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Self-Confidence and PTSD

Trauma survivors often exhibit a loss of self-confidence. Makes sense, doesn't it? Often, we hold ourselves responsible for what happened, or that we didn't prevent what happened, or that we didn't speak out about it, or that we didn't handle it in a way that we feel was most appropriate. Whew, the list goes on and on!

Part of recovery means building back that sense of self-confidence, relearning to trust yourself, your ability to take care of yourself, manage your world, and protect your safety.

There are specific actions you can take to rebuild your self-confidence. It's a process that happens slowly. Fortunately, research shows that with time and effort you can improve the level of your self-esteem at any stage of your life. So, what exactly can you do to increase it?

  • Treat yourself with as much love as you would your child or best friend. Spoil, speak compassionately to, and accept yourself as is.

  • Identify your negative thinking, and start to shift it, so that you minimize the negative and maximize the positive. Everything you think and say is your "story", so make it a good one.

  • Resist coming up with negative conclusions without evidence. Facts and fears are typically two different things.

    It might help to remember the acronym for F.E.A.R., which is False Expectations Appearing Real.

  • Accept compliments with grace. A compliment is a gift, to be received with kindness. When you're complimented, simply say a heartfelt thank you, because you are worthy.

  • Make a list of all the skills that you believe are important. Remember that these are skills that are meaningful to you, by your own personal standards. Then, practice these skills so that you can attain a higher level of mastery.

  • Create several positive affirmations, and use them daily. Examples of positive affirmations to increase your self esteem are: "I love and accept myself", "I am worthy of love and respect", "I see the best in myself and others", and "I deserve happiness".

  • Emphasize your strengths, and remind yourself of your positive efforts frequently. Being aware of your competencies and value is linked to happiness and high self esteem.

  • Beware that procrastination lowers self esteem. Make every effort to become decisive and solution-oriented so that you tackle problems and tasks head on.
References and Further Info

Gift From Within:
FAQ Recovery: Rebuilding Self-Esteem

Very Well:
How People With PTSD Can Improve Their Self-Image

Heal My PTSD:
PTSD Recovery Tip of the Week: Build Up Your Self-Confidence

Lifehack:
63 Ways to Build Self-Confidence

Psychology Today:
Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Worksheets and Info Regarding Self-Confidence

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