A more confident you

I feel that real self confidence isn’t necessarily all about expecting that things will go well, it’s also about being comfortable with uncertainty, feeling optimistic and confident even when you don’t know how things may turn out.

Because when we know we can do something well, confidence isn’t an issue – it’s only if we’re unsure of the outcome that it becomes an issue, yet, in reality, we can never really know what the outcome will be.

So, truly confident people feel comfortable with that uncertainty and can relax around not knowing how things will go, they just trust that they have the resources to deal with any situation – confidence is surely one of the secrets to inner happiness that also leads to a better self image and more self worth.

Often low self esteem and poor self image are the first hurdles that need to be addressed on the road to improve confidence, people with low esteem tend to blame themselves for things that aren’t their own fault, they undervalue their abilities and expect the worse to happen, to them, (unconsciously) the word FEAR means Future Events Appearing Real – they think about all the things that could go wrong, all the things people might say, they then get bad feelings and choose to stay where they are because it feels ‘safe’ (even if it is not what they want) – that is the power of our imagination.

I like these words about self confidence and self-esteem

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

“Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson

I can help you have more confidence and self esteem

Self confidence is not something you are born with, it is something that needs to be developed and nurtured, there are many confidence building skills that can be learned that can yield remarkable benefits in personal relationships, in your career, even in the level of general relaxation you feel.

Your current levels of confidence are combinations of your early influences, these almost random events, such as, birth order and life experiences have moulded your self confidence for better or worse. Your past experiences may be fixed, but your future ones are not, it’s OK to desire building self esteem.

Physical fitness provides a useful analogy. Your current level of fitness is determined by a similar blend of random historical factors – genetics, diet, exercise levels – yet you know that you can – given commitment and effort – become very fit. The same is true when you build confidence.

High expectations from our families, friends and colleagues can sometimes result in us feeling under pressure to perform and deliver, this can lead to anxiety and fuel low self esteem or fear of failure – if you don’t do anything, you won’t fail – however, the reality is, just by not doing it you have already failed and have begun a cycle of avoidance rather than one of doing and achievement.

We are all bombarded by the media too – setting unrealistic standards of appearance, attractiveness and attainment which most people find hard to achieve, yet they feel they should, once again, the good news is that confidence can be learned and increased – we don’t have to remain a slave to the media, better to have your own values and beliefs that guide you and help you make decisions that are right for you and help with your confidence building and self development strategies.

We are born with a certain type of personality which will be more or less likely to display confident characteristics. Even more influential though, are the range of life experiences and people that we meet that help to boost or diminish our confidence. Every experience we have and every person we meet, especially in childhood, can add to, or deflate our sense of confidence and affect our esteem building processes.

If we are confident, we have probably had lots of praise and positive feedback throughout our lives which will have encouraged us to try new things, to succeed at them and to improve ourselves, gathering and building new resources all the time. If we are lacking in confidence, perhaps our family, school and childhood experiences have not encouraged us to feel good about ourselves and to try our hand at things, learning as we go, building ourselves an armoury of skills and strengths – perhaps we have been put down a lot, teased, been expected to fail at things, never praised.

If people or situations ask more of you than you feel you can cope with, then you are likely to feel stress then anxiousness because you are not in control. Being rejected, at work or in one’s personal life, or failing at something like an exam, interview or driving test, or losing your job can also make you feel that you are not in control of your life and that someone else is. All these things can knock your self confidence and self worth.

However, if you focus on your strengths, your skills, your successes, the positive aspects of your personality and your general ability to cope with situations (even if you can’t change them), you are more likely to be able to ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again’ when something goes wrong. Everyone has some control even if it is only over how you respond to situations or people.

A common mistake people make is to compare themselves with other people, rather than to measure themselves against how far they have themselves come. When the mind compares yourself with someone else it does a strange trick of expanding and exaggerating those differences, making you feel inferior (or superior), however, if you look back at yourself and see how far you have come over the years, raising families (when you first held a baby you didn’t know what to do), your career, your knowledge, your house, your friends etc. your mind begins to see that you have come a long way and you can see that this is just the beginning of building confidence and improving your self image.

  • It is also common for people to be confident in one area of their life and not in others, for example:
  • Confident with friends, yet uncomfortable meeting people for the first time.
  • Confident with your job, yet uncomfortable moving to a new job.
  • An actor who is perfectly calm on stage in front of an audience may become shy when faced with a stranger.
  • A successful business person who fluently speaks their mind at work, may find it hard to talk intimately about their emotions to a partner in a close relationship.
  • A confident adult who finds it hard to stop their parents treating them like a child and controlling them.

If you are aiming to build confidence, be clear first of all why you want to improve confidence, what it is you want to achieve. Think of instances where more self confidence would be useful to you; think of instances when you could have done with more assertiveness in the past or when you have done well in the past and why.

Then review your strengths, skills and characteristics – in short, your resources and learn to focus on them, build then, nurture them and use them more. Remember your successes; no one can take those away from you. People who are confident tend to, minimise their weaknesses and maximise their strengths, have a go at things, learning what they can improve, and practise until they become good at things.

We can help ourselves in other ways too, such as pretending to be confident even if we don’t feel it: adopting a confident posture, standing up straight, head up, smiling, making eye contact, speaking clearly, relaxation, listening with interest to other people. In time, this will come naturally and you will feel more confident and it will help building self esteem.

Building confidence – careful what you think…

Consider the thinking and behavioural patterns you have formed as a result of your past. Think about how they have affected your life. Have they helped you or held you back? Do you need to change? Although we cannot change our past, we can learn from it – ‘The past is a place of reference, NOT a place of residence’ – We can change the way we respond to our past and we can change the way we do things in the future.

Remember how you speak to yourself (on the inside) will affect how you filter what you hear from the outside, for instance, if you tell yourself that you are not funny, then you won’t hear it when someone compliments you for being funny, you will only recognise events where you tried to be funny and weren’t quite so good.

So, if you are unconsciously filtering out the good comments and only hearing the ones that confirm your internal comments, what you hear will affect how to begin to feel on the inside, self-doubt, lower confidence, feeling down etc. These in turn begin to affect what you do (or more importantly – what you don’t do) you tend to talk yourself out of doing things as you are ‘not good enough’ or ‘not funny enough’ or ‘not attractive enough’ or ‘not slim enough’.

Sadly, the outcome of this process is the formation of your habits. You can now begin to see that there is a loop forming – what you say to yourself, affects what you hear, that affects how you feel, which affects what you do, which forms your habits (good or bad) these form your destiny – your habits reinforce what you say to yourself – and around and around you go……..

Therefore, your thoughts affect your feelings which in turn affect your behaviour, the good news is that this cycle can go both ways – if your thoughts are negative then you will feel negative and behave in a negative way, setting up a negative cycle. If your thoughts are positive, then your feelings and behaviour will become more positive.

For example:

When facing a challenge – perhaps being up against a tight deadline – you will feel much more confident if your thoughts are useful and focused on your strengths. You can think: “I’ll never make the deadline, I haven’t done this sort of project work before, my work is not good enough, there isn’t enough time.”  Or you can think: “I’ll keep calm, I have most of the skills needed to do this, I’ll do the best I can in the time available to me.”

Clearly the second approach is more likely to make you feel in control, confident and able to reach your goal.

There are many different ways that thinking negatively will affect your levels of confidence, such as: over dramatising, over generalising, seeing things in black and white, having negative a post mortem on events and comments, negative forecasting, getting things out of proportion, focusing on the negative aspects of any situation.

Rising to a challenge or being successful at something develops your confidence and creates the feel-good chemicals in your brain which in turn motivate you further. But it is worth remembering that everyone experiences failure or rejection from time to time. Even if you are confident, it does not mean that you will succeed at everything. In a sense, it is better to try something and fail and learn from it, than never to have tried something new.

As your confidence grows you are likely to become more assertive – confident enough to state your views, opinions and needs to others without becoming overly emotional or upset.

Confidence – time to do something now?

Using hypnosis, NLP and a whole range of psychological techniques I can help you unlock that vital resource of self confidence and get you back on track: achieving your goals, confidence building, reviewing your strengths and weaknesses, learning from your failures, extending your reach, banishing low self esteem.

Together we will set realistic but challenging goals, starting small and building up, encouraging you to celebrate your successes, then helping you to become more positive generally and specifically, improving your thinking patterns so that you use your intellectual brain more by accessing your subconscious emotional brain and unlocking the negative habits of a lifetime.

Break the cycle and do something now – give me a call, it won’t hurt to just chat about it.