“Your thoughts determine your feelings and your feelings determine your actions. If you want to change your life, you have to control the way you think.”
For many people low self-esteem is at an all-time high. It is also the number one issue plaguing Christian Women, although you do not need to be a Christian to have low self-esteem. The most prominent causes of low self-esteem are trauma inflicted from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Your self-esteem is impacted profoundly by being forced into a physical or emotional position against your will, thus making it very hard to trust others. You may even think it’s your fault when that is the farthest thing from the truth.
When I was younger and even recently my confidence was shattered. After the abuse occurred and another man tried to take advantage of me at an early age, I felt shameful and unworthy. I also thought that maybe it was my fault. I would sit and wonder if I said something or did something that would make think it was ok to take advantage of me. Later on I realized I didn’t do anything to cause the abuse. This was just a sick man that wanted to take advantage of me.
My confidence was so shattered that I did not see the point to anything. I felt like I was nothing. I was just a body floating around. My experiences made me feel emotionless and my feelings paralyzed. Even in my relationships. It was so hard to trust someone and it stopped me from feeling a real genuine love for them. I was always afraid they would find out what happened and not want me anymore, so my love for them was kind of an emotionless love where I was afraid to display affection.
The pain I felt made me feel numb and that I would never be able to truly smile again. If you knew me personally I was always smiling and laughing and everyone loved that about me, but those moments never lasted long. Sure I could be genuinely happy for someone, but I felt like I was dying inside and thought “Why can’t I just smile again and mean it.”
At times there was nothing anyone could say or do to make me happy. I could have gotten a million dollars and I still would have felt empty inside. For a few years I was dependent on drugs, preferably cocaine and ecstasy to make me feel happy and excited about something. That was the only time I felt alive and could enjoy myself.
After years of feeling this way I came to a point where I couldn’t even stand myself and I really wanted to change my thought process. If you are a feeling the same way and don’t think you can recover and regain your confidence back and start feeling more in control of your life, I am here to tell you that you can recover and regain that confidence again. It does take time though. There are obviously no instant results. We know that all things take time and work.
You may have found ways to dissociate yourself and seclude; you may have found unhealthy ways to cope with the abuse or whatever circumstances that destroyed your confidence, but getting on the road to recovery is essential if you do suffer from a lack of confidence. Once you are on the road to recovery you then will see a boost of confidence and a joy that comes within. If you were confident before your circumstances, then your confidence can be restored and may even be greater than it was before.
Most of the times we focus on why we feel the way we do, like something somebody may have said or that traumatizing childhood memory. There may be people who need to seek professional help (and there is nothing wrong with that) before they can start the road to recovery. If you decide to seek professional help it’s not only important to find the root of the cause, but is also essential to focus on the recovery. Some people spend too much time focusing on why they feel the way they do instead of focusing on the recovery. If you need to seek professional help to figure out the root of the cause then absolutely do so. But, if you have already sought professional help and that part is no longer significant and you just want to move on and recover, just let the past go and concentrate on the recovery, because we all know we can’t change the past. What’s done is done. We have to focus on becoming healthier and more confident with ourselves.
“You can’t control your past, but you do have control over your future.”
Another condition you may suffer from along with a lack of confidence is anxiety. You need a lot of patience and understanding if you wish to recover from anxiety. You also need to understand that your mind and body becomes tired from all the things you may be trying to accomplish. How many of us feel completely drained from anxiety? It’s exhausting. Your mind is going in twenty million directions draining all the energy from you. You need to take a break from the battle that you are trying to fight within yourself.
When we are filled with anxiety a stress hormone is released into the bloodstream targeting specific areas causing physiological, psychological, and emotional responses which is known as the “fight or flight response.” To recover from these emotional responses you have to learn and apply recovery strategies that work for you. This can help understand what anxiety is and how your body responds to it.
Everyone is different and some people recover more quickly than others, but let it happen in its own time. Do not rush the process and put a time limit on it. Just be patient. You don’t have to fight this battle. Don’t let impatience hold you back. Even if old fears keep resurfacing, just let them go and don’t hang onto them. Some circumstances that you have suffered may be impossible to understand. You aren’t expected to understand. All that matters is you continue to find healthy ways to cope and feel as best as you can in your life right now.
I know everyone is not religious but, for me I try not to think about all the weaknesses in my life. Instead, I focus on who God wants me to be and what he wants to do in my life. There isn’t a better thing you can do to raise your confidence level than to start believing what God says about you. Often when I feel a certain way. I look up scripture with how I am feeling. For example, if I am anxious, then I look up scriptures for anxiety. As I read through the Bible I find a verse that speaks to me, I write it down on a card, look at it daily, and try to memorize it. Then I affirm it back to God. This has helped me tremendously. God always lead me to the right scripture that I need to hear to gain that confidence back.
Some days are easier than others and what makes sense one day won’t make sense the next. But don’t let your memories try to suck you back into old habits. Keep practicing your recovering strategies and accept that you may have a bad day here and there. Accept these days and keep practicing until your new habits are fully developed. You can regain that confidence back. Trust me, it worked for me and it can work for you. You just have to be patient and understanding with yourself and most of all DON’T GIVE UP!
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).
Talk it over:
- What can I start doing to strengthen my emotional balance? What can I stop doing?
- What is one small change I can make to this week that will help me feel in control of my life?
- What habits do I need to improve for the purpose of improving my happiness and confidence this year?