How to Find Your Way Back From a Confidence Crisis

Sooner or later, your confidence will be shaken to the ground.

Life will throw something at you—you'll lose your job, your relationship will end, someone will do something that betrays you, or you'll discovery that things haven't been as you thought they were—that makes you question everything.

That's what a crisis of confidence does; stops you in your tracks, pulls the rug of everything you were confident in out from under you, and makes you doubt everything.

Self-trust becomes impossible.

A confidence crisis changes the landscape of meaning and expectation, taking away your ability to trust your own thoughts and feelings. And that makes room for the belief that you're simply not good enough to deal with life.

It's baneful; and it will happen to you if it hasn't already.

So bookmark this post, as I'll give you three ideas that just might help you during a confidence crisis. Keep this in your little toolkit of life, and use it as a life-preserver when the time comes.

1. A Confidence Crisis Is Not Okay

It's pointless me offering you a hug, rubbing your back and telling you that "it's okay". It's not okay.

It fucking sucks.

You don't have to bounce back right away. You don't have to "get over it". You don't have to force it to be okay.

This might fly in the face of what you're expecting to hear or what others might say.

Good.

What I care about is that you allow what's happening in your life to happen in your life. Don't push it away. Don't bury it. Don't hide it.

Allow yourself to be with the fact that it's not pleasant where you are right now, and spend time with how it feels.

Don't judge the shittyness for being shitty

While that's imperative, there's a big difference between acknowledging what's happening, and wallowing in it. Wallowing in it is casting yourself as the victim, pouring over the drama of it all in forensic detail, and building walls of thinking built on top of victimhood that could keep you trapped for a long, long time.

Don't wallow, experience. Making the choice to experience what's happening is simply, honestly and bravely choosing to move with it.

It's like being willing to stand in the rain without a coat or umbrella - you get soaked to the bone, but as you stand there shivering, wishing you could be safe and dry indoors, there's something natural, honest and even graceful about it.

And that's the interesting thing. Simply embracing the suckiness of it can be a comfort.

2. Return to Your Source

Melt down a gold watch, a gold ring or a gold tooth and you get the same thing.

Gold.

Many times in my life I've needed to return to what I call my "liquid state"; a place where I go back to my source. This liquid state is where I can connect with who I am and what I'm made of, regardless of what's happened in my life.

It's here that you reconnect to your source

This might be a place of spirituality or faith, it might be resting in the support of a loved one, it might be gently nourishing yourself or it might be a place where you connect with something that truly matters; your true north.

A confidence crisis gives you the opportunity to reconnect with what's deep inside you, like a quiet space for you to hang out in during the storm.

I think it's essential. Completely, vitally necessary.

Without it you'll be drifting without connection or spinning without centre.

You'll get completely lost.

Instead, recognise that you're always connected. To your source, to others, to the world. It's through feeling and gently exploring these connections once more that you'll find your way back.

3. Don't Give In

Sometimes you sit there in the middle of a crisis and ask yourself,

Just how strong do I need to be?

I get that. I honestly do.

Just when you think you've overcome everything life has thrown at you, it throws something else at you that's bigger, badder and blows what's come before out of the water.

You might think you can't deal with it. You might want to stop trying. You might want to give up.

Don't.

You already have what it takes

I know, I know. That sounds trite and not the least bit helpful, but hear me out.

Even though it might not feel like it, you have to acknowledge that you're here, right now. You've got through some pretty bad scrapes and you're still here.

That counts. It really does.

Letting in regret, bitterness, hate or cynicism can be more damaging than anything life can throw at you, and I've come to believe this is why the universe keeps on testing us.

If you can get through the hard times (and the impossibly hard times) without letting in regret, bitterness, hate or cynicism, you've likely embraced all that's good in yourself and the world.

You've embraced grace

A ghastly as a crisis of confidence can be, the experience they provide is filled with some of life's most important lessons and opportunities. A life without them is a life too small to mean much of anything.

So perhaps, a life woven with tears of crisis as well as tears of joy is the mark of a life well spent.

I'd love to hear from you...

I'd love to hear about how you've found your way back from a confidence crisis, or how you're struggling with one.

Add your comment below, or get in touch with me directly.


  • I like to think of it as the same process a caterpillar has to go through to emerge a butterfly.. People think caterpillars wrap themselves in a cocoon and have a pleasant little nap and wake up a butterfly. When in reality, they literally reduce themselves into a puddle of goo – They liquefy themselves and completely rebuild themselves inside that cocoon. Only then can they emerge in their beautiful, capable new state of being. I can’t imagine they understand why they are doing this, nor does it seem like it would be at all enjoyable. But they trust in the process of surrender just the same, and in return, they earn wings.

    Thank you for this page, your words really helped me during what feels like the world’s longest self confidence crisis. After multiple career advancements in short succession which I already felt were beyond my capacity, coupled with personal trauma, and a marriage breakdown, I’ve reduced myself to goo more times than I can count over the past 3 years or so, and it’s utterly exhausting to feel like I’m not shedding any self doubt in the process. What really resonated with me in what you said was not to judge the shittiness, embrace it for what it is. Allow it to simply be shit, understand that it’s OK to keep taking those steps forward even when you know you’re not going to step through it perfectly. That it will be unavoidably messy and awkward for a while and that you don’t need to map a perfect path beforehand.. because that’s not possible! I’m the type of person that wants to do something perfectly right out of the gate, allowing myself the grace to slowly learn that perfection through experience continues to be a huge hurdle.

    • That’s a great way of looking at it, thank you. There’s a letting go here, a surrendering, as you say. That’s not about giving up, but it’s about showing up as life is in the moment.

      It certainly sounds like you’ve been through the ringer these last few years. Your perspective and your grace in the face of that is really something. Thanks so much for sharing some of your story with me.

  • After making a big mistake at work, followed by smaller mistakes almost daily I realised that I had almost convinced myself that mistakes were going to happen now and it became.. Now I don’t feel bitter, I feel like a liability, scared because even though I check my work that I am incapable of doing it accurately, like the blind spots are here to stay. I want to run away (not my natural way at all) and remove myself from the equation. I know I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know my stuff but that was then and this is now and things (like my effectiveness) change.

  • You are correct when you say not to let in regrets and bitterness. some days it hard not to. you have to keep reminding yourself each day to take it as it comes. been going through something for a while now. it’s very hard but need to keep counting your blessings. I know I will come out stronger.

  • Great piece. I’m going through some challenges which have shattered my confidence and self-belief and I found your article really helpful. In fact, I felt like crying. Thank you.

    • I hope things have improved Maylin. And perhaps what you’very been through has been essential in where you are now.

  • This is so amazing! I’ve thought of myself as liquefied so often–as caught in a refining fire, burning away the things that were never truly essential to begin with–but I didn’t think about the expanded possibilities in reshaping myself for the future as a direct result.

    At first it seemed enough to have the capacity for gratitude and joy even at the lowest point, but I’ve been struggling to find a way forward from that place, a way to frame the healing. I think this is just the mental image I needed. Thank you!

    • I love the metaphor too, so I’m thrilled it connects so well with you.

      I even relish the times when it’s necessary, because I know I’m returning to source 🙂

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