Self-confidence is an element that a healthy person develops during childhood. It consists of positive feelings about oneself. A person with a healthy sense of self-confidence believes that he or she is attractive, intelligent, strong and capable of achieving great tasks. Parents help to instill a positive sense of self-confidence by praising their children when they make efforts to achieve things, and when they perform amazing feats. An adult person who has the appropriate level of self-confidence is usually upbeat, positive and sociable. This person sees a delightful person when he or she looks in the mirror. A lack of self-confidence is the complete opposite of self-confidence. Some professionals refer to self-confidence as esteem or self-esteem. Likewise, a lack of confidence is the same as a lack of self-esteem.
A person who lacks confidence will not have a high self-image. Therefore, this person will try to avoid situations that he or she feels may result in failure. A person who lacks confidence is often shy in social situations, and he or she is unwilling to place a foot forward to meet new people. An adult without confidence will have difficulty making friends and asking people on dates. A child with no confidence will normally sit in a classroom and refuse to participate. The unconfident child may eat lunch alone, and he or she may refuse to participate in athletic events and school gatherings.
A person who has no confidence will often have poor posture. This person may stare at the ground when he or she is walking, and the person may have a slouched back. An unconfident person will rarely look other people in the eyes when they are speaking. Instead, the unconfident person may gaze around the room, look at the floor, or focus on anything other than the speaking person’s face. Another body signal that a person with no confidence gives is folded arms. Folded arms are the person’s way of keeping people at arm’s length because of a lack of trust.
A person who has no confidence will never believe positive comments that people make about him or her. Other people usually mistake the person’s reactions for modesty. Lack of confidence is different from modesty because the sufferer truly believes that the people who are giving the praise are dishonest. An unconfident person will often negate any positive comments that come his or her way.
Unconfident people usually hang around with outgoing people, bullies and narcissistic people. They latch onto outgoing people because those people can help them complete tasks. Outgoing people can sometimes be the voices of unconfident people. Bullies and narcissists usually take to unconfident people because they are likely to accept abuse. Unconfident people do not feel highly about themselves, so they may remain “friends” with narcissists and bullies, and they may listen to the lies that these people tell them. The bullies and narcissists will take full advantage of the unconfident person’s low self-esteem.
What Causes a Lack of Confidence?
A low sense of confidence usually develops during childhood, and it can develop because of a number of happenings. A child who receives a high level of verbal, emotional, physical or sexual abuse is likely to develop low self-esteem and confidence. A child who loses one of his or her parents in a divorce may develop low confidence because he or she feels at fault for the parental separation. A young child or a teenager who experiences bullying and ridicule in school will develop a lack of confidence over time.
Mental illnesses can cause low self-esteem and confidence. Examples of mental illnesses that can cause low confidence are bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. In both illnesses, the sufferer experiences bouts of depression because of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Such a person believes negative things about himself or herself because of the illness. Proper medicinal and therapeutic treatments are necessary to combat such illnesses. A person who suffers with either illness may lose confidence because of the stigma and poor treatment that surround mental illness. The person may become introverted, and he or she may not seek help for fear of what others may think.
Substance abuse can cause a lowered sense of confidence. Drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, alcohol, LSD, heroin and the like can deplete positive brain chemicals, which can cause a person to lose some confidence. The existence of a substance abuse problem can cause a person to have ill feelings toward himself or herself, as well.
Treatment for Lack of Confidence
The first step in treating a person for low self-esteem is figuring out what caused it. If the cause for the lack of confidence is abuse, then the person will need psychological assistance. Specialists have various treatment programs that they can use. Low self-confidence requires a person to retrain his or her thought processes to accept positive input and reject negative input. Talk therapy can help to bring the cause of the low confidence to the surface. Behavioral therapy can help a person to change the way that he or she thinks.
Group counseling is an excellent healing mechanism because it joins people who have similar feelings. Those people can form bonds with each other, and they can help each other to cope with the issues at hand. Some people can formulate long-term friendships through group therapy sessions.
Medication management is only effective for people who have brain chemical imbalances. This treatment can restore the positive chemicals, which can alleviate some of the feelings of worthlessness. Counseling would still be necessary in such cases because the ill persons would need to develop healthy coping mechanisms and healing strategies to use when symptoms persist.
Online forms and websites can provide a wealth of help for people who have low confidence and esteem. Hundreds of sites are dedicated to helping individuals to cope with mental illness, abuse survival and the like. The Internet has provided people with the opportunity to connect with billions of other people around the world. Therefore, a person who suffers with low confidence never has to feel alone.
Parents of children who have low confidence can also look toward online support groups for help. Such groups have myriads of information about self-help tactics, discussion topics, explanations and more. Anyone who needs to learn about a mental health problem can search online for the appropriate topic.
Family Members and Friends
Family members and friends can provide a great deal of assistance to people with low confidence. They have access to resources that can help them to understand better the underlying problems. They have physical access to the sufferers, as well. Family members and friends are the tangible people who can reach out to a hurting person immediately. Anyone who feels as if a friend or a loved one has low self-esteem should reach out and try to help that person. The best way to help is to let the person know that he or she is loved and cherished. The person can also offer an open ear without judgment. Trust is a core elment of recovery.