How to Boost Your Self-Confidence
By Debbie Mandel
You feel anxious about mingling at a party wondering if anyone will talk to you or if you will say anything engaging. You repeatedly check your appearance in the mirror. Perhaps, you failed at something you worked on and feel inadequate. You might even feel that you have been victimized and are not responsible for being fired or divorced. All these symptoms share a common denominator: you are lacking self-confidence. Ironically being told that you lack self-confidence does not make you feel any better about yourself!
Most daily stressors gnaw at the root of self-esteem. Filling your thoughts with perceived enemies and old conflicts drains your spirit and saps your creative joy. However, no one can trivialize you, label you, or crush your convictions if you have a fundamental sense of who you are; if you see yourself as a separate identity from that of spouse, children and career.
When I reinvented myself into a second career of stress-management, writing and radio show hosting, some people tried to chip away at my creativity and confidence; in fact, a close friend tried to destabilize my motivation: “Who are you to do this? Stick to gardening.” At a prestigious medical center where I was interviewed for a speaking engagement a social worker said, “You’re not important enough to address my group.” I found this remark particularly ironic as social workers generally tell everyone that he or she is important. Did I waver? Well, perhaps a little bit, but I am passionate about what I do and believe that the harder I work, the luckier I get. So, I shed the toxic friends, learned from my mistakes, studied more, listened more and believed more. Then one day I addressed an auditorium filled with a few hundred people. One woman grabbed my hand as I entered the room from the back door making my way to the podium. I will never forget her words: “You look like someone important. Are you today’s speaker?” I smiled, “We are all important.” She nodded and said, “I think I’m going to enjoy today’s program.”
So how do you generate confidence and keep it going? Although others can often take it away, no one can hand it to you. It requires a leap of faith in yourself believing that if you work hard, are persistent, and connect with positive people, you will reap the rewards.
Here is how to take the first steps. The secret to getting ahead is getting started:
- Write down your goals to objectify and specify them. Often, we don’t really think until we write.
- Express who you are by letting your inner self out! Dress the way you want and put on less make-up. You don’t need a cover-up. Wear what is comfortable and makes you feel good.
- Close your eyes and visualize the successful outcome. Believe that things will work out. See yourself successfully completing. Rehearse the steps in your mind, so that you become proficient. The less effort, the more proficient you will become.
- Shoo away the bullies in your mind who provide the reasons why you can’t, shouldn’t and will ultimately fail. Nothing is impossible to a willing mind.
- Find friends who will serve as your coach to inspire you to victory. You need a nurturing environment to grow. Imagine a sports team whose coach told them they were no good and would lose. Ultimately the team would lose.
- If you fail, then assume responsibility. Learn from your mistakes and don’t blame anyone else because then you give away your power. Victims are helpless. Don’t let anger control you and defeat you.
- You don’t have to excel at everything. Find the something you do well and build on it. Let that something be your identifying success.
- Become so strong inside that you do not have to demonstrate your power. It is a part of you, readily observable in your stance with shoulders back, heart open and head erect.
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WHLI 1100AM in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com