Confidence is your ability to trust in yourself, your judgment and your abilities. It contributes to optimism about the future, willingness to take risks, and the ability to learn from your past — all things that support divorce recovery.
It’s normal to find your self-confidence level on life support in the aftermath of divorce. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reclaim your trust in yourself and boost your self-image. Here’s a simple three-step plan:
Step 1: Look at All You’ve Done
Think back over your life and make a list of all the things you’ve done that contributed to your own good and the good of others. It can be anything, big or small, that made you feel proud or gave you a glow of satisfaction. Maybe you always check in on your elderly neighbor, or last year your boss picked you to lead a team, or when you were 10, you taught yourself how to play the guitar—include all of it. Here are some prompts to get you started:
- Ways you bettered yourself
- Ways you contributed to others
- Goals you met/things you’ve accomplished
- Difficult things you faced/obstacles you’ve overcome
- Things that scared you that you did anyway
- Lives you’ve touched with kindness/times you were “there” for someone
- Things you’ve created
Keep the list close by and add to it. When you’re feeling wobbly, pull out the list and use it to remind yourself that you are capable of so much.
Step 2: Take an Inventory of Your Natural Gifts
We all have gifts and talents, things we are great at without even trying. Our own gifts are so effortless that we often take them for granted. When you’re really good at something, you tend to minimize it by assuming that everyone can do it. Not true. Not everyone can do a math problem in their head, soothe an anxious dog, or tell a funny story.
Your gifts point you toward the unique contribution that only you can make to the others around you. By acknowledging them, you can use them intentionally and with joy and gratitude. The more you can use them, the more fun and meaningful your life will become. And the more self-confident you’ll feel.
Think about these statements and how you would complete them:
__________________________has always been easy and effortless for me.
I always known I’m pretty good at__________________________.
Whenever I _______________________, I feel very capable and competent.
____________ puts me in the ‘zone’ where I don’t even notice the passage of time.
Others always tell me I’m good at _____________________________.
If there was an _____________________channel on TV, I could be the host!
I’m so interested in _______________________, I learn about it just for fun.
I’m always the one who gets asked to ___________________because I’m best at it
Next, ask a few close friends and family members what they think your top three gifts are. They are on the receiving end of your talents and may have a perspective you haven’t thought about before.
Make a list of your gifts and keep it where you can see it. Remember, no gift is too small to include. All are worth acknowledging and appreciating. Once you’ve started becoming more aware of your natural abilities, think of ways to use them in your daily life. If you haven’t already, you may even decide to take one of your innate talents to master level through study and practice.
Step 3: Set Small Goals and Complete Them, Repeat
One of the easiest ways to prove to yourself that you can count on yourself is by setting goals and meeting them. Start with easy goals and take the steps you need to achieve them. Schedule lunch with a friend, clean out a shelf in the garage, or eat veggies twice a day for five days straight. Whatever sounds fun and doable is on the table.
Aim for some small achievements that you can tick off a list to help you gain confidence in your ability to get stuff done and keep commitments to yourself. Later, after you’ve had some success, move on to bigger goals.
Now that you know what to do, it’s time to get started. Think of practicing confidence-building like you think of exercising to get and keep your body in shape. It’s worth the effort! When you believe in yourself and your abilities, you take smart risks, achieve important goals and develop meaningful relationships with those around you. You’ve got this.
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