My mentor, Dr. Alan Wolfelt, taught me to approach clients with a ‘teach me attitude’. I can honestly say that every client DOES teach me something about the grief journey. One, in particular, sparked me to look at all the ways in which one’s confidence can be shattered. Events such as the death of a loved one, infidelity, divorce, relationship changes, a job loss, financial disaster and compromised health all came to mind. I was also reminded of the many individuals where a lack of confidence became a problem after they suffered a brain injury.
Having confidence enables us to do so many things in life. It is something we develop for ourselves and something that we can glean through the encouragement of others. And it absolutely is put to the test or can leave a person feeling abandoned following a brain injury.
Both my husband, Gerry and my friend, Ruth, struggled with a lack of confidence when they came home from hospital. Things that they likely could have done blindfolded before their injuries were extremely problematic for them to carry out after. Both shared experiences of starting out with confidence to do a task only to have that belief shattered when they missed a step or two or were not able to complete what they were doing. It was very hard for them to see that what they could not do today may be something they could do tomorrow or the next month or the next year. From the outside looking in, I tried to be supportive and understanding, but I doubt that any of us can appreciate the full magnitude of what they felt unless we personally have experienced a similar situation.
How can one rebuild their confidence? It isn’t any one thing. It’s many. Rebuilding confidence comes through reflection, healing, support from others, baby steps, solitude, prayer, and remembering to breathe. There is one thing that is imperative to NOT do and that is to languish in negative self-talk. The moment you hear yourself say, “I can’t do this” or “I am just a screw up” or “My life is a waste” hit the ‘mental delete button’! That’s right… the delete button. Visualize a large computer button that says delete and hit it. The more you do this, the easier it will be to stop those statements. It’s important you do because those words will hold you back indefinitely. Continue to surround yourself with those who believe in you and love you unconditionally.
Your confidence may not be restored overnight, but I promise, it is something that we can regain… it takes some effort and time, but it can be done.
© Janelle Breese Biagioni, RPC