When Your Confidence Completely Fails You



We all have those days when all of a sudden, you can’t handle things anymore. Whether it’s stuff at work weighing you down, or more often, personal issues and insecurities that you’ve been harboring for a while, once in a while, those things stop simply chipping at you and begin to leave huge cracks.

Most of the time, we can handle the big stuff with positivity and confidence, but what happens when your confidence completely fails you?

I’ve had days like that. I think everything in my life is manageable, under control, even if I don’t know everything or do everything right — I’m handling. Like all of us, I’m handling and I’m happy.

And then, seemingly inexplicably, something snaps.

It happened to me recently. I was happy, content, confident, joyful and then something happened in my personal life and there was this major emotional upheaval. I could feel all the confidence I cultivate so proudly just ebbing away, and all that was left were these glaring insecurities, as if I were 14 again and wishing for my crush to like me back.

I didn’t know why my confidence had seemingly fled entirely, or how to stop the growing sense of frustration, anger, sadness and helplessness — this abyss I had fallen into. I didn’t see a way out.

In other words, I had a major emotional breakdown. I asked those whiny questions: Why me? And I was awash in self-pity, thinking all of the bad things I possibly could, and not even able to think about anything positive.

I spoke to my friend, who told me nice things and told me that everything I was feeling wasn’t true. In an effort to buoy me up, my friends told me everything I should have been able to tell myself, and even though it helped, it didn’t stem this flow of sadness.

The only thing that helped, in my case, was being alone. For a day, I turned off the world and fought back to regain my confidence and to make myself believe all the things my friends told me, the things I knew to be true. And most important, I forgave myself for forgetting the good things. I forgave myself for cracking. I forgave myself for letting myself feel bad.

We can’t all feel good all the time. Letting myself feel absolutely terrible made me realize that I was just repressing all these emotions that would have been much better to manage if I let myself feel them just a little bit. So I went the other extreme and just wallowed.

I let myself feel it all, and then it dissipated. I let myself descend into self-pity, and realize it couldn’t break me. There was a sudden lightening right after I allowed myself to fall, and I realized that I needed those bad days just to “get them out of my system” and afterward, I felt better than I had in a while.

We all need days like those, when our confidence fails us and we can’t find answers, just to be sad.

Let yourself have bad days. Let yourself have days when you don’t get out of bed, when you feel guiltless about eating all of the junk food you can find, watch a sappy movie, and cry it out. Let yourself feel those things that you normally scoff at or repress, because once you feel them, they stop being so frightening. Letting yourself deal with emotions that aren’t so positive or easy to deal with just makes them that much easier to deal with. Give yourself one day, and then tell yourself it’s over — the wallowing is done — and move on.

Letting yourself feel is a cleansing experience. It’s almost as if you’re purging those bad thoughts and difficult emotions from your body, so that they harm and affect you less.

Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.

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