TAKE A GOOD LOOK around you... at nature. It’s all ragged edges and imperfections, but despite that you’ve got to admit; nature is pretty special!
A person with low self confidence tends to set themselves unreasonably high standards. They’re a perfectionist. This seriously undermines their confidence because nothing they do is ever quite good enough; therefore, they never give themselves credit for their achievements.
The thing about confidence – or the lack of it – is that it usually involves doing something new or unfamiliar, and with that comes plenty of potential for uncertainty. Think for a moment...
- How is it possible to do something perfectly when it’s something new or unfamiliar?
- How is it possible to do something perfectly when it involves uncertainty?
Setting yourself unrealistic standards means effectively setting yourself up for failure before you even start. It’s hardly inspiring, and it does nothing to encourage ‘giving it a go’. And if you do give it a go, the outcome is bound to be a disappointment and the whole exercise is probably never repeated.
Have you read Take Action, Do Something yet? If you have, you already know that the only way to build self confidence is to actually ‘do something’ and experience that amazing feeling of success and achievement yourself. So you can see just how damaging a perfectionist attitude is to building confidence because it discourages taking action.
Too small, too big
Another thing about being a perfectionist is that the little things often don’t count. They’re just not important enough to matter and not worth doing. Even if they are worth doing, they’re certainly not significant enough to warrant any credit. So you never experience that all important sense of progress and achievement.
On the other hand, the big things are way too scary to ever contemplate and are best avoided too. Even when you do attempt them it’s often a step too far, and with unrealistic expectations the outcome is bound to be a disappointment. So again, no sense of progress and achievement.
Small manageable steps is the way to go, and with plenty of recognition and self praise every step of the way, no matter how small.
Life rewards every sincere attempt to make it better!
Black and white thinking
“If it's not absolutely perfect then it's a disaster!”
Are they familiar words? It’s called ‘black and white’ thinking – one extreme or the other – but in life, things are rarely black or white. What about all those other shades in between?
The trouble with black and white thinking is that things are seldom absolutely brilliant, so that leaves only one other possibility; utter disaster! Left unchecked, this negative thinking style can erode self esteem and eventually lead to depression. Neither of these do anything to improve your level of self confidence.
Self to self comparison
When you tackle a task, do you choose somebody who’s really good at it – a real expert – and compare your performance to theirs? That’s simply being ridiculous, and it sets you up for failure yet again because nothing you do will ever measure up.
There’s only one person to compare your performance with; your own performance last week.
Having unrealistic expectations will guarantee disappointing outcomes, and that does nothing to inspire confidence and encourage perseverance. The key to good self confidence is therefore, having realistic, achievable standards and expectations.
Aim to be your best, but no better!
What do you want to do now
Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.
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