Many of the symptoms of mental illness can be made worse by abuse. Some mental illness is also a result of abuse from peers or family members. Continuous put-downs can lead to loss of confidence in oneself. When you’re depressed, you feel bad about yourself and you feel hopeless. This also causes a person to lose his or her confidence. Feeling unsure of yourself and of the things you do can result from many things, but is often worse when you suffer from mental illness.
Throughout my childhood, my teachers and my peers told me I would never amount to anything. Day after day I was put down. I lost my confidence in myself. I felt as if everything I did wasn’t good enough. I sat back and allowed the teachers to assign students to give me answers on tests. I gave up on trying to do my own work. I figured they were right about me: I was stupid. I had no belief in my own ability to succeed.
From sixth grade on my teachers stopped assigning students to give me answers on test. I had to learn to study and to do my own work. I felt helpless. How could I pass on my own? I thought I wasn’t smart enough, but deep down I knew I had no choice, but to try. I spent hours studying. I buried myself in my classwork. My mind went in circles. I can’t do this. I’m going to fail. I’m going to prove them all right, I am dumb. I pushed on and started getting high grades. Good grades weren’t enough. I still felt inferior. Even though I was proving them wrong, I didn’t believe I was worthy. I needed reassurance from my parents.
Even as an adult I find it hard to believe in my abilities. I worry I’m not a good cashier and that I have failed as an author. I’ve started writing many manuscripts and gave up on them because I feared I didn’t have the ability to write a book. Every time I write a blog post and send it to my friend for editing I tell her I think I did a bad job. She always tells me how much she learned from my post and how well I write. I never have confidence in my ability to write something good. I even question each chapter of my memoir. I constantly need to hear people’s reassurance of my abilities and their praises.
How do I find self-confidence? This is a struggle for me. I work on it daily. I have to learn to love myself. Each day I point out something good about myself. I list the accomplishments I have made. I keep my customer compliments in my journal; when I lose belief in myself, I read through them. I remind myself, “I am a good writer and I can finish my memoir. I will get it published.” I keep writing my blog post and I tell myself if I weren’t a talented writer, I wouldn’t have as many followers.
Finding your confidence is not easy. It can be a struggle, but it’s worth fighting for. Forget what others have told you in the past; ignore those self-put-downs and dig deep down inside yourself and find your self-worth. Learn to believe in yourself and your abilities. Put index cards with compliments about yourself around the house; write positive things about you and your accomplishments in a journal daily. Be proud of all your successes, even the small ones.
I’m still building my self-confidence, but I have come a long way. This time I’m finishing my memoir manuscript and I’m determined to get it published. Since I am willing to build up my confidence, I still live within the light.