If you struggle with low self confidence, underachievement may likely be a theme that plagues you in one or more areas of your life. Beliefs that contribute to low self confidence, are formed during your early childhood experiences. Regardless of the context of how you came to hold these beliefs, your adoption of these negative beliefs where simply coincidence.
This being written, your process in moving past these beliefs has to be intentional. Life is short, and as far as we know, you only get to experience it once. Therefore it is irrational to live your brief life in a state of chronic anxiety. Especially since the anxiety has been generated by your distorted and negative view of the world.
In this post, three common beliefs people who suffer from low self confidence hold will be discussed. Also for each of these beliefs will be a recommended strategy of how to get past them.
Seeing Yourself as Undeserving
Once upon a time, there where two friends who joined their high school soccer team. Friend A had dreams and goals of becoming an acclaimed professional soccer player. Friend B did not care. He only joined for two reasons, to have an excuse in not doing chores at home and because Friend A had pleaded with him to join with him for support. Long story short, Friend B ended up receiving a full ride scholarship to play in college, long after Friend A was cut from the squad.
For a long time afterwards, Friend B always carried a sense of guilt about how things had turned out. Even though Friend A was doing just fine. He felt undeserving of what he had accomplished as a soccer player. He felt that he had stolen something from his friend. As a therapist, I can attest to witnessing this mindset in a lot of people from strict religious backgrounds and people adopted as children.
Learn to Be Deserving
The problem with this belief, is that you often find yourself passing up on opportunities to improve your life and you often attach yourself to people who treat you poorly. Another mental health issue synonymous with this mindset is impostor syndrome.
This belief is not adopted intentionally, and often results when a deeply ingrained narrative is not met. With the example given, it is a deeply ingrained narrative, that those who have dreams and work hard are entitled to reap the fruits of their labor. But what if your labor is simply not good enough.
In order for Friend B to get past his belief of being undeserving he has to understand that he brought to the table natural abilities that Friend A did not have. To do this, I would recommend an exercise where he highlights the skill sets needed to be a good soccer player, then compare his skill sets to Friend A.
The exercise should reveal that his success happened because he was more qualified that Friend A to be a soccer player, and neither of them did anything wrong. If the exercise is repeated enough times, he will find himself feeling very deserving of his success.
Seeing Yourself as Unlovable
This belief often results from strained to estranged relationships with your parents or primary caregivers as a child. In some cases it can also result from cultural values resulting in strained relationships with your immediate community as a child.
The idea of you not being worthy of love, can be dangerous, as not only do people with this belief struggle with low confidence, they also struggle from low self esteem and often attract dangerous people into their lives.
For people who believe that they are unlovable, they often create a lose-lose in their lives regarding this issue. On one hand they often seek the love and approval of others, and on the other hand they often reject the love and approval of others.
This lose-lose occurs because once the person receives the approval he or she craves, it does not fill the emptiness they feel inside. The emptiness they feel occurs because they seek to feel loved through external validation. Getting your need to feel loved only comes from within.
When we are young, our parents ideally will demonstrate self love in their unconditional love and acceptance of us. To be of mature age and not know how to practice self love is a sign of immaturity. This means that you subconsciously seek for others to approve of you, the way you instinctively desired for your parents to approve of you.
The solution to this, is to practice documenting how you would treat and regard the younger you, if you were your child. Also, from a adult context, treat and regard yourself with dignity. This creates a feedback loop where others around you, find themselves treating you with dignity.
Client who practice this exercise are often surprised with the positive feedback they receive from others.
Seeing Yourself as Defective
This belief runs on the same spectrum as the belief of being unlovable. However the reason the persons feels unlovable is often specific. It can range from having received negative feedback about a handicap the person had or has from a parent or caregiver, to the person blaming a misunderstanding or rejection to a handicap they have.
The handicap is often physical in nature, and can also be cognitive. The handicap, can be real or imagined. From example, it can range from not meeting a standard of attractiveness (imagined) to a physical handicap (real).
Unconditional Self Acceptance with Positive Regard
Regardless of any issues you may struggle with, seeing yourself as defective and unworthy of being loved is unhealthy and often leads to a negative self fulfilling prophesy.
The solution is to practice documenting how you would treat and regard the younger you, if you were your child, and from a adult context treat and regard yourself with dignity.
Emphasis for this exercise, is to always accept yourself unconditionally and positively.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.