How does one develop confidence after-the-fact? Specifically, I’m coming from a perspective of having grown up being called “perfect” all the time, yet having a mother who nit-picks and tells me what I like/don’t like and is passive-aggressive… I’ve found it’s hard to develop confidence coming from these two positions (afraid to not be perfect, afraid to do anything because it will be wrong). Any advice would be great.
rented life adds:
Riffing off that, how do you develop confidence when you’re good at things other people expect you to do but your true goals lie somewhere else. ex: if I’d rather write fiction and/or be a stay at home mom, but have parents that I love but put “Jobs that make a difference” ahead of everything and haven’t expressed much confidence in my ability to parent –no kids yet, but somehow how I treat my cats reflects how I will parent???. I know it’s easy to say just do it, but that advice falls a little flat.
#1: I got nothin except “Your parents might be jerks”
#2: Many of us grow up wanting to please our parents. When we’re adults it can be hard to let go of that. Especially those of us who skipped the traditional teenage rebellion stage. (I suspect #1 worked through this dilemma as a teenager.)
At some point you have to divorce yourself from caring about your parents’ opinions of you. For me that happened in graduate school when I was clinically depressed. At a point I realized that a. all the stuff I thought my parents expected of me, they really didn’t. I exceeded their expectations. I wasn’t disappointing anybody but myself. That was kind of a revelation. (For DH it was the night of our rehearsal dinner when he overheard his parents telling mine how proud they were of him. He’d had no idea.) b. my parents have their own faults and their own misperceptions (some of which I can enumerate…). They’re just flawed people like everybody else and they don’t know me as well as I know me. So when my mom nags my sister to get a law degree or a masters degree, well, that’s just silly given how much money she’s making without either. c. You’re living your life for you, not for them. That’s true whether they’re wonderful but smothering parents or nit-picky passive-aggressive types (I actually have one of each, but don’t tell my mom I said that, and she’s not really as smothering in reality as she was in my head). They have their own lives to live, and if they’re not busy enough, suggest that they start training guide-dog puppies.
Cognitive restructuring, which is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy, is a great way to build confidence in your reality and thus in you. There are a lot of different techniques to change how you feel by changing how you think. The general idea is to force yourself to replace an untrue thought with a true thought, or a negative frame with a truthful and positive reframe. One technique is to get out a sheet of paper, divide it in half lengthwise, then on the left put the negative thought. On the right next to it, put the truth. “I can’t do X” on the left, “I don’t know if I can do X unless I’ve tried it, and I’ve shown that I can do Y. Even if I can’t do X, the world won’t end” on the right. The negativity jar we talked about earlier is another technique.
Part of that cognitive restructuring can be towards giving yourself a growth mindset. If you’re not the person you want to be, you can become that person. Or you can change who you want to be. Everything in life is only for now, to quote Avenue Q.
Moving away also helps.
As does leaving the Catholic church.
Grumpeteers, How do you build confidence, especially when your parental situation has undermined that ability?