There are many terms used to describe people’s confidence, be it self-esteem, self worth or self-belief. Most people at some point in their lives suffer from a lack of confidence or even a ‘crisis’ of confidence. This happens for a variety of reasons and everybody’s experience is unique. For some people a specific event drains their confidence. For example, ‘I used to be a confident person until the changes at work or ‘my relationship breakdown’. For others they have always lacked confidence and felt other people are worthier or better in some way. It is important to remember whatever your personal circumstances you are not alone and you can improve your confidence.
Recognising a lack of confidence
A lack of confidence feels different for every individual. Here are some examples:
- Feeling awkward and totally without anything to say
- Walking into a party and wanting to walk straight back out
- Wanting desperately to talk to someone but ending up looking like a loser
- Feeling tongue tied
- Feeling anxious in meetings or on or before other occasions
- Wanting to be able to stand up for yourself but feeling too scared
- Terrified about being the centre of attention
- Finding it hard to believe and talk about your achievements and strengths
A lack of confidence goes hand in hand with negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves. Nobody feels confident all the time, although they might act as if they do. It is useful to recognise what makes us doubt ourselves and find ways to address this; activities that can help include: counselling, coaching, confidence / assertiveness training and self-help books.
How Counselling Can Help
Most counselling approaches recognise that our development of self belief is strongly influenced by the environment we grew up in, social pressures and the influence of significant people in our lives. A lack of confidence occurs when we feel we are failing to satisfy the expectations of others and the world around us now or historically. This could be parents, peers at school, partners, work colleagues, advertisements and online & newspaper articles. Nowadays there is a lot of pressure to conform which can make us feel like we should be somebody different to who we are. This in turn adds to our feelings of worthlessness. Counselling will help you explore the person you are not the person you feel you should be. This will help you let go of the hold on your life that other people’s expectations have had and to feel more strongly grounded in who you are and what’s important to you. You can expect your counsellor to create a confidential relationship based on respect, empathy, non-judgement and openness in which you can, hopefully, feel able to talk about and make sense of your lack of confidence. Your counsellor will facilitate you to develop your confidence in your own way, providing encouragement, support and through sharing their experience and knowledge.
Author: Kate Vallance