Building confidence

Discussion in 'Self Improvement' started by Coco99, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Coco99

    Coco99 Fapstronaut

    Wondering if any of you grew up with low self-esteem/confidence and at some point in your life you were able to build and have insane amount of confidence? I can't recall from childhood where I was confident. I was never that cool kid growing up, I didn't excel in sports or any other extra curricular activities. I am always fearful of being judged(i know its all in my head but its hard to get it out). I always had anxiety talking to people with higher profession. whether its have a regular conversation with a high school teacher or now my boss I act shy and in most cases I lack eye contact.
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  2. Patchq

    Patchq Moderator Assistant Staff Member Moderator Assistant

    Hello @Coco99. I believe I have low confidence at the moment however this fluctuates from day to day. Whenever I talk to people, however, they say I exuberate confidence. This is the complete opposite of how I feel. What I try to do is to play along and pretend to be confident and to not give them a reason to stop thinking I am confident. This allows me to consciously develop my skill of being confident. Lol, its a weird cycle but it is steadily helping me to develop my confidence.
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  3. Coco99

    Coco99 Fapstronaut

    I know sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. I just feel like it's like a snowball effect like if I get down for 1 small thing it lowers my confidence for the entire day. I know its a matter of letting go of the moment. Its just been hard sometimes
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  4. Basilio

    Basilio Fapstronaut

    In high school, I had a lot of friends and played sports, I was a popular kid so to speak. With all that was going on for me, I was never able to man up and ask a girl on a date, and for that reason I didn't lose my virginity until I was 20.

    After I lost my virginity, I realized that I've been a big pussy this whole time and decided to make a change. For the next few years I started chatting up any girl I found attractive almost every day.

    This was probably my biggest step into building confidence. I became a juggernaut in it, nothing could stop me.

    My advice to anyone wanting to become confident... is to start getting rejected more times than you can even imagine. The more NO's you can get, the closer you're going to get to your desired YES's.
  5. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    Yes, I had low confidence all my life. I'm almost 40 and about 5 years ago I had a personal revelation that allowed me to boost my confidence... I'd say I went from a 3.5 to a 7. Odd thing is, that even when I had low confidence, there were thousands of reasons for me to have high confidence, engineering degree, high paying job, respected by my peers, and I am/was married.

    What snapped me out of it? I was too much of a people pleaser and I worried too much what other people thought. I guess I had to face my demons. I taught myself to understand my anxiety and my negative thinking. It is hard to explain and I think it was a multistep process. What I can tell you is that Eckhart Tolle, Sydney Banks, George Pransky, and Buddha all talk about the types of understanding of the mind that helped me.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020 at 7:47 PM
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  6. Coco99

    Coco99 Fapstronaut

    I was looking into some of these books. Do you have a specific book that you would recommend?
  7. Fullyawake

    Fullyawake Fapstronaut

    Something I’ve been telling myself, and it’s been working: Freedom is realising that nothing matters and nobody cares. Once you see things that way, you are free in your mind to do anything.
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  8. lolos

    lolos Fapstronaut

    Just start working on yourself. By that I don't mean do some 21 day ab challenge bullshit, I mean take a serious look at your life and consider what areas you want to improve and how you are going to imrpove them. Start taking your sleep, diet, hygeine and looks seriously.

    Also stop overthinking shit (I know this is a lot easier said then done). In any situation where you feel nervous or shy just think 'I am a human being, I belong in this situation just as much as any other human beings'. Don't think that anyone is above or below you. Try and see the good in all other people. Once you stop judging others you will not judge yourself.
  9. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    I partially agree. I'd change it too: Nothing needs to matter and nobody needs to care for me to be content.

    Meaning, if I feel like I need to have something or I need someone's love in order to be happy, than I am not free. But, things do matter and people do care, yet happiness and contentedness comes from within and there is nothing you can buy or do and there is not a single person on this world who can love you enough to bring you happiness and contentedness, that has to come from within you.
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  10. JustADude

    JustADude Fapstronaut

    I do not have a specific book suggestion. You might find it odd that I recommend them without having a book recommendation. Here is the thing though... I didn't go out trying to fix my confidence problems. At the time I was confused about life, I felt an overwhelming sense of lack of control over things... like, I would hold on tighter and my life would just get more complicated and nothing would go the way I wanted and I would get really frustrated that I couldn't make my life work out how I wanted it too. I had lots of frustration, lots of emotions, and lots of anxiety.

    I was looking for relief from a world of chaos I felt I lived in. That was 5 years ago. I was having marital problems, work problems, children problems, anxiety problems... I felt like I was slowly being crushed by a weight and the worst part was, it didn't make any logical sense. Well... it just so happens that finding my way out of that anxiety box had a lot of great side effects, one of them was that my confidence went through the roof.

    So, when you ask about how I boosted my confidence, it would really be a story about how I stopped having anxiety problems. This will probably be an hour wasted telling random people on the internet how my life played out, but I don't really know any other way than telling you what I did and hoping that parts of my story are helpful for you. Your journey will be different.

    Zero confidence as a kid. But, I had decent parents, they screwed me up in a lot of ways (didn't talk to me about sex, were bad marital role models, didn't encourage me to be myself), but they were better than a lot of parents. They provided me with food, shelter, love, extra-curricular activities, and a quality education. I did a lot of things between the ages of 0 and 5 years ago that should have given me loads of confidence. And I think doing those things were necessary to becoming confident, but they were not enough, understanding the mind was just as important. In middle school I won first place in a multi-school debate competition. In high school I was consumed with partying and girls, built some confidence then, but no major accomplishments. In college I joined a fraternity and had a lot of leadership roles there, those roles pushed me outside of my comfort zone, lots of interpersonal interactions and public speaking. While getting my degree there were lots of presentations, I won a scholarship for some research I was doing. During my job of 10 years... tons of public speaking, toastmasters, taught classes, recruited kids at college, got to build some pretty cool stuff as part of my engineering responsibilities, went into management, lots more public speaking, rallying the troops, etc.

    Like I said, I had more than enough life experience to be a confident person. But I was not. Mature people could tell I was not confident. Immature people could not. I knew I was not confident, I tried to hide it, not because I wanted to be fake, but because I had too, otherwise my job would be harder because less people would respect me. So, on the outside, I pretended I had all my shit together, but on the inside I was a wreck. I dreaded going to work. I often took sick days just to get some respite from having to feel anxious at work all day.

    What was really wrong? Well, somewhere along the line, I convinced myself that the key to all my anxiety was that I just needed to use my powerful engineering brain to think my way out of all of my problems. If someone would say something cross to me, I would dwell on what they said all day long and think how I could have handled the situation better. If someone frowned at me, I would question whether I was doing a good job at work. I played with different ideas in my head, like, 'do I care too much' or 'maybe I am not working out enough' or 'maybe I need a different role in the company' or 'maybe a more supporting wife would help these things' or 'my boss is why I am so unhappy' or 'maybe I need a better plan'. Some of those things were partially true, but they were not what was causing my internal chaos and anxiety.

    My biggest mistake was my belief that I could think myself out of my problems. In reality, I needed to be doing the opposite. Less thinking, less chaos. Eckhart, Budda, and Sydney Banks all preach the same thing. There are multiple parts to our consciousness. The analytical brain is just one part. In the past I hoisted my analytical brain, a.k.a. my thoughts, above all other parts of my consciousness. Now I know that my thoughts suck at providing contentedness in life. Thoughts lie to you. They tell you things that are not true. I'll give you an example... you walk by a coworker of yours and they frown at you. My first thought: "Are they mad at me?", Second thought: "I need to think of what has happened over the past couple days to see if I did something wrong", Third thought: "I can't think of anything I did wrong, maybe they are just in a bad mood, maybe I should go talk to them, or maybe I did something to them and didn't realize it", on and on it goes. But... what about that first thought: "Are they mad at me?". My brain just asked me if someone was MAD at me, and all they did was frown in passing. There are hundreds of reasons they could have frowned, most of those reasons have nothing to do with me, yet my brain wants to know "Are they MAD at ME?", my brain could have thought "Oh, they must be having a bad day" or "Maybe he just passed gas" or "Is his knee bothering him again" or.... you get the point.

    And, here is the kicker. The more often we take our thoughts and treat them as valid, the more we reinforce this insanity. I had to learn to let my brain ask "Are they mad at me?", but then respond with, "Nice thought brain, get back to me tomorrow when you have something worthwhile to discuss". After 30 years of always responding to my thoughts, changing my behavior was not easy.

    My first discovery of this type of thinking actually came from a nofap recommendation. Someone suggested I read this OK book:
    Eight Step Recovery: Using Buddha's teachings to overcome addiction

    The book is not excellent, but to be honest, most self help books, even the great ones, are just OK in my opinion. For me, I am happy if I get just 1 insight from a book. Eight Step Recovery had a handful of good insights.

    That book was the first time I had ever been exposed to the idea that my anxiety was a fake construct that had no power over me. In the book the author asked me to try inviting my anxiety to take over, full force, and by doing that I would see that it is just fake and powerless. So, I learned I could, when I feel anxious, not do anything. I could just sit in a chair and tell my brain to bring on the anxiety. It would eventually pass and it would pass rather quickly (like 5 min to an hour, rarely longer). This was in contrast to my previous behavior in which I would mentally try to 'fix' my anxiety and that would in turn make the anxiety last for a least a day. For example, my wife would get mad at me, I would feel anxious and chaotic, and then I would NEED to fix it. I would force her to talk to me, I would go running, I would cry, I would break things... but nothing would fix it. Now, I could just sit in a chair and be anxious and try to amplify the anxiety. Eventually the anxiety would peak and then come down. And the best part was, I didn't have to say or think or do anything to make that happen.

    Then, my brother, who I am very close with and share everything with including my nofap journey (having him around has been a helpful part of my journey), shared a youtube video with me that exposed me to Sydney Banks, George Pransky, and the 3 principles. One of their acolytes, Dr Aaron Turner, was talking about his experiences as a therapist. Something about what he said made something click in my mind and I had this AHA moment. From that point forward I was able to ignore my negative thoughts. I have since discovered that most of my lack of confidence was not due to lack of experience (although that is certainly an important part of having confidence), but most of it was due to my giving into negative thoughts. Here is the Aaron Turner video. I have shown the video to a lot of people, but I don't think it has had a profound effect on anyone but me. Skip ahead 5 minutes to avoid an unhelpful intro.

    Since then, I discovered Eckhart Tolle gives the same message but in his own words, and he has a ton of good videos on youtube you can watch. Eckhart is a bit difficult to listen to because he speaks so slowly, but he has a good message.

    A couple of weeks ago I ran into a good video (the title makes it seems cheesy at first glance but it is not) on someone elses journal. At the end of the video is a recommendation for a specific Eckhart Tolle book. Watch the video, it has a great message.

    The main take away from negative thoughts is this. Most thoughts just pop up in our head for no valid reason. That are not worth acknowledging. If we choose to acknowledge the negative ones, we amplify our pain and create a negative feedback loop. I had become excellent at taking 1 slight problem and turning that problem into a huge anxiety problem.

    I hope something I said is helpful for you.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020 at 6:16 AM
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  11. Coco99

    Coco99 Fapstronaut

    Wow this is great insight. Thanks a million for taking the time to post this.I know I can turn it around as long as I say consistent in applying a few techniques to change the way I look at things.

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