Regaining your self-confidence after a challenging year

15 JAN 2021

The past 12 months have brought more challenges than we ever could have expected or have likely experienced before. While these events have been a shared experience worldwide, many of us have also been impacted individually.

The pandemic changed the course of the year for the entire world and while some flourished and thrived with new-found opportunities, others took a hit to their self-confidence and mental health. Our telephone crisis supporters at Lifeline WA heard the direct impact on Western Australians for themselves while also managing their own health. So, as we look back on the year, we need to look back in pride and regain confidence in ourselves for the year to come because no achievement is too small.
What is self-confidence and why is it important?

While all are important, self-confidence is different to self-efficacy and self-esteem. Self-confidence is the trust you have in your own abilities, capacities, and belief that you can successfully face day-to-day challenges and demands. Self-confidence also brings about more happiness, because when you are confident in your abilities you are happier due to your successes.

With so much uncertainty this year, many of us may have retreated to what we know, to our comfort zones. We do this because we know what to expect and we feel safe, but this can be a hindrance on the maintenance and growth of self-confidence. The less we experience opportunities for mistakes and failure the more fearful we become of what could happen if we step outside of our comfort zone.

If you have found that your self-confidence has been depleted during this year, you may need to rely on courage when stepping out of your comfort zone.

“To build confidence, you have to practise confidence”

How do you build Self-confidence?

Working towards higher self-confidence is difficult if you’re struggling to overcome insecurity, fear, and negative self-talk, but it’s not impossible. With reflection, hard work, and a shift in perception, a stronger belief in ourselves can be found.

Take a look at your achievements

Make a list of all the things you’re proud of in your life. Be sure to identify achievements across many areas of your life including professional, personal, family, social and spiritual. Keep in mind that you don’t need to have had success to have achieved something. Maybe while in lockdown you tried a new hobby but found that, for whatever reason, it wasn’t for you. Trying something new and getting out of your comfort zone is the achievement in that situation. When you’re not feeling confident in yourself you can look at the list and keep adding to it to help remind you how amazing you are.

What are you good at?

Reflecting on what you’re good at and trying to build on those skills will help you to gain confidence in your own abilities. Not sure what your strengths are?

Try answering some of the following questions:

  • What do you like to do? How do you spend your free time?
  • Why do you enjoy doing these activities?
  • What comes to you naturally?
  • What skills do you use in work or study?

Time to set some goals

Set your goals and set out the steps you need to take to achieve them. Setting ‘SMART’ goals are an effective way of working out just how to achieve your goals. See the link for more information on how to do this: Remember, bigger isn’t always better.

Talk kindly to yourself

Negative self-talk affects your confidence. Think about how you are talking to yourself and try to replace negative talk with positive encouragement. Talk to yourself as you would a friend. Would you berate a friend for the same things you criticise yourself for? If you would have compassion with a loved one in your situation, try and show the same compassion for yourself.

Hobbies are for everyone

It may be time to dust off those roller skates, or find your knitting needles or crochet hook, because finding something you enjoy and are really passionate about can help you build confidence, skills and achieve goals.

The take-aways?

A healthy sense of self-confidence is not something that we achieve once and then just have for the rest of our lives. Like a muscle, you must keep working at it.

Everybody’s situation is different and sometimes the quick fixes don’t help in the long term. If you’re not feeling good about yourself and things just don’t seem to be improving, you can talk to a professional who may help you find strategies that work for you. You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14, available 24/7 for support.