We are born confident. Watch any toddler fearlessly taking his first steps, or reaching for his mother with the utter confidence that he will not be rejected. But as we grow older, that confidence is shaken—through hurtful comments, or bad experiences. Even people who have a relatively good self-esteem will go through moments of self-doubt. ‘My boss hates my work’ or ‘My life feels so stuck!”
Deep inside, we know we are beautiful and wonderful, no matter what we do or who we are. We just forget! So how do we regain our natural confidence?
Scrutinize the standards
Insecurity is a feeling that we are ‘not good enough.’ But good enough for whom, and good compared to what? It’s very important to understand what standards we are trying to achieve. ‘ Maybe we are beating ourselves up because our parents are ‘disappointed’ in the choices we have made—but if they’re chronically overcritical, nothing you do will ever be enough. Or perhaps you’re frustrated with your company’s performance, forgetting that the dip in sales is just a reflection of the bad economy, and not your bad entrepreneurial skills.
Start a journal
Self-confidence is self-acceptance, but how can you love yourself when you don’t spend time with yourself? Think of your journal as quality time with the most important person in your life—you! This isn’t arrogance or selfishness. The more you know yourself, and understand your feelings and needs, the healthier your relationships with other people will be.
Let go of the past
We feed our insecurity when we dwell on past failures and regrets. ‘If only I had…’ or ‘I should’ve said this instead…’ But you can’t change the past, you can only learn from it. And many times, we just have to say, ‘That’s over, what can I do next?’ Again, look at a toddler learning how to walk. He doesn’t get mad at himself for not knowing how to walk, he just keeps trying and trying…and soon, he’s running circles around everyone! If you dwell on failure, you will only know failure. Just try again!
Give yourself a compliment everyday
Yes, you know it’s futile to compare yourself to others, that you’re unique and special, etc., etc. But the only way to really believe that is to consciously compliment and celebrate the great things about yourself! And why wait for that appreciation to come from others? Be the first to pat yourself on the back and say, ‘Wow, you made a really good lasagna today.’ Or, ‘That was pretty amazing of you to meet that crazy deadline.’
Take care of yourself
You may not be able to afford expensive bags and clothes, but you don’t need them to feel neat and take care of your health. How much is a pot of pretty lipgloss? And even if you don’t wear designer jeans you can find a pair that flatters your body shape. It may sound vain, but it’s not—you’re just taking care of yourself, and that’s a pretty powerful affirmation all on its own. ‘I deserve to feel good about myself!’
Reach out and help someone
One of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to help somebody else. Share your time and talents, and know that you’re making a difference in someone’s life. Volunteer for a community outreach program. Invite a co-worker who’s feeling down to lunch. ‘Hey, need someone to talk to?’ Join an online support forum. You can be an answer to somebody’s prayer—and they can be an answer to yours. You felt useless and incompetent, but by giving yourself to others, you know that you have the power to make a difference.
Photo from positivityblog.com