by Ron Ross
Have you ever cancelled your attendance at a social event for some wimpy reason? Do you have few or maybe no friends at all? Do you often interpret non-critical comments as critical?
If so, you are tired of feeling awkward, indecisive and shy, right? You want to own and display a stronger self-confidence and a more honest sense of your own self-worth.
You may be making some easy-to-correct mistakes that confident people never make. Correct these six mistakes and you will create within your heart and mind the confidence you long for.
1: Confident people NEVER rely on the judgments of others. People who suffer from low self-esteem often rely too heavily on the judgments and opinions of other people. The problem is those “other people” may not have your best interests at heart, and their judgments may be flawed or just plain cruel.
I know a guy who was urged by his professors at a Christian college to give up on becoming a preacher. They told him he didn’t have what it takes to be successful. Thankfully, he didn’t submit to their evaluation of him. Instead, he ignored their negative assessment, persevered, and became an internationally known evangelist who has helped thousands of people.
Start with your own evaluation of yourself. Don’t let someone else’s assessment of you trump your view of yourself. But beware of the temptation to focus too much on your weaknesses. This brings us to the second quick fix you can make to gain the confidence you desire…
2: Confident people NEVER minimize their achievements. A successful self-evaluation will start inside your own head. What do you think, say, and feel about yourself? Chances are you focus more on your faults, weaknesses, and mistakes than you do your assets, strengths, and accomplishments. You must decide to focus singularly on your strengths and accomplishments.
When our first child took his first steps, it was one of the greatest moments in our lives. We cheered and encouraged him as he waddled only three or four steps across the living room. When he fell into his mother’s arms, we celebrated as if he had just won the Boston Marathon. It didn’t matter that he had fallen flat on his face the dozens of times he tried it before. It was his success that got applauded. We even called his grandparents two states away to tell them!
That is exactly how you should look at your life. You have done many things with great success. It does not matter whether they are simple things or complex achievements; they are YOUR achievements. Everything you have done successfully, every worthy act, every right decision, every noble accomplishment you have made should be held in the highest esteem within your heart and mind. The focus you place on your accomplishments and victories should far outweigh the focus you place on your failures.
Give yourself a round of applause. Heck, give yourself a standing ovation! Decide now that you will no longer focus so much on the mistakes you have made, but you will focus on the good things, the positive things, the useful things you have done. Your next quick fix will help you do just that.
3: Confident people NEVER speak negatively about themselves. Because you focus on your mistakes, much of what you say to yourself is negative—even nasty. Decide NOW to change the way you talk to and about yourself; this will change your life. Check yourself when you are about to call yourself an idiot or stupid or ugly, etc. Stop yourself dead in your tracks, and change the message to yourself from bad to good, from destructive to constructive, from derogatory to flattering.
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, last week I decided to employ some positive self-talk. On my way to the gym, I talked out loud to myself. I said things like, “You’re good at basketball,” “You know how to play basketball,” “You have played basketball in front of thousands and have done great,” “You love to play basketball.” Guess what? I played the best basketball I had played in over five years! And everyone noticed! It was fantastic.
So whatever bad language you use to talk to and about yourself needs to change. Decide to be a self-encourager. Decide now to be nice to yourself. Choose kind words when you speak about yourself. Encouraging words about yourself spoken to yourself will sound sweet to your soul. Quick fix 3 is about what you say to yourself. Quick fix 4 is about what you hear from others.
4: Confident people NEVER hang out with critics. Do you have a friend, parent, child, husband, wife, boss, etc., who criticizes just about everything you do? Here is how to fix that: avoid them. Did you read the news item the other day that said people who are nagged constantly tend to die sooner? 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. Decide to protect yourself from critics.
My mother was a world-class critic. She was the happiest during the years she worked as a proofreader for a publishing company. The job was a perfect fit for her because she got paid for pointing out other peoples’ mistakes.
Several years ago I labored for months to get out the first edition of a new magazine. Once printed, I grabbed a few copies and took a few days off to drive to Texas, get some rest, and show off my new magazine to Mom and Dad. I got in late at night and we visited awhile before going to bed. While I slept in, Mom took the quiet morning to read my magazine. Upon awakening, the first thing she said to me was, “Would you like to see all the typographical errors in your magazine?”
Beware the happiness hijackers. They are out to steal every moment of joy you have and rob you of the satisfaction of every goal you accomplish. They will tell you that it wasn’t as good as it could be and it wasn’t as significant as you thought it was. Ignore them. Decide now to protect your mind from critics.
#5: Confident people NEVER focus on the impossibilities of life. Life is full of possibilities unless you just sit in the closet of your bedroom and gaze at your navel thinking, “Woe is me.” You have much to offer this world, but it will be lost unless you gain some confidence and start to show the world the real you, the good you—the you with great potential.
All kinds of possibilities will come your way once you look beyond your present status and take a few chances. Don’t worry about failure—failure happens to everyone. Go ahead and fail a couple of times, but then get back up and show the world your strength of character.
Remember, even the best of folks flop from time to time and they are still alive when it is all over. God created you with great potential. Discover and tap into the possibilities latent within you in order to celebrate and seize the divinity within. Decide now to see the possibilities of a life well lived! Next, quick fix 6 will wrap it all up:
#6: Confident People NEVER blame others for their mistakes and failures. Since you have read this far, I know one thing: you really do want a new level of confidence. You want to discover and display the best you there is, and I am so proud of you! The most important quick fix you can make to gain the confidence you desire is to decide to take total responsibility for your own life.
This means you do not blame other people for your mistakes or charge others for your failures. I know that you had little control over some of the things that happened in your past. But you do have control over one thing: how you respond to them. Will you cry over them again and again? Will you complain to everyone how unfair life is? Will you whine and mope and condemn others for who you are and where you are today?
Decide now to take responsibility for yourself. It no longer matters if your parents mistreated you or if your seventh grade math teacher embarrassed you in front of the whole class or if you got passed over for a job promotion. You are now responsible for almost everything that happens to you, so forget the past and get on with the future.
If you accept responsibility for your life and your actions, you will become a person of great confidence and great personal power. You will be able to do amazing things, but it is up to you to make it happen. Wait no longer for fate or good luck or the right time or the perfect alignment of the stars.
Sure, it may cause you some anxiety. Of course it will not be easy. I get it—it is easier to blame others for what happens to us. But life is better—so much better—if you live it with the confidence you desire.
Can you correct these mistakes? Of course you can.
Pick out one of them and start working on it until you see some progress. Form the habits that confident people have and stop thinking and acting like a loser. Strengthen your positive self while you pay no heed to your shy, negative self and soon you will be Mr. Confidence or Ms. Self-reliance.
Then you will no longer refer to yourself as awkward, indecisive, or shy but you will know you are graceful, courageous, and confident, and oh how good it will feel!
©2015 Ronald D. Ross