Struggling with Confidence

Nervous, Anxiety, Doubt, Apprehension, Low Self-Esteem, Self-Conscious
Curated By
Keiko McCullough

Keiko McCullough is a doctoral student at Indiana University Bloomington studying Counseling Psychology. Keiko graduated summa cum laude from the University of Akron with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2015. Her research interests, broadly, focus on the intersections of race, gender, and new media. She additionally studies men of color and masculinities, Asian American mental health, positive psychology, and feminist issues.

In This Guide:

Many individuals struggle with low self-confidence. Individuals dealing with low self-confidence might feel like it will be difficult for them to achieve the things they want in life and may struggle to trust their own gut and ability. This guide will be helpful in encouraging someone who struggles with low self-confidence. 

They Might Be Thinking:

  • I feel like it is so hard for me to do anything well. 
  • I often don’t know what to do or say in certain situations. 
  • Sometimes, I feel powerless over my own life.
  • I wish I could feel more confident in myself. Life would be so much easier.
  • I’m constantly worried I won’t perform well enough at school/work. 
  • Even though I have ideas, it is better for others to lead and for me to follow.
  • I want to be better at X, Y, and Z, but I doubt I will improve. 
  • The only way I’ll get where I want to go is by luck or chance. 
  • I am jealous of people who really believe in themselves.
  • I am tired of feeling stressed about the future. 

Words That Might Be Encouraging:

  • I was personally very impressed when you achieved X, Y, and Z. Can you take me through the steps you took to make it happen?
  • It seems like you feel like you don’t do things very well. If you’d let me, I’d like to challenge that thought. I believe you do many things well, such as…
  • Sometimes it feels like things are completely out of our control. I have felt that way before, too. It can be really difficult to manage. 
  • Although it may be hard for you to believe in yourself, I believe in you and your ability to succeed because of X, Y, and Z.
  • I wish you could see yourself how I see you. You are so competent/thoughtful/creative/successful, etc.
  • I appreciate your perspective and how you view the world/your field. 
  • It must be very tiring to doubt yourself every day. How can I best support you during this time?
  • You are enough, just as you are. I believe you’ll do great things just by being yourself. 
  • Thank you for sharing. I appreciate that it might not have been easy to talk about this with me, and I want you to know that I don’t think any less of you.
  • It makes me sad to hear how much you worry about school/work/the future, given that I have faith you will succeed no matter what. 

Words That Might Be Discouraging:

  • Maybe you should work on your confidence. 
  • But, you’re so successful! There’s no way you actually struggle with this. 
  • Who knows if any of us will succeed?
  • Why are you so worried about the future? You just need to chill.
  • Are you kidding? You’re great! 
  • You won’t get anywhere with that attitude.
  • Once you try harder, you’ll feel better.
  • Why do you feel like you can’t do anything? 
  • I’d probably feel the same way, if I were you. 
  • You have to be your own #1 fan. 
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