Sometimes the biggest enemy when it comes to self-confidence is the self. We allow pessimistic thoughts about ourselves and abilities to control our actions, or, rather, lack of. And when we finally take that first step, we suddenly turn into some strict disciplinarian basketball coach who is overly critical of the best players and is hard to please. So we voluntarily sit out of the game, or warm the bench for the other players. We rather avoid self-destructive criticisms in the event of a loss instead of taking action on what we know will benefit us and our family. This is an issue of low self-confidence. Either we think we simply can’t do it and aren’t good enough, or we’re afraid of failing and thus validating our pessimistic beliefs about ourselves.
It’s time we to stop being on our case and start being by our side. It’s time to pull out the pompoms and cheerlead our way to success. It’s all in the attitude, and although there are circumstances that can plunge us low on the self-confidence meter, there are actions we can take to help us regain that confidence and thrive.
Change your mindset
Allaah says in a Qudsee hadith: “I am to my slave as he thinks of Me”[Muslim]. In other words, what you expect from Allaah is what you get. So if you’re positive and expect nothing less than success, you’ll be a winner. And if you expect failure and misfortune, then you’ve sunk your own ship. Your thoughts and statements have a direct affect on the outcome of your life.
One time the Messenger of Allaah visited a sick old man and spoke optimistically about his condition saying: La ba’sa, tahurun [no harm ,(it will be) a purification of sins (for you)]. The old man responded negatively saying that the sickness is actually a means to his destruction. At which point the Prophet responded that that’s what it will be. In other words, the way he views his sickness is what the reality of it will be i.e. destruction.
So be optimistic! How can you not be when the life of the believer is in a constant state of optimism. “If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him“. [Muslim]
Focus on your strengths
Everyone has a list of character traits or things they’re good at, but people with low self-confidence are too busy focusing on their weaknesses to notice. Write a list of 10 things you know you’re good at, include some character traits as well. Are you good at making a particular dish? Reading? Writing? Communicating? Sewing? Time management? Are you nice? Friendly? Generous? Soft-Harded? Hardworking? Full of ideas? You’re probably a great mom, daughter, sister, spouse, cousin and friend. You have strengths so list only 10. Then read them aloud starting with “I am good at…” for every strength listed.
Of course we all have weaknesses and it’s equally important to recognize them for two main reasons. Firstly, so we know what areas we need to work on, and secondly so that we can outsource our weaknesses and free up our time for the things we’re good at. For example, you want to homeschool your teenager but you’re not so great at math. Instead of stressing over this, you can hire a tutor or barter with another homeschooling mom. You teach her child a subject while she teaches yours math.
Celebrate your accomplishments; embrace your failures
When you accomplish something you know you worked hard on, be sure to treat yourself. You did well, and that’s a blessing from Allaah. Share your accomplishment with those you know will be happy for you. Don’t worry about boasting because Allaah said, وَأَمَّا بِنِعۡمَةِ رَبِّكَ فَحَدِّثۡ (And as for the bounty of your Lord, proclaim it)
Failing is an investment. With every failure you learn a new lesson. Get right back up, dust off your shoulders, and get at it again, this time backed with experience and new knowledge.
For every accomplishment and lesson learned thank Allaah and show your gratitude through righteous actions as well as your determination to continue. If you are grateful Allaah will increase you in His blessings and so you’ll accomplish more and live happily. As Allaah says وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡۖ . [If you give thanks, I will give you more (of My Blessings)]
Recognize others’ accomplishments
Looking at other moms who are doing what you would like to be doing can be a source of motivation. Let her know you admire her. Moms need to hear that from other moms to help them keep going. It will also expel any jealousy shaytan might throw your way.
On the other hand, we sometimes look at what other moms are doing and have accomplished, and use that to prove our insignificance or lack of ambition. Her accomplishments and your potential are mutually exclusive. The only thing you should be thinking about is what techniques she’s using to do what she does and how it can help you. Allaah has blessed her mashaa Allah, and we’re extremely happy for her, but focus how you can cash in on those blessings as well.
Haters gon’ hate
Really! Allaah’s Messenger wasn’t spared from haters, so you’ll definitely have to deal with them. You can’t control their negativity, but you can choose how you deal with it, which should be something like swatting at a fly buzzing in your face. It gets a bit tricky, however, when the pessimism comes from a spouse or family member since you can’t really ignor them. In most cases, they are suffering from low self-confidence as well, since how they perceive others is a reflection of how they see themselves. It may help to avoid disclosing your plans with them until you’ve taken your first steps and built your unstoppable stamina.
There may be other techniques you use to help build your self-confidence. We’d love to hear them. Feel free to share it in the comments section.