This post is not to explain why we need self-confidence, as we all know its value. Still, as much as we all know we need it, it’s not always easy to conjure up the level of self-confidence needed in a given situation. Here I will try to explain the relationship between self-compassion and self-confidence, and how a bit of compassion at the right time can lead to greater confidence.
We all know self-confidence is good, and we also know we don’t always have enough. And as though it’s not bad enough to lack the confidence you need, knowing you don’t have enough can actually make you feel even less confident, especially if you have no idea how to get it and continue to put yourself down because you don’t have it. What a downward spiral!
So how can you stop this vicious cycle? Instead of continuing to beat yourself up, try giving the opposite approach a shot by embracing and practicing a bit of self-compassion.
Think about your friends and family, those you care about the most. What would you do if you saw them suffering? Would you say “You’re such a loser, you will never get it right!” Probably not! More than likely, you would offer encouragement. But somehow, on those days when everything goes wrong we say this, or worse, to ourselves.The simple truth is we are often much too harsh on ourselves.
There is another loophole to this - what you focus on expands. Thant means the more you “beat” yourself on doing something wrong, more stressful and worse it will become… What if we would treat ourselves like our best friends and show some compassion? How about giving ourselves some break and just remember all these times when we did things right? Just imagine this for a minute – do you think you might be less stressed out?
This concept is also supported by modern science, specifically Gallup’s Strengthsfinder approach. This approach demonstrates how we can make vast improvements in our lives by focusing on our strengths instead of weaknesses. Most of us are very well aware of our weaknesses and spend much of our personal and professional lives trying to improve ourselves in those areas. Initially, it may seem like a great way to spend our time: trying to improve ourselves. But without some coaching, it can turn into a self-defeating trap because in focusing on our weaknesses, we may be overlooking our strengths. Even worse, we may even be taking our strengths for granted, assuming that other people have same strengths, leading us to believe ours are no big deal. Another shot to self-confidence!
For the longest time, I disliked myself for being “too chatty” and I thought I talked too much, especially since it felt so easy to approach others. Then, a couple of years ago, I joined Toastmasters, an organization that helps people improve their communication skills. There I met a number of people who struggled and worked very hard to be able to comfortably converse with others. That made me appreciate that I have a natural skill and talent that others would really love to have. From that point forward I learned not take my skills for granted. Rather than thinking of my ease in communicating with others as a weakness, I accepted it as strength and continue to focus my energy and attention on using it wisely.
Feeling a lack of self-confidence can come from many triggers, both internal and external, and some days are just simply not as good as others. So what! Next time you feel that familiar sense of self-doubt starting to grow, instead of beating yourself up for no good reason, try treating yourself like you would treat your best friend. Focus on the good by reminding yourself of your strengths and giving yourself encouragement. You still might not achieve exactly what you want in the short run, but you’ll definitely get a much needed break from the downward spiral of negative thinking. Remember – what you focus on is what grows. If you focus on the good you’ll be amazed at what starts to become clear.
If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. - Buddha
You might find it beneficial also paying attention to First things First and maybe even Simplifying a notch, especially if your life feels like roller-coaster already. A gratitude journal is also really helpful when you need a reminder of the truly good things in your life.