As a Life Coach, I work with people every day to improve their confidence, self-esteem and happiness. Being confident is critical to everything from being in a successful relationship to excelling at your career, growing your company or simply enjoying your life. There are many components to building confidence, self-esteem and happiness… here are a few to consider:
Live Life Consistent with Your Own Values and Deepest Desires – many of us often don’t take the time to look at our lives and consider what is important to us or how we truly want to live in each area of life. When actions in our life are inconsistent with fulfilling on our deep desires we generally feel less satisfied, confident and happy…whether we have taken time to distinguish our deep desires or not. When we live in line with our values and deep desires, we are usually happy. That is not to say that you need to have everything as you want it, only that you are living consistent with your game. For example, if you want to fall in love and are not dating, or not dealing with any of your fears and/or hang-ups, your confidence suffers and you feel less happy. But when you get in the game of dating and dealing with whatever is in the way of you creating a great relationship for yourself, you will feel proud. Sure, you may stumble on the path and feel disappointed, scared or stopped at times, but when you get back on the horse you will find your stride again. And same holds true for your values, if you for example value being loving or generous with people in your life but recently you have been hiding out watching TV and avoiding interactions, you will feel diminished. Many times people think confidence or happiness happens to us, I say go and create it by distinguishing your desires and values and get in action.
Stretch Yourself, Get Outside Your Box- Think about times in your life when you felt most confident and happy? What were you doing? What value was being honored? Did you push yourself to accomplish something great? You may have a different answer that is worth listening to, but for many people a common theme in their most proud and satisfying moments is that they accomplished or overcame something difficult or they stretched themselves in some way. Happiness is often found outside your comfort zone. While you can be OK and even content in your comfort zone, often true happiness and confidence comes when you stretch yourself. Getting out of your comfort zone can be scary I know, but consider the next time you feel nervous to do or say something…try doing it anyway. Life happens(or doesn’t) at the moments when we feel that little butterfly in our stomach…when we shut down and do not act, we may feel safe in the moment, but we end up often disappointing ourselves and shrinking ourselves and our self-esteem.
Learn to Keep Promises to Yourself- Do you ever tell yourself you are going to do something and then you don’t do it…of course you have, you’re human. Consider the example that you say you are going to go to the gym and then you don’t…and then consider you do that 5 times in a row. Now consider that a friend told you to meet him/her and then he/she stood you up 5 times in a row, would you trust that friend to meet you next time you have plans? Would you be upset with that friend? Well this is what we do to ourselves all the time. When we make a promise to ourselves and do not keep it, and then we trust ourselves less…and when we trust ourselves less we have less confidence and happiness. Try living your life like it REALLY matters to do what you promise to yourself regardless of how you feel or the circumstances. We always seem to have a good reason or excuse when we do not keep promises to ourselves, try to empower these reasons and excuses less and realize that they are just reasons and excuses and usually we could have kept our promise to ourselves if we really wanted to. You will want to convince yourself that it was out of your control, but when you really look into this, more often thn not, we find that we control much more than we think. Of course there are circumstances when we simply cannot do what we promised for whatever reason, in that case I recommend you acknowledge that you are not doing what you said and make a new promise to yourself that you will honor in this area.
Share Yourself- When we keep our thoughts and feeling to ourselves, these thoughts, feelings and emotions get stuck and diminish us. Consider what you have been thinking but not saying or communicating…whether to co-workers, bosses, family, spouse, etc. Get in communication, find a way to talk about it and express yourself without making the other person wrong. This is not only critical to your own relationship to yourself but also to the relationship with the person with whom you have an issue or something to say.
Stop Blaming Others- As long as you blame others for anything in your life, your confidence and happiness will suffer. The key here is to find a way to be responsible and to forgive and move on. Holding grudges and resentment poisons us and our relationships. And blaming others is a sure way to not more forward in an areas of life that is important to you.
Ackowledge Yourself and Your Accomplishments- Often we spend a lot of time looking to the future for happiness…it will all be OK when (fill in the blank)… Sound familiar? Well it doesn’t work because once we get where we want (and for some of us that can take a lifetime), then chances are you’ll find something else you need. The trick is accepting and appreciating who you are and where you are now…and that does not mean giving up on where you want to go. I heard a great saying once, “Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you’ve got.” That’s it. And besides so often we cannot move forward or through something until we accept it. So, what are you resisting about your life or situtations in your life, what do you feel shouldn’t be so, or you don’t want to accept as reality. The key is to find a way to accept it, it is OK and it IS what is happening, so you might as well accept it. And when we finally accept things as they are is often when life moves forward.
Too often we are focused on where we want to get, we forget to acknowledge ourselves for who we are and where we are. Take a moment (each day is recommended) to acknowledge and appreciate yourself, what is great about you, what did you do today that you are happy or proud of? Starting to pay attention to what is working or great about you instead of what is not is a stop on the road to happiness and self-esteem.
Stop Being So Hard on Yourself- Many of us are terribly hard on ourselves, we are our own worst critic. This is a confidence killer. You must give yourself a break. The surprising thing is that often being mean to ourselves is really just a way to keep us safe from having to create life as we wish it were. This may sound strange, but when we are being hard on ourselves we are not being accountable and in action…we are usually doing quite the opposite. And this brings us to a point which is critical to a lot of the points above…
We all want to keep the status quo in place. Our egos do not want us to do anything on this list above. Everything we are talking about here represents risk to our ego, but it also is where deep happiness, confidence and self esteem live. So, take something from the above list and get in action. Your mind will try to talk you out of it and convince you to not do anything…it may even yell louder as you start to take action, or come up with new arguments for why to not do anything…you don’t have to listen! Say thank you to your mind for sharing its opinions and you can choose something else…Choosing to get in action honors your soul, your essence and who you really are. Start listening to those voices over your mind and your ego and you will be on the path to confidence, happiness and true self-esteem.