Stop Being Unfaithful to Yourself

Unfaithfulness usually brings to mind betrayed friendships or neglected relationships. But what about the relationship women have with themselves? How does self talk impact women’s confidence and self-assurance? According to Katty Kay and Claire Shipman’s book, The Confidence Code, “women spend far too much time undermining themselves with tortured cycles of useless self-recrimination.” Stop spiraling negative self talk and address the female curse of perfectionism by celebrating any small contribution you make at home and in the workplace. Here’s how:

Get comfortable with failure. Be brave and change your mindset about what it means to fail. Experiencing failure doesn’t make you unsuccessful. View some failures as successes because they create opportunities for you to get comfortable with the idea of risk.

Let mistakes go. You just mispronounced one word in what was otherwise a poised interview and now you’re fixating on your gaffe instead of celebrating your success. Instead of ruminating over a simple slip-up, focus on the positives of an experience. When you carry a mistake around for too long, negative self talk is more likely to inhibit your thoughts and can put you at an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Develop reasons for unexplained situations. Stressing out about an unanswered email or upcoming performance review won’t improve your ability to confidently deal with the situation. By creating reasons for the unknown (e.g., your client is on vacation so they can’t respond to your email right away) you can quiet self-doubt and stop agonizing over what you can’t control.

Create a list of positives, even if it’s short. If you’re using your commute home from work or time at the end of each day to criticize your mistakes, shift your thinking. Make that time meaningful by using it to create a list of positives about your day. Some days there may be only one or two items on your list, but even those few things are worthy of a celebration.

Think in terms of we, not me. Insecurity starts with how you view your contributions. If you pick apart every action, you’ll quickly discover that even your best efforts won’t seem good enough. By thinking in terms of we, you take your mind off of yourself and consider how your efforts are a part of a larger movement to help other female professionals in your field.

It’s easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and feel paralyzed by doubt. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook: What strategies do you use to build self-confidence?

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Emily Knippa

Emily Knippa is a St. Louis-based marketer and writer who focuses on content marketing, career development, and personal finance. She enjoys meeting people pursuing inspiring career paths. She’d love to meet you at the next United Way event. Say hello to Emily on Twitter at @emilyknippa.