Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
Be aware of the subtle negative feelings generated by deferral and procrastination. Many desirable goals are often deferred “until”:
- When I retire
- When I lose twenty pounds
- When I meet Mr. or Ms. Right
- When I’m making X dollars a year
- When the kids grow up and leave the house
In other words I’ll feel good about myself when those requirements are met, and until then, I’m not going to feel good about myself. If you are susceptible to that kind of negative thinking, replace that negative thought with this thought:
- Right now, I really feel good about myself because…(You fill in the blank).
Use this thought as a kind of informal affirmation, and say it to yourself throughout the day. Prefacing the thought with the phrase “right now” puts you in the present rather than deferring living until some future event transpires. Some examples are:
- Right now I feel really good about myself because I’m being honest with myself.
- Right now I feel really good about myself because I am taking care of my body.
- Right now I feel really good about myself because I had the courage to ask a friend for help.
- Right now I feel really good about myself because I am learning to love and accept myself, just the way I am.
Each time you honor yourself for being just where you are, you’ll encourage and motivate yourself to take the next step on your path of growth and achievement.
Be aware of the influence of people who love or like you conditionally. I do my best to avoid those kinds of people, because I know how detrimental this kind of negative, conditional influence can be. If it’s unsettling to someone that I prefer to drive an old car (it’s cheaper and I don’t have to worry about theft or carjackings), it’s probably best that I minimize my contact with that person. That doesn’t mean other people have to share my belief. They can drive whatever they choose.
At the same time, developing total awareness (identifying not only your strengths but weaknesses) and self-honesty are necessary factors in creating the good life. Although we must act outside our comfort zone, we don’t want to deny the existence of our insecurities. Ironically, that would prevent us from working through them and becoming truly self-confident. The following are examples of thoughts, behaviors and actions that are self-defeating in term of building self-confidence:
- Being dishonest with yourself about your true needs.
- Only doing things that don’t challenge and stretch you.
- Just rattling around in your comfort zone.
- Avoiding people or situations that challenge you.
- Telling yourself “I don’t care.”
When you only do what you know how to do, you aren’t learning new things. Therefore you aren’t developing confidence in your ability to change, adapt and learn new things. When we aren’t willing to consider broader possibilities in life, we are stuck. Limited dreams lead to limited lives.