5 Psychological Reasons You Don’t Feel Confident

2: You catastrophize the future

Nick Wignall


Photo by Lola Russian

Here’s how most people think about their lack of confidence:

  • I’d be more confident if I hadn’t inherited my father’s indecisiveness…
  • If only I didn’t have such a neurotic personality, then I could be more confident…
  • If my mother had really loved me then I’d feel more confident and secure in my relationships…

Fortunately, they’re wrong.

Of course, everything from genetics to childhood experience has some influence on how confident you feel (or don’t). But by far the biggest influence on confidence is the one everyone seems to miss…

It’s your habits in the present, not the events of your past, that determine your confidence.

In my work as a psychologist, I’ve found that there are a handful of confidence-killing habits people fall into without knowing it. And it’s these habits that are the real causes of chronically low confidence.

If you can learn to identify and work through them, you’ll find that your natural levels of confidence are much higher than you realize.

1. You’re addicted to reassurance

Reassurance-seeking is like outsourcing emotional labor onto other people. And not only does it kill your confidence, it also tends to sabotage your relationships and lead to people becoming resentful of you.

Here’s a small example:

  • You get an email from your manager saying they want to talk to you in their office first thing tomorrow morning.
  • You immediately imagine the worst (I’m going to get fired!) and feel incredibly anxious.
  • So you turn to your spouse and say: Oh my God, this can’t be good. I’m freaking out here. What should I do?
  • Your spouse patiently listens, validates your fear, and walks you through all sorts of reasons why it’s unlikely.
  • After 15 minutes of being talked down, you feel noticeably less anxious and reassured.



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com