Struggling with self-confidence? Counsellor Sarah Barr has five simple approaches to try to overcome personal doubts.

If you don’t believe in yourself, how can others believe in you?

  1. Challenge your self-limiting beliefs

When we are children we believe we can do anything, but somewhere in between childhood and adulthood we loose this belief in ourselves.
Perhaps parents or teachers, friends or sibligs change or alter our beliefs of what can or cannot do.

• What you can do:

Ask yourself what are your limiting beliefs, when were they formed and are they true. Try stepping slowly outside your comfort zone and facing things that make you feel a little uncomfortable. Once you have confidence in yourself, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.

2. Never confuse memory with facts

Our memory does not store information exactly as it happens. Instead we tend to take the gist of the experience and store it in a way that makes the most sense to us. This is why different people witnessing the same event can often have different versions of what happened.

Your brain stores information that is consistent with your own beliefs, values and self-image. So this selective memory system helps to keep your brain from getting overloaded with too much information at once.

By being aware that your memory does not always provide you with accurate information can help your confidence. For example if you have low self-esteem, your brain will tend to store information that confirms your lack of confidence.

Therefore that will be all you remember about a specific situation or event.

• What you can do:

Revisit the facts of a memory that is filled with self-limiting and low self-esteen beliefs. Try to gain a more accurate perspective on what happened. Talk to friends or family that might also share the memory but have a different perspective. This will help your own perspective to grow and you will become more self-aware. Boosting your awareness and confidence.

3. Talk to yourself.

This may seem a bit mad, but honestly it works. By talking to yourself it can help improve your memory, your focus and help your self-awareness grow.

• What you can do:

Be positive, because the way you talk to yourself influences your neurobiological response. Show yourself kindness and understanding, as you would a friend.

Check-in with yourself throughout the day, simply ask your ‘how are you?’, even set a reminder on your phone so you dont forget. By doing this you will be able to catch something that has impacted your mood, a lot quicker and therefore deal with it, resolve it and move on. Without it ruining your day and your confidence.

4. Change your words

The words we say to ourselves often have a knock-on effect on our confidence, mood, beliefs and motivation. Using words like ‘should’ or ‘must’ are guilt motivating words, you feel guilty therefore you do it. Or saying ‘I can’t’ you are telling yourself you have failed before you have tried.

• What you can do:

Increase your awareness around the language you use, catch the negative words and change them.

Instead of saying ‘should’ or ‘must’ try saying ‘I will’ or ‘I can’, and instead of saying ‘I cant’ try adding the word ‘yet’ to the end of the statement, for example ‘I cant do that, yet’.

Also ask yourself have you any evidence that supports what you are saying?

Is it true or is it an irrational fear-based thought or belief.

5. Overcome your self-doubt.

If you lack self-confidence, you will always feel like you’re less of a person or not good enough. You may have a tendency to compare to others or to people-please.

• What you can do:

Identify the areas in which you doubt yourself, ask yourself what is stopping you being true to yourself and living a life you want.

Sometimes it can be difficult to identify and remove your personal barriers yourself.

If you need help with this, please reach out to a qualified and trained mental health professional. Ensure they are registered or accredited and invest in yourself wisely.

Take care ~ Sarah.