Five Ways You Sabotage Your Self-Confidence

Have you ever crumbled in a decisive moment because your self-confidence decided to take a nose-dive or vanish altogether?

Did your self-confidence take a hit from something that someone said or did or was it because you sabotaged your self-confidence all on your own?

No one is better at undermining your self-confidence than yourself as you have probably had a lifetime of practice doing just that. Have you ever had a great idea that you were excited about but soon find your own self-dialogue pointing out reasons that it would never work? If that has happened to you then you have fallen pretty to sabotaging your own self-confidence.

I have a list as long as my arm of times I have “done myself in” by sabotaging my own self-confidence; Times when I have let my monkey-mind take over or just chose the self-defeating belief that “I can’t.”

I have learned ways to avoid these toxic and confidence-killing behaviors so that I don’t fold when in a tight spot or fail to take action when an opportunity presents itself. If this happens to you also – here are five ways in which self-confidence is self-damaged and what you can do to overcome that pattern:

  1. You run away from new experiences. If you believe that you can hide and protect yourself from the discomforts of life, you are wrong. Only by getting out there, trying new things, taking on new challenges, and yes… by also failing at them, will you gain the necessary tools to learn and grow in life. It takes doing things thousands of times in order to master something, and to do that you have to accept there will also be thousands of failures and setbacks.
  2. You make excuses and blame. So you tried something new and you did not run away from a new experience but it didn’t turn out as you expected or had hoped for either. Do you make excuses for it or blame the situation on others or do you take ownership for what happened and choose to learn from it? One of my favorite lines from the movie The Rock was something that Sean Connery’s character said, “Losers always whine about their best…” Don’t make excuses, whine, or blame others. Use every setback and experience as a learning opportunity and take the time needed to keep on improving until you see results.
  3. You have constant unsupportive conversations with yourself. This is the biggie and can happen in so many ways. This is the monkey-mind taking over and telling you that you are not good enough, deserving enough, that you haven’t practiced enough, you don’t know what you are doing, and so on. Maybe the words that you choose to use lack power and purpose. There is huge difference in mindset between saying that you will “do” something instead of just saying that you will “try.” Confident people use words with intention, and especially the words they use with themselves during their own internal conversations.
  4. You rely on permission and approval from others. Not everyone you know will enthusiastically agree with your ideas, what you want to do, and even more so if they are new ideas or directions. Don’t wait for approval or permission from others before taking on a new challenge in life. And even if you succeed, don’t just stop because you did not receive the praise and adoration that you feel you might have earned. Confident people blaze their own paths in life and don’t rely on the approval of others to begin or to do anything new.
  5. You allow failure to get to you. Nothing will undermine and sabotage your self-confidence more quickly than taking everything that goes wrong personally. It isn’t the failure or falling down that erodes your self-confidence but rather the failing to get back up on your own two feet and make another go of it. If a thing does not go as expected never view yourself as a failure and don’t immediately pass judgment upon yourself and just assume that you “can’t.” One failure or a thousand failures does not warrant a life-sentence of bearing a negative self-label of any sort. If you learn from a failure or if a failure inspires you to be more determined, then you really have not failed.

Do the things that push you to the edge of your comfort zone so you can expand it and grow a little more confident every day. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed. Believe in your intuition and gut instincts. Ignore all negative self-talk.

Never wait for the green light and approval of those around you before trying anything new. As Grace Murray Hopper said, “It is better to beg forgiveness, than ask permission.” Always give yourself permission to proceed with something new and if things don’t go as expected, then always be the first to forgive yourself and move on to try again.

Never allow anyone to destroy or undermine your self-confidence, but more importantly, never allow it to be an inside job either.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado


  1. […] times we get in our own way by sabotaging things ourselves. We sabotage our happiness. We sabotage our confidence, and we even sabotage our relationships by doing bonehead stuff when things are going […]

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