Confidence is kind of like the Holy Grail for a lot of people. And like most people, I also struggle with confidence issues once in awhile. Am I smart enough / pretty enough / good enough issues. Do they like me / want to work with me / want to be my friend issues. Can I do this / is this possible / am I crazy issues. You know, the usual. But sometimes, instead of those issues appearing as fleeting doubts or fears that we combat and vanquish fairly quickly, if we let them take over, then they can and WILL pervade our lives and affect everything we do. I know this firsthand because when I was at the lowest point of my first marriage, my confidence was also at a very low point. It was a painful place to hang out, but it definitely taught me that I was the only person in charge of my Self -- AND my self-confidence.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
For instance, if your confidence level is low, you might end up letting people treat you badly on a regular basis. You might unwittingly let friends, family members, co-workers or even your spouse put you down or take advantage of you. You might find that your kids don't listen or do what you ask them to do. Maybe you find yourself apologizing for stuff that other people do to YOU.
If your confidence level is really low, you might let people make decisions for you regularly. You might take on your partner or your friend's likes and values. You might end up the victim of a controlling person or even a bully. You might sometimes find yourself in uncomfortable, compromising or even dangerous situations.
I went through most of these scenarios during my own "troubles" and I tell you what, it was NOT fun. But since then, I have done a lot of work, a lot of reading, a lot of practicing and spent a lot of time alone, just thinking. The result: I figured out who I really am and raised my confidence level through the roof! Now, I don't suffer any fools for more than about a minute. =)
"I think that somehow, we learn who we really are and then live with that decision." - Eleanor Roosevelt
Can you tell I'm an Eleanor fan?...
So how can YOU lift the heavy weight of low confidence off your shoulders and step forward into being fully YOU? Well, I will be honest with you -- I would not recommend doing it alone, like I did. The process is painful enough without adding isolation and loneliness to the morass. My advice? Ask a close friend or family member for help! Better yet, hire a coach to lean on. Trust me, an experienced coach's objectivity and action-oriented guidance are the best gift you could ever give yourself. I wish I had done it for my Self years ago!
Meanwhile, until you gather your courage to talk to someone (and we'll talk about courage very soon...), there are a few steps you can practice daily to jumpstart your confidence boost.
1) Replace the negative chatter in your head with positive Self talk.*** Practice makes perfect here. And diligence. Every time you catch yourself saying something mean to your Self about You, stop! Take a breath. Rewind. Now replay it, but this time, be nicer to your Self. For instance, instead of saying, "I'm so stupid!" say something like, "Okay, I made a mistake, so now how can I learn from this mistake?" ***If you do nothing else, DO THIS THING!!! Every day. All the time. Without fail. No matter what anyone else says to you. It WORKS.
2) Tell yourself 10 Good Things. Every night before you go to sleep, maybe while you're brushing your teeth, repeat after me: I am strong. (That's one.) I am smart. (That's two.) I am confident. (That's three. See how easy it is?) And keep going! What other good things can you say about your Self? Are you a good mom? Are you a reliable friend? Do you have great hair?? The first time you try this, it will feel weird. You might only make it up to six Good Things. But keep practicing. Eventually, you will not want to stop at 10! Trust me on this one. It WORKS.
3) Make an "I AM" Scrapbook or Vision Board. This might be a bit more advanced, but it is also quite relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. Kind of like yoga! Anyway, whenever you have some alone time, cut out pictures and words from magazines that reflect who you think you are, or even who you really want to be. It's never too late to be the person you've always wanted to be, don't you agree? You can also draw and write words directly in your book or on your posterboard. Any old book, notebook, scrap cardboard or corkboard will do. Make this an ongoing project if you like. Once you've finished, put it where you can see it or take it out and look at it regularly to reinforce that calm yet exhilarating feeling of I AM.
Confidence. It CAN be yours. If I can do it, YOU can TOTALLY do it, too!
To help you get the ball rolling, call or email me for a quick chat. Usually, I charge over $100 per hour for private coaching sessions on the telephone. But I am so sure that I can kick your confidence up a notch or two RIGHT AWAY that I am willing to give you 30 minutes of my time, no charge.
What have you got to lose?
---------------------------------------------------------- About Pamela
As a Self Discovery Expert and Confidence Coach, I bring you the tools to BE your SELF and OWN your TRUTH through use of practical life strategies (like goal setting and time management) and creative exercises (such as mind-mapping).
Usually, my clients decide to work with me from difficult, co-dependent, emotionally abusive and/or controlling relationships where they have no voice, feel invisible and underappreciated, find themselves without goals or direction and have no plan for the future.
I know how to help because the same thing happened to me. Now that I have successfully found my Self and learned how to own my truth, I can guide you or someone you know through the steps it takes to succeed, too. I am really looking forward to working with you. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an initial, complimentary 30 minute Discovery Session. Let's see if we click!
Pamela Wills, CPC