Awkward, shy, indecisive. Do those words describe you? Do you often interpret non critical comments as critical? Are you perpetually pessimistic about people, places and events?
What you need is stronger self-confidence, a more honest sense of your own self-worth. Here are five quick steps you can take that if implemented over time will create within you a stronger self-confidence.
Step 1: Emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Low self-esteem starts inside your own head. It is a result of what you focus on, what you think, say and feel about yourself. Start applauding yourself for the things you accomplish, even if they are modest; and stop focusing only on the mistakes you make. You tend to get what you think about.
Step 2: Get out of your cocoon and take some risks. Life is full of possibilities unless you are sitting in the closet of your bedroom gazing at your navel thinking “woe is me.” See change as good, look for opportunities to get involved in something where you could win or lose. All kinds of possibilities will come your way once you look beyond your miserable self and take a few chances. Fail a couple of times, get back up again, and you will discover even the best of folks flop from time to time and they are still alive when it is all over.
Step 3: Change your self-talk. Most of the stuff we say to ourselves is negative. I am over 70-years-old and I play basketball twice a week. The problem with senior basketball is that making improvements in our skills is well nigh impossible. However, because of some positive self-talk last week I played the best basketball I’ve played for 5 years! And everyone noticed! It was fantastic. So whatever the bad language you are using to talk to and about yourself needs to change. Encourage yourself. Be nice to yourself.
Step 4: Protect yourself from critics. Do you have a friend, parent, child, husband, wife, boss, etc. who criticizes just about everything you do? Two words: avoid them. Did you read the news item the other day that said people who are nagged constantly tend to die younger? Perhaps they want to die because it is the only way they can get out from under the barrage of depressing criticism. Well it isn’t the only way. Stay away from critics.
Step 5: Evaluate yourself first. If you suffer from low self-esteem you may rely too much on the judgments and opinions of other people, never confident in and of yourself about anything you say, think or do. The problem is those “other people” may not have your best interests at heart and their judgments may be flawed or just plain cruel. So start with your own evaluation first and don’t let other people’s assessment always trump yours.
Is any of this easy? Of course not. If it was easy, everyone would be walking around with a great sense of confidence and poise. Can you do it? Of course you can. Pick out any one of the steps and start working on it until you see some progress. Don’t be in a rush, take your time but do not give up. Then take another step and before you know it you will be Mr. Confidence or Ms. Self-reliance and won’t it feel good!