Strategies to Rebuild Confidence After a Stumble

Written by on August 14, 2014 in Confidence, Emotional Mastery with 37 Comments

recovering-from-a-stumbleEven the most enlightened and outwardly confident people have moments when they question their self-worth … a bad end to a relationship, loss of a job or a very public stumble.

For most people it takes time and work to build a healthy level of confidence in the first place, but the process of rebuilding self-esteem and confidence after a personal or professional disaster (either real or perceived) is an uphill challenge at best; one that is made even more difficult when there are issues of anger or guilt. Adding to the struggle is the natural tendency to begin second guessing every new decision and commitment in an effort to prevent a repeat of the experience.

When one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. When one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. When one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. ~Lao Tzu

When we fight and resist the circumstances of our life we generate feelings of fear and upset that almost always makes things worse and can end up blowing a situation completely out of proportion. This is why the ability to keep things in perspective is so important.

The moment you are able to separate that wall of emotion from reality, everything seems to change. With the fear and resistance gone, you become calm, better able to put things in perspective and focus on recovery.

While there will inevitably be unique circumstances contributing to your recovery, there are a few basic strategies that will go a long way toward helping to rebuild your confidence.

4 Steps to Begin Rebuilding Confidence

Acknowledge Your Reality

It can be so very tempting to avoid facing an unpleasant or painful situation in the hope that it will somehow “right” itself or simply go away; sadly this is seldom the case. So before you can begin taking steps to rebuild your confidence you have to work through the filter of negative emotions to determine and accept your current reality without placing blame or guilt.

In life some pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional, and self-pity is addictive and capable of destroying lives. ~Author Unknown

Regain Perspective

Ironically the experience or incident that damaged your confidence needn’t have even been your fault for it to have adversely affected you. All too often we are plagued by nagging feelings that somehow we should have instinctively known better than to trust, or been able to predict or prevent a situation. If this is the case for you, take some time to honestly evaluate the circumstance of the event – remove all forms of “should-a, would-a, could-a or “if only” thinking – and then learn what you can from the experience and move on.

But what if it’s the worst case scenario and the fault is yours? Just because you failed at something, does not mean YOU are a failure! Remember, it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do about it. Determine the lessons to be learned from the experience to help you make better choices in the future, make necessary corrections and amends where needed, and then begin the work to put the incident behind you with the understanding that this is not a quick fix but a period of growth for you.

Take Care of Yourself

Stressful situations can quickly take a toll on your body, so connecting with your support system (family, friends, faith) is important as is making time for meditation and quality periods of solitude to regain a sense of calm.

Take Action

If you have a string of earlier success you can focus on to begin rebuilding your confidence that’s great! The problem is few people keep track of their successes so it can be tough to come up with anything positive when you’re feeling bad about yourself.

Regardless of your track record up to now, the best remedy for fractured self-confidence is action. Maybe you need to rework a work assignment, learn a new skill, or consider ways to improve your social life, put yourself out there. Take charge.

Inspiration to Replace Negative Self Talk

Many people turn to resources such as positive affirmations and inspirational stories to sooth jangled nerves during challenging times. The perspective of those who have learned insightful lessons from similar situations can be invaluable to help us replace negative scripts with positive self-talk.

Following are a few of my favorite inspirational insights on recovering from a stumble.

  • Not many people are willing to give failure a second opportunity. They fail once and it is all over. The bitter pill of failure is often more than most people can handle. If you are willing to accept failure and learn from it, if you are willing to consider failure as a blessing in disguise and bounce back, you have got the essential of harnessing one of the most powerful success forces. ~Joseph Sugarman
  • I’m stronger because I’ve had to be. I’m smarter because of my mistakes. I’m happier because I have overcome the sadness I’ve known and I’m wiser because I have learned from my life. ~Author Unknown
  • The greatest mistake you can make in life is to live continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing. ~H. Stanley Judd
  • If we fill our hours with regrets over the failures of yesterday, and with worries over the problems of tomorrow, we have no today in which to be thankful. ~Author Unknown
  • We all make mistakes, have struggles, and even regret things in our past. But you are not your mistakes, you are not your struggles, and you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. ~Dr. Steve Maraboli
  • Sometimes your greatest teachers in life have no idea just what they taught you, especially those who treated you the worst. The day you can truthfully say, “I deserve better than this” is the day you graduate from class. ~Author Unknown
  • Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive. ~Author Unknown

and of course the classic …

  • You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

If you enjoyed these quotations you’ll find these and hundreds more in my book Reflections on Resilience for Challenging Times available now at

Let today be the day you give up who you’ve been for who you can become.
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living  click here.


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  1. We found that when things happen that you mus accept and pick yourself up again. It is wise to have a huge since of humor. I laugh at myself all the time. I even share the situation with others in a humorous way. That make a heck of a difference.
    I just leave that negative stuff alone. I use to allow it to start to germinate. No more!

    Thanks Marty, you are a breath of sun in our lives!
    William Amis recently posted…“The Light Bulb Moment”My Profile

    • Marty, just had to return. Most people never may believe that during times of these events and circumstances. You may need the support of a professional. The grieving is a huge watching point.

      We had some of our Veterans facing this the most. They found it to difficult as myself. You have to find the right way to approach this. I feel the way I did was the hardest. Most people are suffering inside. It shows in their looks and attitudes. That is when I get involve to support them during these periods.

      Each of us find various ways to deal. The best is find how to move forward in a positive way. Keep your routine things and mix it up with excitement. The worse thing is being alone during these periods. I am speaking from personal experience being a Veteran.
      William Amis recently posted…Be A User, Not A Sales Person?My Profile

  2. David Bennett says:

    I don’t know whether I could have read this and appreciated it at the time. I might have. I think maybe I would have fought off any comforting or inspirational words. In hindsight, it’s very well written and organised and it rings true.

    One thing it took me a while to articulate to myself is that there is a period of grieving (very true also about indulging in it) and there is a kind of ‘walking dead’ kind of living.

    One appears to be in the present moment, but really what is going on is that the true focus of one’s thoughts is back in time – focused on the ‘stumble’ as you so nicely put it.

    The upside is that when life comes along again and makes a real life. It can’t be pretended into existence but it is nice when it comes – and it comes when it comes.

  3. nick catricala

    you mentioned on my blog that I do have a colorful way to tell a story (or something like that :-0 well, my friend, I noticed that you do have it stronger than mine and that is great because probably I pick up some from you…and that is a great thing because you are so advanced when it comes to writing .. Thanks so much.

    What you wrote it si so, so true.. everyone at sometime or another get into deep waters… and not at all times it is known to others since it may be keeped within.

    Your suggestions, your inspirational words and quotes, for certain will support other who read your article…

    I do use most of what you suggested.. and the only reason I use them is because I went on that road so many times.. I needed to come up with something that would lift me up and that is how I found them..

    Thanks so much for doing what you do and doing it so well.
    nick catricala recently posted…What you do when time seem to be against you?My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Thanks for your kind words Nick. I think one of the greatest benefits of being a member of an active blogging community is that we have the opportunity to learn from each other. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  4. Bobby Foster

    Replacing negative self-talk is such a big step people don’t take. Learning to say positive things to yourself will make a remarkable change in your life. Thanks for posting these tips here. We all stumble, and now we know some ways to get back up 🙂
    Bobby Foster recently posted…Ferguson: A Cry For HumanityMy Profile

  5. Marty, I love your quotes and your way of making big problems seem small. Recently I had a situation in which someone was very mad at me and I thought it might be my fault. But I took care of myself – went to receive some reflexology sessions, swam in my pool, read something spiritual, listened to my 100 day challenge and Praxis Now daily teachings. And then the situation just took care of itself. I have learned not to let myself be floored by something that is apparently negative. There are seeds of learning, growth and greatness that emerge after those first few moments or hours of upset.
    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…A Call to Bring Healing to the World Through Talk and TouchMy Profile

  6. It’s not always easy, Marquita… failure that is. But it really can be, as you indicate, a blessing in disguise.

    I say “can be” because it’s only a blessing if you learn from it, and use it as the impetus for growth.

    Fearing it, avoiding it, undermining your failure only gives it power over you. You suggest that the best way to rebuild your confidence is to take action , get back on the horse so to speak. Having consulted with countless entrepreneurs and novices alike, I’d have to say that taking action is the ONLY way that I’ve ever seen for people to get past failure, and use it as a stepping stone toward their success.

    This is a very important topic, Marquita, and I think you handled it wonderfully. I appreciate your curation of so many wonderful quotes on the topic, too.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Building Relationships | First Niagara Bank ReviewMy Profile

  7. Terry

    LOVED this. There is so much here. I love the quotes and have read many of them before but so nice to see them all in one document. I was very interested in this Quote though because it helps me look back on my journey.

    When one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. When one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. When one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. ~Lao Tzu

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Terry! I’m so happy to hear you found the article worthwhile and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  8. Hi Marty. I’ve stumbled so many times that it’s just kind of old hat to me now. I’ve always been a foot-in-mouth, don’t-bother-looking-before-you-leap kind of person, but I don’t always land on my feet. I’ve had to examine things, apologize if necessary, put them behind me, and go on. You give great advice here.

    Thanks for all the quotes. I love all the quotes that you use in your posts. Very uplifting.

    All the best,
    Leslie Denning recently posted…Building Backlinks the Easy WayMy Profile

  9. Excellent excellent Marquita! The steps you have given are not only truth but often in the order we are meant to take. Honesty with self about how we feel is critical. It’s when folks hide those feelings because they may not be “pretty” that the recovery process becomes “stalled”. I love what you write and add to my world.

    Linda S Fitzgerald recently posted…Women, Life & Business ~ Tough Minds-Tender Hearts!My Profile

  10. Suzie Cheel

    The title jumped out at me after I had a real stumble last week which sent me some new messages about really listening to the whispers of my heart and following my soul purpose. Your blog post reaffirms this for me Wonderful quotes especially ER
    Thanks for your wonderful dose of inspiration xx
    Suzie Cheel recently posted…12 Quotes To Inspire Self KindnessMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Hey Suzie, welcome back! I’m sorry to hear about your “stumble” last week but knowing you as I do you’ve bounced back with a smile and a song. Thanks so much for taking the time to share and for contributing to the conversation. 🙂

  11. Sue Kearney

    Marty, I read a book called “Failing Forward.” Brilliant concept, which you have touched on so beautifully in your post.

    I can stay planted in fear and resistance, because I don’t want to fail. Or I can relax, and breathe, and risk, and take actions, knowing that every failure moves me closer to my success.

    As I learned in 12-step rooms in Brooklyn: AFGO. Another f***ing growth opportunity.


    Sue Kearney recently posted…Declutter your brandMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Sue and thank you so much for sharing and contributing to the conversation! Your article on branding looks fascinating so I’m going to jump over and visit you in turn. 🙂

  12. Nile

    Perfect…. I’ve done this for myself and frankly, it is hard after losing some dignity… more so in some situations than others. I know so many people that just shut down.
    Nile recently posted…Podcast Presentation: Making Money With WordPressMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      I agree Nile, but life is hard so we have two choices – suck it up and do what we need to do to make the most of life or sit back and just live by default. And you are also correct that many people do choose to live that way, but to be brutally honest I don’t write for people who choose to accept life on this level. Thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  13. Jeff Sollee says:

    Hi Marquita,

    I was in need of some motivation, and I was told by a very wise and wonderful person (Donna Merrill) that this is the place to be!

    There have been some times that I have needed something like this. A step by step walk through of how to get back up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward after a stumble.

    Even though it is some times tough to do, I think that using a combination of these 4 strategies can help build a persons confidence back in no time! (my favorite is about replacing the negative self talk, because it seems to be my issue)

    Thank you Marquita for writing such a wonderful and positive post! I am sure that I will find myself here a lot more often!

    All the best,
    Jeff Sollee
    Jeff Sollee recently posted…Is Complaining Sabotaging Your Business?My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Jeff! First of all let me say I couldn’t agree more with you about the wise and wonderful Donna Merrill! 🙂 I’m so glad you are here and found value in the article. You certainly are not alone when it comes to turning off negative self-talk, but it can be done so hang in there and keep working on it. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and contribute to the conversation – hope we’ll see you again soon Jeff!

  14. Michelle

    Everyone struggles, including successful people at times. Launches don’t’ go the way you expect, clients move on… but you gave good tips. TAKE ACTION is my favorite. You’ve got to get some results that are in your favor to overcome the self doubt.

  15. Summer

    Such a wonderful article! I think taking care of yourself and taking action are two very important steps. Thanks!
    Summer recently posted…Chocolate Avocado PuddingMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Welcome Summer and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. And oh my, my eyes locked on to the title of your post “chocolate avocado pudding” almost immediately! I never would have thought of combining those two ingredients but I love them both so here I come to check it out. 🙂

  16. This was absolutely well written!! Spot on. Great work. I am happy to share this and I encourage all of your readers to do the same! Thank you for your compassionate insight.

    • martyherald says:

      I’m so pleased you found value in the article Simone! I sincerely appreciate your kind words and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. 🙂

  17. Dave

    Thank you very much M.H. 🙂

    Another perfect post for the perfectionist person in me (or just a reason to spout off some witty alliteration) 😉 Seriously though, I find that I often expect everything to go exactly as I have envisioned it in my head, even when deep down I know that is not likely to be the case.

    Truth is we all stumble. Sometimes we just trip and immediately regain our balance. Other times we catch ourselves with our hands before we fall. And yet other times, we fall in and injure ourselves. There are different degrees of stumbling that affect us in different ways.

    It’s so easy to say “get up, keep moving” and it’s so very difficult to do sometimes. Your four step approach to regaining the necessary self-confidence to get back up is very nicely complemented by the inspirational and motivating quotes. The “And of course …” quote has always been one of my very favorites. I had never see the full quote in context. It provides a much deeper and thought-provoking meaning in its entirety.

    Thank you for another wonderful article, inspiring as always 🙂
    Dave recently posted…Spoon fedMy Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Hey Dave, oh I know what you mean about “easier said than done” sometimes which is why I think having a purpose you are truly passionate about makes a huge difference. That and either a child or a dog to drive you out of bed in the morning when all you want to do is pull the covers over your head! 🙂

  18. Mark

    Excellent post Marquita!

    And I love all your quotes, but I really like the very first one by you, that is if the the letters MH, are for your name!LOL!

    BTW, congratulations on your upcoming book! I’m sure it will be fabulous and do extremely well!

    You really offer an extremely viable alternative to the constant barrage of negative self talk!

    And your post show us, how we can and must grow from each inevitable, temporary misstep!

    Again, all the best for your new book! I have no doubt, you will be helping so many, myself included, to lift some extremely heavy, mental burdens!

    Thank you so much for sharing another fantastic post Marquita! You are so awesome!
    Mark recently posted…How To Market Your Business By Dramatically Increasing The Value In The Eyes Of Your Best Customers!My Profile

    • martyherald says:

      Thanks Mark so glad you enjoyed the post. Funny thing about that quote (yep that’s me) a friend has been teasing me for sometime about my reluctance to take credit for my quotes so the Stepping Stones series which is a lead in to the journal is my attempt to overcome that issue since it will include my original quotations and art.

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