When you lack self-esteem, it is often not because you have no confidence in yourself. Rather, it is due to sources that drain your confidence.
We are born with natural self-confidence. Just take a look at toddlers. They do what they want and say what they think. They are very comfortable with expressing themselves.
Where does confidence come from?
Before we look at how we lose our self-confidence, let’s look at where it comes from.
To quote Chris Do, “We only talk about self-confidence. Not other-confidence.”
Confidence comes from ourselves. It is not given to us by others. It exists within us but ends up being eroded or drained by external factors or our own doing.
How do we lose our self-confidence?
We start to lose our natural self-confidence when we go through education. We were told what to do and what not to do. Schools force children to conform to rules. Society needs people who obey orders and abide by laws.
Humility is a virtue. Don’t be arrogant. Don’t be cocky. That erodes your self-confidence.
Being bold is different from being arrogant. It is important to have courage, but don’t let your pride swell up.
Nowadays, there are two major toxic ways that warps how we look at ourselves and drains our self-esteem.
The biggest culprit in the modern society is social media. Social media feeds on your need to grow your self-esteem. You look and compare yourself with the lives of others. You see the number of likes and followers they have.
Social media quantifies success through the number of likes, followers or views. If you post something and it doesn’t garner as many likes, it means the post isn’t as good. Or you aren’t as interesting or fun as a person.
What social media doesn’t show is the amount of hard work it took to attain the success. Someone shared the same post as you but they get several times more likes than you. In some cases, it is because the platform showed their posts first. It has nothing to do with you, but you end up taking it personally.
Why would the platform show their posts first? Perhaps they engage others on social media more often. Perhaps they engage others offline regularly, and thus they get more online interactions. All these aren’t quantified.
Reduce the consumption of content that drains your self-esteem. Remind yourself that you are competing with the platform’s algorithm, not with your friends.
Not convinced that social media has an impact on your self-confidence? Delete your social media from your phones and stop using them for a month completely. Gauge how your self-esteem changes during that period of time.
Social media drains your self-esteem. There are also offline ways of draining your self-confidence. Negative people can sap your energies and self-confidence. They can have a profound impact on how you view yourself.
They can make you feel small, unimportant, and unworthy. They do this by being critical, judgemental, and pessimistic. Their negativity would often rub off on you and make you depressed. You start to internalise their gloomy outlook and beliefs, and you start to doubt yourself and your abilities.
Learn to identify such individuals and cut them out of your life. Life is too short to have to deal with people who don’t add any value to your life. You owe them nothing.
Haters appear when you are successful in ways that rubs their self-esteem wrongly. It doesn’t mean that they are low on self-esteem. Rather, they just dislike the way you do things and you are so good at it that they feel threatened by you.
Use your haters as an indication of your success.
Regain your natural self-confidence
As I mentioned at the start of the article, your self-confidence take a hit as you grow up. Some of us lose it completely. It is a trait we are born with but often lose due to various sources, such as education, society, and social media.
Find your inner toddler and rediscover your natural self-confidence. By understanding and managing what that drain our self-esteem, you can cultivate a lifestyle that helps you to regain your confidence.