People of all ages and from all walks of life can lack confidence in themselves for one reason or another. And this can be the most disabling of problems to have. Attending meetings, going out socially, forming new relationships, starting a new activity - these and many other situations can all become impossibly nerve-wracking. So what can you do about it?
Most people simply grow up lacking confidence, as a direct outcome of their background and childhood experiences. Others can lose their confidence at some time later in their lives, as a result of experiences they've had, or because of the changes that can happen to us all as we grow older. But confidence doesn't disappear forever when you lose it, you can build it back up again. How do you do that? How do you learn about confidence-building?
Well, you can try any one of these:
- Reading up on it - there are lots and lots of good books or audio-cassettes around
- Attend a course
- Take an on-line course
- Attend a day or weekend workshop
- Talk to someone one-to-one But choose carefully.
Any confidence-building activity you take part in should put control of your confidence and your life firmly into your hands, and should aim to help you to:
- Gain a better understanding of what confidence is
- Understand how confidence can be lost
- Have a clearer and more positive sense of your strengths and your identity
- Be more clear on your priorities in life
- Feel more in control of your own life
- Understand stress and anxiety better, and some methods of managing them
- Understand how to talk and behave more confidently
- Learn new skills to help you to cope better in a range of difficult situations
- Make up your own Plan of Action to follow And of course in all of these cases, you should make sure that what is being provided is coming from a sound and experienced background.
You would usually expect anyone providing any kind of confidence-building activity or book to come from a professional background such as psychology, medicine, occupational therapy, or adult education. Losing your confidence usually takes a bit of time, so building it back up again will take a few months or more, so it's best to avoid anyone offering overnight cures, and it's always worth checking out someone's qualifications before going ahead with anything.
But the main thing to remember is that if you lack confidence, don't just sit there, go for it, you can do something about it. And there's lots of help out there to show you how to do just that.
By Alice Muir BSc BA(Hons) MSC(Psychology)
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