BUILDING SELF CONFIDENCE AND HEALING
It’s a sad reality that many of us feel that we aren’t good enough. And what makes it worse is that low self-worth feeling that can shape our lives. It can affect our present actions and decisions, and it may eventually keep us from living our lives to the fullest. It can mean missed opportunities and can also impact our relationships with others.
Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means that you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You view yourself in a positive light and know what your strengths are, as well as your weaknesses. You set realistic expectations and goals and take steps to attain those goals. You are able to communicate assertively with others and can handle criticism.
Low self confidence is seeing yourself as unworthy, inadequate, incompetent, unacceptable, or unlovable. It’s you having negative and self-critical thoughts that can affect your behavior, your life choices. And it can potentially keep you from pursuing your goals. This is why it’s very important to address the problem before it takes over your life. The first step is to identify the root cause.
It takes courage to free yourself from the conditions you’ve placed on your worth. The process of forgiveness can be messy, it can be scary to accept ourselves as we are.
I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness for as long as I can remember. From the outside, my life looked pretty perfect when I was growing up. My parents had a happy marriage, they were supportive and they earned enough for us to be more than comfortable. I was mostly happy, but I also had a deep sense that something was wrong with me.
My most painful moments were at parties. As the only hispanic girl, in my predominately white social spaces, I was expected to know how to dance. I couldn’t get my awkward middle-school body to mimic the latest dance moves.
My friends made fun of me and it was decided I was too awkward to dance with. As the odd one out, I felt like I didn’t belong.
So, at around the age of 17, I decided that the way to cure these feelings of unworthiness was perfection. Simple, right? If I was just perfect, then I would fit in. I would be chosen. I would really be happy. I threw myself into clubs and organizations like yearbook, chorus, class of 2007 and student government. I worked hard in school and tried to be a supportive and selfless friend. My self-esteem and confidence was high when I got good grades, but it crashed when I didn’t do well academically or was left out.
In college, busyness became my key strategy for trying to feel worthy. I juggled classes and barely gave myself time to breathe, to think, to be. After college, my attention turned to trying to find a relationship to fill the void. The anxiety, the ups and downs I experienced in this period were exhausting. I remember going out to bars and clubs, and just like in high school, I was rarely the one chosen to dance. I began to question my attractiveness with my brown skin and curly hair and whether I’d ever be accepted by a potential partner. I held on to the hope that if I could just find someone to love me, then I would finally feel worthy.
I’ll let you in on a secret...none of it worked!
Not the perfectionism, the busyness, the relationships — well, maybe some of it did for a moment. Right after starting a new relationship or getting a good grade, I felt worthy. But soon enough, my feelings of self-worth slipped away and I was onto pursuing the next thing. As soon as I reached the bar I had set for my worth, it was raised yet again.
After a lot of spiritual growth, a lot of inner work, and healing, I’ve finally begun to cultivate an unconditional self-worth and let go of the belief that “I’m not good enough”. I’m embracing myself, my quirks and all, and I must say this new path is liberating, enlivening and life-giving.
Let me share what I’ve learned with you, these are ways to feel better about yourself and boost that confidence:
Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself
There are people whose company can be toxic. Avoid people who bring you down and inflict emotional pain whenever you can. Life is too short to put up with people who make you feel less than you are. It’s better to have fewer people who genuinely want the best for you than having so many people who are not really supportive.
Be mindful of your thoughts
Your thoughts can be your number 1 enemy. Train yourself to dismiss negative thoughts early on so you can navigate to a more positive direction. It also helps to identify what triggers your negative thoughts in the first place. There might be wounds or issues that need to be healed.
Recognize that everyone has their own struggles
Failures, rejections, and disappointments are part of life. Even the most successful people failed a number of times before making it. It’s all about learning how to turn these experiences into valuable lessons and keep going. Allow yourself to process your feelings, then move forward.
Give a Helping Hand
When we help others around us, it can subconsciously give us more self-confidence. Look for new or unique ways to give back in your life. Maybe that’s a call for volunteering at a local non-profit organization. Maybe that’s supporting a friend during a tough time or in the middle of moving into a new home. Or it could be simple things for strangers, like holding doors open or letting people into your lane in the middle of rush hour.
Whatever that may look like for you, practice being open to a “giving” mentality and notice how differently you feel.
Sure, exercising at the gym or going on more hikes can boost your health and tone your muscles. But the actions we take while exercising can actually improve our confidence and self-confidence on a physical level.
During exercise, our bodies release endorphins. These chemicals inside our bodies interact with our brains in some powerful and positive ways that reduce stress and anxiety, improve our sleep, and make us overall happier and more confident.
Try to relax
One of the things that contribute to low self esteem is a constant feeling of stress. So it’s important to know how to relax. When you’re stressed, your negative thoughts will take charge, making you focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. This will even aggravate your stress and lead to more low self esteem.
Take time to do something you find relaxing. Practice self care. Try doing things such as taking a bath, gaming, guided meditation, singing, indoor dancing, etc. This will reduce your stress and help you feel better about yourself.
One last thing: The journey to unconditional self-worth is not always easy. The path is not straight or smooth, and you’ll face setbacks along the way, I certainly have.
Self-confidence is an attitude about your skills and abilities. It means that you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You view yourself in a positive light and know what your strengths are, as well as your weaknesses.
It takes courage to free yourself from the conditions you’ve placed on your worth. The process of forgiveness can be messy, it can be scary to accept ourselves as we are. Being there for ourselves can put us face to face with emotional pain, and connecting to others can make us feel vulnerable. But I’m here to tell you that this journey is also beautiful and worth taking.
On it, you’ll find strength, become grounded in your humanity and know that you are worthy. So I challenge you to embrace yourselves and begin living from a place of worthiness to find your own metaphorical dance floor and move freely. I say dance floor because that’s where my own struggles with unworthiness began.
Turns out I’ve learned a few new moves and I move my body to the rhythm that makes me feel free, exuberant, full of life and worthy.
Ultimately at the end of the day, you have to want to feel better about yourself in order to make a change. Every example listed above on ways to improve your self-esteem is predicated on you doing things in order to improve it. You need to know that you have the ability to succeed in achieving this and rebuilding your confidence and developing higher self-love and worth.