Getting confidence is one thing, getting your confidence back is a substantially different one. You see, people who’ve always lacked confidence in a certain area aren’t familiar with the emotion and they have a hard time grasping the associated behavior.
On the other hand, people who had confidence in a certain area at some point but they’ve lost it are familiar with the emotion and the related behavior, they’ve just lost touch with them. What they need is to get those emotions to surface again.
This is easier than inventing them from scratch, but it is also different in many ways and it requires a customized approach. Here are my top ideas on how to get your confidence back:
1. Remember the Feeling
It’s a lot easier to get a feeling of confidence when you need it if you get reacquainted with that feeling when you had it. The better you can remember that positive state of confidence you had, the more you can leverage it.
One highly effective exercise for this is past visualization. What you do is think about a specific situation in the past when you felt very confident even if now you may lack confidence in similar situations. You close your eyes, get conformable and visualize the situation.
Make the visualization as vivid as possible; remember as much of the details as you can, as if that past experience was really happening right now. As you do so, you’ll notice that feeling of self-assurance coming back strong and you’ll become familiar with it again.
2. Model Your Own Thinking
One of the most important discoveries in modern psychology is that our feelings are often triggered and reinforced by our cognitive schemas and the way we think.
The good news if you used to be confident is that you already have a way of thinking somewhere in your head that boosts confidence. What you need to do is dig it out and put it into practice again.
Past visualization is also a wonderful tool for discovering your past ways of thinking that created confidence. As you discover them, you can consciously begin to apply them in the present: talk to yourself the way you used to, focus mentally on the things you used to and you’ll begin to feel the way you used to.
3. Act As If
One of the perks of having had confidence in the past is that you also behaved confidently. That means that in your past-self, you already have a model for self-assured behavior.
Remember that behavior with as much clarity as possible and consciously begin to practice it in the present. This is acting ‘as if’ you were that confident person again. It may not be easy at first, but since you have it in you, it will quickly become natural.
The mind and the body are connected. Feelings influence behavior, but it also works the other way. As you act as if you were confident, since your mind already has a memory of such behavior, it will begin to elicit that same state of confidence associated with that behavior. Thus, you become confident by acting confidently.
Learning how to get your confidence back is a matter of using the right tools and wisely using the past to rejuvenate the present.
It is also a matter of consistent practice. It may be easier to get confidence back than to get it for the first time, but it still not easy. It requires making it a priority, practicing daily and sticking to it. As you do so, you will see remarkable changes in your attitude and progress in your life.
Eduard Ezeanu is a communication coach with an attitude-based approach. If you enjoyed this article, also learn how to gain confidence and find out how to overcome shyness from two top articles on his People Skills Decoded blog.