Every once in a while, you’ll encounter self-esteem issues that threaten your quality of life. It distorts your view of yourself and puts a dark cloud over their relationships, career, academics, and other areas of your life. You’d think that at some point in your life, you wouldn’t have to deal with low self-esteem anymore. It’s just a thing that comes and goes with puberty, and once you’re in your twenties, you’d know yourself well enough to never be insecure, nervous, and doubtful again.
This is where a lot of people go wrong.
In fact, self-esteem is such a misunderstood concept that many people live their lives harboring erroneous beliefs about it. When you nurture false notions about what it takes to be confident, then you set yourself up for failure. What you need is to address these thoughts and counter them with helpful mindsets.
Confidence Doesn’t Mean Nerves of Steel
Here’s a popular misconception that gets to a lot of people. You may believe it yourself. Confident people are never nervous regardless of the people they meet and the circumstances they find themselves in. As nice a thought as this may be, it cannot be farther from the truth. Perhaps you’re less daunted by things that usually make the majority of people hesitate, but that doesn’t mean you’re never afraid.
Nervousness and anxiety are results of your fight-or-flight response, and this kicks in when something valuable to you is at stake. Perhaps it’s your grades, your friendship, or even your reputation. Getting butterflies in your stomach and sweaty palms are purely physiological, and you often can’t control these. You can control your response to them: do you amplify your anxiety by feeding your negative thoughts, or will you be proactive about it?
The mindset you need to cultivate is one that recognizes that discomfort is part of growth. You’re confident enough to step out of your comfort zone and try new things, and feeling anxious is part of the territory. The more risks you take and new challenges you overcome, the more your confidence improves.
Confidence Doesn’t Pertain to Physical Attributes
Perhaps one of the biggest hurdles you’ll need to overcome is the notion that confidence comes with a set of physical attributes. At one point or another, you’ve probably conformed to this. You’ve invested in laser hair removal treatment, purchased all kinds of skincare products, and tried all the beauty stores. The problem with this is that beauty trends come and go, and society always has a new idea of what the ideal face and body should look like. Conforming to all these will never guarantee the confidence you really need in life.
A healthy mindset is one that focuses on the best version of yourself. If you work out, it’s to make your body strong. If you restrict your diet, it’s because you’re aware of the dangers that come with junk food, and you only want to feed yourself with nourishing things. When you’re not competing with anybody but yourself, you’re in a better place to be confident daily.
Confidence isn’t Dependent on Achievements
Many individuals blame their low self-esteem on their lack of achievements. They haven’t done anything of notable significance to warrant the love, respect, and belief they want to give themselves. But if you really think about it, trying to achieve great things without confidence will never work. This is why it must always come first before you even launch that business, ace that exam, or win that competition. Even then, however, you’ll find that awards and fame won’t suffice to give you confidence in all that you do.
What you want is to develop a mindset that understands the nature of confidence. It’s something that comes from within and is a moment-to-moment decision. You invest in it when you perform acts of kindness, overcome a bad habit, or meet your obligations. It’s rooted in smaller, more practical things in life instead of the big ones that you’re always after.
Confidence Doesn’t Make You a Narcissist
Narcissism, like confidence, is widely misunderstood. There’s a huge difference between believing in yourself and your capacity to have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Confident people don’t share a narcissist’s need for constant attention, and they definitely live off people’s admiration of them. In fact, the more assured you are of your worth, the fewer people’s attention and opinions affect your self-esteem.
A healthy mindset reminds you that you believe in yourself enough not to be posting on social media all the time to get likes. You don’t have to create a virtual highlight reel to show off to your friends, and you won’t feel bad about other people’s achievements. You run a different race, and you’re responsible only for winning your own.
Value Your Confidence
Whether you’re a parent, a professional, a student, or an older adult enjoying your retirement, you need to value your confidence at all times. It’s what contextualizes your life and enables you to act with gratitude, empathy, and self-respect, making you a well-rounded individual.