Free fall over the York River!
How are you feeling today? Are you energized and pumped to leap into the swing of things? Or are you feeling overwhelmed by everything life has been throwing at you recently? Are you suffering from a lack of self-confidence?
Up until last year I hadn’t given much thought to self-esteem or self-confidence. I believed that all I had to do was be a good mother, a good wife and excellent at my job. The rest would take care of itself. Sure there were others that pursued crazy dreams. But that life was not for me. If I had any questions that haunted me, I kept them hidden in my journal.
My turbulent career in 2012 got me thinking about many things. Self-confidence, in particular, has been on my mind a lot recently. It is not just because I am beginning to work with some amazing people and starting to see some of those dreams come to fruition. It is also because I have learned that self-esteem is critical to our well being. No one should wait until it is absolutely necessary to begin to focus on their self-confidence.
If your life is anything like mine, kids, caring for family members, school and other commitments can sometimes overwhelm you. You can get caught up in catering to the needs of others and begin to feel less than spectacular. Ironically it is the most competent ones amongst us that crumble the fastest when we don’t make time for ourselves.
Self-esteem is how you value yourself as a human being. Self-confidence is then an expression of your self-esteem. The highest level of self-confidence is to love yourself without any reservation or expectation, it is the complete acceptance of yourself regardless of the life situation you may be experiencing. When you have a healthy self-esteem, even a setback to your goals won’t hinder you for long.
By consistently taking actions to boost your self-confidence, you will gain self-respect. You will realize that your mood, energy level, appearance and behavior are all within your control. You will recognize that even your dreams are within your reach. You will continue to persist despite criticism from others.
Here are a few actions I have taken to regain my self-confidence. I shared these thoughts with a close friend who is in the midst of a career change. She benefited from my pep talk and I hope you will too!
I would love to hear from you! Please take a minute to leave your comment below. Share an action that helped you to boost your self-confidence.
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Create Mental White Space
Protect Your Me-Time
Show Someone You Care
Present Your Best Self
Connect With A Friend
Expand Your Knowledge
Eliminate Negative Thoughts and Act Positive
Change One Habit
Harness The Power Of Your Language
When you are carrying an endless list of things in your mind, it leaves very little space for thinking and processing. Clear the ideas out of your head onto a sheet of paper or a document. Systematically review items – append to your to do list or delegate. Make it a routine to follow this process every week. Avoid procrastination which tends to deplete your self-confidence.
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Most moms would gasp at this suggestion! But it is true. In order to demonstrate that you value your well being, you must learn to do something selfish every day. Find a space and time that is all your own, be it the library, gym, church/temple or park. Turn off all distractions including your mind. For a short time set aside your worries about your family and work. Connect with your spirit.
One of the easiest ways to boost happiness and self-confidence is to do something nice for someone else. Ask your coworker how their day went. Bestow a smile upon a stranger. Hold the door open for another parent at the school. If you are able to go all out, send someone you love a care package. A simple gesture can shed a ray of happiness into someone’s life while boosting your mood.
As a tween, I belonged to the Girl Scouts of India. Boy, did we take our motto seriously! As every one knows, scouts are always prepared. You can face any challenge even that dreaded presentation if you set time aside to prepare in advance. Prepare your to do list (as you are creating mental space). Prepare your meal plans the night before. Prepare for your child’s school event. Prepare your client pitch and rehearse it ahead of time.
My oldest son turns 11 soon. I remember those days when I barely had time to shower, let alone dress well. But those days did pass. One of the first things I did after he was born (well after I was able to get away) was to get a haircut and purchase an elegant outfit. I made a decision that I would present my best self to the world each day. This simple resolution that I carry in my heart helps me feel confident to this day.
Presenting your best self means something different to everyone. You don’t have to wear designer threads, but you can be well groomed and wear styles that complement your build. Indeed if you look successful, you are bound to attract opportunities that will lead you to greater success.
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Good friends are hard to come by; great friends will never desert you. You may have been busy and put off connecting with your friends recently. Send them a quick text message today. Make time for a Facetime chat. I like to catch up with my friends on the phone when I am doing chores or driving (please use a good Bluetooth headset and drive safe).
I never thought of gratitude as something that would boost my self-confidence. But then I began to “revisit” my life and feel grateful for the small and big blessings that have come my way.
I read my journal entry from the day I asked my husband out on our first date. I remembered the time I interviewed for a consulting position and received an offer. I glanced at the blueprint of the house we built (who knew I would be raising 3 kids there one day!). This peek into my past makes me feel grateful for the munificence of the Universe.
Do this today. Create a slideshow titled “All my accomplishments”. List everything you feel grateful for. When you feel especially low, review this slide show. You too will be reminded that happy surprises lurk around each corner.
Something as simple as picking up a box of crayons and doodling on a piece of paper can immediately boost the serotonin levels in your brain. For one it brings back memories of childhood, drawing outside on the sidewalk or working on a school project with your mom. Secondly, creativity requires letting go of perfection and allowing your idea to be brought into this world. When you are able to tap into your creative spirit you enjoy the process and stop obsessing over the product.
Engage in a creative activity every week, it is sure to boost your self-esteem.
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I must thank my parents for cultivating a life long belief in the power of volunteering. My mom tutored kids after school. I would help kids who were my age or younger with homework and projects. My mom also ran several programs (for lack of a better word) at the temple, I would help her anyway I could.
I know some entrepreneurs believe that you must exclusively focus on your business and not give your time away. While I can understand that sentiment, I believe that time is one of the easiest things we can give. We must not hoard our time; we must share it.
Giving without expectations is like sending a massive bolt of energy into this world. It alters your experience of the world forever. Defy the scarcity mindset and adopt the empowering mindset of volunteering.
Knowledge is power even in this information age. When you feel a bout of low self-esteem, learning a new skill or a new talent can help you feel more confident. Find 10 minutes a day to learn an interesting tool or a skill; you will instantly raise your self-confidence.
Developing a smart learning strategy is one way to control of your life and to pave your path in this world.
Why do we entertain negative thoughts? Reliving unhappy memories or expecting the worst out of any situation does no good to our brain or our self-confidence.
In his “Unleash the Power of the Female Brain”, Dr. Amen calls these negative thoughts ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts). I don’t know about you, but I certainly do not want any ANTs crawling around in my brain!
Replace negative thoughts with positive actions. Put any of the above positive thoughts and suggestions into action.
Pick one small habit that you can adopt or change. Maybe you could begin your day with meditation instead of checking your email. You could tackle the most challenging tasks the first thing in the morning instead of waiting until after teatime.
I guarantee that these small changes will boost your self-confidence while reaping great rewards in the long run.
It is hard to feel confident when you are dragging your tired aching body out of bed every morning. Studies indicate that stress leads to poor eating habits and lack of exercise, which in turn leads to greater exhaustion. Break the vicious cycle by starting one healthy habit today. Swap out an unhealthy meal for something lighter and healthier. Go for a bike ride with your kids.
Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. There is a lot to be said for maintaining a clean and organized desk. I am can attest to being more focused and productive when my desk is cleared.
Keeping a clean and clutter free home can bring peace and harmony. Even when you are overwhelmed you can retreat to a haven to sort things out. Even Sherlock might have had fewer cocaine episodes if he had only hired a more efficient housekeeper :).
Reading has many benefits that I couldn’t even begin to enumerate here. Reading nurtures your imagination. It opens a doorway into the vast human experience. It engenders a capacity to feel empathy for other human beings whose experience you have never shared.
When you are feeling low, pick up a good book. You will realize that even the worst of situations eventually ends. You learn to harbor hope and eagerly anticipate the new chapter in your life.
How can you change something that you don’t understand in its entirety? The first step towards change is awareness. To treat the deficiency of self-confidence, you must begin with a greater awareness of yourself.
Who are you? What are your values, beliefs and references? What are your goals? What are your strengths?
Start maintaining a journal of your assessments. Once you have an objective view of yourself, you can begin to build positive thoughts. You can defeat the beliefs surrounding your limitations and you can reclaim your self-confidence!
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The words that we use on a daily basis shape our reality. They frame our emotions and convey our ideas to the world. They can alter our circles of influence. By consciously stocking our language with powerful words, we can transform our life.
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