by Carol Brown
confidence, in many cases, can be attributed to negative past
experiences and the way that we talk to ourselves in our own head. If that voice is often criticising, harsh and demeaning of our
efforts and attempts at whatever we want to achieve in life, is it
any wonder that our confidence is undermined?
Those with healthy confidence have a voice which conveys different messages; positive, encouraging and reassuring messages which gives us a different view, even when things don’t go as we’d like. These people choose to acknowledge that we have to learn from our mistakes and use that knowledge to do better next time. Someone with low confidence may use the mistake to give themselves a hard time.
In order to build confidence you have to take action. Talking about what you'd like to do, be or have isn't going to be enough. Look at those words; do, be, have or ‘do behave’. You don’t have to tell the world you don’t have great confidence, that’s part of the secret… if you behave as if you do, then you can appear as if you do, which makes others believe you do, and when others believe you do, you can believe it too. At which point it means that you must have had an element of courage and confidence in order to take some action. You’re already building confidence…you’re laying the foundations. So, once you’ve decided to take some action, what action should you take?
Here are a few you might want to try for starters;
Challenge that voice: dispute those negative messages. For example, if a person asks for a date and is turned down they may feel embarrassed, rejected or a bit insecure. They might tell themselves that they are unattractive, uninteresting and that they’re never going to find a partner. Now that’s just not helpful, is it? However, if they were to try looking at the situation from a different point of view it might change their feelings on the matter. They might say “Never mind. I wouldn’t want to waste time on someone who doesn’t get me or isn’t interested. I’d much rather be in a position to be free to pursue a relationship with someone who is interested in me.”
Find something you do well: If you want to feel good about yourself, do something to feel good about. You will generally find that if you find something that interests you, learning becomes easier. You are more likely to be good at it and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.
Enlist the help of others: For some people it can be difficult to improve confidence and self-esteem without some help and support from others. This can be a challenge in itself, as people with low confidence can find it difficult to ask for help because they don’t think they deserve it, or feel silly, or not important enough. This challenge is unlikely to be as big as it is in your head. Here are some simple things to try:
Ask friends you trust to tell you what you do well and ask them to write it down.
Ask them to tell you three things they like about you and ask them to write it down.
Read them and take it in…accept that other people see these qualities in you.
Take the time to pay other people some genuine compliments – make sure you mean them and they’re not just for the sake of something to say.
And if they pay them back…don’t argue…just say thank you!
Take heed of nature…it starts with a caterpillar to make a butterfly.
Remember that in order to improve your confidence you have to be willing to take some action, try something new or different. Even little things can make a difference and count. Take note of your progress, look at how far you have come, be proud of your achievements and feel good about yourself!