It’s no secret that self-confidence is very important to achieving success in any area of life. The thing about self-confidence is that it is very sensitive to our personal experience and is inherently unstable In other words, your self-confidence has a “snowball effect.” And it can snowball in a positive direction or it can snowball in a negative direction.
At the risk of over-simplifying a phenomenally complex process, what’s happening in your brain is that these snowball cycles “wear a groove” through the vast array of neurons and synapses. So, neurologically you are physically carving a path of least resistance through your brain. With enough reinforcement, you develop a reflex to certain kinds of stimuli. I call this negative programming. They are like old tapes that keep replaying in one’s mind.
Unfortunately, virtually everyone has been programmed from childhood with negatives that make us believe we can’t do things that we are innately capable of doing. A lot of it is self-imposed programming. If we fail to do something perfectly the first time we try it, it is only human nature to begin to believe that we can’t do it. We also receive negative programming from others that can greatly impact our self-confidence. We are told repeatedly as a child “You can’t do this” or “You’ll never be able to do that.” If we accept this programming – which, again, is only human nature – our self-confidence is weakened accordingly.
Take a moment now to think back on your own life. Think about the things that you’ve been led to believe you cannot attain but that you know intellectually are entirely possible. Fortunately, when some people are told they can’t do something, they refuse to accept that programming and go on to prove that they indeed can.
Beethoven’s teacher said he was hopeless as a composer!
Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4, didn’t read until he was 7. His teacher called him mentally slow!
Sometimes we can remember where our negative self-talk comes from (ideas/ beliefs); sometimes we cannot. Remembering where these false negative ideas come from helps individuals reprogram old mental tapes. Placing these adopted ideas back where they came from, works on a subconscious level. I have found this therapy technique to be extremely useful in these situations.
After all, we tend to accept that our thoughts are true whether they are negative or positive..
There are dozens of techniques to help you build your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Here’s one simple technique you can start using today that will help you initiate a virtuous cycle of improved self-confidence.
Using Positive Affirmations to Build Self-Confidence
Positive Affirmations are carefully worded positive statements that you repeat to yourself and are designed to establish new thinking patterns in your mind. Using affirmations is a very effective way to build self-confidence. It seems simple – and initially it can actually be a little uncomfortable – but remember, what you’re trying to do is to wear a new groove in your brain. You’re trying to create a new path of least resistance and establish a positive reflex in your mind. And the best way to create a new reflex is through repetition of positive thoughts, images and feelings.
When you repeat an affirmation: feel it, believe it, and know it! Put some positive emotion into it. Emotion-backed programming is the most powerful and long lasting. Allow yourself to experience the feelings of joy, satisfaction, power and self-confidence as you do each affirmation. “Act as if.” Positive self-dialogue such as this, helps develops a better relationship with yourself and in turn increases self-confidence and well-being.
Another great way to use affirmations is to say them while looking in a mirror. Say them with feeling and soon you’ll become aware of how powerful your eyes are. It’s said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that each of us carries in our eyes the exact indication of our rank. We send messages with our eyes that show how we think of ourselves and how self-confident we are. And that influences how others respond to us. The more our eyes bespeak self-confidence and self-esteem, the more other people are likely to hold us in high esteem.
There are many other powerful techniques that you can use to improve your self-confidence and build your self-esteem. But this will get you started in the right direction.
The most important thing to remember is that repetition and positive emotions are critical to changing the way you think. While it’s possible to do this on your own, most people need a defined program for the direction and support they need to commit to a change.
We live in a world where sex is used to sell products. Hence the famous phrase, “SEX SELLS”. Attractive women are used to sell products, clothes, cars, music etc. Few of us actually have what we have come to see as that perfect female body that entices viewers to buy products or is used to boost television ratings. As a result, too many women develop negative thoughts. Our only defense lies inside of us. We have the power to restore our own self-esteem with positive thoughts. This is the way to strengthen our minds and enable positive personal change. There is always a choice either to entertain a thought or to dismiss and replace it. We can choose to be in the moment and replace negative input with positive thoughts/ affirmations. We are given the power to choose. What is your choice going to be?
It is important to accept our individuality and celebrate it rather than conform to what we think others want. We all have our challenges here in Earth school. So why are we so hung up? Unfortunately, we are programmed to compare ourselves to others. One never knows another’s pain by looking at the outer shell. It is important to make the most of who we are, to value ourselves. We should encourage this in ourselves, in others, and especially in our children.
Self-comparison is one of the most common felt, not to mention dangerous, emotions. When you worry and question yourself as to whether or not you measure up, you immediately set up self-destructing roadblocks to a positive self-esteem and unhappiness.
If you try to value yourself through the eyes of others or through a comparison of others, you will be doing nothing but denying your own uniqueness. To know your uniqueness and self-worth is to know yourself, without hearing or seeing any other source of comparison. To allow any other influence to sway your thoughts of who you are is totally a suicide. A suicide of your self-worth and uniqueness.
I recently heard this great saying; “We either make ourselves happy or miserable, the amount of work is the same.” It’s work. Either way. We are here, so why don’t we make the best of it? Fear of change? We get so comfortable with our ‘familiar’ so even if the grass is greener, we stick to the familiar, and that may be negative programming that keeps us down. It’s work to change, but it’s worth the effort.
Sometimes it’s a matter of saying to yourself, ‘stop thinking!’ Because self-sabotage is such an easy trick for the mind to play, and it wants to keep busy thinking itself in circles. Don’t believe everything you think! Because the mind fears change, even if it’s for the better!
You want to be proud to be YOU! Then JUST DO IT! Do what is that YOU need to do. Maybe it’s cleaning up your past hurts and negative programming by doing therapy with someone you like and feel comfortable with who is helpful. Maybe it’s by reading up on it. Stop sabotaging yourself. Stop thinking and start acting. Let’s recognize the nature of the mind, and not give into it. Use your energy to go to a positive area rather that negative drama. Control your mind, become the observer of your thoughts so that you can control your mind, not the other way around.
Have you ever heard that the more you tell yourself something, the more you will surely begin to believe it? Well, this is why I speak so highly of retraining your thought patterns. Whether it is positive or negative thoughts, eventually your mind will be re-trained. The key is to stay away from the negative and/or replace them with positive thoughts. The longer that you dwell on any negative thought, the more likely it will seem very true, perception is your reality.
Your own vision of who you are is the most important step to building a positive self-esteem. Your self-esteem is a main driving factor in how you deal with life’s challenges and also how you relate to others.
No one will ever be able to feel what another person feels inside. No one will ever be able to love another as they can love themselves. No one can read our minds. No one can do for us, what needs to be done to make us feel inner peace. It is our responsibility to ourselves to love us first. You really must know who you are to start. To be able to fulfill your needs and desires and goals in life, you need to identify with your wants. You cannot do any of this if you do not focus on you. You need to be all about you for a time. No one can do this for you, so just do it!
I tell clients who suffer from low self worth to Love and treat themselves as they would want someone else to love and treat them. Or better yet, treat yourself as if you were taking care of someone so precious. Because you are You.
About The Author: Lori-Ann Wesley is a (holistic based) certified psychotherapist, with an eclectic individual approach. Counselling is available for a variety of areas including family of origin, recovery, boundaries, depression, abuse, addiction, relationships, transitions, illness, grief, anxiety, dreams, higher purpose and some evolution. Methods of therapy include talk therapy, voice dialogue, body centered psychotherapy, psychodrama, chakra balancing, meditation and many other healing techniques.