“Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one’s own sunshine.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Confidence is our sunshine. Many of us want confidence in our lives, but we are often overshadowed and the confidence gets displaced in insecurity. Having sunshine doesn’t make us cocky or arrogant (which is a fear of many). Confidence is grown and hindered in many ways. The key is understanding that we are the only ones that can actually allow our confidence grow and emerge, but anyone, including ourselves can hinder our confidence. Let us look closer at confidence.
Confidence is one of those virtues that we see in other people and crave for ourselves. Many of us want to be confident, we don’t enjoy walking around insecure and uncertain. Most people don’t know how to work toward building a more confident and strong self. There are many ways to approach building self-confidence, but I want to focus on the idea of how we get in our own way of being confident. We demand so much from ourselves and we typically beat ourselves up over things that we miss or things that we struggle with day in and day out. Even when we conquer an uphill battle, at the end, we expected it of ourselves or “it wasn’t that big of a deal”. Either way, it never seems like we can win with our eyes, we are always fighting to be good enough. If you want to be a more confident person here is some ideas to identify where we sometimes struggle:
Stop Beating Yourself Up
We put so much effort and use so much energy on correcting, critiquing and criticizing ourselves. The way we look, our performance, our personal life, our status, our finances, among other things. We aren’t:
- “pretty enough”
- “thin enough”
- “smart enough”
- “wealthy enough”
- “busy enough”
- “happy enough”
These are all things that some of us say to ourselves on a daily basis, and hearing these thoughts stream in and out of our head can leave us feeling pretty insecure and uncertain with ourselves.
Take a second take a deep breath and imagine the difference it would make if for every criticism you had instead you had a compliment for yourself? This is something you can try: every time you catch yourself saying something negative or critiquing yourself you have to say two positive or uplifting things about yourself in that situation. Every time you judge yourself you have to do something nice for yourself in respect to loving the area that you judged.
Give Yourself Credit
When we accomplish our goals we often times just expect that goal accomplished in that manner. If someone tells us good job we often quickly jump to “it was nothing” or “oh you really thought so? Because I thought…” or that is how I am supposed to be or perform or you are just trying to be nice, it wasn’t good at all. These are just a few of the many conclusions that we jump to when we accomplish any task.
Take a deep breath and imagine how different things would be if you were able to give yourself or accept a compliment. Try walking through the day and allowing yourself to be humbly proud of the accomplishments you have made. Allow others to say good job and simply say “thank you” instead of the thoughts that down play or degrade your work or appearance in anyway. When you are able to appreciate who you are and the work that you do, you will find yourself being much more confident in your abilities and personal life.
Be Compassionate with Yourself
When we make a mistake we are often so quick to jump to all of the things we should have done and all of the things we aren’t. We find it so easy to come down on ourselves for mistakes and missed opportunities, and often think that our actions are who we are.
Yet, often we are quick to offer affirmations, grace, and a caring gesture to help others who make mistakes. We are supportive and caring and we don’t judge or criticize them. We show them compassion. Why can’t we do the same for ourselves? This is one of the hardest things for people to grasp, simply because we do expect so much from ourselves. We want to be perfect, but we should also want compassion for ourselves because our view changes a lot when we give ourselves a little grace to move forward.
There is a big difference between “I messed that up” versus “I am a mess up”. This is many times where we go wrong in giving ourselves compassion. We don’t see how we could be given grace because we internalize our mistake. We then make the mistake part of our identity instead of looking at it as an action. It is much easier to look at an action and give compassion to the person who made a mistake than it is to give compassion to a person who is the mistake. Taking a second to re-frame what has happened as an action rather than as an identity is key to being able to give ourselves to compassion and grace we need when we fall flat on our face.
If you can walk through and move those criticisms to compliments or to grace, we can build confidence. It is so easy to beat ourselves up over our wants and our dreams, but the reality of it is if we beat ourselves down we can’t build ourselves up in order to achieve those wants and those dreams. We must love ourselves and build ourselves up in order to gain confidence a move toward a more well-rounded sense of self.
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
– Louise L. Hay
There are so many reasons why we are built on criticisms and negative thought patterns, and they could have been self-started or they could have been patterns we picked up from a young age. Exploring these patterns can help us break these cycles that are running our lives and it enables us to create a new story and a new journey in a new light. Navigating through these experiences or the “why” of who we are can be very difficult and can bring up some very hard thoughts and emotions to deal with alone. You do not have to do it alone, reach out to me and allow me to walk with you through this journey. Navigating through the good and the bad, and understanding yourself at a deeper more beautiful level. You can be the confident and wonderful person you know you have to ability to be, sometimes it just takes a little extra work.