Roadblocks to Believing in Yourself
By Helen Godfrey, MA, NCC, BCC, LPC
Believing in yourself is often touted as the cause of success. But if you have low self-esteem, it’s not easy to believe in yourself. You may struggle to step outside of your comfort zone and look for a way to make your life better. You may believe that you don’t have the means to better yourself or that you don’t deserve a better life.
You can change your life and it starts with believing in yourself. But first you have to identify what’s holding you back. Here are three common self-esteem killers that can keep you from living out your true potential.
Do you look around and feel like everyone else has a handle on life but you? This is a common feeling, especially in our digital age. Maybe you have a friend on Facebook who always seems to have a clean house. But you don’t see what her house looks like when the kids have the flu and there hasn’t been time to do any laundry.
Seeing your friend’s good days can leave you feeling like you’re a failure because your house doesn’t look clean all the time like your friend’s house is. When you’re on social media, you’re constantly exposed to the best side of someone’s life. You rarely see the ugly parts, too. It’s important to remember this when you’re scrolling through your news feed.
The past often shapes us and affects us far more than we realize. Negative situations in your past can make it hard for you to believe in yourself. Maybe you were in a toxic relationship with a partner who verbally abused you. Maybe you grew up with an alcoholic parent or maybe you were bullied in middle school.
Your past can be the biggest threat to your present if you don’t take action. It can take a toll on your self-esteem and crush your sense of confidence. If you’ve been in a bad situation in the past, you’ll need to re-train your thought process. You may need the help of a therapist or life coach to help you deal with painful situations from your past that are keeping you stuck.
Are there current relationships with a dynamic that keeps you questioning yourself? Sometimes, other people can undermine your sense of self-esteem. They may do it subtly by making unkind remarks and dismissing these remarks as jokes. They may discourage you from taking action a project you were really excited about. They may tell you that you’re not good enough to reach your goals.
Few things are more painful than a friend or loved one that is unkind and unsupportive. If possible, try to have a conversation with this person about their behavior. In a healthy relationship, there’s room on both sides for honesty.
But if your loved one or friend still won’t be supportive, you should consider limiting how often you interact with them. If you do have to be around this person for some reason, try to have a nurturing activity planned for yourself later after your interaction.
Just like you can switch your iPod to a different song, you can change your thoughts about yourself from negative to positive. It takes a lot of work and it doesn’t happen immediately. But as you begin to focus on your positive qualities, you’ll experience a boost in your self-esteem and find it easier to believe in yourself.