Unless you’re super-lucky, you’ll definitely have encountered a Confidence Sucker. In fact, let’s be real: most of us have one or two Confidence Suckers we have to deal with on the regular. (All together now: “URGH”).
You know the types we’re talking about. Those people that, even if you’re looking and feeling fierce AF, stare at you like RuPaul stares at the queen whose just properly blown their runway presentation. The more time you spend with them, the more the confidence drains from your deeply fabulous bones. And when you finally leave them you’re feeling about as good as a piece of gum that’s been stomped on so many times it now lives deep in the grooves of someone’s left Yeezy. They’re basically Dementors that suck your self-worth instead of your soul.
But while we can’t help you summon a Patronus to ward off these horrid creatures (seriously, when is science going to catch up and let us all actually summon a Patronus whenever we need one?) we do have a few other ways to help you protect yourself from them.
Find them and phase them out
Some Confidence Suckers are in our lives whether we like it or not. Like the particularly vicious Headteacher who somehow took his hatred of children as a clear sign that he should… go into teaching?! (Wait, WHAT? Who has that kind of logic?) But some Confidence Suckers don’t have to be in our lives. Like, not even a tiny bit. If the coach at your local sports club is always putting you down, find another club. If you’re starting to think your ‘straight-talking’ friend could actually just be a mean frenemy, stop hanging out with them. Basically, anyone that regularly makes you feel like the Yeezy gum? Ditch them. Positive vibes and positive people only, please.
Do a pre-meeting pump up
If you have to deal with a Confidence Sucker, make sure you meet them full of as much confidence as you can muster. The bigger your confidence store, the more likely you are to have some left once they’ve pulled all of their best belittling tricks. Hell, with the rest of our tips in your arsenal, you might even hold onto your whole store anyway. That’s defo the idea. Anyways, give yourself a little pre-meeting boost. Put on something that makes you feel awesome, even if boring rules mean it can only be some excellent socks or a special bracelet from a good friend. Spend some time with people that love you and make you feel like the amazing person you are. Give yourself a talking to in the mirror, listing all the things that are great about you. (Or just write them down if mirror-talk is just a bit too cringe). You are awesome. And nothing they say can change that.
Their sh*t, not mine
When you’re face-to-face with them, give yourself a little mantra to repeat in your head. Just something to remind yourself of how strong and amazing you are and how pathetic their attempts are to dint your confidence. We like ‘Their sh*t, not mine’. i.e. all of the nastiness they’re spewing is because of some issue that they have. It actually has nothing to do with me. Are they giving you a backhanded compliment designed to make you feel insecure about your outfit? They’re probably feeling rubbish about their own. Are they telling you how much better than you they did on the maths test? Maybe they’ve got seriously pushy parents who make them feel like they’re only worth something if they get straight As. Poor thing. And if you think there’s actually no issue behind their behaviour and they’re genuinely just being mean to be mean, there’s a slight, ahem, adjustment you can make to the mantra. Try, ‘they’re sh*t. I’m not’. That works, too.
Like all types of bullies, Confidence Suckers get satisfaction (not to mention most of their power) from seeing you react. So don’t. If your usual response is to get angry and fight back, keep calm. If you tend to suck up to them in the hope they’ll stop the insult onslaught, stay quiet. Try to think of their comments as being the most boring, irrelevant sentences you’ve ever heard, and focus all of your energy on thinking about how great you are. So, when they tell you they can help you lose all that extra weight you’ve put on (or some other such bullsh*t)? Look thoroughly bored and say something like “Yeah, maybe… dunno…” then change the subject, look at your phone, talk to someone else or even yawn if you can.
Let it go
Once the dreaded encounter is over, DO NOT waste any more time or energy on it. Don’t dissect every second of the conversation, don’t replay their insults, don’t try to work out why that last ‘compliment’ stung so much and what they really meant by it. Instead, treat the encounter as the necessary evil it was, forget every last second of it, and focus your energy on doing things that make you feel great and that get your confidence tank back up to brimming over.
So. Now that you’re back to your fully fabulously confident self, any chance you can get started figuring out that whole Patronus-conjuring malarkey?
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