Today we’re gonna talk about building our self-confidence but not in the way we maybe have done in the past. This isn’t just about feeling strong enough to stand up for ourselves, this is about feeling comfortable being who we are so that we can build honest and meaningful connections.
So let’s get to work on building that self-confidence.
1. Find and focus on our strengths.
In DBT or dialectical behavior therapy, we call this building mastery, and we do this by figuring out what it is that we’re good at? Are we good listeners? Maybe we make great playlists or maybe we aren’t sure what we do well.
Perhaps we haven’t taken much time to try out new things or to notice the things that we love doing that others in our life appreciate. Has someone told you that they love the music you create or maybe the way you handle difficult people at work? Maybe you make the best mac and cheese. But whatever it is, it’s important that we take note and cultivate that strength.
Putting more focus and effort into the things we are good at, will help us feel, you guessed it, more confident. And I would encourage you to put some of these strengths into your social media. And I know some of you may have thought immediately that you aren’t good at anything so this is just not gonna work and I want you to stop that thought. We are all good at things. We just have to find out what.
So stick with it and keep trying. We could be good at things like cleaning up, I’m pretty good at that, organizing, or reading books out loud. There are things we do each day that we are good at. It’s just that we overlook them or assume that everyone is good at those things, but they aren’t, you are.
And once you’ve come up with a few things that you’re good at, or maybe even things that you just enjoy doing that you want to master. We have to practice doing them. Maybe set aside time each week to work on that favorite recipe or practice that new skill. And then in the most important part of this is to give yourself credit for how well you did it. Journal about it or share with someone just how much you enjoy it and how you’ve been improving.
Were there parts that were more difficult? And how did you push through and continue anyway? Building on our strengths and celebrating them can help us feel accomplished and competent, which only leads to more healthy confidence.
2. Recognize and stop your negative self-talk.
Whether we realize it or not, we are having a constant conversation with ourselves about our world and how we’re doing in it. We can get out of bed and immediately judge how tired we are, or how our body feels, or the fact that we slept in. And we can brush our teeth and without muttering a word out loud, shit talks about our appearance and the state of our home.
We can say hundreds of nasty things to ourselves before we’ve even had our first cup of coffee. So try to slow down, notice what you’re telling yourself, and don’t accept those thoughts as facts because thoughts are just thoughts, nothing more. And most of the time, they don’t even have any evidence to support them, yet we accept them as if they did.
In order to get us out of this negative thought cycle, we have to challenge them. Check our facts and if there aren’t any to support them and no, other similar thoughts about the same issue are not facts either. But if there is anything to support them we have to use bridge statements to move them into a more balanced place.
Too often people just tell us, think positive but that doesn’t always work. Sometimes the negative thoughts that we’re having we’ve been having for years. So trying to just switch it over into a positive one, isn’t gonna be believable right away. We’re gonna have to move slowly in that direction building a bridge toward a more positive outlook.
So when we find ourselves thinking, God, I’m just so ugly and stupid, we need to realize that we are saying that, so identifying it first, and then change it into something more balanced, like it’s possible that I’m not as ugly or stupid as I think. I don’t really have any recent facts to support these thoughts.
We don’t have to be sure of more positive perception, we just have to be open to the possibility of a different one. And doing this can help you feel more comfortable putting yourself out there on your social media or somewhere else.
So try and pick your three to five most common negative thoughts, check your facts about them, and then work on some bridge statements to move into a more balanced place. I know I harp on this all the time but our thoughts pretty much run our entire life. They affect our mood, relationships, ability to do things, you name it. So making them more balanced and positive can literally change our life.
3. Put positive out into the world.
I know we’re talking about ourselves and you’re probably thinking, why would I being kind or positive toward others change how I feel about myself? Well, the truth is that negativity spreads like a virus, and even letting it into our mind when thinking about someone or something else can affect how we feel about ourselves and our environment.
I know I’ve shared this before, but many years ago, I was just sick of feeling bad and negative all the time. So I challenged myself to in my mind compliment everyone I saw in a day. If I found myself automatically thinking something mean or negative about them, I then had to come up with two compliments. And while this was really difficult at first and it felt like a terrible chore, it did get easier. And after just a week of doing this, I can honestly tell you that my mood had noticeably improved.
Since the pandemic has shifted things quite a bit and many of you may be at home all day like me, we can even do this online. If we see a photo or video of someone, think and consider commenting on something positive or supportive about it. Pulling our mind from our automatic response of judgment into a more loving place will be difficult at first. It’s a new muscle, but it’s really life-changing. Not to mention that by putting good thoughts and energy out into the world, we are more likely to attract other positive people.
It just goes back to the law of attraction, but it’s true that what we put out into the world we get back. And I think we would all agree that we want positive, loving, and meaningful things in our life, so let’s put that out there.
4. Accept our limitations & be courageous about it.
And what I mean by that is working on being okay with saying, I don’t know, or wow I had no idea, why don’t you tell me more about that? Now I know this sounds silly when it comes to building confidence, but I’ve heard from many of you over the years, how you aren’t sure how to engage in conversations or that you may be led someone to believe you love something that you actually don’t know anything about.
Being okay with not knowing and allowing someone to teach us something they love can not only ensure that our relationships are built on honesty, but it can also deepen the connections that we make.
When we pretend to love doing an activity or act like we know a lot about something when we really don’t, it doesn’t allow for them to get to know the real us. Instead, they’re getting to know this like pretend us with fake interests that we think will make us look more attractive to them. In a way, we’re trained to read their minds by assuming that they will like us better another way when we really don’t know that. And what we really need is to find someone who loves us for us.
Now, this just sparked an old memory, like really old from a TV show I used to watch as a kid called ‘Hanging with Mr. Cooper.’ Where the main character’s sister really wanted to date one of her brother’s friends. And so she asked her brother all about him, what he liked, what he didn’t like so that she could pretend to like all the same things as he did.
Well, long story short, it was a whole episode. After an entire evening of her pretending to be someone she wasn’t, his new girlfriend showed up and she was into all the same things that Mr. Cooper’s sister was originally into like her true self and he really liked that about this other girl. And needless to say, Mr. Cooper’s sister was extremely frustrated with this but it’s just another example of how we need to be our true selves and know that that will be enough and that others will like us than for who we really are not what we think they’re gonna like. Do you know what I mean?
And of course, it’s okay to enjoy doing some things with people we love just because we know that they love it. That’s called giving with joy and something we do because we like making others in our life happy. But this shouldn’t be something that we do all the time in all of our relationships because by doing that, it can limit the space for us and the things that we love and not allow people to get to know the real us. And we wanna feel good in our relationships and know that they are interested and love us for just being ourselves.
Read more: Why My Life Is So Boring
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