A Crisis of Confidence
This post is inspired by those of you, introverts and extroverts, going through a crisis of confidence.
Confidence, having it, not having it, searching for it, feeling as though you are on a scavenger hunt to find it, is universal. We all suffer from feeling a lack of confidence to varying degrees. Some of us can quickly shore this up when we feel a lack of confidence. For others, if we don’t feel a shift from the dark side soon enough, we tend to feel like we are going through the great divide and the void gets deeper and wider. We start to become anxious that we won’t find it or be able to get it back if we had it to begin with. Over time, you feel confidence depleted.
This depletion of confidence can manifest itself in many ways and suffering from a case of comparison-itis, we become immune to antibiotics of positive Self-talk. You start feeling tired at the thought of putting one foot in front of the other. It becomes unbearable to get on to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram et al. as it gets harder and harder to tolerate the happy people, the “go get ‘um” personalities, the “seize the day” attitudes, the “let me boast about my win today,” shares or worse yet – having one more quote of inspiration or motivation that someone has posted staring you in the face.
The Universal Rabbit Hole
The feelings associated with confidence depletion become unbearable and the naysayer thoughts that nag, no matter how many times you try and replace them with a positive, seem to keep multiplying like those men in the Matrix movies – you can’t seem to keep up the pace of replacing positive thoughts with all the negatives. After all, part of the difficulty with going through a crisis of confidence is being able to remember what those positives about yourself are to begin with. You start feeling as though you are quickly falling down the rabbit hole.
Universally every human being has a rabbit hole. I challenge you to find one person who you think has it all, who you see as ultimately successful, who may be the epitome of living the abundant life. They all have their own rabbit hole. Keeping this in mind may make you feel a tad bit better – that it’s not just YOU going through this.
It’s time to dig deep.
You pretty much know that tomorrow, you may feel better. You aren’t entirely sure that you will feel better, but you have enough hope left that you believe in the old saying, “This too shall pass”. You just may feel better 10 minutes from now, an hour from now, by tonight, or come tomorrow.
What to do? How do you get to the other side in the moment of utter confidence depletion?
I firmly believe, as simplistic as this may sound, that the goal is two-fold:
- Acknowledge that you are going down the rabbit hole, and
- Do not hit the bottom.
Acknowledge that you are going down the rabbit hole.
Sound simple? For some of us, we can spend months even years not understanding what we are feeling. We just know we feel a higher level of “awful”. We have noticed some of our daily habits start to shift in a not-so-good way. Starting to be mindful of the “why” behind a nagging feeling is key. Starting to recognize the patterns of what is or is not happening in our day or life helps to recognize the start of our rabbit hole decent. Confidence depletion resulting out of a crisis of confidence doesn’t happen overnight, however it can definitely feel like it. In actuality, it is an erosion that happens over time. Next time you want to shrug off a feeling, stop and take note of it first and try and identify what it may be linked to.
The goal is not to hit bottom.
You’ve heard another old saying, “Two steps forward, one step back”. As individual as we all are, each of us will have a different definition or feeling of what our “bottom” is. It may be a place that you have hit before and that experience has been embedded in your psyche not to want to experience again. Your bottom may also be a feeling that surpasses the depth of what you are feeling now and you vow not to go to that level. And to be honest, you may have to hit the bottom (your definition of bottom) a few times before you acknowledge you need to put on the breaks the next time you start going down it!) And just with each of us having defined what our own “bottom” is we have all taken on various way of dealing with feeling confidence depleted.
My meaning of digging deep is when the mechanics of masking the depletion isn’t working. Here are some suggested tips to re-shift the negative thinking, nothing new that you didn’t already know but perhaps its time for some reminders:
Take it outside.
If you are able to breathe, then take yourself outside. There is something to be said about taking 10 deep breaths. But I encourage you to go an extra step and leave your current environment. Take it outside and get your heart pumping. Start breathing in the air, feeling your lungs fill itself with air, holding it in, feel the power in having that control and then control the releasing of your breath as it leaves your lungs. We’ve known for years the tremendous physiologically benefits being outdoors, in our natural environment, has on one’s psyche and mood. Our brain somehow creates new space to shift thoughts around opening itself to new ideas, new thoughts and we start thinking in a different direction. No, I’m not suggesting running or walking miles. It may be a simple walk to and from your mail box, taking a walk around your block. You may surprise yourself and before you know it you get in those 10,000 steps. The key here is using your physical energy and a good dose of oxygen to make room for thought change.
Take Pen to Paper and Offload.
Not able to go out? Living in an area where there is a blizzard or it’s the middle of the night? Maybe you have children at home and you can’t leave the house?
Take pen to paper, or now with the computer age, take keyboard to a new Word or Page document and start writing, no thinking required. This is un-edited, free thought writing. If your thoughts aren’t already flowing or they are spinning too quickly to articulate, here’s a suggestion. Make a sentence and fill in the blanks:
My confidence depletion is making me feel _________________(fill in the blank with as many feeling words as you can think of).
That may be enough to focus your thoughts and off you go. You are in the midst of a thought marathon. If you can further expand on why you feel that way, great.
The goal is to offload. Offload your thoughts out of your head and put them down on something tangible. Literally you are removing them from your head and putting it onto paper. There’s something freeing and finalizing when you are suffering from a thought frenzy.
Do this hourly if need be. It’s a great exercise on a daily basis (i.e, Journaling). If you are stuck in the “why” putting your thoughts and leaving a footprint on a daily basis, may lead you to your “why”.
Let the shoring up begin!
We all have the answers within. We all search for clarity. That is the beginning step toward creating an action plan on rebuilding and shoring up your confidence.
Lastly, within the challenge of going through a crisis depletion, don’t sell yourself short – you deserve some honest to goodness credit. After all, to go through this process you surely have the courage, fortitude, strength and self-love to start the work in coming out on to the other side – And let’s not forget that these characteristics are often fundamentals of developing one’s confidence.
So dig deep my friend – confidence depletion doesn’t mean a depletion of strength and courage. You can move through it.