How to Protect Your Confidence After a Painful Experience

5 Things You Can Do to Continue Progressing Towards Your Goals

Knowing how to protect our confidence, especially after a painful experience, is vital if we want to achieve meaningful things.

Confidence is developed over a long period, but it can be destroyed very quickly. An event or experience we deem to be a failure can be the catalyst that affects our confidence.

Even though failures are learning experiences, they can still be painful.

Things That Can Affect Your Confidence

There are many things that can affect our confidence negatively. Examples can include:

  • Suffering an injury and not believing we can get back to how we were before the injury.
  • Experiencing a financial loss because of a decision we made.
  • Going through the loss or break-up of a personal or professional relationship.
  • Having an event or venture not go the way we would have liked.
  • Having someone criticise or discredit us.

There are experiences or events every day that can affect our confidence, therefore we must be able to protect it as best as we can.

protect your confidence

The Costs of Not Being Able to Protect Your Confidence

If we don’t protect our confidence, it can:

  • Reduce our motivation to continue taking actions to progress towards our goals.
  • Affect our mental and emotional well-being.
  • Prevent us from making decisions quickly or in a timely manner.
  • Affect our ability to take new risks.
  • Generate negative self-talk which can lead to self-criticism.

Knowing how to protect our confidence is important as we strive to be the best version of ourselves.

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Confidence

Most times, being able to protect our confidence comes down to a few simple things we can do.

  1. Give yourself time to self-reflect. Self-reflection time can be used to acknowledge and accept something that has happened. It can be used to re-interpret the event we consider a failure and give it a different meaning. This time should be used to extract the lessons we need to learn to move on.
  2. Read through your list of past successes. One event or experience that didn’t go our way doesn’t make us a failure. We’ve had successes previously, and it’s easy to dismiss them as insignificant or not important. Having a list of successes is valuable because we can read through them and remind ourselves of things we’ve accomplished.
  3. Compare yourself to where you were. A powerful way to protect and build our confidence is to look back at how much progress we’ve made. Instead of looking at what didn’t happen or what we didn’t achieve, it’s better to look at where we are now in relation to where we were. If we’ve progressed, it means we’re headed in the right direction.
  4. Redirect your focus to being of service to others. Instead of focusing so much on what’s not going well for us, we can shift our focus to what we can do for others. A powerful question we can ask after a failure is, “What does this event make possible now so I can serve others better?” When we change what we’re giving attention to, our experiences or reality will also change.
  5. Work with a mentor or coach. We all need support and guidance. Instead of trying to restore our confidence on our own, it’s valuable to work with someone who can help us see things from new perspectives. Being willing to invest in ourselves can speed up how long it can take to overcome a failure so we can get back to doing what we want to do.


Our level of confidence has to be treated like any asset we own. The only difference is confidence is an internal, mental asset rather than a physical asset. If we’re able to get through something we deem a failure with our confidence intact, it will go a long way in ensuring we achieve our outcomes.

If we allow a failure to reduce our confidence, it’s highly unlikely we’ll pursue the things we want to or live the life we really want. Protecting our confidence is one of the most important things we can do daily.

Action Step: Reflect on the last event or experience that affected your confidence negatively. Based on what you know now, decide what you’ll do next time something doesn’t go the way you want.

Question: What are other things we can do to protect our confidence after a painful experience?

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