Hear me when I say, I've been there.
Imagine that everything is finally looking up for you. You'd been in a dark space for so long and you were finally starting to see positive changes in your life. Your confidence was in the pits but you've managed to rebuild it to a level you've never imagined.
Something happens that completely shatters your confidence to the point that it feels you can't repair it. Your heart tells you that you're capable of anything, but your mind tells you that it's impossible to start over and build even stronger confidence.
So what do you listen to? Your heart or your mind?
This was me in April 2020.
My 'something' was an unexpected stroke at the age of 38. No warning or inclination that I was at risk. The culprit... the blood in my brain was too thick to pass through the vessels.
It was tough, the hardest experience I'd ever had in my life. Regardless of my doctors prognosis of 100% recovery, my mind wouldn't accept it because of what I was currently experiencing. Hemiparesis (weakness) on my dominant side; little to no movement on the side I depend on most.
Physical recovery should've been the hardest part of this journey but I would soon learn that mental acceptance was what would almost break me.
The craziest part of my stroke experience was that my self-awareness was extremely high (because of my limitations), but my self-confidence was extremely low.
Now, maybe that's what you also experienced during your 'something' that stole your confidence.
Your 'something' could be a divorce or bad breakup. A new job that you can't seem to grasp. Or maybe it's feeling like you aren't where you imagined you'd be at this point in your life.
Regardless of what it is, know that you ARE able to rebuild who you are. Your 'something' doesn't define you and you shouldn't let it. Easier said than done, I know.
You see, what I learned through this process was what my confidence was really rooted in. Perfectionism. And because of my stroke and my temporary physical limitations, I was no longer perfect. And that is where the crack in my confidence turned into shattered pieces.
The mental anguish of the experience was something I didn't know how to handle. How do I correct years of this perfectionism thinking to build this impenetrable confidence I desire?
That journey started by:
Like I mentioned above, my confidence was rooted in perfectionism. When things were 'perfect' my confidence was high, when they weren't it was low. Knowing this was the ONLY way I could begin to correct it.
I had to unlearn those unhealthy thoughts of, 'if it doesn't happen this way' or 'if I don't look a certain way' then I'm not perfect. Unfortunately so many interpret mishaps or bad experiences in their life as imperfect.
Yes, it's good to strive to be your best BUT don't place that tag of being perfect because then you put unnecessary pressure on yourself.
Now, once you've identified, you have to...
Now listen, this... THIS was the hardest step. Confronting meant dealing with my temporary limitations from my stroke. It meant confronting the fact that I could barely move my arm and leg and I needed help to do so.
It meant not being able to fully and independently care for myself.
How can I build confidence when I have to ask for help? What I didn't realize was asking for help is what ultimately started the rebuilding process.
I know that you may not want to confront your 'something' but that's the only way to break away from it.
Remember this: you can't address something you won't confront.
Once you do that, you're able to...
Making it through steps one and two you can now begin to reprogram your thought process.
For me, it was:
I don't have full movement on my right side BUT I'm committed to my therapy sessions in order to build my strength up.
For you, it could look like:
My relationship/marriage may have failed BUT I'm not a failure. This was a learning experience and I've learned things about myself.
I'm not where I want to be BUT I'm working towards completing my goals and becoming my best.
See how that goes?
Now, these are the main three steps I used to rebuild my confidence. It wasn't easy by far, but it was necessary. There were times I wanted to give up but my belief in myself didn't allow me to. The need to have my confidence make my self-awareness wouldn't allow me to.
That belief pushed me to show up for myself and I'm now 90% recovered and my confidence is at a level I never imagined. Most important part... I had to commit to and then DO the work.
And you can too.
So, now it's your turn! Grab your pen and notebook for some inside work.
I want you to:
IDENTIFY: what is my 'something' that has shattered my confront?
CONFRONT: think about why it shattered your confidence. If it's external in nature, commit to confronting it in the mirror.
EXTINGUISH: turn the negative aspects of your experience into positives.
Not to bad, right?
Commit to really being present in the exercise. Believe that you can and you will.
I'm rooting for you.
I'd love to hear your story! Leave a comment or feel free to reach me via social media at:
FB: Jaye Walker or Overcoming You