Tag Archives: faith

How to increase self belief

 

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How to increase self belief

If you want to know how to increase self belief – listen up. This may be the most important information you’ll ever read. I have accomplished so much more in my life by working on my self belief. It’s a constant effort and I have to work on it daily but the results are worth it. Here are my top tips on how to become your own number one fan:

Understand that if you don’t believe in yourself, very few other people will. When you give off confidence and self acceptance, others don’t tend to question this. In fact, they will be more drawn to you. Confident people make others feel safe and they act as magnets socially. People like confidence. They won’t question your right to be so confident – they will just see someone who really seems to like themselves and that’s immensely attractive.

There are many things in life that can decrease our self belief and that is why it is a repetitive effort to keep the self belief alive. Social media, like Facebook and Instagram don’t help self belief at all. The more we think we are missing out and don’t have much as others, the more unhappy we become and the less self belief we have. Beware the perils of spending too much time on social media. If you do – remember that a lot of what you see is exaggerated and isn’t reality. Others put on a ‘show’ but real life is seldom as glamorous as they’d like you to believe.

Practise gratitude

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, make sure you look at what is good in your life. There are always things to be grateful for but the way the world is structured leads us to constantly compare. Making comparisons inevitably leads to a sense of deprivation and feelings of inadequacy. Stop doing it! Be appreciative of what you do have and what works well for you. Focus on this regularly and if necessary – make a list that you can read regularly of all the things you love and appreciate in yourself and your life.

Validate yourself

We all like external validation. When others tell us we look great or that we have done a good job, it’s very satisfying. The trick is to NEVER rely on this external validation as a way to increase self belief. Make sure that you give yourself validation. Regularly talk to yourself in a positive and empowering manner. Tell yourself that you are wonderful and amazing. Focus often on all your fantastic characteristics – are you funny, kind, patient? Remind yourself of all your good qualities. Clients often (mistakenly) tell me that they think this is arrogance. Arrogance is thinking you are better than others. Confidence is liking and accepting yourself and making the best of you.

Maximise strengths, minimise weaknesses

No one is perfect and we can’t be good at everything. Get to know yourself well and know what you are good at. Work to increase your strengths and use them in your life. There is not point in doing something that exposes all your weaknesses and none of your strengths. Play to your strengths and remind yourself of all the good things you have achieved in your life. What have your successes been?

Positive attitude to failure

Never see yourself as a failure. Perhaps something you have done didn’t work out but always separate actions from yourself as a person – they are two different things. Define failure – to me, failure is completely giving up. Someone who tries and fails one hundred times is not a failure – they are a learner of life.

Keep the faith

There have been seriously dark times for me when I have felt rejected and feel I have failed at life. Times of extreme loneliness when I felt that I was worthless. This is normal and you can’t possibly feel 100% confident all of the time. What you need to do though during the dark times of self doubt is sit tight and keep the faith. Remind yourself that you are still the same amazing person and although you don’t quite feel connected to that confident part of you – it’s still there.

Life will move on and your light will shine again. Never stop believing in yourself even when you feel the world has. Remember that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Choose your thoughts carefully and be kind to yourself.

Practise self compassion

Always always be kind to yourself. That means – no critical self talk. Be caring towards yourself as you would someone you loved dearly. Imagine yourself as that cute little 5 year old child – how would you talk to your 5 year old self? You would cuddle them and tell them things will improve. You would encourage them and tell them they are brilliant.

Create goals

Make sure you have some goals, something to work towards. When we have goals in place it creates structure and purpose in our lives and helps boost us psychologically. Put together a list of goals for yourself that are:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Measurable and time bound (SMART goals)

When you have self belief you are far more likely to be successful. Your thinking will spur you on. Research has proven time and time again that when we are positive and focus on our strengths and nurture our self belief, we get more done. Believing is half the battle!

Mandy X

 

 

 

Never give up on hope

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Never give up on hope

Hope is an old friend of mine. Every time I thought she’d given up on me, she would surprise me and show her friendly face again. She’d give me a big hug and remind me that having her in my life is far better than giving up on her. I have nothing to lose by allowing hope to stay in my life even when it seems she has deserted me forever.

I have hated life at times. I have felt desperately alone and misunderstood. It’s easy to lose hope when life grinds you down. I think we have all been there at some time in our lives. That dark place where it looks like life has got it in for you and is laughing at all your misfortune.

Looking back though, I have the added insight of knowing that life eases up on you eventually, it always does. When life feels like it’s not on your side, try doing this:

Sit tight

Stop resisting what is going on. It is happening. Accept it and work with it as if you had chosen it. Instead of resisting, try to go with the flow more. When you resist, it’s like sitting on a small sail boat on a lake, completely stuck because there’s no wind at all. When we don’t accept what is happening and resist we exhaust ourselves. We blow on the sails will all our might but we still don’t get anywhere. Instead of resisting with “Why me?” or “It’s so unfair”…try dealing with what’s going on. You will be a lot less stressed.

Take life one day at a time

Something that really screws with my head and my emotions are matters of the heart. A break up for instance is hugely crushing and affects me immensely. I feel deeply and give a lot of myself. When going through a break up, I wish with every part of my being that I could fast forward time, skipping out on a portion of life just to feel better. When you feel lost and life seems unbearable, take life one day at a time. Take it one hour at a time if that’s all you can face. Keep moving forward, toe by toe – you will be moving toward a better place. Change is inevitable and that’s a good thing when you feel you are at rock bottom and can’t sink any lower. You are not alone, there are millions of others hiding under their duvets feeling just as bad as you are and you are all moving forward together, slowly. There is light at the end of the tunnel – it’s called hope.

Distract yourself

Get out of your head. when you are in your head you are often in enemy territory. When we feel sad and low, our thoughts never work for us. See them as thoughts – they are not real, they are just in your head. Ignore the negative ones, change the channel. Keep busy – watch box sets or even better, go to the gym, do some exercise. Exercise is great for releasing endorphins – feel good hormones.

hope photo

Focus on your strengths

Work on the positives – what are you good at? What’s amazing about you? Work on the positive self talk. You need to fight the negatives as they will hound you especially when you feel low. Remind yourself that hope is always there…even if she feels temporarily lost at times.

Mandy X

 

Believe in karma

karma

 

Believe in karma

There are times when I seethe at the injustice in the world. When I’m not feeling mentally strong, all the hardships and cruelty in the world can overwhelm me. I never want to stop caring but I also know that if I care too much, I will end up exhausted and very likely, depressed.

Thoughts can get the better of us and that’s why it’s a good idea to practice managing your thoughts and getting them to work for you instead of them controlling you.

I have a few tips to help me cope with upsetting thoughts and distressing events that I have learned along the way and want to share them with you:

Believe in karma

Believe that there is a higher power at work that somehow keeps the world in balance. You may not see all that it does but it is there, silently working in the background to restore order. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant – the beauty of this is that if I believe it, it makes me feel a whole lot better. This is one story I tell myself. Don’t think for one minute though that telling myself this ‘story’ absolves me of any responsibility to do anything against cruelty and injustice. I regularly donate to charities and would always step in directly where I could. This story helps me stay sane. I attended a seminar a few years back and the speaker was advocating similar stuff. He said that sometimes you need to tweak reality a bit and if it works for you and improves your quality of life – go for it. Like believing you are beautiful/handsome even if you aren’t. Sometimes thinking leads to self fulfilling prophecies. If we believe we are attractive, we act differently and this changes the dynamic with others and they too, see you as more attractive. When we believe something, we automatically look for evidence to support the belief – this is how self fulfilling prophecies work. If I believe karma is at work, I pick up on stories in the media, magazine articles and so on showing me that restorative justice works. See – it’s all good!

Whichever way you choose to look at it, it’s not a bad thing tweaking reality and I am talking about tweaking reality, not massive editing or anything – like believing you can fly. Hopefully you get the picture. When there is no obvious evidence to the contrary, make up a story that works for you…it works for me!

Mandy X

How to keep hope alive

 

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How to keep hope alive

  1. Dismiss ‘catastrophising’ thoughts

Thinking about the worst possible scenario is the quickest way to feel distressed. When we feel insecure or unsure, our thoughts can often work against us. We begin to think the worst will happen and become irrational in our appraisal of reality. Catastrophising is unhelpful and not based in reality so learn to let these thoughts go. Don’t focus on them, acknowledge their presence but see them merely as thoughts passing through – not facts nor real predictions.

2. Focus on what is possible

Remind yourself of your strengths and how you have handled tricky or challenging situations in the past. Empower yourself by focusing on how resourceful you have been and look for areas in your life where you can take control and make a difference. Know the difference between what you can and can’t control. Focusing on what you can’t control can lend to losing hope.

3. Nurture your self belief/self identity

When life seems unsure or unstable, it helps to feel you can count on yourself. Work on establishing a strong sense of identity and self acceptance. The stronger your core is, the more resilient you will be when life throws you a curve ball. Try using positive affirmations such as “I will deal with whatever comes my way” or “everything is unfolding as it’s meant to”. Read these statements often. Self belief can be the buffer that helps you to cope with extra stress in life.

Trust yourself, like yourself and believe that you have the resources within in you to deal with rejection, failure, insecurity and so on.

4. Think like an optimist

Life is bound to seem hopeless if you think like a pessimist and focus on everything that is wrong. Avoid the news now and then if you find your thinking is becoming too pessimistic.

Make an effort to do fun things that lift your spirits ans spend time with people that are positive and inspire you.

5. Take action

The more you do, the luckier you get. Not all things you try will be successful but even when the outcome isn’t what you wanted, you will learn that you cope better then you thought you would. Taking action galvanizes us to think differently and challenge our thinking. Too much time without action leads to too much thinking. Too much thinking can lead to pessimistic thinking – sometimes you just have to ‘bite the bullet’ and get on with it. It’s all about balance.

Never lose hope. It is the one attitude that can get us through tough times. Believe that you deserve good things and that life can be filled with many highs, not just lows.

Mandy X

All about perspective

 

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It’s all about perspective

I found the words below on twitter and thought I should share this with you. I don’t believe that positive thinking can overcome everything but I do believe that trying to choose thoughts that are hopeful will be more helpful than filling our heads with all that is wrong with the world.

Mandy X

 

Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Even if
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
Because
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
The reality
Creates
My attitude
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day

Now:read from bottom to top..

I know which version makes me feel better xxx

Where’s my magic wand?

 

magic wand photo

 

Where’s my magic wand?

Working as a counsellor can be tough. You are constantly reminded of the negatives in life because you are often listening to how people are struggling through and the challenges they face. It often makes me wish I had a magic wand and that I could just fix everything! Of course, I can’t and so I have to settle for teaching clients the necessary skills to be less stressed and to deal with their unhelpful thoughts and behaviours instead.

I’ve learned that we all have our issues to deal with and no one escapes from life’s challenges. How you navigate them depends on how you perceive what is happening to you. Do you believe that it’s the end of the world and that life is over as you know it or do you tell yourself that somehow, some way you will find a way around things. You may be down but you’re not out…

The next best thing to a magic wand is a big dollop of self belief. Believe that you can overcome adversity and you are more likely to succeed than if you see yourself as a weak failure.

Sometimes, when we don’t believe in ourselves enough, we seek reassurance and we second guess our decisions – this all leads to a lack of confidence. Be self reliant at times and believe in your own ability to find a  way through. Sometimes quietude brings formidable strength.

Believe that you have your own magic wand that you can bring out when you need to. That you can work your spells and your magic to turn a bad situation into something better, or at least into something more bearable…

I have seen how many clients lack this self belief but it is amazing how many of them have this amazing inner wisdom that they just don’t use often enough. The less they use it the less they trust themselves and then well meaning friends and relatives (who often only know parts of the story) begin to give well meaning advice which often sends clients off in the wrong direction.

Only you know yourself and often you are the best one to assess the situation – trust yourself more and keep that magic wand handy for the serious troubles. You really have more capability than you give yourself credit for…

Mandy X

When life is overwhelming

 

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When life is  overwhelming

 

Life is weird. Life is strange. It seems the more I try to figure it out, the more confused I get. Despite knowing the various strategies required to deal with mental health issues and mood disorders such as depression as well as anxiety, I still have not found a fool-proof method to guide me through life and keep me happy consistently.

Part of dealing with life effectively is accepting that life is a series of ups and downs. I remember reading the book by Scott Peck called “The path less travelled” where Scott Peck states just that-but life has a hard brutal side to it. I guess being resilient means learning to cope with uncertainty and a constantly changing inner emotional landscape.

Something else that is crucial to surviving life is a good sense of humour. We choose to take life seriously and catastrophise what happens to us or we can choose to take a step back and detach slightly from what is happening. Counsellors refer to this as the “balcony method” where you imagine yourself on a balcony looking down on your life and watching yourself passively. Sometimes engaging in this passive strategy enables us to detach enough emotionally in order to see the situation differently.

I have recently found out that I’m severely allergic to my beloved dog – Socks. The allergy is so severe that my doctors have recommended I find another home for Socks. I’m finding this reality very hard as my dog gives me so much pleasure and keeps me sane. The saying “when it rains it pours” seems to be fairly apt for my life currently although I won’t go into details here on this blog. Life seems overwhelming for a number of reasons.

We are all in this “soup” together as the Psychologist Carl Jung once said. Possessing a degree in Sociology and Psychology does not make me immune to the various challenges in life. I do have better coping skills now than when I was younger and I’m sure part of that is just growing older and maturity.

I reckon when you feel extremely lost and at rock bottom, the best thing you can do is sit tight and ride the storm. Never let the light of faith and hope extinguish. Take life one hour at a time necessary. Everyone, no matter who they are has their own cross to bear.

For many of us, when life is overwhelming, we cope with anxiety and depression by withdrawing and isolating ourselves from others. This is a very common strategy but one which is not helpful as it further isolates us and fosters feelings of loneliness and the idea that we are apart and unique in our experiences. The truth is that we all feel overwhelmed at times and it can take extreme mental strength to get on top of the anxious thoughts. When life isn’t  going well at least there is only one direction to go in-and that is up.

Mandy X

How to be more lucky

 

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How to be more lucky

I have often wondered why it is that some people seem to lead much easier and charmed lives compared to others. They seem to be the right place at the right time and have managed to make the most of opportunities that come their way. What’s their secret?

Lucky people tend to be the optimists in life-they never get bitter and they always look for the positives in every situation. They make a conscious effort to fortify their, what I call “mental buffer system”, to protect them from the harsh reality of life. This does not mean that they do not feel disappointment and experience setbacks but rather, the way they choose to perceive and respond to the setbacks varies vastly from people who are more easily affected.

A few characteristics that I have noticed that these people have in common are:

1) They ooze charisma

These people genuinely like others and have a knack for making other people feel important and valued. Others seek them out because of this feelgood factor.

2) Lucky people are great company

They make the effort. They always look as if they were delighted to see and we all like to be liked. They are easy to like back. They also believe that they are good company and this shows in their body language. They expect that others will like them and do not agonise ahead of time when a social occasion is coming up.

3) Lucky people have positive expectancy

They expect good things to happen – it’s just the way they are. When you focus on the good stuff it is more likely to feature in your life. The more we expect something, the more we make it happen – often through non verbal cues that we send out.

4) Lucky people have self belief

Lucky people believe in themselves, not all the time but they make an effort to think about themselves positively. They are quick to challenge negative thinking understand the importance of protecting their self worth. They enjoy having a high regard for themselves.

You can be more lucky too – watch the energy you are giving off. Is it cautious and ‘closed’ or is it friendly and ‘open’? Watch your thinking and work at keeping your mind filled with hopeful thoughts. Remember you get to choose what you want to think more than your realise – you choose which thoughts to focus on and believe. Make them work for you.

Mandy X