One of the most common issues I come across with my clients is a lack of confidence or self esteem. While these issues are similar and do intertwine, they are, in fact, two completely different issues.
Confidence on the one hand, is a muscle built as you learn to trust yourself. If you don't trust yourself, you lack confidence. When you take risks, reach goals, or try something new, you are building confidence. Confidence can be defined as a "trust in one's self". How much do you trust yourself? When you answer that, you will find the level of your self confidence.
Self esteem on the other hand, is how you feel about yourself. Self esteem is affected by how judgmental or critical you are of yourself. Do you focus on your positive or your negative attributes? Ultimately, the ability to see and focus on the positive while being able to accept the negative is the basis for improving your self esteem. Your level of self esteem will directly affect your confidence level. The better you feel about yourself (self esteem), the more you will trust yourself (confidence).
So what everyone wants to know is how to create more self esteem and how to have more confidence in life.
Let's look at self esteem first, since we now know that it is the foundation for confidence. On a scale of 1-10, how do you feel about yourself? The closer your number is to 10, the more self esteem you have right now. How can you learn to be who you are and to feel good about yourself? How do you preserve and enhance your self esteem? There is a simple exercise you can do that I will share in a moment.
First, how is our self esteem shaped? How did we get to the place we are now and the level of self esteem we currently have?
Self esteem is based largely on how you define yourself from your past experiences. One of the most freeing things we can do is to let go of self images. You are a constant work in progress. You change slightly from day to day as you experience more, learn more, grow more. Who you were in your past is not who you are today.
What about the images you carry around about yourself? How do they limit you? Your image of yourself determines your limits and boundaries.
A simple exercise to start shifting the image of yourself is affirmations. An affirmation is a positive statement that you focus on about yourself, it is a valuable tool to build and shape self esteem. For instance, the affirmation "I am limitless." By focusing on that, you remove the belief that you have limits and you create a new, powerful belief that you are limitless. Indeed, a more accurate one, since our only true limits are the ones we put on ourselves.
Affirmations release you from your old worn out B.S. (belief system!) and allow you to create a new and empowering vision. You may want to write your affirmation on a card and carry it with you, or you may want to post it someplace you will see it every day. You may want to create more than one affirmation. It's all good!
Now, as for building confidence. As I said previously, the best way to build your confidence muscle is to flex it. You do this by taking risks. Risks are based in truth. The more risks you take, the more you trust yourself. You are creating factual experiences to draw upon when you need to act with confidence. You will be able to look back at those experiences and know that you can trust yourself.
When you have these experiences to draw from, it allows you a new choice. A choice to act from a place of confidence. You are now standing powerfully in your truth, because you have been there before and you know you can trust yourself to do it again. Can you make the choice to be confident? Can you choose to have higher self esteem or an empowering image of yourself?
The point of power is in the present moment. The past is over and cannot be undone, and the future is determined by our thoughts and actions in the present. What choices can you make right now regarding your confidence and self esteem? Can you stand in your own power?
Choose it, own it, live it!