Bad habits. Sometimes they are things we don’t even know we’re doing, but are having a negative effect on our self-confidence nonetheless.
Now we could go on to hypothesize as where and why and where we picked up these bad habits in the first place, but we’ll save that for another day. For today, let’s just draw our attention to them, and make a concerted effort to get rid of them.
Saying sorry all the time.
Of course I’m not talking about apologizing if we’ve hurt, offended, inconvenienced, or upset someone (whether intentionally or not), but those times we apologize for not having done anything wrong.
“Sorry to bother you,” “Sorry I talked your ear off,” “Sorry I can’t think of something interesting to say in response to your witty comment,” “Sorry you just walked in to me.”
The bad habit sorry. And if you’re Canadian, it’s going to be an even tougher one to break because over apologizing is part of our DNA.
But when we apologize so unnecessarily it starts to perpetuate or reinforce the idea that everything I do is an offense or imposition, that there’s something inferior about me, and thus I need to apologize for every imperfect thing I say or do (as if everyone else is allowed to be imperfect, and I’m the only one who’s not).
It’s okay, instead, to replace those sorry’s with “Do you have a minute?” or “Thanks so much for listening,” or “That was funny, I like your wit!” or “Excuse me (when someone walking down the street with their face in their phone walks into us).” You get the idea.
Starting our sentence off by over qualifying our point of view.
This was a bad habit of mine that was wreaking havoc on my confidence as a trained expert in the field of mental health and personal development.
Starting sentences with things like “I may be wrong, but,” or “This is just my opinion and others may see things differently,” or “I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way.”
Pretty much everything that comes out of your mouth, my mouth or anyone else’s mouth is an opinion and could be disagreed with by someone else, and could even turn out to be totally wrong. That’s pretty much a given. So we don’t need to say it.
Of course it’s not cool to go around acting like an authority and speaking as a leader in any given area if you really have no idea or have never studied the topic, but if you’ve done your research and have taken time to put together a well informed opinion or perspective, then just express it, and be open to the possibility that others may not agree. That’s fine, that’s normal. We don’t have to play meek and small. Humble and open, but not meek and small. If you must, qualify once. But no more.
Saying yes without taking time to reflect.
Now I’m not talking about saying yes out of obligation when you really want to say no. That’s a problem, but not one we’re covering today.
For this one, I mean being too quick to say yes to too many things that sound great, interesting, or fun, and the realizing you have over committed yourself. You then quickly find you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with it all, so you back out or flake off.
If this happens too often, you become known as wishy wahsy one and then people stop being able to rely on you, and then people stop calling you, and then you feel left out and sad and bad about yourself but can’t figure out why.
And we don’t want that.
But of COURSE we are allowed to change our minds. Of course. Yes. Absolutely. But we do need to be responsible with our mind changing, because, as I mentioned, if we make a habit out of it, it gets old fast and as much as you don’t like to be left high and dry at the last minute, neither does anyone else.
It’s okay to take a moment before responding with an enthusiastic YES and say, “Let me check my calendar and I will get back to you. And thanks for the offer, it sounds really fun!”
Just some bad habits that many of us may not even know we are doing. But once we know and are aware, we can do something about them. We can start making a concerted effort to change things around and start creating habits that are helpful and empowering and build, rather than deplete our confidence.
If you found this valuable, please share it. And if you do, let me know so I can thank you.
I’m Julia Kristina M.A. Psych, and I’m a CBT, Mindfulness, and Strength Based registered therapist, researcher and online course creator out of Vancouver BC.
I help men and women get through the crap that’s holding them back so they can like themselves and their lives more everyday.