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7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

7 Ways Successful People Regain Their Self-Confidence After Major Setbacks

We are all sensitive souls. No matter how successful or talented we are, an unexpected setback can directly impact our self-confidence. When things have been going well and then suddenly take a turn for the worse, rebounding can take some concerted effort.

Successful people understand this and deploy impressive tactics to bounce back after huge setbacks and rebuild their self-confidence.

1. They reaffirm themselves

One thing most successful people know is that failure happens to the best of us. It’s nothing personal. If you haven’t failed at something before, it means you’ve never tried anything. Just because you failed doesn’t mean that you are a failure. Successful people visualize their desired situation and reaffirm that their dreams and goals are credible. When the momentary negative feelings of “I can’t do it” arise, they assert: “Yes I can.”

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By using this strategy consciously and intently, they influence their subconscious mind, bringing it back to center, transforming their behavior, and reshaping their attitude and reactions. After all, there’s a lot of truth in the words, “Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life.”

2. They take a break and do other activities that they enjoy

Successful people often take some time out to de-stress after major setbacks. This gives them a reprieve from the failure, soothes their ego, stirs their creativity, and helps them get a sense for what truly matters in life. They surround themselves with positive, supportive people and make time for simple pleasures like fishing, reading, organizing charities, or just hanging out with their family.

Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington are among the many successful people who love to unplug from technology and read a book. They say it helps them unwind and take the edge off after a particularly busy or stressful day. Bungled attempts, lost business, and negative feedback seem to have less of a toll after this.

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3. They reflect on their past successes and failures

Successful people like to reflect not only on their success stories, but also on their failures. That’s because both bring learning opportunities. By reflecting on these experiences, you become much more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You become conscious of your personal quirks, your blind spots, and are better able to explain your insecurities — informing your best course of action going forward.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first TV job as an anchor in Baltimore. While reflecting on her experience, she came to the conclusion that she needed to create her own TV channel, which paid off magnificently. Today, she is a household name and a self-made billionaire in the media industry.

4. They forgive themselves

A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggests that the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes is the key driver of success. Many successful people know this and practice self compassion. They don’t beat themselves up too much after making a mistake. That’s because they know that being too harsh on yourself does nothing but dent your confidence further and make it harder for you to bounce back to winning ways.

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Truly successful people learn and move on precisely because they know how to forgive themselves first. It’s just as bad to be mean to yourself as it is to be mean to others. The moment you realize this and learn to forgive yourself is the moment you give yourself permission to rise again and make things happen.

5. They manage their self doubt

When successful people make a mistake or suffer a major setback, they analyze what they are feeling and frame strong arguments to tame negative self-talk and doubt. Many write down their fears and concerns as clearly and succinctly as possible and challenge them calmly and rationally. If their worries and doubts dissolve under scrutiny, that’s great. However, if the worries are based on genuine risks, they set additional measures to manage these appropriately.

There’s something about this approach that boosts confidence and makes the worst of setbacks seem surmountable. It was Confucius who observed that, “Those who think they can and those who think they can’t are both usually right.” As you think, so shall you become.

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6. They re-create their approach

Insanity is defined as trying the same thing again and again but expecting different results every time. Successful people know better than that. They constantly recreate their approach and deploy new ways of doing things based on what they’ve learned in the past. This means the best, clearly-thought out plan, solution, program, or system possible to boost confidence and propel them to success.

Thomas Edison would not have become one of America’s most renowned inventors were it not for his exemplary attitude toward failure, unwavering persistence, and willingness to recreate and try new ways to achieve his goals. He is famously quoted saying, “I have not failed; I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That was the secret to his success as a standout inventor and businessman who developed many life-changing devices, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb.

7. They get back up on their feet and commit themselves to success

After all is said and done, successful people get back up on their feet and continue with the journey. They don’t stay down. They might start over a bit more cautiously after huge setbacks, but they start. Then, they accelerate towards success as their confidence is reborn. The simple act of starting and making small, steady steps forward, armed with lessons learned from past setbacks, rebuilds and rejuvenates their self belief. They eventually begin to stretch themselves, make the goals a little bit bigger along the way.

Musical artist Bob Marley was shot in his own hometown two days before a major public performance. What did he do? He defiantly walked out on stage anyway. His reason for doing so was simple, yet powerful: “The people who are trying to make the world worse never take a day off. Why should I?”

That was arguably the point at which he became a legend. Every step you take after a huge setback is a testament to your resolve. Every win is a reward for your commitment.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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