We often talk about life as its own living, breathing entity. When things aren’t going so well for us, it’s life that’s beating us down.
But life is defined mostly in terms of our relationships. When a person or persons is mistreating us it can pull a dark cloud over our entire life and make us feel defeated.
This feeling of defeat, of discouragement, can stretch into every area from our ability to work to giving our full, happy self to those who love and treat us well.
If someone hasn’t been treating you well, whether it’s a toxic relationship, a mean boss, or any other type of bully, you owe it to yourself to get back up.
I know — that’s easier said than done. But you can’t let others define what your life is or becomes, so you owe it to yourself to get up and take action.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to build yourself back up and retake your confidence.
I’ve learned to ignore the negative people and just be a living example of confidence and self-love.
– Khoudia Diop
1. Talk about it
Before anything else, if confronting the other person and talking about it with them is an option, it needs to be the first thing you do. That’s because resolving the conflict will take away most, if not all, of the negative energy surrounding the incidents and help you find your confidence again.
Sometimes, those closest to us are stressed out or experiencing an intense pain or depression. These kinds of feelings make anyone more irritable, mean, and less inconsiderate. When that happens, you don’t want to give up on the person and healing their apology can be very powerful.
One of my favorite ways to approach conflict such as this, even if it’s just the other person who has hurt you, is Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice of Beginning Anew.
The steps are pretty simple but extremely effective:
- Tell the other person of their positive qualities: Nothing drops someone’s defenses like a good compliment.
- Express remorse: Was there any part you played? Maybe you’re just regretful that you argued with someone you love. Talk about it first to help drop their defenses further.
- Talk about what hurt you: Express how what they did made you feel.
- Seek healing: Talk to the other person about what can be done to heal the situation.
This method obviously assumes this is someone you know well, probably love, and want to resolve the conflict with. But it’s important to mention because you shouldn’t treat someone close to you and a bully or other negative association the same.
The best way to get your confidence back from a conflict is to remove the conflict entirely.
But if that’s not possible…
2. Create space
If there’s no hope of a powerful resolution to regain your confidence, you need to start by getting the hell away from the person.
They’re a poisonous association and you have to distance yourself from that poison if you ever hope to get your confidence back. Otherwise, they’ll just keep siphoning it off until you even begin to doubt yourself.
Space helps us think. It helps us work out internal challenges and refresh our state of mind. This could mean moving office spaces or simply not hanging out with a particular friend any longer. Maybe it wasn’t even someone you’re typically around and they’re already long gone, you simply left with an emotional bruise you’re trying to heal.
Whatever the case, if they’re still around, remove the source of the negativity now to control the situation.
3. See them as human
Once you’ve gained your space, take some time to think back on why the other person might have acted the way they did.
Most of us never take the time to think about why someone that mistreats us did it but a little contemplation can often bring about several possibilities, all just as likely as the next, and each allowing us to generate real compassion and even caring for the person.
We hurt others because we hurt. So, take some time to think about how that person might have been hurting when they hurt you. Even if you don’t know exactly why, the exercise of thinking up possibilities can bring you great relief and encouragement.
4. Transform your internal self-talk
What other people do to us lingers in our subconscious mind, often confirming what was already there (“I told you it wasn’t going to work…”). Over time, this grows into a beast with an incredible strength to influence our actions.
Fortunately, you’re taking action now and doing something about it before it can do that.
The single best way to root out those discouraging ideas from entering your subconscious is by becoming proactive with your own efforts to influence the subconscious with affirmations.
Write down a few simple affirmations, some sentences that give you a sense of vitality, energy, confidence, or strength. Even the simplest and stupidest sounding phrases have a great power in the mind if read frequently enough and with great emotion supporting them. Feel the phrases, look at yourself in the mirror or visualize in your head, and know your worth.
5. Remember why you’re incredible
For all our darkness, each of us has an incredible light.
You may not know what that is off the top of your head but if you take some time to reflect on your life and what you’ve done, everyone can pick out a few things that they’re good at, good deeds you’ve done, or something else great.
Reflect on these things and maybe even write them down in a little story as best as you can remember. Reread them each day for a while and really try to place yourself in the situation again. Internalize it as best as possible and see that the hurtful words and deeds of others directed at you aren’t the truth.
You know your truth — depend on no one to tell you what you’re worth.