Expectations are everything. This resets the expectations that I have around how others see me. It allows people around me to see me for who I really am. This is scary. I get it. But, man, is it freeing. It matters how we are perceived but it shouldn’t drive my actions.
The work: Ask yourself why you care about how you are perceived? (There is a balance. The alternative is a f*ck the world attitude and that’s a mode of protection vs connection.)
- People won’t understand.
Over the last five years as I have navigated marital issues and then separated from my husband (all while we figured out raising a kid), I was terrified that people wouldn’t understand. That people would judge and not just me but my kid. I can’t write this without being on the verge of ugly crying. BUT! The more I have talked with people, the more I realize that I am not alone. Life is messy and complicated and if I can’t find the joy in it, I am missing out on moments that I can’t get back.
Surround yourself with kind people. With people that want to see the world succeed not just stack up their own pile of gold and shut the world out.
The work: Starting talking to one person that you can confide in. This might be a professional therapist, regardless of the complexity of your issue. Don’t keep it all it. Start talking. It’s the best way to process things.
Whew! Now that I have exposed my biggest huddles to find confidence, here are the responses to “How do you doubt yourself that you wish you didn’t?”:
- “I doubt that I am good at anything: daughter, friend, spouse, human being”
It’s a natural response to end up in a state of full self doubt. It can be because you are hard on yourself or others have been hard on you and often for long periods of time.
The work: Take it one step at a time. What are the tangible ways that you feel you aren’t a good “_____”? Fill in the blank with the role that is most important to you. Are their tangible things around that you need to work on or is there no truth behind it? We aren’t perfect. Sometimes becoming the confident person we want to be requires putting goals in front of us that encourage us to grow.
If the root of your doubt just straight up isn’t true, you need to flip the script. Acknowledge if things are true. This isn’t a one and done. This is something you have to choose daily and fight for you!
- “Literally everything. I think it was expectations I was raised to meet that put a lot of pressure causing doubt”
Expectations are everything. The expectations while we are growing up shape us heavily. I was the kid that thought everything had to be perfect. I had to make straight As. Not because anyone else imposed it on me, but that was my own bar that I set.
The work: Spend time outlining (write it out!) what is most important to you. What do you really need to have perfection on or is there anything? What do you gain from perfection? How do you grow into who you want to be?
- “The ability to get my business to a place where I can provide solely for me and my family”
This is such a healthy goal! But it’s also one that often gets doubted because it’s been a struggle in the past. This is as much about setting goals and reasonable expectations as the rest.
The work: Write down dream goals. $300 by end of the year a month. If you aren’t sure how to hit that, find a mentor. What are you passionate about? What do you love to do? How can you make money doing that? What works within your life?
- “At work. I doubt my skills & that I deserve the job that I have right now”
This one is hard. Does anyone else feel like when things are going well, you wait for the hammer to drop? You may be excelling at your job based on feedback from coworkers and still feel this way. I have been there. For me, the root issue was that I didn’t feel comfortable being successful!!!
The work: Look at the tangibles and find the root. Are there spots in work that you have struggled? Are you uncomfortable feeling successful? Why?
- “Almost any major decision I ever made. Especially when large amounts of money are involved”
Money is hard. We have to have it to function. As you think about large purchases, ask yourself:
1. Why am I anxious about this?
2. Does the value of this item justify the cost?
3. Is there something else I would rather spend this money on or save it for?
4. Will I care about this in XXX amount of time? (this time should be longer the more the $$$ goes up)
The work: When I asked this person if they have ever regretted the decision, it was beautiful to hear no. They didn’t have regrets. Always look at your historical data points. They tell the true story more clearly than how you feel.
- “Appearance and likeability”
I feel this and it’s why it was my first point above and I pretty much wrote a book 🙂
The work: Learn to be comfortable in your own skin and that you aren’t everyone’s “cup of tea”. Thank goodness. That person would be really boring.
At the end of the day, you are the only person that is stuck with you. Everyone else can chose to walk away. You remain. Do the work to live in peace with yourself.