My friend over at Normal Girl posted a great blog post the other day and I’d like to share it with you. I’m just going to share the parts that really rang true to me but the whole post is DEFINITELY worth a look and I would encourage you to do so.
If you have problems with confidence and self esteem then I do encourage you to consider people in your life that are genuine, happy, healthy people that you respect. If no one comes to mind you might consider learning about your favorite authors or writers or even comedians – people who don’t take themselves too seriously. I urge you to use caution with this, though – it’s meant to give you an idea of what YOU find confidence to be about, and is not meant to cause you to compare yourself to others or to necessarily mimic anyone. It’s a tentative baby step toward becoming a happy, confident person.
Absolutely no more negative self talk. Period. If you want to be confident for your own sake (and truly this is the only real reason to pursue anything – FOR YOUR OWN SAKE. Not to make you more attractive or for any other reason) then you will. not. achieve. that goal unless you wipe negative self-talk out of your life. Believe it or not I found my internal dialogue to be much easier to change than my external dialogue. In other words, I have no problem taking a moment to recognize my accomplishments and to pat myself on the back, but when it comes to describing myself or referring to myself in any way to others I find the very core of the language I have always used for this purpose is inherently negative. Women are taught to self-deprecate. Speaking highly of oneself can be taboo. Of course there is truly positive language to use when referencing yourself and then there is empty bravado, which is certainly more common than the former in Western culture.
Say you’re having a bad day and things are snowballing out of control. One rough patch sets you off on a downward spiral and by the end of the day anything and everything upsets you – you’re mad about so many things all at once you can’t even remember what started the landslide in the first place. During this tail-spin it’s normal that ALL PEOPLE will begin to experience negative feelings about themselves. “I’m not _________ enough.” Thin enough, good enough, smart enough…this is something that every human being on the face of the earth does on a regular basis. Now, no one is perfect and it’s absolutely acceptable to say, “I could have handled that better.” These moments are wonderful opportunities to take stock of what is within your power to control. If there is nothing you can do to alter the situation that has got you bothered in the first place then it must be let go. You can “let it go” by using positive self-talk. It’s as simple as that. If you feel you could have handled something better then take a moment to reflect on something you handled well, something you’re good at or something that just makes you feel good. Tell yourself, “I did a good job at _____” or even “I deserve to be kind to myself. I am doing a good job of caring for myself by speaking positively to myself.” Really, no detail is too small to focus on when it comes to cultivating positivity.
I am no Sally Sunshine. I grew up being constantly told I was “too negative”. Much later in life I discovered that I have always had, since my very earliest memories, clinical depression and anxiety. Getting medical treatment and counseling for this problem did me a world of good and taught me coping techniques that I’d never seen modeled by anyone in my life before. This is why being positive and being around positive people is so important, as is seeking help when you need it. I mention this because so many people give off-the-cuff advice about being more positive when they have NO IDEA what it’s like to not be able to easily access positive feelings. We are constantly taught that not being happier or not being in control of our emotional world is a personal failing. And that is not the case! Regardless of what you are going through, cultivating little pearls of positivity in your life will help. TRUST ME ON THIS. I still get angry, I still raise my voice, and I still get sad. I’m not perfect. I’m not always positive. But, I now have the power to take a break, step back and observe myself. Then I find I am able to take control over my feelings for the very first time in my life, and start with positive baby steps. “At least I tried! I took a risk! That was gutsy and I am proud of myself!” are all things we can say when things don’t go the way we want them to. Flex these muscles often even when it’s hard. Even when it doesn’t feel like it’s working. It WILL help you!
Again, I encourage you all to go read her whole post because it’s very well-written and good food for thought!