These mental habits of thinking and talking to your self are very common mistakes. And they do wreck your confidence, perhaps without your realizing it. The remedies usually take some practice, but the resulting increase in confidence is completely worth the effort.

1. Be nasty to yourself. Call yourself ugly names. Swear at yourself. Put yourself down in the mistaken belief that it will make you do better. It does not. It just makes you feel wrong, feel bad, feel ashamed and then you get defensive inside. You get stuck in the past in the mistake.
Unfortunately, many parent use this technique with their children, so the kids learn to do it to themselves first to avoid the pain of name calling.
You can’t control what your parent did, if they were guilty of this, but you do have the choice to retrain yourself to use the remdy.

Remedy: If you make a mistake, choose to learn from it. This strategy gives you a direction and increases your confidence, because you have deliberately thought about how to do better in the future. Learning from your mistakes is empowering.

2. Overestimate your ability, so you crash and burn when reality hits. Researchers James C. Kaufman and Michelle Evans in Psychology Today named this self-delusion, “The American Idol Effect”.

This seems to be a more frequent tactic as parents often have an unrealistic assessment of their child’s ability. The young adult’s over-estimation of their ability is supported by the parents doing the same thing. this, too, is very evident in the early weeks of “American Idol”.

Remedy: Get reality checks from people you trust to give you good, honest feedback that helps you sharpen your skills and legitimately build up your confidence.

3. Habitually avoid something every time you are afraid or anxious. There are times when the wisest course of action is to avoid. Do this all the time, however, and your confidence will vanish. When you habitually avoid, you are choosing to let fear rule your mind.

Remedy: “Do something every day that scares you,” advised Eleanor Roosevelt. I would add to her wisdom, “…and be smart about it.” Exercise your confidence muscle every day by doing something that is just a little bit scary for you. Build on each day for the accumulation of strength and confidence.

4. Always stay in your comfort zone. Your world will get smaller and smaller as you become less and less confident of yourself and your abilities. The danger of a comfort zone is that you become too comfortable. The confidence muscle atrophies and it becomes harder and harder to take even a small risk.

Remedy: Move out of your comfort zone just inches at a time instead of miles. Just a few inches a day everyday will enhance your confidence quotient.

5. Constantly worry about all the things you cannot control. You are sure to lose confidence as you relentlessly focus on all the times and places that you are powerless. Worry enough and you are expending enormous amounts of energy obsessing about those things you cannot control.

Remedy: Acknowledge what you cannot do and then move on. Identify what you can do in the situation. It takes some thought and may not be easy to change your focus, but your confidence will dramatically progress as you practice this kind of thinking. This idea is poetically expressed in the Serenity Prayer.

Confidence Tip: EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, is a very effective method for quickly curing these mental patterns.

© 2011 Lynn Kennedy Baxter

Author's Bio: 

Visit Lynn Kennedy Baxter, BSN, MA High Performance Coach and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist at for more confidence through guided imagery, articles, EMDR, EFT and Skype coaching. She is dedicated to working with individuals to guide and support the creation of being confident for a better life in their personal life, in sports, taking tests, public speaking, the performing arts, sales and entrepreneurship.