5 Self-Confidence Lies to Stop Believing Immediately

Shannon Hilson

Take a big step toward the life you truly deserve by opting out of common misconceptions like these.

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Everyone wants to be confident. It’s successfully cultivating confidence that’s hard, especially these days. Society has a way of coloring the lens through which you see the world, whether you realize it or not. After a while, it gets difficult to tell whether or not the things you believe about yourself are genuinely coming from you.

It doesn’t help that we’re taught a lot of B.S. in general about what confidence truly looks like (or feels like) either. I used to believe a lot of it until years of hard experience finally taught me what I was doing wrong, sometimes in profoundly painful and confusing ways. Here are some of the more commonly believed lies I had to unlearn about how self-confidence works.

1. You’re the only one who doesn’t know what they’re doing.

I get what a comfortable myth this is to buy into. You’re ultimately going to believe what your eyes tell you about what’s going on around you, and when you look around, you see other people who all appear to have their shizz together, right? They’re not sweating bullets. They’re not stuttering or fidgeting. They’re certainly not admitting out loud that they’re winging it all the way, but that’s pretty much exactly what’s happening.

When I was younger and less experienced, I didn’t get this. At all. No one else ever seemed to be struggling on the outside, and I assumed it was because they had everything figured out on the inside. This was especially the case when it came to people who were older and more experienced than I was. Then one day, I became older and more experienced. That’s when it hit me.

No one has the vaguest idea what they’re doing half the time. Even when we’re educated on a topic or have done everything we can to prepare for something important, we’re still just giving things our best guess and hoping nobody notices that’s the case. Self-doubt is a normal, healthy part of life. It will always be with you to one extent or another. You wouldn’t be human otherwise.

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2. You are not special or unique.

Now, I get why you hear this so often, I do. Over seven billion people are roaming around on the planet. Every last one of those people is just trying to make it through life in one piece the same way you are. Every last one of them has nightmares about something specific and beautiful, technicolor dreams about something else. So yes, it’s unlikely that anything you’re going through hasn’t been experienced by someone else at least once at some point.

However, you are still the only one with your exact voice. Not one single person on the planet shares your unique set of fingerprints. Even identical twins aren’t exactly alike despite springing from the same genetic blueprint as one another. You have never existed before and, once you’re gone, you will never exist again. You may not be entitled to more out of life than someone else because you are who you are, but this doesn’t make you any less unique.

Keep this in mind the next time something makes you feel like you’re just another face in the crowd. Use it to your advantage and look for opportunities to leverage it in your favor. You’re the only person who can do what you do exactly the way you do it. Learning to strut into new situations with that in mind is how you grow into a confident person.

3. You are how you earn your living.

People start hearing this lie from the time they’re little kids, so it’s not surprising that so many people believe it until the day they die. People don’t ask what you want to do for a living when you’re older. They ask what you want to be when you grow up. Maybe you even become that thing when you’re older, and that’s great, but then what?

What if you lose your job and have to take another one in a different field that isn’t as appealing to you? What if your chosen profession eventually becomes obsolete or you sustain an injury that makes it impossible to keep doing it? Will that make you a different person?

What if you’re one of the millions of people who can’t stand what they do because it’s boring, or messy, or embarrassing, or doesn’t pay very well? Are you less of a person than you would have been had you become a doctor or a professional athlete like you wanted to when you were a kid?

The thing is it’s great to love your job or to aspire to do something awesome for a living someday. No one’s saying it’s not important to find a way to love what you do to the greatest extent possible either. However, loving what you do is very different from it letting it become synonymous with who you are. All of the incredible qualities you bring to your job will still be part of you if you lose that job one day.

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4. You are not enough as you are.

If you grew up around emotionally unavailable people, then you probably feel this one deep in your soul somewhere. In situations like those, you quickly learn it isn’t who you are, but what you do and what you can give that make you worthy. You grow up with the impression that love and happiness are things that must be earned, as opposed to resources that exist in such abundance that there’s enough for everyone. And if you genuinely do think these things, let me be the first to tell you that you’re wrong.

Life isn’t a contest you win or lose according to how well you measure up against other people — or at least it’s not supposed to be. If you have people in your life that make you feel otherwise, you might want to rethink your connection to those people sooner rather than later. They’re not in your orbit for the right reasons, and surrounding yourself with such folks is one of the biggest confidence killers I can think of.

I know people say this a lot, but you start attracting people into your life who are capable of loving you and appreciating you when you learn to love and appreciate yourself. Self-love is a conscious decision that’s entirely within your control. I started to get in touch with my confidence when I stopped waiting for someone else to tell me I deserved to be happy and told myself instead. Somewhere along the way, I even started believing it, and eventually, so did other people.

5. You are where you come from.

We run into this one in so many different forms, so it’s no wonder most of us believe it to at least some extent. “He comes from a bad family.” “Once a criminal, always a criminal.” “People don’t change.” We also live in a world that, as a rule, uses criteria like credit history and criminal records to determine how trustworthy someone is, so this belief is part of the very fabric of society.

It’s all too easy to go through life with the impression that you are your past and that it’s not possible to come back from your mistakes, especially when everyone else around you believes it, too. And no one’s saying change isn’t difficult, because it certainly is, but difficult doesn’t mean impossible.

Many years ago, when I still believed I was the horrible person my past mistakes made me think I was, I stumbled across an interesting point of view to do with choices. (I wish I could remember where, but unfortunately, I don’t.) It said that the current state of your life — your level of physical fitness, the quality of your relationships, and so forth — is nothing more than a snapshot of your recent past choices. If you don’t like the picture, make different choices, and it won’t be long before the picture changes to match.

I’d never thought of things quite that way before, but starting to do so was a huge gamechanger for me. I eventually realized that it’s possible to put so many positive choices in between you and the bad ones you used to make that you barely remember what it was like not to feel confident, and driven, and filled with hope.

Confidence isn’t born in a vacuum or cultivated overnight. It’s something that comes over time and with the realization that we’re all just doing the best we can at any given moment. So keep doing the best you can. Make each next step forward the best one you can make at that moment and it won’t be long before you’re striding ahead in absolute confidence.

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Shannon Hilson is a full-time freelance copywriter, blogger, critic, and journalist. She is proud to have called Monterey, California her home since childhood.

Monterey, CA
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