Confidence is a funny thing. I think it means something different for everyone. I've spoken to people who claim to have a lot of self-assurance only to turn around and belittle themselves. I was at an event, getting ready to do my presentation when a woman walked up to me and asked me the topic of my speech. I said it was "how to raise your self-esteem when your mind is telling you the opposite." She said, "Oh, well, then I don't need to listen. I have high self-esteem. I'm always very positive and believe in myself." I said, "That's wonderful to hear. Good for you!" She then said, "Of course, I'm too old to try to learn about some new idea or technique you have to offer." I said, "You're not old, and I'm surprised you feel that way." She didn't hear the irony in her words.
I've had friends tell me that once they've reached their goal, be it a promotion, have a significant other, or get to their desired weight; they will then feel confident. Their perception of confidence is something that has to be earned or given as a reward. They will not allow themselves to feel self-assured until then. When I have these conversations, I remind my friends of just how much they have accomplished. We should always have goals that keep us motivated to want to go after more challenges. We should never be discouraged and lose our sense of ourselves in the process. Our belief in our skills and creativity should not slip just because we haven't attained all of our targeted results.
I know, easier said than done. I struggle with having faith in myself all the time. That's why I feel I'm an expert. I'm a constant work in progress, but I do progress. I've had to learn how to stop the continual self-doubt my mind is so good at producing. It loves to tell me that I'm not very smart, talented, or brave. There are days that I believe that and have to find ways to change the detrimental mind-set. It's incredible how simple it is to tear ourselves down than build ourselves up. I have figured out how to quiet the noise in my head. Here are a few ideas that have worked for me.
I call a friend and voice my fears out loud. This way, it gets out of my head, and I can hear how ridiculous it sounds. Most of what we're worried about is ridiculous. If I want to listen to the truth of my thoughts, I will call one of my brothers or sisters. They love a good laugh at my expense, but it keeps me grounded. We should all be lucky to have such a truthful, vicious family. (They are the best!)
One reason I may be feeling doubtful of my abilities is that I'm comparing myself to others. When we don't feel good about ourselves, we tend to believe that everyone around us is more successful and happier than we are. They may be, but that doesn't mean that we should lose belief in ourselves. I'll write down my goals along with the positive steps I've already taken. It reminds me I'm on my path, and everything takes time.
The fastest way I know to feel good about myself is to put on music that makes me want to dance. My confidence instantly goes way up. It's that mind-body connection that works every time. My body is in a positive and uplifting motion that my mind cannot ignore. If I'm in public going to a networking event, I forgo the dancing and make sure my body is in a confident stance. My shoulders are back, my head lifted, and I smile. My mind doesn't argue with me or try to make me feel any self-doubt.
Understanding the power of being prepared and ready to take on the world is something we shouldn't take for granted. The more we believe in our abilities, the more we will accomplish our goals. Being self-assured doesn't always come naturally, but we can work towards it. We need the courage to face our insecurities. Realize that the people who love and respect us do so because we support and encourage them. We need to do the same for ourselves. We don't have to wait to be confident, and we can feel that way anytime we want. Now, go put on some music and call a friend.