I've been insecure my whole life. How do you even start to build confidence? (self.asktrp)

submitted by Jcorb

I'm probably the epitome of a "beta bitch". I'm 30 years-old, and about a week ago, I finally admittedly to myself that, well, I am insecure as shit.

Pretty much all the 'usual reasons', I imagine. Watched too many movies growing up, thinking romance would be "a certain way". My cousins beat me almost every day as a kid, and continued to make me feel terrible through early adulthood. I eventually cut ties with them all, but I don't think I ever really got over all that.

Now, I have a real career, things in my life ought to be awesome, but I'm just not mentally "there". I lack any form of "confidence" about myself. I mentally beat myself up over every little thing, constantly tell myself how I'm not good enough, almost like I'm waiting for someone else to come in and tell me I'm wrong.

I've faced my fair share of rejection -- in fact, almost exclusively -- but I'm sure part of it is because I expect rejection. In a way, I feel like it's what I deserve. "I'm not the guy who gets the girl, I'm not as good looking as X, I'm not as successful and Y, and I'm not as charming as Z, so why even try?".

I'm trying to focus on improving myself. I've been working out five days a week for about six months now, recently took a guitar lesson and started practicing again, and trying to clean up my eating. Plus, I'm almost debt-free again (although that part's been super stressful).

But... I still feel insecure about myself. Is that simply a "personality trait" at this point? Have any of you ever been able to, I dunno, "re-train your brain" to where you don't constantly tear yourself down?

[–]jay_jay_man 45 points46 points  (8 children)

My cousins beat me almost every day as a kid .... I don't think I ever really got over all that.

Of course you didn't, getting your ass kicked everyday and shit on by your family would destroy anyone's self-esteem. You need to invest in therapist (non-beta male therapist).

Where were your mom, dad, or (brother/sister), friends while you were being abused by your cousins?

Now, I have a real career, things in my life ought to be awesome

Career doesn't make a man. Career makes a great beta provider. A great career also doesn't erase years of abuse.

I'm trying to focus on improving myself.


But... I still feel insecure about myself. Is that simply a "personality trait" at this point? Have any of you ever been able to, I dunno, "re-train your brain" to where you don't constantly tear yourself down?

I highly recommend that you take up a self-defense martial art. Brazillian Jiu Jutsu (BJJ) would be my first pick. You're not a man unless you can defend yourself. Seriously learn enough so that if hypothetically you could go back in time to when you cousins were picking on you, you could choke all their asses out, and then learn some more. If BJJ isn't available, Judo or Muay Thai are great second options. Avoid any programs that aren't as effective in a street fight such as TKD, Karate, Kung Fu.

[–]bigtuna45 20 points21 points  (0 children)

Great advice.

Get off of social media too. There's something about a non-stop stream of other people's top moments that can make you doubt yourself even more than you already do.

[–]TheBrokenRuler 8 points9 points  (0 children)

(non-beta male therapist).

Gotta be honest, you might not find one of those. It's great advice but

Brazillian Jiu Jutsu (BJJ) would be my first pick

Hell yeah man. Guy needs to get some blood pumping, get his T levels up, drop weight, all that good shit, BJJ is the right ticket. Do it 3x a week if you can.

[–]Sero-Flex 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you do end up going the BJJ route, OP, make sure you at least take a No-Gi/Wrestling class, preferably in addition to a Gi class. Rolling in the Gi is fun and a little bit more beginner friendly imo, but No-Gi/Wrestling is more applicable in a street fight. I’d also highly recommend Muay Thai. If you do your homework and find an upstanding gym, it will be a very enriching and beneficial experience for you.

[–]FrankVillain 1 point2 points  (0 children)

BJJ is the best.

[–]Killing__Time_ 0 points1 point  (1 child)

BJJ can be depressing too.

I got sweep + mount from shin to shin guard on a huge black belt judo dude who is 20 kilos heavier than I am (at least) and missed an armbar that was literally kissing my face, fucked it up and he smashed me through the floor to the neighbors beneath us.


[–]Johny_mcgregor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Sometimes u gotta learn to take the L, thats part of what BJJ teaches u

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]jay_jay_man 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    There are a few reasons I suggest BJJ and not Karate and Kung Fu

    • BJJ has the best track record of taking down larger, stronger, heavier opponents.
    • Kung Fu and Karate are much easy to bullshit. The countless McDojos around the world are proof of this. OP could step into a Kung Fu gym and think he's getting valuable one punch knockout chi techniques only to find out it only works on the people who believe in chi lol
    • If you get into a street fight, you're more likely to draw a crowd of cellphones around you and the other person shouting "world star, FB Live, Instagram" than it turning into a 3 on 1. Even if it does turn into 3 on 1 I'd rather know Muay Thai and MMA than Karate or Kung Fu.

    Many martial arts bring something to the table but a man has only so much time, energy, and resources to invest into becoming proficient in any one. The ones I listed get you the best bang for your buck in the real world. Hell, they even get you the best bang for your buck in the ring (remember the early days of the UFC).

    [–]Casanova-Quinn 18 points19 points  (1 child)

    Competence = Confidence

    The most straightforward fix is to do things that you're insecure about, one step at a time, until you're competent at it. When you know you can do something, you'll become confident about it.

    Take approaching women for example. 1st step, approach a woman and say hello, then leave. That's it. Repeat until it feels easy. 2nd step, approach a woman, say hello, give her a compliment, then leave. Repeat until it feels easy. Eventually you'll get to the point where can have a good conversation and get a girls number, and it will feel easy.

    [–]Toxik6 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Best practical advice.

    [–]LackToesToddlerAnts 7 points8 points  (0 children)

    You have been used to feeling insecure for the majority of your life so that's what your brain feels the most comfortable so you aren't gonna wake up in a year feeling confident but you can "re-train" you brain to be more comfortable. More comfortable = confidence.

    It's going to take more than a post to address this but the best way to "re-train" your brain is to break old bad habits and replace them with new ones. I'd highly suggest reading the book "The Power of Habit" it explains how 90% of what we do is robotic and subconscious (which sock you first wore, reaching for your phone when you wake up, driving to your gym) so implementing just 1 new habit can have a big impact.

    A quick tip I'd suggest when you subconsciously try to bring yourself down or tear your self up is when your brain tells you that "You are too small to ask that guy how much longer he has on the machine" or "Don't smile and say hi to that girl you'll creep her out" is imagine that voice as Donald Duck and it's a cartoon figure with a bitchy voice it's easier to laugh and ignore it when it's not an extension of you but just a silly annoyance.

    [–]Endorsed ContributorWe_Are_Legion 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    I've been where you are now. And I've gotten to the point where I guide others. I don't have pride in my posts or tag but if they help you trust me and act on my advice here today, please go and look.

    Regarding your situation in particular, I want you to read this book:

    "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle.

    It will address why you suffer, and how to stop it. "Confidence" is the outward manifestation of a deeper quality. Read this book.

    [–]linkster396 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    OP. Listen to this guys advice. While you're reading the book, look up Eckhart's videos on youtube and start up a meditation practice. Itll lay the foundation you need to build confidence.

    [–]lionmenden 24 points25 points  (6 children)

    Lift weights > increase testosterone and look bad ass > confidence. It’s really that easy. That’s why you lift.

    [–][deleted] 3 points4 points  (5 children)

    I read in the memoir of neurologist Oliver Sacks, he became a record setting weightlifter in his 1960s youth (he got into it because he was on the gay scene), and he said it never helped his shyness.

    [–]Endorsed ContributorMetalgear222 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Shyness and confidence are two different things. Confident is being comfortable in your skin, shy is typically only speaking when you have something important to say.

    [–]endertheend 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    welp! time to pack it up folks, stop lifting everyone, reapeat, Stop. Lifting. imoglikeallofyou has just proven that it doesn't help what op is looking for, confidence. I guess all the people lifting in the world should stop too!

    [–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    ok guys...actually, I weight lift myself, and consider it very important for all people to do. I'm just not sure that getting muscles - or even getting lots of partners - can cure the inner fear/low esteem that some of us have. Great things to do but I'm still looking for that emotional peak.

    [–]Auxfite 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Confidence is a gift that comes from God. There’s tons of people I know who lift and are beta males and still struggle with confidence

    [–]theubernoob 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Confidence is cultivated. That predeterminist bullshit is the same bullshit that OP has been chewing on his whole life and only serves to prevent people from making changes in their lives.

    [–]maxofreddit 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    /u/jay_jay_man has a good call with the jiujitsu.

    Basically, the best way to build confidence is to get really good at something, usually something outside of career, though that’s not required.

    Pick up a hobby, anything really, and get really good at it. Once you feel like you’re in the top 10% of the general population in something, you’ll probably be more confidant.

    While doing something outward/physical is good (like martial arts or guitar), if that seems like to big a jump, start with something as simple or seemingly silly as solving a Rubik’s cube or juggling. Keep it relatively low tech, as in, it shouldn’t involve a screen.

    Once your pretty damn good at one thing, hat’ll build confidence in that area as well as others, and will also give you the tools to work on the next thing.

    [–]Erdnusscreme 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Martial Arts

    [–]beginner_ 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Inform yourself about automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) and CBT.

    Whenever you get an ANT, consciously stop the process, tell yourself something good about the day (hence it helps not to be a lazy fatass...makes this so much easier) and apply useful distraction like cleaning. Now you stopped the ANT and have done something useful. Rinse and repeat. In a nutshell.

    [–]Ricklogical 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I don't know man... I'll never meet my personal expectations but that mostly comes from parts of my family that are reaching extreme financial success levels. I'm just a regular dude in many ways, incredible to the average human, but not to someone who is driven, wealthy, and killing it in something high profile like a doctor, lawyer etc.

    Life is full of levels, I guess it depends highly on the type of woman you are looking to acquire. It sounds like you need to focus on cold approaches for awhile, usually this helps with a ton of things, being insecure is not something you solve magically, it's something like cowardice. To combat it, you press yourself to do the things that make you insecure, you do them despite your feelings, embrace bravery and push through it till you are better able to cope with it.

    Plenty of reading material in here for you but you have to apply it, you have to really get out there and meet a bunch of women. Take what you can get sure, but do not latch onto one of them, especially if the first ones you acquire treat you poorly, keep looking and never deeply commit to them.

    It's a numbers game, take on some high volume in order to really find someone that works, it will be tons of the failure and disappointment you deserve, then some of the joy and contentment meeting good people over time that you don't deserve and can be thankful for.

    I suppose here in my mid 30's I know how to manage a home, raise children, work well at my job, and be good to my woman. But that's all an ongoing process and the only way I deserve more from any part of my life beyond what I have, is by personally adapting and bettering myself slowly in small steps over time.

    I fall back and fail nonstop, but I keep recovering and I don't give up. Don't give up and go out there and fail and be weak and be a piece of shit in your own mind at times but keep going, keep moving towards your goals and remember that you will gain over time, not slowly, but in bursts.

    Shit there is some videos on it somewhere I bet, but the basic idea is you work every day at something and at some point it just clicks and you ascend to the next level. This doesn't happen piece by piece, you wont see the progress because you are in it, but it is happening, and you just keep working at it and one day BOOM you cross over and shit gets better, way better and you might stay at that plateau for a long time or a short time, but you keep working it.

    [–]daddydraper 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    You have thirty whole years of insecurity, social conditioning, and shit behind you. There is no quick fix. Once you understand that, you’ll start to get back on track.

    You need to completely articulate your life from its beginning to where you are now, and figure out what went wrong. You need to reconcile your past, figure out where you are now, and where you should be going in the future.

    Go traveling solo into a foreign country for a few days or weeks. Take some deep breaths of fresh air out on midnight walks through your city or town. Just be alone. Relax. Introspect. Journal. Take some time alone from your past surroundings and take a step into a new environment, where you don’t feel unconscious or conscious pressure to conform to who you were or your old ways of thought.

    That’s how you “re-train” your brain. By completely transforming yourself. It’s no easy task. But it’ll all be worth it in the end.

    Remember, this is your final life. Might as well make something of it, right? Understanding is the first step towards change. Don’t give up and keep going. You’ve only got one shot.

    [–]theubernoob 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Try a bunch of different stuff until you find something you love. For me, it was sky diving.

    The biggest thing is to just, "do". If you sit back and just read or think or contemplate, you're never going to get anywhere. You have to get out and do shit, no matter what.

    [–]partyboob305 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Stop letting yourself believe that past experiences determine who your are or how you behave. You it’s only the fact that you believe you’re a victim of said “abuses” that causes your insecurities to manifest themselves. In other words, you’re focusing too much on things you cant control - such as your days of gettin your ass kicked by cousins who probably had no true intent of ruining your life. What you do today/tomorrow determines who your are today and tomorrow. You need to eliminate the excuse/acceptance mentality. Nothing you do such as mma bjj etc is going to change your thought processes - take it from me; i went 5-0 in mma got two ammy belts in two diff divisions and even had a pro fight in really competitive region....still struggle with the same shit. Given - im probably nowhere near as insecure as a lotta guys out there, but i have literally NO reason to be insecure. Im a really good lookin guy with a career and can basically beat the fuck outta 90%+ of people. I still struggle time to time with the exact issues you mentioned/are facing. Why? Because of my thought process. Being conscious of your ideas and thoughts is what you need to do. Know that you’re exceptional and more than good enough...comparing yourself to others or where you could/should be is a mindfuck cus there will ALWAYS be someone better out there - just focus on what you can control and what’s in your power..dont stress the rest dude

    [–]Corvus_Uraneus 0 points1 point  (2 children)

    Insecurity is normal. It wouldn't take balls to approach if you weren't afraid, you can only ever be brave when you are afraid.

    If you want to be confident, you have to believe in it. Have something that you are confident about. Start doing the things that you want to be known for. What are you good at? Are you proud of your guitar skills?

    [–]Jcorb[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

    Well, this kind of touches on what I mean. I'm not great at guitar, I can only play a few simple tunes, and even though that's probably more than most people, I still wouldn't consider myself "proud". After all, there are other guys who play better than me (and had an experience at a party once where I played a bit, then some other guy asked for the guitar and could really play, making me look and feel like an idiot).

    I just don't know how to cross this threshold of "feeling like I'm not terrible at everything". I mean, I know I must be good at my job, considering I work someplace a lot of people would probably kill to work, but even then, I constantly dwell over any mistake I make, beating myself up even over seemingly trivial shit.

    [–]mams1724 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I just don't know how to cross this threshold of "feeling like I'm not terrible at everything".

    Me and you are on the same boat my friend. What's best for us is to make a realistic goal on whatever we are focused on (Career, Hobby, Whatever) and chase it with study. For example guitar lessons or studying sessions for your school ETC. We just need to act upon it.

    [–]jagdecat 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I'm the same even the guitar bit despite taking lessons for 3 years can't play for shit.

    Confidence is not something which is internal. Comes from mastering situations externally and no amount of daily affirmations will train you for the actual experience (but will help).

    How I'm breaking out. Meditation daily. Lifts. Gratitude for things which go right daily ( think 5 things daily even if it's that you brushed your teeth right that day) and more and more making my voice heard and making decisions even if they're wrong later.

    It's been over 6 months but I've had some success.

    [–]Metartist 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    See a non beta male therapist, you may struggle with PTSD or trauma related stress.

    [–]imtheoneimmortal 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    For me it was it is by reading, more knowledge more you know the more you can understand yourself. Why some insecurities, maybe for trauma or others things.
    Reading and practicing.

    When you fail you are more close to success

    [–]FrankVillain 0 points1 point  (0 children)


    And lift.

    [–]awfulgoodness 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    by first realizing confidence isn't getting everything right the first time you try something. confidence is being okay with getting it wrong.

    [–]andrewsGF50 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Do what scares you. That’s how it solved it for me.

    [–]mortalcoil1 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Easy, do a combat sport, or at the very least, lift hard and heavy.

    Fight Club was right, when you push yourself, either by fighting, or by lifting a heavy heavy weight one more time, and you give it your all, everything else in your life gets turmed down. You will build confidence.

    Don't just work out, put every last ounce of energy into that lift. Yell, do whatever you have to do. Don't do the usual shitty American work out. If you can read or follow a TV show while doing cardio, you aren't pushing yourself hard enough. Push yourself to the limit.

    [–]SoulRedemption 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I feel you.

    As some has suggested it may be worth it to see a therapist to help you with the underlying issues from childhood which is the foundation for this.

    Something that you can try to do is to either create a positive feedback loop, or cut down on the negative feedback loop. Everything negative aspect of you that you keep mentinioning to yourself at this point probably doesn't even have a basis. But you are so used to this negative feedback loop it automatically happens in your head.

    First thing is to realize that this is coming within yourself. You need to catch yourself everytime you do this. Maybe start small, when you catch yourself in this negativity, say to yourself "It's okay. I will be fine" or something along those lines. If its something tangible (I dont look good), compare yourself with a guy who looks ugly and enforce yourself to see how many steps you are above that. Naturally you are probably comparing yourself alot with others (in a bad manner) and feeling insecure about every single thing.

    Also keep in mind, you maybe slightly OCD. Do not diagnose yourself, but check out the symptoms a bit and it might give you the push to go see a therapist.

    [–]flatox 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Lifting gets the snowball going. Eventually you'll start appreciating yourself more, and that's when your start moving in the right direction mentally.

    [–]Red_Ninja7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I've been where you are, and am working myself out of it. All the advice regarding martial arts, lifting, MAP, etc. is great and necessary. However, for me a critical thing has been recognizing that the root of this insecurity came from the conditioning that I needed to live to please someone else. This is all the old blue pill conditioning. Nothing else could have helped me get over this insecurity without recognizing and addressing the attitude that I need to live to please a woman, God, or anyone else. When reading Rollo's books it was like a light bulb went off in my head, seeing how it had been inculcated into me as a child that I need to live to please a woman, and this was the source of so much insecurity. No more. I need to live to please myself. Keep at it!

    [–]punchyson 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Rollo Tomassi gave the best breakdown of confidence I've ever heard.

    To paraphrase, real confidence comes from having skills, expertise and experience. In other words, real confidence about something comes from getting really good at that thing.

    [–]2chazthundergut 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    How often do you jerk off?

    [–]The__Tren__Train -2 points-1 points  (1 child)


    [–]Jcorb[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Real talk? I've legit considered it, if I can ever get my weight down. I'm a pretty large guy anyways, but I feel like my arms and shoulders are small. I don't want to mess with any of that stuff while I still have so much weight to lose, but eventually, I dunno, maybe.

    [–]Auxfite -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Something no one but me will tell you. The ultimate confidence is a gift that comes from God

    But if you don’t believe in god you can still have somewhat confidence. Lift, eat clean, take care of yourself as in buy cologne, good lotion, soap etc. drink lots of water for clear skin.

    [–]innerspeaker88 -1 points0 points  (0 children)

    Its easy. Its all about good energies.

    Surround yourself of people you love, do things that makes you feel good. Go for a walk with music on your mp3 player instead of being at home with nothing to do and overthink.

    Its all about overthinking and caring too much.

    Smile! Wake up with a smile. Take care of your. Buy clothes that make you feel good. Treat people respectfully and friendly, either boys or girls.

    Get interested in what people talk to you, make questions back. Open up to people. Dont overthink much in that to say

    It sounds sassy but you will see ;)

    It worked for me. I was so insecure and thought nobody liked me...

    Now i have so many girls flirting with me and people say Im a great and good person.

    Good luck comrade!