“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie
A client once told me that she has wasted her entire life because of a lack of confidence to do anything and now she regrets it. She would like to go back and change her life. Sadly, we, as humans do not possess a time machine to go back in time. Only if we did!
One half of me wants to go back and undo all the mistakes that I made. One half of me wants to embrace all the mistakes and call it my life experience, my memento, and rank myself as the ultimate expert of those mistakes. Owning these mistakes makes me less fearful of them. They give me the confidence to say “Yes, been there, done that”! Yes, I like this latter half of me that has embraced her mistakes. I have decided I won’t run from them anymore. Avoiding has not got me anywhere in life and it will not in the future. So, what can I do?
What we can do is change how we live our lives and create a better future for us. We do not have to live how we have always lived or how we have been told to live by the generations that lived before us. Each of us has various life experiences and what we gather and divulge from it is unique to us. If we did what every other person did, we lose out identity and become a mere copy of someone else. We are all born with unique strengths and assets that we must use to bring value to our own lives and that of others:
Although fear is a very natural entity, fear can arise from a lack of confidence. It is how we conquer this fear that makes us valiant as a person. Avoiding tasks due to fear can affect our lives adversely. If you have been a person avoiding risks due to fear, it is worthwhile taking small steps towards your goal. How we make our goals, and challenges are actuated by the confidence level we possess. Our confidence and self-efficacy are determined by various factors in our lives. If you feel your confidence is low and you practice risk aversion, it is a good idea to look at various factors that may be causing it.
- Genes and culture: yes, let us blame our parents! Studies show that our genetic makeup has a lot to do with the chemicals that boost our confidence in the brain. Confidence can be inherited from our parents but that is not to say we cannot change the way we think and feel and learn how to set goals. You may need some intervention but it is possible. Certain cultures also value certain behavior which can affect the confidence of an individual.
- Being a minority: Being a minority can affect your confidence, be it your gender, race, or even sexual orientation. Just like women worry about how they will be perceived in an office meeting setting, individuals from other minorities who have been discriminated against through institutional racism or otherwise can affect the level of confidence.
- Abuse and bullying: Abuse while growing up from parents or other individuals can make a difference to your confidence level. Childhood bullying can also lead to low confidence. Sometimes children are bullied for their looks, lack of knowledge in certain disciplines, etc.
- Mindset: Having certain thoughts in your head about your incompetency and inadequacy can lead to a lower level of confidence. If you feel your mind plays tricks on you and this may be affecting your life, it is imperative that you seek help.
- Social Media: As much as I love social media and use it to reach people to make an impact in people’s lives, it is also a huge contributor to low self-confidence. Some can feel a sense of lacking being on social media because of the glorified posts of others. People begin to believe in the glorified ‘perfect lives’ posted on social media by others and become unhappy about their own quailed life.
If you feel you would like to learn more about yourself or improve your personal and professional life, please book an intro session with me. I look forward to helping with your personality development and get you the success you need in your personal and professional life.
Hamna Siddique is a career and leadership coach focusing on confidence and personal development.
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