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Last Updated on August 26, 2020

5 Things to Remember When You Don’t Believe in Yourself

5 Things to Remember When You Don’t Believe in Yourself

When I picture life, I picture us all walking down our own winding path, pulling a wagon behind us. Each person’s wagon is filled with their self-belief and self-worth. Walking down the path of life, carrying our inner beliefs, we happily trundle along the path toward whatever our own goal is, but sometimes life isn’t so breezy.

It feels like it is so easy to get your wagon knocked over. You are there, trundling along with your wagon filled with nuggets of self-worth and self-esteem, walking purposefully towards your goals, and it can just take:

  • One person with one perfectly timed comment to knock your self-esteem
  • Someone you trust and respect to say something critical
  • A negative thought you have about yourself not being good enough
  • A comparative thought about yourself to other more successful people

…and your wagon gets tipped over.

You stand there looking at your self-esteem dumped all over the place, and you think, my god, how do I clean this all up? The wagon is too heavy to tip back up! I am not enough to do it all by myself. What if they are right? Doubt and self-loathing creep in, and instead of trying, you just sit down and look into the dark behind you, reliving all of your failures.

There can be many reasons that we don’t believe in ourselves:

  • We don’t believe in ourselves because someone told us we shouldn’t.
  • We fear failure, and we focus on all the times we have failed.
  • We focus on the lack in our life instead of the abundance.
  • We have never had the support to build up our self esteem in the first place.

It’s hard when you don’t believe in yourself. It’s hard to do anything when you don’t believe you can do it.

However, there have been so many times in your life where you didn’t believe in yourself and you had to prove yourself wrong. You had to get back up and flip the wagon over and prove to yourself that you could. You overcome obstacles before that were just a big as this one right now, so don’t be afraid of it.

When you’re having a hard time seeing the good in yourself, remember these 5 important things.

1. Opinions Aren’t Facts

At some point in your life, you believed in yourself, and you were feeling great. Then, someone came along and made you doubt yourself. They gave their opinion of you, and it hurt. You believed in yourself less and carried the hurt with you.

You need to understand that the comment was someone’s opinion, not a fact. Just because someone doesn’t see your worth doesn’t mean no one will. You can’t please everyone, so don’t even try.

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Someone had an opinion, and that’s okay. We are all entitled to opinions. But it wasn’t a fact. Don’t let that person’s negativity get absorbed into your estimation of yourself. Let it wash over you and float away.

Learn to take feedback critically and consider where there something you can use in the comment to change and grow as a person.

If the answer is yes, apply it and show gratitude that someone had the coconuts to tell you, and appreciate the fact that you have grown as a person.

If the answer is no, then let it go and ignore it. People perceive you from their level of perception. If they can’t handle you, that’s okay.

Here is an example:

Person 1: *Puts on a unique outfit with a bright floral pattern and walks out feeling confident.*

Person 2: “That outfit is really ugly; you must have no fashion taste.”

A critical comment appears and person 1’s self esteem is tested because something they care about and put love into has been received negatively.

Person 1: *internally thinks* Does this comment help me grow as a person? Is my outfit really ugly? Or is it just not to their taste? Do I stand by my outfit? Does it make me feel happy and cute?

It does, I like this outfit.

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Person 1: “Thank you for your opinion, but I love my outfit and it’s my unique style. See you in Vogue!”

They are just opinions, not facts. It’s your life, so live your truth. If people don’t like it, let it flow past you. By taking every negative comment and opinion personally, you won’t ever believe in yourself. If you are someone who is sensitive and takes comments on board easily, take a look at this article to help you understand and deal with your sensitivity: Why Am I So Sensitive.

2. Growth Takes Time

Give yourself a break. This is so important if you don’t believe in yourself. You are still growing, and you are learning, failing, and learning again. No one has all the answers, and there is no right way to do something. You are just growing, and you are going to make mistakes, and that doesn’t make you a bad person or a failure. It makes you a human who is growing.

Let go of perfectionism and the idea that you have to have it all together and be right all the time. That pressure is slowing you down and causing you to doubt yourself. Just breathe. You are where you are on your journey, and that is beautiful and it is enough.

Don’t let the pressure of expectation take away from your self-belief. You are not a list of all your successes and failures; you are so much more than that.

Failure is an event, not a personal characteristic.

Learn, grow, and let yourself fail. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect as that has never done anyone any good. Embrace your failure and know that you learned something and are moving forward.  There is comfort in having faith that everything will be all right in the future. Your self-belief will thrive when you release these unrealistic expectations.

3. Fear Can’t Stop You

Let’s chat about your fear. When you don’t believe in yourself, it is most likely that you are afraid to. To be yourself and put yourself out there, you risk being criticized for who you are. That is scary, and as we learned from opinions, it can really damage your self-belief.

Believing in yourself takes bravery; you have to be the one who pushes you forward and believes in you. If you don’t, you just stand still. You have to believe in yourself to move forward, and fear holds you back.

  • Fear holds you back from trying in case you fail.
  • Fear stops you letting go of opinions in case they are right and you will have to go through this again.
  • Fear stops you moving forward.

Let go of fear. Adventure forward with careless abandon. Face your fears one by one and say “I see you fear, and I know everything I want is on the other side of you. I see you, and I am afraid, but I am going to face you and move past you anyway and face the consequences of my actions because I believe in myself, and I can handle anything.”.

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Never fear failure; failure is just another opportunity to try again, except this time more wisely. It is the best teacher and the fastest way to succeed. Have a healthy relationship with failure and you will have a better relationship with your inner courage.

4. You Are Unique

You are unique, and I say this with all the passion in the world. You are different; you walk down your own unique and wonderful path. Not everyone is going to understand it, but that is how history is made. It is made by people who no one believed in, who stood up, defied fear and doubt and said what they believed.

You don’t have to have support to believe in yourself. You can connect with what you believe in, and if you believe it strongly enough, you can achieve anything. When you don’t believe in yourself, just remember, you are still important and unique, and you still matter.

Don’t give up on your journey because not everyone understands it. Keep connected to the knowledge that you are important and you matter.

5. You Are Capable of Restarting

Your self-esteem has been knocked, and you are at a place full of self-doubt. It’s time to let go of these doubts, fears, and self-loathing thoughts so you can move forward. It is time to reset your mindset and life. Draw a line in the sand and refuse to let self-doubt cross it.

Step 1: Acknowledge How You Feel

Acknowledge all of your fears, doubts, and negative thoughts or feelings about yourself. Write them down and face them, all of them.

Step 2: Redefine

Look at these fears and write counter statements.

For example:

Fear: I am afraid that if I try to build this new business, I will fail. I don’t think I have what it takes.

Counter Statement: I may fail, but the pain of not trying will be harder than the pain of failing. I would rather try and fail then never try. It is what I want, and it is worth the risk. I can do this. I have come back from failure before, stronger and wiser. I let go of this fear.

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Make sure your counter statement is empowering. Make it personal so when you read it, you feel passionate and energized. This will give you the energy to overpower the self-doubt.

Step 3: Let It Go

Let each fear, doubt, and negative thought go. Let go of the heavy weights that are holding you down so that you can move forward with excitement rather than dread.

Now that you feel 100% times lighter, you can pick yourself up and keep moving along your path. Step by step, focus on the next right thing to do to work towards your goal. Don’t look up the mountain and become overwhelmed.

If you want some tips on how to improve your self esteem, here’s is an article that can help: How You Can Improve Your Self-Esteem Instantly

Bonus: Simple Steps to Believe in Yourself More

Check out this episode of The Lifehack Show where Justin talks about how to believe in yourself more:

Final Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. When your self esteem is low, it can be really hard to nurture it all by yourself. Sometimes you need a confidence boost from someone who does believe in you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling and ask for support.

Something to always remember is that your self-belief comes from you, and no one can take it away without your consent. You have the power to validate yourself and your self-esteem and the power to ignore the negativity in the pursuit of your own goals.

More Tips on Believing in Yourself

Featured photo credit: Artem Maltsev via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Stop Being a Perfectionist (Step-by-Step Guide)

If you’ve found your way to this article, I’m guessing you consider yourself a perfectionist. And if you’re reading about how to stop being a perfectionist, you also know your drive for perfection can be as much a curse as it is a blessing.

Like any natural force of nature (e.g., wind, fire, or water), too much of anything can lead to chaos. When the rain waters the earth, for instance, think about how it revives and brings new life to everything it touches. But excessive rain can cause flooding and leave a trail of devastation in its wake.

The same principle is true with perfectionism. You already know the benefits of being meticulous, detail-oriented, conscientious, and successful. The challenge comes when pursuing these things does not lead to a sense of well-being and fulfillment.

Continually striving to get everything right and be the best can come at a high cost and affect your personal relationships, health, and well-being adversely.

I’ve worked with many highly-successful people quick to identify themselves as perfectionists — striving for the perfect life, the perfect relationship, the perfect body, the perfect email, the perfect image, or to be the perfect student, the perfect wife, the perfect employee… You get the point.

They are talented people whose relentless drive has helped them achieve many great things. Although others may be in awe of their achievements, they talk about feeling stressed and anything but perfect.

Listening to clients’ experiences, I’ve seen very clearly that striving for perfection is destined to bring pain, exhaustion, and a sense of failure because it is unattainable. There’s no finish line, checkbox, or wrap party. (Even if it were attainable, and there was a party, would there be anyone left to celebrate with?)

What Is Perfectionism?

The dictionary defines perfectionism as “the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.” One study describes it as “an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others.”[1] Perfectionism is an unrelenting need to meet your or others’ expectations of yourself.

Refusal. Irrational. Unrelenting. These words represent difficult feelings for anyone to live with daily. These feelings can be attributed to the underlying fear and belief that they will never be good enough.

As author and speaker, Brené Brown shares on Oprah’s Lifeclass:[2]

“When perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun and fear is the annoying backseat driver….[perfectionism] is “a way of thinking…if I look perfect, live perfect, work perfect, do it perfect, I can avoid or minimize shame, criticism, blame, judgement or ridicule…perfectionism is a 20-ton shield that we carry around hoping it will keep us from being hurt. When in truth, it keeps us from being seen.”

So, how do you harness your perfectionist powers for good? How do you honor your drive, ambition, and motivation without causing undue stress, frustration, and pain?

9 Steps on How to Stop Being a Perfectionist

As you read the following steps, remember that it isn’t about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, it’s about thinking deeper and wider about how you can keep those high standards without experiencing negative consequences.

1. Acknowledge

A mentor once told me that awareness is 90% of the solution.

When you are aware, and you acknowledge something in your life, it loses its power over you. When you bring it from an unconscious pattern to a conscious choice, you are now back in the driver’s seat.

how to stop being a perfectionist

    2. Understand

    Seek to understand what fuels your perfectionist nature. What’s your core driver?

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    There’s a reason why you are striving for perfection. Perhaps you learned that you needed to achieve that somewhere along the way or someone praised you at some point, and such comments made you feel worthy, validated, and recognized.

    Many strive to be perfect to fill a need for love, or a lack of self-esteem. I learned that much of my own perfectionist behavior came from my fear of getting rejected, even though it was ironically causing the rejection I was trying to avoid.[3]

    Take Action:

    Consider what drives your perfectionism. Being a perfectionist – no matter how painful or problematic it becomes – is likely serving you in some way, so try to understand the reasons behind it.

    3. Identify Consequences

    Based on an article, perfectionism can cause low productivity, troubled relationships, lack of confidence, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts.[4] This drive you pride yourself on can come at a cost. When you identify and acknowledge the consequences of your perfectionism, it compels your mind to want to do something about it.

    How is perfectionism impacting your health and wellness? Have you missed opportunities to do something new out of fear that you wouldn’t do it perfectly? Is your pursuit of perfection causing friction in your relationships with your partner, kids, or friends? How is this trait sitting with your co-workers?

    As a leader and team consultant, I’m highly aware of how those perfectionist tendencies can be career-limiting if not recognized and managed.

    Take Action:

    Identify three negative consequences of perfectionism on your life, career, health, or relationships.

    4. Know You Are Enough

    Many people beat themselves up for not being ‘enough’ of something; for example pretty, fit, rich, successful, at home, etc. This is the inner critic’s voice. But guess what? That little voice that tells you that you’re not enough is wrong!

    You are enough. You are more than enough. You were born enough and will always be enough. You are deserving of love, happiness, and success, regardless of the things you do or how perfect you are. It might not be believable right now, but deep down, some part of you knows this to be true.

    I know it’s not easy. As a perfectionist, you tend to see what’s wrong before you see what’s right, including the one wrong question on the test, the single typo in your winning presentation to the team, or the three pounds you didn’t lose versus the seven you did.

    But instead of focusing on what went wrong, why don’t you acknowledge all the things you’re doing right? At least do that before you try to figure out how to make future improvements!

    Your new mantra: progress over perfection

    Take Action:

    Acknowledge your successes, talents, and strengths. Every day for 30 days, write down three things you are good at and what you like about yourself. These can be personality traits (kind, loving, hard-working); strengths (writing, speaking, your job); or wins from the day or lifetime achievements.

    Check out these articles for more tips, insights, and strategies to build your self-esteem and confidence.

    5. Do Your Best Every Day

    how to stop being a perfectionist

      Over the years, Dad has shared countless words of wisdom with me. However, “do your best every day” is the piece of advice I rely on the most. I’ve called my dad many times, worried about something that happened, beating myself up or second-guessing a decision. Here’s how our conversation goes every time:

      Dad: Did you do your best?

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      Me: Yes.

      Dad: That’s all you can do. You can’t control what happens from here.

      That’s it. Simple, right? But if you really stop to think about this, it’s a powerful way to stop being a perfectionist.

      When you do your best, you can rest, knowing you did everything you could. You can live with no regrets. Sure, you might want to do things better next time, and there are likely areas of improvement, but it’s just that — next time. You can’t change what has already happened, so using energy to beat yourself up about it achieves absolutely nothing.

      Take Action:

      Next time you beat yourself up over something you’ve already said or done imperfectly, ask yourself,

      “Did I do my best that I could [with what I had, with what I knew]?”

      If the answer is a resounding yes, then permit yourself to let go, move on, and use your time and energy to make things better next time.

      6. Switch

      Replace perfection with something more significant and attainable.

      Take a conversation I had with a friend of mine about my daughter, who is a successful and awarded competitive gymnast.

      Friend: Is she going to be in the Olympics?

      Me: No, she isn’t.

      Friend: Then, why does she spend so much time at the gym?

      Me: Because she loves it.

      Friend: Yes, but if she’s not going to the Olympics, why the waste of time and money?

      Me: Well, you run your own company, right?

      Friend: Yes.

      Me: Will your company be the best and most recognized one in your industry?

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      Friend: No, of course not. You know we’re a small company.

      Me: If you are aware of that, why would you keep the company running at all?

      That’s when she got it, but I was still concerned by her logic.

      “If my daughter won’t be THE BEST in the ENTIRE WORLD, why would she even do the sport at all?”

      Is this what our kids are hearing from us? If they won’t play NFL football, sing on a sold-out stage at Madison Square Garden, or display their work on the Guggenheim, why on earth would they continue pursuing sports, singing, or art, respectively?

      If you talk with my daughter, you will quickly learn that she does the sport because she loves the challenge. It pushes her body to the limit, and she finds joy, satisfaction, and purpose by going to the gym. I love that she loves it and know that she is learning life lessons that will serve her future success.

      Why not replace your drive for perfection with something much deeper and more significant?

      Take Action:

      Make the switch and identify what’s really important to you. Perhaps you can replace your drive for perfection with purpose, kindness, joy, fulfillment, contribution, or love. What resonates the most with you?

      7. Embrace Failure

      You’ve likely heard countless stories of successful people who have used their failures as a stepping stone for success.

      Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for television.” And, in the words of Michael Jordan:[5]

      “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

      Most successful leaders, entrepreneurs, and elite athletes will tell you that failure has made them successful. Embracing failure is, of course, easier said than done.

      In one of my first jobs out of college, I worked on a project to get more people into a program I helped create. I was convinced it was awesome, and we could easily fill seats. I spent time, money, and energy trying to get it off the ground but to very little effect.

      I was embarrassed, defeated, and felt like a complete failure: I had let the company and myself down. One day, wallowing in self-pity, I called my mentor and told him what had happened.

      He said,

      “Tracy, failure is an event, not a person.”

      That single sentence has stuck with me throughout my career.

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      If you are growing and striving (which you likely are), you will fail a lot in your life. You will make mistakes, mess up, and let others down.

      When that happens, remember that you have made a mistake, but you are not the mistake.

      8. Celebrate Imperfection

      What if your greatest weakness was actually your greatest strength? What if your adversity is your advantage?

      In the famous 1937 personal development book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Napoleon talks about his son, Blair, who had a birth defect. He had no physical signs of ears and was destined to be deaf and mute.[6]

      Napoleon believed, “His affliction was not a liability, but an asset of great value.” He also thought that “every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.”

      While he had no idea how his son’s affliction could become an asset, Napoleon had faith that it would. And he was right — Blair went on to lead an incredible, successful life. He attained his hearing and lived life on a mission to bring hope and help to the deaf and hard of hearing, positively affecting millions.

      Think of all the people who have overcome imperfections. Think of those who have inspired you many times. Often, our vulnerabilities and ability to overcome struggles and fears can create not only inspiration and hope but also a connection with others.

      “We cannot connect through this façade called perfection. Now more than ever, we are craving connection, but it is in the imperfect moments that our hearts speak to each other and the lessons are learned.” — Petra Kolber

      9. Step Back

      Chances are, sometimes your perfectionism gets a hold of you. Like a runaway train, you don’t even realize you are wasting time, money, or energy on something that doesn’t need to be perfect.

      When this happens, here are a few proven ways to get perspective.

      • Don’t do an A+ job on a C-level task. Identify what’s needed and decide on what is really important. After that, let the rest go. In economics, this is called the law of diminishing returns. It is the point at which the level of profits or benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.
      • Learn to satisfice (yes, that is a word). In his book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz talks about the power of satisficing instead of maximizing. Maximizers want to make the absolute best decision, while satisficers seek to find what is “good enough.” They know there is never a perfect choice, so they seek a decision that meets most of their needs or requirements. When you learn to satisfice instead of maximizing, you can make better, faster decisions with less regret.
      • When all else fails, meditate. Meditation has become the cure for all that ails you, and there’s a good reason why. It allows you to calm your thoughts, achieve greater clarity, reduce fear and anxiety, and create a silence that enables you to access your true self. Simply put, meditation will help you quiet your perfectionist tendencies, reduce your worries, and return your mind to a healthy state of balance.

      We Are All a Work-in-Progress

      You are human. Simply by being a human, you cannot be perfect.

      We are not finished “things” — we are ever-evolving beings. There will always be room for improvement, mistakes, and something new to learn. Like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill, perfectionism is never-ending.

      How to stop being a perfectionist when you are already one?

      Instead of focusing on perfection, focus on the learning, the growth, and the journey, and strive to be the best version of yourself every day.

      I’ll leave you with this beautiful passage from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life:

      “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.”

      More on Ending Perfectionism

      Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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