Building Self Confidence
Building self confidence or improving self esteem is all about valuing ourselves as the persons we are not what we do. Our perception of what we are worth in our own eyes is based upon how we interpret our previous performance. In any situation we are facing, our confidence will be determined by how well we feel we've done in previous similar situations. I?ll say, how well we "feel" we've done, which implicates that we are using a certain standard to measure or compare against. This standard or values are different from person to person but very many of us require perfect performance of ourselves. If we don't succeed according to our perfect standards, we end up devaluating ourselves.
What are these standards or values? Where do they come from? How and why have we adopted them and why do we so often question them? We are not born with values, which leads us to the conclusion that they must have been learned in one way or another. So let's start with examining certain values of our culture:
- we value flawless or perfect performance
- we love to win
These are great values on how we should do ? every one of us should do as good as possible with whatever we are doing, there?s nothing wrong with that. But the mistake most of us are making is, we replace the worth of what we are doing with the person or individual we are - no matter how few or many mistakes we make in what we do. Why can't we value ourselves in spite of making mistakes?
Self confidence is natural; Just remember when you were a kid -you were valued and appreciated and loved for being in this world and you had self esteem or confidence without even questioning it. It was natural. We didn't have to do or perform anything to get the good feeling of being valued and loved by others. Somewhere in the timeline, through our adolescence or juvenile years, we got this delusion that we had to continually justify our place in the world by proving to other people that we are worthy of their confidence. And for some reason this proof became identical with "The Proof" that we were really valuable. This has really made us vulnerable - because our self esteem or confidence is anchored not within ourselves but somewhere outside ourselves, that we cannot control. The judgement of others determines how good we feel about ourselves. Isn't that crazy?
So, what shall we do to build higher confidence in ourselves? Here are some tips:
>> Make a list of the things that you like about yourself. Look at this list when your self image is halting. It is important to remind yourself about the qualities you know you have.
>> Make a list of the things that you do well and to do one of these things on the list everyday. A simple but very effective self esteem builder for many.
>> Remind yourself again and again how crazy it is to put yourself in such a vulnerable position such as, letting other people - the man in the street, your boss, your next door neighbour or whoever it is - determine what you are worth.
>> Be kind to yourself and do something nice for yourself, something you like and find enjoyable. Treat yourself. Spoil yourself. Be your best friend!
>> Go to a trusted family member, a friend or your spouse and tell about your feelings of discouragement. Maybe the other can remind you about some valuable things about yourself that you for the moment have kept out of sight of.
>> Take a risk. Not taking a risk is the biggest risk you can ever take. Do something you've never done before. By accepting such a challenge, even if you don't succeed, taking a step into a 'new world' is likely to increase your self confidence.
If the period of time you?re experiencing low self esteem lasts longer each time, no matter what you do, you should consider seeking professional help. Mental health professionals can be very helpful in building your self image. You can search on the internet, in the Phone book, classified newspaper ads etc.
Be aware that temporary fluctuations in your feelings of self confidence are quite normal. Life goes up and down for all of us. Don't lose your courage but instead remind yourself that you are unique; there is no person like you in the entire universe, even if you are a twin, therefore you are incomparable. This is true and this is a great truth! Isn't it?
About the Author: Terje Brooks Ellingsen is a writer and Sociologist who runs http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/. He writes about self improvement issues like building self confidence, see http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/self_esteem_improvement.htm and relationship building, see http://www.1st-self-improvement.net/building_positive_relationships.htm.