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Increase Confidence By Changing Negative Thinking

You can increase confidence simply by changing negative thinking patterns.

When I help clients who have self esteem and confidence issues, they also often run a negative thinking style that can reinforce their low self esteem and confidence.

By changing this negative thinking pattern you will increase confidence. Often this thinking style is ‘black or white’. By this I mean it is very common for us to have an internal dialogue that only sees and rates our thinking and behaviour on extremes; often the worst or best case scenario for us. This can easily reinforce our negative feelings because we only focus on what is going wrong and at the other end of the scale have a very high expectation of what is needed to go right for us to be happy, which makes it easier for us to reinforce what is going wrong! We can make it so hard for ourselves that giving in and accepting defeat seems a tempting option and of course only confirms how bad things are going…starting the whole process all over again!

So the first and sometimes difficult step is to observe this ‘black or white’ thinking pattern in ourselves. Once you notice it, it usually becomes easier to keep spotting it. Quite often, when running this thinking style, we will be selectively missing evidence that proves there are exceptions to our extreme thinking, instead only focusing on the things that reinforce the extremes.

The next step is to purposely establish that things don’t need to be so black and white, that there are also greys in between. It can be helpful to look at things from the perspective of a scale from 1-10 or even 20; the highest number represents the best possible scenario and number one represents the worst. Your job is to fill in the grey area. So what would a number 5 or 10 look like, slap bang in the middle for instance. It can be helpful to be as specific as possible so for example if you were trying to stop eating as much chocolate and you wanted to exercise more you might decide that the middle number would be ‘I only ate 1 bar of chocolate in the day and managed to walk part of the way to work’. Some people don’t need such a specific definition and can simply recognise that today was a ‘7’ or that last hour was a ‘5’.

So specifically looking out for those exceptions when things are going better, even by a little bit, is important to break the negative thinking. Beware however of getting into the trap of justifying why things got better, giving excuses for those times in a negative way….again veering off down the black or white thinking style. You don’t need to justify why things got better, just recognising them is helpful.

The final check you can make is to ensure that your definition of a successful outcome is realistic and achievable, including setting a realistic timescale, even if it’s just to achieve a seven on your scale for instance. Rather than only accepting success when you get to the magic ten!

Learn more about how I can help you increase confidence and build self esteem or contact me for your free consultation.


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