Delegates at my recent workshop asked two key questions.
How do I re-find my confidence?
Confident people had lost faith in themselves after being on maternity leave, an abusive conflict situation, and receiving bad feedback.
Are we actually born with confidence or is it something that we learn? Remembering the assured way my son demanded his first feed and made further demands from then on, I suspect some element of confidence is inherent. Or is it that we are born without fear?
As children, we learn to have faith in our ability, whether it is to learn to walk, climb a tree or go out into the world. Our experiences in life will determine if that fledgling confidence survives or not. If we have learnt it once, surely we can learn it again.
Our fears in adult life can stop us trying. If we had had that same attitude when learning to walk, we would still be shuffling round on our bottoms!
The definition of confidence is freedom from doubt; belief and trust in someone. For self confidence, that is trust in our selves.
Whatever life has thrown at us, we can take pride in that we have found the resilience to survive. You can choose to love yourself unconditionally for who you are. Using affirmations to focus on your positive aspects helps rebuild confidence.
How do I get over negative thoughts?
Our negative thoughts can have a major impact on self esteem. It was demonstrated at the workshop how much easier it was to identify the things we don’t like about ourselves; rather than our strengths.
The accuracy with which we apply negative labels can be challenged. One person labelled herself as disorganised. When this was reviewed, she admitted that she looked after her home, family, her ailing mother and worked!! What she really meant was her house wasn’t quite as tidy as she would like. By changing the accuracy of the things we beat ourselves up over, it can take on a completely different perspective.
We tend to be our own worst critics and it can be a destructive habit. A tip that helped me was to place an elastic band round my wrist and every time I caught myself having negative thoughts about myself, I pulled the band and let go. Ouch! I soon learnt to break that habit. I am sure there are less painful methods.
Building confidence is about taking small steps every day. It takes effort, but then you are worth it.