Causes of low self confidence
There are many causes of low self confidence. People are not born with low self-esteem, children by their nature are bright, brave, adventurous, curious and happy.
But somewhere down the line, things change and the same bright child becomes a wary frightened youth. Through a series of bad life experiences, many people lose their confidence and begin to live in small bubbles afraid of the world.
Some of the primary causes of low self-confidence are the following:
Very closely linked to bad company are bullies. Bullies actually tend to have very low self-confidence and are themselves usually victims of poor parenting, bad company or other bullies. They get caught up in this cycle of abuse and it becomes the only language they know. Bullies cannot stand people who are unique, confident and happy and they make it a point to beat them into conformity. This continues the cycle of abuse and confidence killing.
The way to deal with and overcome this is to not give in to bullying. Bullying takes many forms but the most common are school bullies or neighbourhood bullies for youngsters. For older people, it can come in the form of family, co-workers, community or society. I have decided to tackle societal pressure as a separate cause because it requires its own lengthy discussion.
We need to oppose bullies and not give in to their pressure. Doing so breaks the cycle, which allows you to not just maintain confidence but increase it due to the courage needed to oppose them. It can also reverse the cycle as you can use this as an opportunity to try and get through to the bully and help him out of that cycle too.
One of the reasons that I advocate home-schooling is because I am not a fan of the school system. One of the many reasons for this is due to the number of cases I have seen in which school teachers completely destroyed the self-confidence of children. Whether it is through verbal or physical abuse, the consequences of a bad teacher remain with a student for many years.
There are many cases in which a student was called stupid by a teacher at a young age and spent the rest of his life believing he was stupid, thus never excelling at everything. I recall during my teenage years in the Madrassa, there was a classmate of mine who used to be ridiculed by student and teacher alike. They gave him the nickname ‘Dumb John’ and would make him the butt of all their jokes.
Yet, this boy was very patient, kind and caring and would never lose his temper or harm anyone. He learned to drive at a very young age and started working at a young age too. Just because he was unable to grasp certain technical Islamic subjects, he was given a derogatory label. The label stuck and he eventually dropped out of studies and went back to work in his father’s business, another victim of poor teaching methodology.
If you are a teacher who is reading this, understand the important role you play in a child’s life. A good teacher can inspire a student to chase his dreams and change the world, while a bad teacher can crush the spirits of a student and destroy his future. Always be the inspirational teacher.
If you are a victim of such teaching, then understand that your teacher had no right to pass such judgment on you, and you do not need to let such remarks dictate your life. Take the statements of such teachers as a challenge and prove them wrong by succeeding in life.
This content was extracted from the chapter on causes of low self confidence from our e-book, Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence, pp. 19-21. This book is available exclusively to Islamic Self Help in PDF format. Click the link for purchase details.