Tag Archives: self esteem

How to deal with a confidence crisis

 

confidence crisis

 

How to deal with a confidence crisis

Confidence is a dynamic concept and it varies throughout our lives. Usually there will be a trigger that strips our confidence away. If we aren’t able to nip this in the bud, a full confidence crisis can ensue where we are so focused on what it is that we perceive are our shortcomings…that in the end our insecurities become all we can see.

Here are a few tips to help overcome and deal with a confidence crisis:

  1. Get out of your head

Once we focus on our perceived shortcomings, we tend to spiral downwards. Remind yourself that your thinking is probably distorted and not entirely realistic. We tend to be our own worst critics. Instead, remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts and don’t allow yourself to dwell on negative thoughts about yourself. If you catch yourself being self focused, make an effort to distract yourself.

2. Have clear goals

Know what you are good at and know where you are headed in life. Having that commitment to ourselves and our goals can help us to stay strong when our foundations get shaken. Regularly remind yourself of all that you are proud of and why you think you are a lovely person – whether it’s the way you make a cake, drive a car, your sense of humour or your kindness…never stop letting yourself know why you are special and why you deserve love and to be cherished.

3. Don’t compare

It’s so tempting to compare ourselves to others and we all do it but it is probably one of the most destructive things we can do. We very rarely come out ‘on top’ when we do that. Accept that we are all different and we all have different priorities. Love your own priorities even they seem different to other people’s. Embrace your differences rather than seeing them as inferior.

4.Evaluate your triggers

Figure out what is causing your confidence crisis and decide whether something can be done about it. Is it a specific relationship causing your confidence crisis? Is it a job, a situation? You will usually have three options – change, accept or let go. If you can change it then get stuck in – have that conversation, don;t let things get out of hand. The less assertive we are, the worse the situation will become. Often, we turn a blind eye and hope that the situation will resolve itself but it rarely does. It will often take an active and assertive intervention. If you feel unwilling or unable to make changes then you need to learn to accept the way it makes you feel or learn to let it go – whichever is applicable.

Face your triggers head on, part of approaching the problem will lead to an increase in confidence. When we do something actively to sort our troubles out, we often feel empowered. Believe in yourself.

5. Trust your instincts

All too often we lack the self belief and self doubt gets the better of us. When in the throes of a confidence crisis we may find it even harder to approach the problem and fix it. A confidence crisis never lasts thankfully, and you will get back up again and feel stronger.

In the meantime, be kind to yourself, don’t criticise yourself and never allow someone else to make you feel inferior.No one is perfect and if some one else is somehow leading to your confidence crisis, make sure you keep perspective. You are wonderfully and unique and don’t let anyone else ever lead you to believe otherwise!

Mandy X

 

 

Self esteem requires patience

 

self esteem and patience

Self esteem requires patience

We need both time and patience with ourselves to develop high self esteem. If we push ourselves too quickly we may find we end up going backwards instead of forwards. If we don’t allow ourselves room to grow we could end up stagnating rather than renewing and growing into our full potential. When we use time and patience effectively in our lives, we let the passage of time work for us, not against us.

Patience involves making changes at our own pace.Our rates of growth and change vary and we need to learn to grow within a time frame that fits our needs and prsonalities.

To learn patience, it is a good idea to use journals and other similar methods of recording our lives to assess our growth after a period of time, not only on a daily basis. Growth is best seen when reviewed after a few months, six months or even a year.

Patience allows us to heal as part of our growth. Healing involves our physical health as well as our emotional well being. Healing is threefold: mind, body and spirit. If we aren’t feeling emotionally well, our bodies will suffer. If our bodies are out of shape , our emotional outlook may be negatively affected. When we look after ourselves and learn to heal our bodies and minds, we’re in a much better position to ease some of the self defeating characteristics that have affected our levels of self esteem.

How to use healing

To heal effectively we must see ourselves as good people. We must fundamentally like ourselves. The best way to do this is to take time each day for one or two weeks to list at least 5 qualities that we like about ourselves, without repeating a quality from one day to the next. With this exercise, we’re forced to look deep inside ourselves as we think of 5 different qualities each day.

Some of us may need to take extra care of our appearance. This can include better grooming, paying more attention to our clothing or to our exercise regime and diet. We can only do it for ourselves – no one else can do it for us!

Another aid to effective healing is to use meditation instead of medication (where possible).Meditation involves quiet time when we can tune in to our inner wisdom and spiritual forces outside ourselves for guidance. It involves quieting the stresses and anxieties within us so we can let peace and serenity in. When we feel relaxed inside, we’re less likely to seek escape like alcohol and other drugs or compulsive addictive behaviours.

Take an honest look at your negative unhelpful habits and look out for dysfunctional patterns of behaviour. Learn new coping skills to replace these bad habits and take action toward positive change and healing.

Look at yourself in new more positive ways and give yourself time to be human and make mistakes. as long as you are working towards improving on a daily basis, you’re on the right track – cut yourself some slack.
Mandy X

 

Celebrate your small successes

 

celebrate photo

Celebrate your small successes

More often than not, I find that my clients never give themselves credit for any of their success in life – they rarely celebrate their small successes. It seems that we tend to focus on what hasn’t gone right rather than maintaining perspective and looking at the strengths we possess and the things that have gone our way.

Get into the habit of congratulating yourself for your small successes. For some of my really depressed clients, getting out of bed at 2pm instead of 4pm is a small success that should be acknowledged. For others, it can be that they have finally acted on something that they have been procrastinating over.

Learn to recognise and acknowledge your small successes. It gives you a psychological boost and can work wonders for a person’s self esteem. I also recommend that clients write a gratitude journal where they write at least 3 things per day that made them smile. Priming our brains to focus on positives is a clever psychological trick to become more optimistic.

Make an effort to celebrate your small successes. Write them down, give yourself a pat on the back. Even the small stuff counts – be proud!

Mandy X

How to improve self esteem

 

happy person photo

Quick Tips to Help Improve Self-Esteem

1) Speak positively to yourself

Don’t be critical of yourself. Be kind to yourself and talk to yourself as you would to a dear friend.

2) Reward yourself

Allow yourself a treat now and then and make sure you reward yourself for positive behaviour.

3) Own your successes, no matter how small

It’s okay to congratulate yourself and to let others know that you are proud of yourself. Positive self regard is healthy.

4) Practise assertiveness

Don’t allow others to walk all over you – it will damage your self esteem. Aim for a ‘win-win’ situation where both parties needs are  met. Aggressive behaviour asserts: my needs ahead of yours. Passive behaviour asserts: your needs ahead of mine. Assertiveness aims for a happy balance.

5) Accept responsibility

When we blame others for our misfortune we leave ourselves feeling powerless. Accepting that we are responsible for where we are in life and our attitude to life is empowering and puts us back in charge of our future.

6) Don’t compare

What a waste of energy it is to compare ourselves to others. We all have different priorities and different ideas about fulfilment. Comparing yourself to others is like comparing shopping baskets after a trip to the grocery store and feeling upset because they bought items you don’t have and vice versa. We have different needs and want different outcomes…enjoy the items in your basket!

Mandy X

Photo by LyndaSanchez

Ignore these thoughts

 

thinking photo

Ignore these thoughts

Did you know that we have something like 80 000 thoughts passing through our minds each and every day? When you think about this, it is clear how important it is to become a good ‘thought manager’ who is able to separate the useful positive thoughts from the inane and the negative ones.

I am going to make that job a little easier for you by naming a few types of thought that are irrational. These thoughts are based on assumptions and are not based on evidence or fact. Psychologists call the “cognitive distortions” or errors in thinking. The first step is to identify these thoughts when they appear and then learn to dismiss them. They are inane useless thoughts that tend to increase anxiety and depression in those that pay attention to and ‘buy into’ these thoughts, accepting them as valid. They are not valid and the sooner you learn to poke fun at them and push them aside the better…

 1) Black and White thoughts or All-or-Nothing Thoughts

Examples: I will always date the wrong people.  Or  I will never be able to succeed at this.

Words such as “always”, “never” or “every” indicate irrational thinking. In reality it is highly unlikely that you have never succeeded or have always been a failure. There will be examples to the contrary to prove this thinking inaccurate – it is therefore irrational and does not deserve your attention at all. Learn to replace these thoughts with more realistic ones such as “I may not be succeeding this time around but that does not mean I am a failure. I don’t get it wrong all the time”. (instead of I “I never succeed”.

2) Catastrophising or Awfulising

Examples: This is the worst mistake I have ever made. I will end up alone forever now. My whole life is a mess and it will never come right.

This occurs when we exaggerate how bad things are. It usually starts with one negative thought and we get taken on a journey, spiralling downwards into a pit of despair. Don’t do it – don’t allow yourself to get ‘taken down’. Stop the thought process in its tracks – it’s irrational and does not deserve your time and energy. The reality is probably not as serious as you have led yourself to believe. Calm down, ignore the drama related thoughts and remember that our ‘maps’ (our perceptions) are always different, to some degree from the ‘territory’ – ie. what is really going on in reality.

3) Personalising/Attributing

Examples: “That person didn’t say hello to me, I wonder what I have done wrong?”

This thought occurs when you blame yourself for things that are not your fault. Many things that happen in life have very little to do with us but we tend to attribute negative outcomes to something we’ve done. Often, this is just how we see things and may have no bearing on reality. Learn to keep an open mind and not automatically assume it was something you did/didn’t do.

4) Negative Filter

Examples: I have lost some weight but I still have nothing to offer anyone. Or There’s no point in trying because even when I try I make mistakes.

This thinking involves constantly reemphasizing and negating the positive experiences for unreasonable and illogical reasons. A person focuses on the negative or upsetting aspects of an event while explaining away or ignoring the positive aspects.

5) Overgeneralisation

Example: I must be successful, competent and achieving in everything I do if I am to consider myself worthwhile. Or My last partner was horrible to me so I am not going to date again because all future partners will be the same.

This occurs when we take isolated cases and use them to make wide geenralizations.

6) Emotional Reasoning

Example: I felt so upset by what they said, they must’ve wanted to hurt my feelings.

This thinking happens when we assume something to be true because we feel the associated emotion. Just because we feel a certain way about an event does not mean that we have understood the event accurately. We may have experienced something that triggered an insecurity in us and the thoughts associated with that may not be reasonable/rational.

7) “Shoulds” and “Musts”

Example: “I should be more outgoing”, I must try harder.

“Should” and “Must” places unnecessary pressure on us and can lead to guilt (we all have far to much of that going on already!). Instead of “should” and “must” use “could”. You have choices…you can prefer something  -this gives you choice. “should” and “must” can make us feel trapped, as if we have no choices. Stop making unrealistic demands on yourself.

8) Egocentric Thinking

Example “Why don’t people realise what’s going on? I’m not going to listen to this rubbish”

Egocentric thinking involves believing that everyone thinks exactly the same as you, or that because you think something, it must be right.

We can all possess the tendency to expect others to behave in a way that we want them to, or think that they should behave. But ask yourself – “Why should they behave in that way?” The more rigidly we hold these expectations for others the more disappointed and angry we will become when they let us down.

 

Challenge irrational thinking by asking yourself these questions:

What real evidence do I have for this?

If it concerned someone else, would I think differently?

How likely is it that what I think is true?

What other explanations could there be?

If it is true, what is the worst possible thing that could happen?

How did I deal with similar situations in the past?

Is there any point in thinking about this?

Our thinking can make life feel like heaven or hell. The quality of the content of your thoughts can make or break the quality of your life. It really is the secret to a happier life…

Mandy X

Photo by ** RCB **

Please like me

 

people pleasing photo

Please like me

We’re all ‘people pleasers’ underneath. Who doesn’t want to be liked and popular? We can all fall into the trap of yearning for acceptance and validation from others. When we don’t get it we can feel useless and unloveable. We’re social creatures and we are wired to seek out acceptance and a sense of belonging. There is a BIG difference however between seeking a connection with someone else and seeking approval that we are fundamentally acceptable and okay.

Many of our negative ideas about ourselves come from when we were younger. It’s time to challenge these beliefs. Parents seem to know everything when we are young but as we age we tend to realise that they were flawed too. Use this fact to challenge any negative things they said to you. If you still believe negative remnants from your childhood – look for the evidence. Is it true or is it an ill-judged idea that was created a long time ago and is no longer valid?

Regularly look for evidence that is the opposite of your negative belief. You will find plenty of evidence although it may take some practise. When we have become accustomed to seeing ourselves in a certain way it can take time to allow new, healthier beliefs to emerge.

Make time each day to think about your inner dialogue. What do you tell yourself about you on a regular basis. Are these thoughts working for you and inspiring you or are they keeping you ‘small’ and fearful? Think about this – what do you want to believe about you? Why don’t you adopt the thoughts that you want to believe…what’s stopping you?

It takes practise but the more you watch your negative inner dialogue the better you get at challenging – you might not always get it right. Emotions tend to take us off on a tangent but even if you just manage to identify the thought, you’re on the right track. At least you are self aware – that’s a huge skill to possess and so many people respond to life like robots.

I’m imperfect. I’ve made many mistakes but replacing old negative beliefs and working on championing myself has helped me to have more self confidence. I am happy to be eccentric and a slight misfit but I embrace this (whereas I tried to disown that part of me previously) and won’t change who I am just to please the company I am in.

Mandy X

Photo by iloveart106

Super self confidence

 

winner photo

5 Tips for Super self confidence

I am in a very fortunate position in that I meet a lot of clients from different walks of life with many varying stories. I am always fascinated about  where they have come from, the experiences that have most impacted them in life, as well as what it is exactly that they think will make them happy.

Part of using CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) involves setting up ‘experiments’ in everyday life for the purpose of challenging a clients inner life script – in other words, the beliefs that they hold about the world around them. Sometimes these beliefs aren’t entirely rational yet we believe them without question. This is often because we were made to believe things by our parents, teachers and from society in general.

For example: Many of hold the belief that if we are nice to others,then they will like us.

Often a belief takes the format of “if this…then that….”

My job is to help clients challenge their thoughts that are unhelpful. Thoughts that make us fearful, involve faulty assumptions and thoughts than limit our potential in life all deserve to be challenged.

What makes a person super confident?

Think of your brain as the Captain of the ‘ship’. The messages sent from your brain will determine your actions in life and the direction that your life will take. Are your messages positive and inspiring or do you put yourself down, criticise yourself and remind yourself regularly of why you aren’t good enough?

If you do this – you will never reach your true potential.

1) They believe the best about themselves

Super confident people like themselves. They know they aren’t perfect and that there’s always room for improvement but they start from a place of self acceptance. They focus on their strengths and regularly remind themselves of their achievements in life.

2) Their approach = Positive Expectancy

They expect good things to happen. They expect that others will like them as they see themselves as being good company. Super confident people have self doubt and experience failure just as everyone else does but they do not let these thoughts and experiences overwhelm them or define them. They keep perspective and always have the foundation of self acceptance to fall back on. They trust themselves to be able to overcome tough times.

3) They live a life that’s ‘inside-out’

Instead of getting all their validation and self worth from external sources, such as the praise and approval of others, people with super self confidence are adept at searching inwards for their strength and validation. Why should someone else’s opinion of you matter more than your own opinion of you? When you seek approval from others or need a flashy car, powerful job or partner to make you feel worthy, you are subscribing to a life that is ‘outside-in’. A very precarious way to receive validation that relies on the generosity of others and leaves you ultimately in a powerless position. Refer to points 1,2 and 4 to live a life that’s ‘inside-out’.

4) Possess unwavering self belief

Super confident people do not let self doubt rule them. They make risk assessments and they are realistic about their abilities but when they go for it, they give it their all. They are not easily swayed by the critics and the nay-sayers of the world. The ‘noise’ from others does not dilute their focus. Richard Branson is a good example of someone who has taken the path less travelled, been told he will not succeed and has continued despite this. Find your inner motivation, and self belief and remember that other’s do not always know better than you do. Believe and persist…

5) Know themselves well

Super confident people know themselves well – they are aware of what they are good at and use this to their advantage. They have goals and purpose and don’t live life on automatic, going through the motions without ever checking whether what they are doing actually makes them happy and is leading them in the right direction. They actively seek out people and experiences in line with their goals and purpose.

6) There’s no need to prove themselves to others

Continuing on from point 3 – super confident people pursue goals and live their lives according to their own interests and motivation. They don’t need approval from others and this isn’t their primary motivating factor. Super confident people like approval from others but this is secondary to their approval of themselves. They enjoy looking in the mirror and liking the person staring back at them. Their inner world takes precedence over the outer world, this is where they take their lead from.

Decide on having a great life. Take time to get to know yourself and tune in to the real you, the one before you were told by everyone else what is possible for you or what you should be doing with your life. Get centred, stay focused and keep faith in yourself. Your inner beliefs have the potential to create or destroy you. Make sure you choose them wisely.

Mandy X

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Air brushed images and untouched images

 

airbrushed images before and after

Air brushed images and untouched images

Many of us get freaked out about the way we look. We feel inadequate compared to the models we see in magazines and in the general media. People, in general tend to be much harsher and critical of themselves than others. Couple that with this images of perfection constantly being displayed and it’s no wonder that many of us lack self confidence and don’t want to leave the house till we’ve lost the weight or that pesky pimple in the middle of our forehead.

While there will always be those that are better and those that are worse, it’s important to make the most of what we have been given. Focus on your good bits and not on what you feel you lack.

Before and After Images:

before and after Britney Spears airbrushed

airbrushed before and after

airbrushed before and after

airbrushed before and after

I hope that’s cheered you up. The next time you look at an image, remind yourself that it has probably been ‘doctored’. People still prefer the real thing, you’re the real thing and the ‘real’ model behind the airbrushed image doesn’t look like that in reality!

Mandy X