5 Sneaky Confidence Killers You Need to Banish From Your Life

8 min read

5 Confidence Killers You Need to Banish From Your Life

Confidence is sometimes one of these mythical, magical creatures that are nowhere to be found when you *really* need a sign that they’re out there.

Other times?

Confidence casually shows up when you least expect it to and you get reminded of how awesome it is to feel confident and actually have your self-esteem back.

Most of the time, though, the reason you may not feel confident enough in life, work, or your relationship with yourself is that your confidence is being kicked out of your life in the presence of 5 sneaky culprits. What’s worse, you may not even realize it.


In this post, we’re going to call each of these 5 confidence killers out, so you can become more aware of their presence and take the first step to controlling their influence over your life, your creativity, and your overall mindset.

Ready? Let’s get to it!

1. Comparison, or “Thou Shall Compare Yourself to Others Daily (and Then Some)”

As a creative person who’s always been chasing that next goal and would never say no to any creative project, from learning how to draw to putting together a portfolio for architecture school, I will probably be first to tell you that I was 100% guilty of comparing myself to others. 

In fact, there hasn’t been a day when I felt like I would never get even close to the level of some of those superstar artists and creatives I admired. After scrolling for hours on Facebook or looking at the amazing body of work on their blogs, I would get discouraged and wonder “Who am I to even dream of becoming a creative professional?”

See, the problem with this way of thinking is that you’re comparing yourself to people who are not only at a different stage of their journey but who also have an entirely different journey than yours, even if they are also part of the field you’re passionate about.

This is just as true for the aspiring artist as it is true for anyone who’s starting a business and feels this extreme pressure to succeed – and do it fast. The only problem is, by comparing yourself to others, you’re essentially choking your confidence and undervalue your own unique qualities, skills, and gifts.

Mini Confidence Booster Tip

Instead of comparing yourself to what you see on social media, start comparing yourself to who you were 1, 5, or 10 years ago. Not only is this going to help you appreciate the progress you’ve made but it will also help you realize that the only person you should be chasing is the best future version of you.

2. Perfectionism, or “Thou Shall Not Rest Until This Looks and Feels Perfect” 

Think back for a second and try to remember a time when you had absolutely zero expectations of yourself or a project you were working on.

If you don’t find this challenging at all then you are probably one of those mythical unicorns and I would *love* to know what your secret is. But if you’re like most of us mere mortals, you’ve probably struggled with living up to your own expectations more than once.

For some reason, what we expect of ourselves and what we expect of others are two entirely different things. We are much more supportive and encouraging when it comes to our colleagues and our friends.

But when it comes to ourselves? We become our own worst enemy.

Even if our coworkers, friends, or family do not demand excellence of us, we still choose to expect nothing but perfection, as if that in itself will be enough to deem ourselves knowledgeable enough, error-free, and perhaps even someone worth looking up to.

But the problem with this is that nothing ever truly is perfectly polished and without imperfections. All you ever gain from chasing perfection (besides the paralyzing feeling that you cannot move on before “this is perfect”) is a diminishing self-confidence and an even lower self-esteem.

Mini Confidence Booster Tip 

Drop the illusion of reaching perfection and try focusing on making progress instead. One confidence-building activity you can add to your daily routine is practicing gratitude. Even if you just list 3 things you’re grateful every day, it’s still enough to make a difference in your mindset.

3. Fear of Not Being Good Enough, or “Thou Shall Never Feel Worthy, Sorry” 

Having doubts and second-guessing things is a natural part of being human, even more so a creative one at that. No matter how sure you are that certain things will play out as you imagine, occasionally, things get in the way and your brilliant plans may fall right through the cracks.

It happens. And it happens more often than we’d like. But this isn’t an ideal world, and there is a difference between doubting something and doubting yourself.

You may have noticed how feeling like you’ll never be good enough instantly robs you of the little confidence you may have left. You’re left there with your negative chatter in your head and those belittling thoughts that neither push you forward nor backward: you’re simply standing still.

Feeling like you’re not worthy of that promotion you’ve been working your butt off for so long or thinking that maybe you’re just not cut out for this entrepreneurial business are things your inner critic wants you to believe so you can stop and stay where’s it’s comfortable, safe, and warm.

Ask any creative and you’ll see that having those doubts is inevitable. It’s part of the process. But the truth is, you know more than you realize or give yourself credit for.

And you are more than enough to not only go after the goal, project, or career you’re dreaming of but also to rise tall against anything that pops up on your way.

Because life doesn’t give you lemons to enjoy the sour taste. She gives you lemons to put your mind to work and come up with ways you can use those lemons and make something great out of them. And your mind is much more suited for coming up with solutions rather than creating problems, don’t you think?

Mini Confidence Booster Tip 

A simple way you can get rid of this confidence killer is to adopt the mindset of becoming 1% better every day. This way, you essentially accept that you’re still learning as you go. So instead of thinking about what you’re not good at (yet), you focus on staying curious, exploring your possibilities, and becoming a little bit better every single day.

4. Self-Consciousness, or “Thou Shall Not Unwind in My Presence” 

When I was in college a couple of years ago, something about cultural prejudice relating to languages (I was a linguistics major at the time) had apparently struck a chord with me and I wanted to comment.

While waiting with my hand raised in the air, I suddenly realized that it had started shaking. My cheeks felt like they were burning up and my heart was going “thump thump” so loud I thought anytime now someone would turn around and look at me in all shades of weird.

Now, if there was a moment when the spotlight is on you and you can barely see anything on stage besides that blinding light, that would be it. Not in a movie, but in real life. And I was feeling every second of it 10x more.

All because I was there, in a room full of people who I was sure were going to judge me, raising my hand with my heart nearly jumping out of my chest, and trembling like a leaf.

As you’d expect, nothing happened after I was done, other than feeling completely drained. Nobody appeared to judge me either, at least not openly. But my confidence had completely deserted me when I needed it the most, and it finally hit me what being self-conscious brought along: the chit-chatter and negativity that all inner critics come with.

Mini Confidence Booster Tip 

That little voice in your head can easily convince you that everyone’s going to notice all your shortcomings and mock you. But, in reality, people are too busy worrying about themselves to worry about you or me. So instead of imagining them holding a magnifying glass as if you’re under inspection, acknowledge what your inner critic tells you and casually dirt off your shoulder, Jay-Z style and all.

5. FOMO, or “Thou Shall Not Enjoy this Moment or Any Other – Guaranteed”

Whether you are spending a romantic holiday in Venice or celebrating your best friend’s birthday in NYC, just 5 minutes spent scrolling on Facebook is enough to remind you of everything you’re missing out on back home or at that social event at work you got invited to.

No matter what you choose, worrying that you’re constantly missing out on something is not just ruining your mood and making you feel like where you are is not that great after all. It’s also stealing away your confidence when it comes to making the right decisions for you and your life.

By trying to encapsulate your life in an image and a caption telling all your friends and followers you’re having a fun weekend is actually… not that fun.

Not when in reality you’re wondering what you did wrong with your life for not living the dream as a digital nomad and splashing in the Caribbean like your friend Susan. And especially not when everyone seems to be happier, more in control, and surrounded by a loving significant other, or just oozing creativity and success at work and in their business.

So you play that same old record with those Negative Ballads of Dreams Long Lost and you convince yourself that this is how it’s going to be thanks to all the decisions you made that apparently make you miserable and so unfulfilled deep inside.

Mini Confidence Booster Tip 

Suggesting you cut out social from your life would probably not be entirely realistic. But if you want to escape the FOMO loop and improve your self-confidence, consider taking a more mindful approach to social and use it as your inspirational springboard. Get inspired but remember to appreciate the present moment rather than looking for excuses to escape it.

What is your biggest hurdle with confidence as a creative? Is there anything you’d add to the list that I missed? Comment below and let me know!

Blog post image: RawPixel