Our Claire has been watching Orange Is The New Black…

Although some time after it was aired, this week I finished watching the final series of Orange Is The New Black. In the penultimate episode, my favourite character was killed off which left me a bit heartbroken. Thinking about it, I realised that I identified with her and, more particularly, how a lack in self-confidence affected our lives.

Doing a bit of research on the internet, I found an article in The New York Times on the subject. It started with a very handy explanation of what self-confidence is. It states that self-confidence is “a general view of how likely you are to accomplish a goal” and that it is “especially based on your past experience.” So, for instance, if you get a really good result in an exam, you might believe you’re really good at taking exams. Or, on the flipside, if you’ve fallen over whilst trying to ice skate, you might believe you’re really not good at sports. This gets problematic if a lack in self-confidence stops us from trying in the first place. For instance, if you believe you’re rubbish at drawing before you’ve even started, you might decide never to bother learning to draw at all. This is known as “crippling doubt” and it stops us widening our abilities. By contrast, The New York Times quotes Charlie Houpert, an expert in self-confidence, as saying “self-confidence will lead to more positivity, happiness and resilience”.

So it seems vital to improve our self-confidence but how do we go about doing it? Well, as well as The New York Times article, I found another one at verywellmind.com that provides this five step plan:

  1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
  2. Take Care of Your Body
  3. Practice Self-Compassion
  4. Use the Power of Positive Self-Talk
  5. Embrace Self-Doubt

I have to admit the last one of these seemed counter-intuitive to me – how can I feel self-confident if I’m forever having doubts about myself? – until I realised it was about confronting self-doubt. So, for instance, if I achieve something that I always believed I would achieve, I’m not going to improve my self-confidence half as much as if I achieve something I didn’t believe I would. Some call this “Facing your fears and doing it anyway”. It stops us limiting ourselves and it’s also a truth – from my experience anyway – that, even if we make a pig’s ear of things, we learn more from our mistakes than our successes. So why not try something new this year? Then, as we emerge from this pandemic, we will feel renewed and better equipped to face the challenges ahead.

Meanwhile, WHISC is waiting to hear from you whether you’re going through good times or bad ones. Give their Listening Ear service a call on 0151 707 1826 or, alternatively, leave a message on their Facebook page with your phone number and they will ring you back.