Confidence can be a hard thing to come by in this day and age. We live in a culture where our worth is measured by how we look, our physical ability and by the extension of our intelligence. We judge people, not by their true selves or their true potential but by our estimate of their talents, abilities and intelligence. We base this judgement on their looks and the shape of their bodies. We even measure our own self worth by those same impossible and unrealistic standards. When we’re young we answer the question “Who am I?” by watching how others behave and react to us.
It’s no wonder, then, that we struggle with such poor self images and the resulting lack of self-esteem that confidence in ourselves is so low. We are constantly judging the person we see in the mirror by the perceptions of others and not by the truth that lies within.
There seem to be two main ways that most of us deal with our inner feelings of dislike and sometimes even disgust that we have for ourselves.
1) We way over-compensate and present a super-confident “Everything is fine with me” image to the world.
2) We crawl inside of ourselves trying to get through life unnoticed and, if it was possible, even invisible.
To my mind it is the latter that is the most difficult to live with because it holds us back from expressing what we know our true potential to be. Being overly aware of our physical appearance or condition we develop a fear of pushing ourselves forward, fear of ridicule and of expressing the beauty of who we are, preventing the sharing of our true selves.
“Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.”-Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)
This may sound obvious, but if we are ever to realize the dreams we have for our lives then all this MUST change. We must develop a new positive self image, an image that sees the person in the mirror as – worthy, talented, beautiful and able to make a worthwhile, valuable contribution in the lives of others and the world. We need to see ourselves as worthy to have the good things in life, that dream home we’ve always wanted, the expensive clothes and the friends.
The real you and the real me
If we are to realize our dreams for life, (and that includes romance) we need to see ourselves as a potential mate, attractive to and worthy of the love of another. Put bluntly we need to see ourselves as sexy.
“What is an important aspect of inner beauty? Self-acceptance.’’ ~ Dr. Lori Shemek
We need to learn how to accept ourselves; we need to stop judging the person in the mirror and start loving. You and I are acceptable just as we are. More than acceptable, in fact. You and I are perfect. Right here, right now, there is no need to change in order to fit someone else’s mold. You and I came here to this life, in the form we did for a reason. The body we are each experiencing life through was chosen as perfect for what we came here to experience. Your body is fit for purpose, perfect for the job it was chosen to do. I know, most of the time it doesn’t feel that way. Nevertheless, I believe it to be true.
To accept yourself is to love yourself. First we must practice non-judgment of ourselves, not that we shouldn’t set goals and judge our progress, of course we should. I am saying, however, that we not see ourselves as a failure if we don’t measure up to some false idea of perfection. Once we stop judging and start loving the bodies we inhabit then we can extend that new way of being/thinking to all others.
So, how can you/I change your/our self-image?
Fill your life with positive images of people who, against all odds and despite the negative advice of those who claimed to have “their best interest” at heart, still went after their dreams. Study the lives of those who, after being told by the “experts” that they did not have what it took, decided to live their dream anyway. Why? Because if they could do it, SO CAN YOU!
Deep down, deep inside yourself you know what you are capable of, you know who are. That dream you’ve had for all these years is more than possible. You can be that person, and you are that person. You would not have that dream if it was not possible for you to live it. Even if you have a disability of some kind the same principle still applies, you would not have that dream if it was not possible for you to live it. Now, if you do have a disability, not only would you have the physical difficulties to overcome but you have all those around you who constantly remind you of what they believe you can’t do. My advice is, IGNORE them!
To start building that confidence you have to not only see your dream as possible, you also need to see yourself as both capable and worthy. Imagine yourself as confident living the life of your dreams with all of your heart’s desires fulfilled. Call it meditation or daydreaming, call it whatever you like, but spend time each day deliberately feeling the emotion of joy that would naturally come from a fulfilled life. Believe/feel, for you have received.
Of course the most effective method to build confidence is to take a deep breath and head out into the world. As scary as it may be, experience is the fastest and best teacher. Yes, you will have days when your confidence will take a dent but believe in yourself. One step at a time YOU WILL GET THERE! Don’t try to do it all in one big leap. REMEMBER: One step at a time YOU WILL GET THERE!
To quote our friend, and owner of this blog, I don’t need to use his name, do I?
“I struggled with self confidence….but thanks to the job it’s through the roof.”
Finally, and maybe I should have started with this, the reason I decided to write about self-confidence is that I have struggled with a lack of confidence my whole life. You see (this will be the first time I have shared this online) when I was born (in 1972) I was not breathing. I have spent my life having to cope with cerebral palsy. While I am able to walk, getting around is still a challenge. I would describe myself (for most of my life anyway) as the kind of person who would “crawl inside of myself trying to get through life unnoticed and if it was possible, even invisible.”
So you see I have some experience with this. I have been so self-conscious of myself, so lacking in confidence. Believe me I know how debilitating it can be, stopping the real me/you from shining through. It took me so long to decide to share about myself in this post, but I believe it’s time that I shared a) because it will help those who read this, and b) if my friend, Jason can live his life as an inspiration, so can I and so can you!
GO OUT AND LIVE YOUR DREAMS!!!
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from a great friend and guy, Jason Carl Owen. I “met” Jason on Twitter a few months ago and am always inspired by his tweets and his outlook on life. Thank you Jason for inspiring us with your story and for encouraging all of us to live our dreams!!!