Good morning and welcome back to Inspiration Corner! Today we’re going to talk about self-confidence. I see a lot of readers—and friends—struggling with this issue all the time.
While it may seem that some people are born with it, the truth is that most people have to build their self-confidence and self-esteem throughout their lives. Self-confidence is like a rose bush. You have to nurture it for it to grow, and you have to keep taking care of it in order for it to keep on growing. You can’t continually beat yourself up and expect to radiate self-esteem and self-confidence.
One thing I like to ask people is this: Would you treat a friend the same way you treat yourself?
Chances are, they say “No.”
What do you think would happen if you told your best friend, “You know, you really should lose about 20 pounds before you can ever expect to be happy!” “Why would anybody ever fall in love with you?” Or, “You know, you’re just too stupid to get the job you want, so why bother trying?”
If you talked to a friend like that, I’m pretty sure that, not only would they cut off the friendship, but they’d feel pretty bad about themselves. So, if you wouldn’t be cruel to a friend, why the hell are you being cruel to yourself?
In my experience, people will mostly treat you the way you treat yourself. Treat yourself like you’re an idiot, and pretty soon you’ll believe it. Constantly berate yourself and tell yourself how ugly you are, and you’ll be walking around, wishing you could hide from the world. Believe you should be grateful to get attention even from someone who abuses you, and pretty soon you’ll attract abusers by the score and you will sit there, taking it.
Nobody else can give you self-confidence. If you rely on other people’s opinions to shore you up, you’ll constantly be running to them to fill your well, because their compliments aren’t rooted in your belief system. You have to become the source from where your self-confidence springs.
Another myth a lot of people seem to believe is that people who are self-confident are that way one hundred percent of the time.
Not true. Everybody has doubts. Everybody has days where they look in the mirror and cringe. Everybody looks at their work at some point, asking, “Why can’t I do this better?” or “Why do I work so hard, yet xxx is getting ahead of me?”
It’s human nature. But…and this is a big but: We can’t let ourselves wallow.
Feel the emotion, acknowledge it, validate the feeling but recognize that it’s probably not based in reality, and then begin to look for the positive.
Another important factor to remember is that every single person on the face of this planet has their own problems. Behind all the glitz and glamour of what you think is a perfect or magickal life, you’ll find people whose feelings get hurt, who have medical issues, who have relatives who are hurting, who have children who need special care, and so forth.
When you strip away all the veneers, we are all human. And we are all subject to self-doubt. We are also all subject to the possibility of greatness. Poverty, health issues, abuse, these cannot take their toll. But, we can rise above them and not let our problems define us.
Stand tall. Be proud of how far you’ve come, even if you feel there’s a long ways to go. There is no endpoint in this journey we call life, except for the final endpoint—death. Everything is part of a life-long journey.
I challenge you: Go through this week without saying a single negative thing about yourself. Pay attention to your inner thoughts. Every time you veer toward self-doubt or self-loathing, force yourself to take a fork in that path. Think of something good you have done and celebrate it.
I also challenge you, in the comments below, to tell me three things that you are proud of—about yourself. Not about your spouse or kids or siblings. I want you to tell me three things, without qualification, that you have done well. If you can’t think of three things, try again. NOBODY is without positives. Nope. Won’t buy the “poor me, I’m so deficient” attitude. I want three things. Now!
And every day, before you go to bed, write down three things that you did that day that you’re proud of. I don’t care whether it’s the fact that you stayed on your healthy eating plan, or that you made a wonderful cake, or that you went to visit your neighbor who’s a shut-in, or that you actually finished writing a blog post.
So when you think about self-confidence, remember — it begins with you.