Let’s Talk About Confidence

There are moments in life that seem to shake us. These can be huge, obvious blows as well as a gradual build up of small changes or circumstances. Confidence can be so high to then one day disappear.

What does it look like to truly be confident? If my confidence has been knocked, how can I rebuild it?

[This post is part of the Mental Health series which can be viewed here]

Confident by Nature

Many of my closest friends would describe me as an incredibly confident girl. Most of the time, that’s true. However, I have had my fair share of confidence growth.

At 23, I finished a degree, had formed an incredible group of friends, and moved onto a brand new adventure. My ‘confidence’ was at its best.

Recently, my confidence was knocked – big time. Following the most exciting move and transition into my next chapter, things began to wobble and I wrote this journal excerpt:

After Grandad died, things really started to pull. It was the final straw on an overloaded hay bale of new navigations, emotional strains and stressful trials. It’s been a huge learning season and I have constantly felt inadequate. I have doubted my calling and my capability a million times and at times, felt undermined or weary.”

When Confidence is Knocked

Circumstances can knock our confidence, no matter how much faith we may have. Transitional periods such as moving house or changing jobs in particular can catch us off guard – so off guard that we nearly quit and change career completely (yes, that was me).

Emerging from this season of process and transition, I have learnt a few things about what it truly means to have confidence, and how we can restore it when it goes a miss.

So, what is true confidence?

Confidence: the feeling of having very little doubt about yourself and your abilities or worth. And/or, the belief and trust in someone or something else as completely reliable.

The definition of confidence teaches us that capability, trust and feelings are all aspects of confidence, particularly self-confidence. Yet interestingly, we see that the deeper root of confidence comes from our belief systems: what we trust, what we believe to determine or qualify as worth, and how we emotionally perceive ourselves. Confidence may be affected by circumstance, our appearance, or abilities. Hence, it is typical that circumstances or situations outside of our control can completely seem to strip our confidence. However, the deeper issue is our own response, belief’s and reactions.

When our confidence is naturally knocked, we shouldn’t feel guilty or blamed. But, we can shape and build back confidence by addressing our response. We can control this!

Discovering Truths about Confidence

I have learnt that my confidence comes not from my ability or capability, but from the faith that God is love. I have found that true confidence is built when I choose to abide in this love; I’m already wonderfully created and ‘qualified’ for God’s perfect plan.

What do you believe about your worth, or your capability? Are you trusting in yourself? In a circumstance? In God? Is this positive? Could exploring a new perspective help?

(Check out ‘Paths – Fate, Feat or…?’ if you want to explore more about how we can trust in God as we confidently navigate life and decisions.)

Finally, one of the greatest lessons learned is that often, ‘confidence’ looks like patience. I don’t mean the ‘waiting-around’ sort of patience that often is associated with standing in a queue. Rather, ‘active patience,’ is about choosing to endure, and continue with what you have, whilst affording yourself grace. For example:

  • Turning up to class today despite failing yesterday, and acknowledging that turning up alone marks the confidence to not give up
  • Returning to university trusting that in time you will see the value – even though all you desire is to be on the otherside and in a job already
  • Believing that where you are is exactly where you are meant to be, even when it may look like you are far behind everyone else on life’s timeline
  • Choosing to view every slow or ‘low’ day as an opportunity to bear kindness or elevate someone else, as you trust that your best day will come in time
  • Remembering that true love gives grace to the present person (just as they are), and by laying down the agenda to ‘fix’ or ‘change,’ it allows for true transformation in time

When my confidence feels low, how can I start to build it up again?

Besides the deeper reflections, I have also been discovering small tips and tricks to help build a sense of confidence. For each of us this may look different. Often ‘putting on confidence’ will discipline and train us to practise feeling confident. When we feel shaken by life (hands up if you’re also in your twenties and feel like this is a daily struggle) we can refill our joy, remind ourself of our worth, treat ourselves with dignity and connect with friends. Not to mention, we can also rally around our friends and build their confidence too!

Here are a few things that I have found to help boost confidence:

  • Phoning close friends
  • Wearing my best clothes and fixing my hair – even when I’m not leaving the house
  • Laughing at the silly stresses with colleagues
  • Writing down compliments and reading them when I’m feeling inadequate
  • Receiving flowers from friends (thank you <3)
  • Spending time with old friends – extremely helpful if you’re still forming social circles in a new place!
  • Make a list of things you are good at and remind yourself of them!
  • Ask friends or family to tell you good things that have happened in their lives, and lift your eyes to see that things do work together for good.
  • Go for a coffee, speak to a stranger, donate to a food bank or do something different to your day-to-day ‘output’ / career – even the smallest thing, is a different and out-of-routine skill / action that you have wonderfully and capably done.
  • Most importantly, let yourself go! Challenge yourself to not finish that email, or leave the dirty pots, or whatever it is that makes you feel inadequate and treat yourself instead. Face the fear of what ‘may happen,’ and discover that you remain loved and worthy and in existence even when you don’t accomplish – be confident in that.

Give Confidence Time

Eleanor laughs with friends whilst painting pottery wearing a pink hat and cream scarf
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

In time, confidence does return and there is always joy to notice. As I turned 24, I looked back on my recent overwhelming season with complete joy for all the small laughters, little miracles and friends who cheered me on. On a wider scale, despite the daunting transition, 23 as a whole was wonderful:

This was the year that I adventured in the surprising doorstep ways, saying ‘yes’ to so many moments that I previously would have shied from. 23 was a year full of joy, laughter and the deepest wells of friendship yet! It was the year of pink, of invading ice-cream shops, laughing hard, praying faithfully, picnicking before and not after deadlines… It was sunshine, surf, dance parties and late night tea-drinking-therapy as my chums and I cheered and challenged one another. I can confidently look back and see many moments, the eruption of happiness in choosing joy as well as a million little miracles as I chose to make a big move. The transition may have challenged and knocked this ‘confidence,’ but I can confidently trust that I made the right decision, knowing that so much good has unfolded and the season I left was contented to be complete.”

Final Notes

Friends, wherever your confidence currently stands, I hope that you may know that you are loved, capable and more than adequate just as your are.

If you’re heading into this new year with a sense of apprehension, worry or doubt then know you’re not alone. I for one, am still walking through this confidence journey and probably will be for the rest of life! I may be daunted about the fast approaching season ahead of me, but I continually remember all that has been before and the joys that I will one day see.

I’m choosing to let God’s love and power working through my weakness define my confidence. What defines yours?

Enjoyed this? Check out more on the Living Well blog.

Useful resources:

Morgan Harper Nichols has a lovely range of journal prompts, podcasts and reflections that can be helpful for building confidence.

Live Life to the Full – a free online course, which includes a session on confidence. Both the standard course, and the same course with Christian additions / reflections are available.

It’s Time I Quit…

I am done and I quit.

Things have been quiet over here lately, largely because I had no creativity left. Life has been busy and if you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I’ve been desperately getting through some books.

I lost my creativity and got busy. I also walked through a season of discouragement which took its toll.


We all find ourselves discouraged from time to time. Unfortunately, it’s normal. However, paired with a prolonged sense of circumstantial isolation, it becomes harder to intercept discouragement. One minute I was enthusiastically running towards all things social justice, faith and travel, and the next? You guessed it. I felt like my small impact just wasn’t making any change. I also found myself being confronted by heavy faith questions I didn’t have answers to.

It took me a while to recognise all of this as discouragement. In the moment, confusion wins and disguises the discouragement as something ordinary or acceptable. Yet when we label it, it becomes easier to intercept. Naming discouragement as discouragement frees us to reject it and press onwards.

Hence, I took some time to have healthy conversations with friends and mentors. I read books and found some good encouraging answers to my questions. I travelled to see some of my dearest friends who showered me with joy and strengthened me with encouragement.


Looking back, I can easily see so much good in the past season. Life has been so full! However, continuous discouragement can lead to a cycle of negative thinking and cynicism. I became so cynical.

Cynicism is the dangerous cycle of doubt and expectation of disappointment. It’s believing that everyone and everything is unfair or just out to get you.

I stopped looking forward to things. Suddenly I refused make plans and believe that restrictions would really be lifted. I became a negative thinker. Thoughts such as, ‘I don’t deserve this,’ or, ‘life wasn’t supposed to be like this,’ often revolve in a cynical thought cycle.

Cynicism, based on disillusionment, is draining and toxic. I quit.

Jennie Allen, wrote a brilliant book on interrupting various negative thinking cycles including cynicism. This is one of the books I’ve been busy reading and I recommend it to anyone looking for a practical yet biblical book on negative thought spirals! Find it here.

I Quit

Cynicism causes us to look for things to complain about. “The opposite of cynicism is looking for reasons to give thanks.” (Jennie Allen)

I quit believing that I am a victim. I quit being discouraged. It’s time to believe that every circumstance contains an opportunity to experience goodness. I choose to rejoice. I choose to be encouraged.

Life is so full of blessings. Every day gives us chance to experience joy, wonder and fun. If we allow ourselves to stay curious and optimistic, we can truly make the most of our circumstances.

Choosing to think, ‘my circumstances are an opportunity to experience goodness’ in place of self-pity, positions us to be more thankful, more forgiving and ultimately joyful.

So, here I am, choosing to share some light today. Having worked through the cynicism and found myself in a joyful place once more, I encourage you all to remain thankful. I encourage you to quit discouragement by reaching out to others.

I had been believing for a long time, that everything was against me and the only way to thrive, was to forcefully survive. The truth? People, places and institutions often want to elevate, come alongside and help us!


There is however one disclaimer. Circumstances can be hard and I’m not saying that anyone in hardship is cynical or should just ‘get over it with some positive mantras.’ Nor am I saying that you have to settle with your circumstance.

If you’re having a hard time, reach out for help and do something about it whether that means seeking professional help or taking action.

However, as Jennie Allen so wonderfully puts it, ‘we don’t have to like our circumstances, but we can choose to look for the unexpected gifts they may bring.’ Reach out but also be open minded to the unexpected blessings.

For more book reviews, head to the Coffee Time tag. I’m hoping to start this back up, especially now that I’ve been reading more.

Mental Health & Wellbeing

Mental health issues today seem to be as easy to catch as the common cold. We are living in this deeply sad reality of a broken world, where our even own minds cause us harm.

2020 in particular has seen a rise in the level of mental health related problems in people. Trials, uncertainty and pain take their toll.

‘I don’t think I can cope with much more’

Covid-19 is not going away any time soon. If that makes you feel a drowning sense of dread, then I’m sorry and I hope you know that you are probably not alone in feeling that. One year seems like too long. But we can look back to a time when a national trial lasted a lot longer, to find some encouragement…

WW2 lasted 6 years. As much as we can learn from this season, there was an exile that lasted 40. In the bible we read time and time again about the Israelites being freed from slavery in Egypt and walking for 40 years through a desert to reach their promised land. 40 years!

I certainly do not have the mental capacity to live in an unknown state of wandering dependancy for a year, never mind 40.

Spolier: they make it! However things aren’t perfect and the Israelites struggle time and time again. They get disheartened. They do bad things. They find themselves fighting wars. At one point, they end up exiled and by this point, they pretty much come to the conclusion that God isn’t good. They conclude that God has neglected them.

Life wasn’t wasn’t meant to be like this. We live in a broken world, where there is broken hope, broken bodies, and broken desires. So we struggle. But God is loving. He doesn’t promise that everything will be easy. But he does promise to be with us, to give us what we need to get through today, and to lead us in caring for our well-being.

God doesn’t neglect:

In this particular exile (midway through the book of Isaiah) it was easy to struggle mentally to the point at which the Israelites feel abandoned. The Israelites weren’t looking to God and had got lost in ‘broken desires,’ attempting to find satisfaction in other things, including other gods and cultural worship. When they walk through the exile, they assume that God just doesn’t love them anymore and instead is pointing the finger for their brokenness.

God doesn’t point the finger. Instead He leads them out of the exile, but firstly he speaks to them:

‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.‘ Isaiah 43:1-2

God promises not a lack of trial, but his faithful presence amongst them all. He doesn’t neglect when fires, seas, wars, Covid or grief rise. That’s just not part of his character. God is a loyal friend and father, always with us, giving comfort. He is with you in your mental and emotional struggles today.

God speaks about well-being:

A bit later on in this season, God speaks again and this time it’s about well-being. He speaks about peace.

We could all use some peace – whether we are struggling mentally or not.

God reminds us that he created the whole earth. He is the creator, and we therefore are his creation; we are a subservient, dependent creation, existing in him. We are weak yet He is strong.

We come to God in our vulnerable, weak, struggling manner and God expects nothing more – He embraces that! Living in this dependency leads us to trust in God’s higher understanding and God promises to lead us: ‘I am the lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you and directs you in the way you should go.’ Isaiah 48:17

Wouldn’t we all love a personal life councillor, planner, advisor, and ‘parent’ to tell us what to do? To tell us what decisions to make? Well, in God, we can have just that!

If we come to God with our vulnerbility and mess, He embraces us and directs us. And then, if we actually follow as He leads and nudges us to make gradual good steps, then we can attain peace and good well-being! In fact, God tells the Israelites, ‘You didn’t do what I instructed you to do, or obey me. If you had, you could have had peace like a river and well-being like waves of the sea.’ (Isaiah 48:18 paraphrased)

God has not neglected you. If the water is up to your neck, God promises not to give you anything that you can’t overcome – it won’t come over your head. In it, He is with you and his loving presence will comfort you.

You won’t understand why you’re struggling and that’s ok. But God is inviting you to call out to him again, to rest in his loving arms, and to listen to his small voice leading you. He wishes to use people, things, and situations to gently lead you along the right path and to make the right decisions.

One day, this broken world will be renewed. But until then, God is the provider of good well-being. That doesn’t mean that you don’t seek practical help – God often uses people, medication, sleep, exercise, therapy to help his people. But it does mean that you know He hasn’t neglected you.

I hope this brings you some encouragement whatever struggles you’re facing.

You’re not alone. Try praying if you don’t already. God is love and He will lead you on a journey towards good well-being. The mental health issues won’t go away overnight but I promise that in the midst of them, you will grow to know a deep comfort and peace within as you battle with your mind.

If you’d like to chat, then fill in a contact form here. All is kept confidential. Unfortunately, anonymous responses can’t be replied to, but I will be thinking and praying for you.