- Low Self-Esteem
- Self-Help Strategies
- Bipolar disorder
When you’re lacking in confidence, it can be very difficult to see the world as it really is. Self-doubt can be overpowering, making you question everything you do.
This can make it very difficult to gain a realistic picture of things; you can become prone to thinking the worst of yourself and others, replaying what you do and say in your mind and repeatedly questioning your judgement. This self-doubt can be yet another source of stress when you are already struggling.
Grounding your opinions
One of the problems with depression, low confidence and self-esteem is that you typically see the world in terms of your state of mind. If you’re feeling depressed, that will essentially be the lens through which you look at yourself and other people. Your mood is like a pair of dark glasses – it colours the way you see and interpret things. Consequently, your opinion can become anything but rational.
This common phenomenon, known as ‘emotional reasoning’ – viewing the world in the light of your existing emotions, rather than your emotions being determined by what happens to you – can be checked by introducing some objectivity.
Ask yourself what the evidence is for your judgement being correct, or otherwise? How have people actually reacted? (Depending on who they are, you could even ask them.) What would you think of another person in your position? We often have some surprising double standards. For example, many people who won’t ask for help because they don’t want to be a burden are all too happy to give others help, at their own expense.
Looking at the reality of it
One classic case is feeling incompetent at work. Ongoing stress or another kind of knock to your confidence can really undermine your confidence in the workplace. If self-doubt makes you question every decision you make, ask yourself whether this is because you are acting any differently from when you previously carried out your job competently and confidently, or whether it is simply a confidence issue.
Either way, what is the evidence that it is a problem? Have your colleagues or clients mentioned it, or have any other indicators of performance changed?
Of course, it’s quite possible that stress of one sort or another has affected your performance in some way, something you should not ignore if it has occurred.
However, this does not necessarily reflect on your judgement and capabilities per se – it’s more likely that the difficulties you’ve encountered have undermined your confidence, rather than your low confidence being a reflection of your changed ability to do your job.