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What are some good ways to build confidence as an adult?

Specifically, how to stop assuming everyone is somehow better than you and has their stuff together more than you do, even if there is no basis for those thoughts?

I have definitely struggled with confidence issues since I was a teen and it is frustrating and disappointing for me that I'm nearly 30 now and still dealing with these issues, even if I've improved over the years. I also unfortunately come off unconfident according to others, and confidence is not something that is easy for me to fake, especially in the sort of cocky way a lot of people do (that is just completely unnatural feeling for me and I don't want to overdo it or act arrogant at all).

For those who can (or used to) relate, what have you done that has helped you get past this? I admittedly let stupid things people have said to/about me in my past still rent space in my head and am trying hard to not put stock into that, especially since most of it was completely untrue and came from unreliable sources, but it's quite a battle. I also unfortunately allow every dumb mistake or embarrassing thing I've said/done rent space in my head, though I know I need to accept that I've learned from it and am better now and move on. I also struggle with negative self talk and have for years, though I've started really getting onto myself about that recently. Is there anything you've found if you've struggled with these issues that has helped set you on the right track and away from these intrusive thoughts? I've been trying to "correct" them in my head, like by telling myself that I'm a human being that makes mistakes and that I've learned from them and do better now, so I don't need to beat myself up over them.

Heartlander · 80-89, M
I think it helps to try to understand where that feeling came from. For middle children it just may be that you were treated since birth as the “other” child, Or you were treated like a smuck by older kids. Or maybe just that parent weren’t as enthusiastic about their 2nd, 3rd,… etc child as they were for the first born.

Wherever it started, finding that start may give you a starting place for undoing.
BnBSpringer09 · 26-30, F
@Heartlander Thank you for your response!

I think mine stems from junior high and high school. It's a really, really long story, but basically I had some really rough growing pains that caused me to be extremely socially awkward and anxious, I was subsequently medicated and became very irritable and acted out due to this at times, and I was treated by teachers and counselors I was forced to see as if I was not as good or capable as other kids (and part of my acting out was due to this, because I was very insulted and hurt by the treatment). I was constantly told I couldn't do certain things on my own (and not allowed to), and felt very infantilized and that people saw and treated me as mentally disabled. I fortunately got away from the SSRIs that were causing my mood swings and depression, which was the beginning of things being much better for me, but the way I was treated as if something was wrong with me and as if I was unintelligent has left a bad mark on me, unfortunately. I have a really hard time believing in myself now and my default is to believe I'm incapable and unintelligent, even if it's not true and I've been very successful in my adult life (much more so than what any of those people believed I would be).

I know I should leave behind things from school because I'm in a completely different stage of life now and it's been many years now, but I can't seem to stop letting those doubts that were planted in me then creep into my head. :(
Heartlander · 80-89, M
@BnBSpringer09 It sure seems like people can be too much in a hurry to diagnose kids who may not fit within a standard deviation, and then start treatment. The smartest thing we ever did was start our kids tn school with good Montessori programs. Our daughter didn't see her 1st report card until she was in the 5th grade. School was about discovery and adventures and diving into whatever the interest at the moment. So many of the subjects that schools push too hard on are things that come naturally to curious kids. "When the student is ready the teacher will appear." o't put the cart in front of the horse.

We start judging children way too early, whether it's because they aren't walking or talking yet or reading yet, or not meeting expectations. There was a time when they even lobotomized kids who had behavior or anxiety issues; issues because they hadn't yet figured out ow to deal with frustration, or because they had ambitions that jumped ahead of their physical ability, and what they needed was someone to soothe their frustration rather than nudge it.

I'm so sorry that you had to go through that. Give yourself a big pat on the back for coming to the awareness that you may not have been treated well as a kid.
BnBSpringer09 · 26-30, F
@Heartlander Thank you so much, it really means a lot. I completely agree that there is too much of a hurry to diagnose kids who deviate from the "norm" in any sort of way, and from my experience, all they are doing is harm with this kind of stuff. Though I know they weren't right about me and I've definitely proven it as an adult, those thoughts come creeping back in at times, especially when I make a mistake. I'm continuing to work on it, though!
in10RjFox · M
To begin with, someone who lacks self confidence won't be able to articulate so much about themselves.

[quote]I've been trying to "correct" them in my head, like by telling myself that I'm a human[/quote]

This is where the problem is for you are your own patient and doctor. So you need to stop analysing yourself psychologically, because you are not a problem for someone else but you yourself.

So instead of being introverted, get extroverted. Start making more friends and get involved in the life of others. Offer to help or support and they will help you boost your confidence.
iamnikki · 31-35, F
Is there anything that you do well? If so, improve on that.

I'm currently working on improving my body. My goal is to be super toned by the end of the year.
Looking your best will definently help with confidence.
Try and smile more. I need to do that as well. People think I'm mean, rude etc but I just do not have a smiley type face. I "make" myself smile by thinking of something funny.

My inbox is open if you need a chat buddy
Mudkip · 31-35, M
The way I see it, is that your life and your personal experiences are yours only. In life, you're not competing with anyone and everyone has their own path in life. The most important thing is your health, both mentally and physically. Keep that up with a healthy dose of everything else and you'll see improvement in your confidence.
Heartlander · 80-89, M
Another thought is that maybe you overtasked yourself as a kid, a teen; or maybe others, parents, teachers, etc., overtasked you to a point of failure when you couldn't keep the balls juggled and you may have lacked the skill to manage all that you were trying to carry.

So like someone could be in the school band, and playing on one of the sports teams, and in the school play, and belong to a church youth group, and ... and ...and. And be so loaded that they do none of them well and don't know how to untangle the overload, and they discover that by sitting in the back row, unnoticed, it will help them escape the expectations by others. And it works! Others stop expecting much and move their hopes and expectations to someone else. Then it sinks in, others are treated with hope and expectation while I sit in the back row being unnoticed.
Noreaster · F
I can definitely relate. Confidence builds with learning and doing things well over time.
Work on anything you may be struggling with can be helpful. Don't be afraid to make mistakes as we all do.
bugeye · 26-30, F
Watch shows like hoarders and my 600 pound life.

You'll feel a lot better by comparison.
riseofthemachine · 41-45, M
My friend My friend My friend " You don't build confidence. You get humble " 🙂🙂🙂

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