Last night, I got robbed.
I got my pocket picked by 2 professionals. They stole my phone.
One of them distracted my attention by starting a fight with me.
The other one tried to be the wise man who finds 2 guys fighting down the street and manages to make them stop doing that.
Well, in reality, while doing that, his hand was in my pocket pulling out my mobile phone and making sure I’ll never see it again.
Of course, I was busy with the other guy.
We pushed and pulled each other, but we didn’t really fight. Though he was the first to push me and the one who got too far, I didn’t react firmly or aggressively or assertively.
And that what bugs me!
Let me state this again, a guy starts a fight with you out of nowhere. He acts as a bully. And it turns out that he was a thief and you’d been robbed.
To be frank, I felt stupid and I felt weak.
I felt stupid because I didn’t pay attention to the guy stealing my mobile phone. I felt weak because I should’ve punched that guy right on the nose (kidding, mostly. Just showing him that he can’t push me around like that).
And to be franker, I don’t feel comfortable writing those previous paragraphs. And I’ll probably question whether I should publish this article or not.
So generally, I kind of lost my self-confidence after that incident.
But not for too long!
It’s hard-earned self-confidence. I won’t let slip away just like that.
Here is what I’ve learned and what I’ve done.
(Note: I’ve always wanted to write a post about what to do after losing self-confidence. I’ve written some here and here. But this is a perfect time and it’s going to tackle the topic from a different angle.)
A few comments on my incident
I wrote an article before, I Get Defensive When People Judge Me.
In that article, I stated that other people’s comments hurt only when you are not sure of who you are or what you are doing. Only when they touch an emotional wound.
“Other people’s comment hurt only when they touch an emotional wound or insecurity. They hurt when you are not 100% sure of who you are or what you are doing.”
Only when you are not sure of your social skills will a comment about your social life hurt you.
And it’s the same here.
I was already insecure about something. I was already wounded. I lost my self-confidence because what the guys did reminded me of what I was already insecure about.
It sucks. And I hate to admit it. But it’s the truth, and only the truth will help you improve and grow.
So, my insecurities are related to my own physical strength and assertiveness.
I’m skinny (for now!) and I don’t enjoy being weak. Being skinny, and getting bullied years ago, has also affected my assertiveness –I’m not quite sure I can handle a bully as I’m still skinny.
This robbing incident opened the old emotional wounds.
Hadn’t I had those insecurities, I probably wouldn’t have felt as bad as I’ve felt.
And make no mistake about it, it wasn’t pleasant admitting my insecurities. It wasn’t pleasant writing them down for everyone to see them online.
It’s kind of self-awareness. In and of itself, it’s not a solution; in and of itself, it’s kind of whining.
But you need it. You need it in order to turn those moments when you lose your self-confidence to a moment where you re-build it stronger than ever.
From here, let’s see how that can happen.
(Note: self-awareness is the cornerstone of my book The Art of Change. I’ve talked about it in-depth there. It’s indeed the cornerstone of the healthy self-esteem and of the entire self-development process)
Is it the end?
As you’ve seen, the first step is self-awareness — admitting some shitty facts about yourself.
But this self-awareness with a beat-up attitude will destroy you.
What do I mean?
I mean that you must believe that change is possible, period!
You can have a shitty past and create an inspiring future. You can have bad traits and grow every day in order to change them.
If you believe that it is the end, then it’s the fucking end.
That’s why self-awareness is painful. We don’t believe that we can change and improve and grow. We believe that wherever we are, we’re stuck there for the rest of our lives.
And it’s not true.
I’ve grown over the years. I’ve overcome many of my insecurities. And I know that I’ll overcome more and more insecurities and self-doubts; I’ll grow and change for the better.
And so can you.
All I’m asking you to do is to stop saying and thinking and believing that this is the end (when you feel insecure and bad).
You can change. You’re going to change with enough work and belief. You’ve already started changing by becoming more self-aware.
This is something that has to come from within. You must believe that you can change and you must have some fucking hope.
If you can’t have this fucking hope, then nothing on earth can help you, even the best advice and the most honest self-awareness.
Have a conversation with yourself about this.
Why do you believe that you can’t change?
What if you can? What if the change is just a matter of a few steps forward?
Here are some helpful articles:
- How Do You Feel About Your Flaws (And Why it Matters)
- 5 Ways to Destroy Your Self-esteem (And Your Mental Health)
- Why You Should Never Give Up On Yourself.
Your mind needs a resolve
Until now we’ve talked about 2 concepts:
- Hope: Believing that change is possible.
They are important if you want to get your self-confidence back (and if you want to build it).
But they are not enough.
Your mind needs you to promise it that you are going to change for the better.
What does that mean?
It means that you must prove to your mind that you’re going to take care of yourself. That whatever happened and hurt you today, it won’t hurt you tomorrow.
In the article, I Get Defensive When People Judge Me I said that you need to work on your own emotional wounds and heal them so that you become more sure of yourself and what you are doing.
And the concept is the same here.
Give your mind a reason to believe that you are going to handle similar future situations better.
Use your self-awareness as a guideline to what you need to do. That’s why I’ve said that self-awareness alone is just whining; it must lead you to take action and work on what you’ve realized.
For me, I had to make some changes based on my self-awareness (and I do believe that change is possible).
I used to exercise a few years ago but I stopped. I made some progress but I didn’t persevere.
So, I got back to working out. I got a workout routine that fits into my schedule and started eating more healthy food and also taking enough rest.
It has been almost a week now and I feel like I’m heading in the right direction.
I’ve also started working on my assertiveness. Making sure that I express what I think and feel in a clear way and also making sure I set strong boundaries and protect them.
If I don’t understand something, I tell you that I don’t understand it. If I don’t like something, I, politely, tell you that I don’t like it. If I don’t want talk about something, I let you know.
And I feel like you’re being a dick, I give you a taste of your own medicine (if I want to).
Yes, I didn’t start working on my assertiveness after the incident I described above. I just started working on it more, especially in areas where I feel like I lack assertiveness to some degree.
It’s been a week since I’ve started this course of actions. And I’m feeling better.
Those actions gave my mind a resolve that I’m not going to suffer the same way anymore.
Even If you are not there yet, your mind will believe that you can get there and solve your problems as long as you are executing a plan that it believes in.
Don’t let anything make you lose your self-confidence. Figure out how you’ve lost it by practicing some self-awareness. Don’t ever believe that it’s the end. Use self-awareness to take actions– actions that will prove to your mind that you’re not going to suffer the same way anymore.