Stop Hating Yourself. The 5 Things That Can Destroy A Man’s Confidence.

"If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life." Marcus Garvey

Confidence.  It seems the more people I talk to, the more I realize that the underlying issue of a lot of their problems is the lack of confidence. I have personally struggled with a lack of confidence in one way or another, and it has greatly affected the way I did things in my life.  My insecurities have caused me to make many bad decisions.  Rejection, your appearance, your social status, your finances, all these things and more can affect our level of confidence. Below I have listed the five of the things that can completely ruin a man’s confidence.

1. Not Learning From Failures.

I have read and watched many interviews where millionaire entrepreneurs talk about how they achieved success.  The one thing I realized is that they all talked more about the times they failed then they did their success.  The times they nearly lost everything but didn’t let failure stop them from eventually succeeding.

Many people lose confidence when they fail.  They see failure as a sign that they somehow aren’t smart enough to succeed and decide to quit instead of trying again. Failure doesn’t have to be final.  Failing at something does not make you a failure. Failing is a learning experience which teaches you how to do things differently. If you failed an exam, learn how to develop better study habits.  If you failed at starting a business, take the lessons you learned from that failure and try again.

"The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." Robert Green Ingersoll

I watched an interview with Elon Musk, the founder of Telsa and SpaceX. He was asked if he would ever give up on space travel after his third failed rocket launch in a row.  His response was “Never, I’ll never give up. I’d have to be totally incapacitated before giving up.”  Failure isn’t final until you quit.  Do you have a mindset of success or failure? Have confidence in yourself and your abilities and never give up.

I once heard someone say “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success”. You must work hard to achieve success, it doesn’t just happen.  You will fail at things in life, we all do. But will you have the mindset that failing doesn’t equate to complete failure. Or will you be the person that quit at the slightest sign of adversity. Your level of success will never exceed your level of personal development.  You must develop a mindset of success. Be confident in yourself and achieve your dreams.

2. Having a Self-Defeating Attitude.

We’ve all had those people in our lives that make us feel like crap. I can tell you about numerous times I have been told things like You are so stupid!”, “Did you leave your brain at the door?”, and “You are setting yourself up for failure”.  For years I let these hurtful words go through my mind.  What’s worse is that I started to believe them and it totally ruined my confidence for years.

When I became a full-time single dad I worked a job making very little money and we lived in a one bedroom apartment.  I was desperate for change and a better life for myself and my sons.  I often stayed up at night wondering how I got to that point in my life.  “I’m a failure, I’m poor, and everyone thinks I’m stupid. I couldn’t keep my marriage together, I work a crap job, live in a crappy apartment and I will never escape“.  I had a very self-defeating attitude and my confidence was at an all-time low.

Read my related article: "Lines, Lies, and the Dangers of Poisonous Speech."

How many of you have had similar thoughts?  How many of you are letting the words of others affect your life?  One day I decided that I wouldn’t let the words of others affect my life.  I realized that by doing so is giving people who aren’t even thinking about me, power over me. How completely ridiculous is that? I vowed that I would never let what another person thought of me affect my self-confidence.  I would never give anyone that type of control over my life.

Also, I  decided that I would view myself differently.  I switched my habits and instead of seeing myself as a failure, I envisioned myself as a success story in the making.  I was a single dad doing more than many men that claimed to be fathers were.  I raised my children with morals and respect. I refused to let my current situation dictate my future.

I read self-help books, listened to motivational podcasts, and went back to school and earned my degree.  I invested in my mind, body, and spirit.  My confidence grew.

We can often be our own worst critic, thus becoming our own worst enemy. I’ve learned that I had to get out of my own way and change the way I thought about myself. I know what it’s like to be on the bottom, a struggling single parent raising two children and praying daily for a change to happen.  That experience made me a much stronger person mentally and spiritually.  I learn more about myself every single day and I love the person that I am becoming.  I’ve made it through many trials and with the grace of God I’ll make it through more.  My attitude is not one of defeat, but one of victory and thanks.

3. Heartbreak and Rejection.

I know what it’s like to be dumped and yeah it sucks. I also know what it’s like to be the dumper, and yeah, it sucks (Well, not always, sometimes it’s awesome depending on the person).  I have been in my share of bad relationships.

For a long time, I let my relationship status determine my degree of happiness. I would jump into relationship after relationship just because I hated being single.  When these relationships tanked, as they often did, I would go into a funk until someone else came along.  I was looking for someone else to fill a void I felt I was missing in my life. I didn’t know that I didn’t have to let my relationship status dictate my happiness.

How many of you have ever done this? Rush into relationship after relationship because the thought of being alone is unthinkable.  For some, it isn’t jumping in and out of relationships, that’s not the issue.  Rather, it’s trying to enter one that’s the issue. You are rejected over and over and it has completely killed your self-esteem.

Read my related post: "Save Yourself From Heartbreak. The 8 Warning Signs That You Are Dangerously Infatuated."

While there may be many reasons why a woman doesn’t like you (Your style, hygiene, you may be a jerk, I don’t know).  What I can tell you, however, is that being insecure and having lack of confidence is like arsenic and hemlock to women.  Also, as I stated before, why would I put my happiness in the hands of someone else?  Don’t let rejection or a bad break up totally ruin your confidence. If a woman doesn’t like you, guess what? There are other women out there. Don’t believe me? Here are some numbers.

  • The current U.S. population is 319 million.
  • 51.9% of the U.S. Population are women, roughly 160 million.
  • Women between the ages 18-34 make up roughly 23%, and women between the ages of 35-64 make up roughly 39% of that 160 million.

My point is this. There are literally millions of women in the country, and you are losing your mind over one? Trust me, there are more fish in the sea.That right person could be right around the corner, but you are too stuck on “what’s her name” to even notice.  While you’re sitting around having a pity party,  they’re doing their thing and probably not doing it alone.  So stop giving control of your life to people who don’t matter and don’t care. You are a great person, you are unique, and you deserve to be happy.

4. You Don’t Like The Man In The Mirror.

I am nowhere near NBA player height requirements. In fact, in most pictures I take with other guys, I’m normally the shortest being 5’8”.  I had a girlfriend once that like to make fun of my height by calling me a “midget.” In high school, I hated my wide nose and my eyes because ONE kid talked about them.  Yes, the things that ONE insignificant punk once said. Let that sink in for a minute and think about the things someone said about your appearance that still make you insecure. Things changed for me when I changed my attitude.

For me, this changed when I started working at Structure, a men’s clothing store at the mall (Now called Men’s Express).  Caring about your appearance was part of the job since they preferred that you wore their brand while working there.  I had to maintain a neat appearance, but unknowingly, it helped grow my confidence.  I was getting clothes cheap because of the store discount and I took pride in the fact that I dressed well. However, I dressed differently than anyone else I knew.  This made me stand out in a good way.  I was confident enough in myself while at the same time, not following the crowd. (Remember what I said about confidence)

Ok, so what are the things you can possibly change?

Get in better shape.

I know that I can’t magically make myself taller. Nor do I want to be.  What’s more important to me, is being fit. When you work out on a regular basis, you not only feel better, but you look better.  Being fit also increases your confidence. I work out 3 days a week and do a light workout every morning, which is a great way to start my day.  I would highly recommend joining a gym since it’s relatively cheap. (I pay $10 a month for Planet Fitness) If you can’t get to or afford a gym, find YouTube videos on working out at home and start there.  Do simple things like walk more, take the stairs, manage your diet, whatever it takes to become healthier.

Change the way you dress.

I’m on a budget and have two teenage boys to feed.  That being said I don’t spend a lot on clothes.  H&M, TJ Maxx, Adidas Outlet, all my favorites and I make it look respectable. I’m not saying you have to dress to impress, but you don’t have to look like Napoleon Dynamite either. I like to shop at places like H&M where I can get a $12 Henley.  And trust me, I can make that $12 Henley look good. (So I’ve been told)

I once walked to a Subway restaurant I wearing one of those $12 Henley shirts, a $24 pair of chinos, and a pair of Timberland boots I got on clearance for $45.  The lady behind the sub counter said “I love that outfit. You wear it well.”

One day while working at a school I decided to wear a slim fit button down black shirt I had bought the day before with jeans. One of the teachers jokingly said, “Wow, are you trying to find a wife because you are looking good!”  I bought that shirt for $6 at the Goodwill.

Do you guys see what I mean now? You don’t have to break the bank to look good.  I have no problem getting dates and I don’t have to buy out Macy’s to do it.   It’s all about doing a little research on HOW you should wear something as well as what.  Why would I need to wear $200 pair of jeans and a pair of $300 pair of shoes?  It’s just not me, and it hasn’t cramped my style in the slightest.

Change your grooming habits.

Guys, it’s time to get real about grooming ok.  Just as it doesn’t cost a lot to dress well, it doesn’t cost a lot to be well groomed. Once again, it’s about educating yourself on the options and just doing something about it.

I know some guys are bald and have that whole George Costanza / George Jefferson look? Shave it off, get some Rogaine or a hair transplant. It’s just not a good look.   Don’t like your hair, change it.  If your skin is dry, put on some lotion.  If you stink, take a shower, buy deodorant and wear cologne (1 or 2 squirts is enough, don’t overdo it!).  If your teeth are yellow, go to the dentist to get them cleaned and brush them a couple times daily.   I tell my boys all the time that there is no excuse to leave the house smelling and looking bad. Clean body, clean clothes.  It really comes down to how much you care. If you don’t know you smell bad, eventually someone else will tell you which will kill your confidence. Why let that happen to you?

5. Struggling Financially.

This one is huge for me.  Always wanting more, but always coming up short financially.  Not owning the nice home, not driving the newer car, not being able to travel, financial frustrations more than anything else ruined my confidence. This was especially true when I would compare myself to others in my age group that seemed to have a greater measure of financial success.

A few years ago I dated a woman that liked to go out and do things.  Well, I wasn’t in the position to always go spending money out on the town. We eventually went our separate ways, but it left me feeling like a failure. Not because we broke up, but because it seemed like my financial status had somehow let me down again. I hated myself, hated my job, and hated my life. I felt inferior all because I didn’t have the financial means to do things I wanted to do for myself and my boys.  I felt that my finances were the last barrier to achieving full happiness.

"Money cannot buy peace of mind. It cannot heal ruptured relationships, or build meaning into a life that has none." Richard M. DeVos

I now know that this isn’t true. I know that money cannot buy happiness. I find my happiness in seeing my boys grow up to be respectful young men.  I find my happiness in seeing them laugh, seeing them succeed, and being a father. I find my happiness in Christ, knowing that my financial status, relationship status, or anything else and brings me the joy I have when I truly follow him. I can’t find happiness in materialism.

Now am I saying I don’t like nice things? Absolutely not. Am I saying I don’t want to own a home, have a newer car, or take that vacation?  No, not at all. What I am saying is that not having these things no longer has an effect on who I am as a person. I am fully confident in who I am.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Terrell Cotton Pic

Terrell Cotton is a motivational blogger and a full-time single father of two boys who are his heart and soul.  His blog,, is dedicated to helping people become better versions of themselves by building on principles of mindfulness, self-love, and positive self-esteem. Know thyself, Love thyself.








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