What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Not to be confused with a false/inflated sense of self, confidence is defined as a feeling of assurance, especially of self-assurance, belief in one’s own abilities and the state or quality of being certain. Highly confident folks possess little to no self-doubt and resist indulging in thoughts meant to undermine their sense of security.
Naturally, folks may derive a sense of confidence from various skills or activities they excel in, but how many people actually possess a genuine overall sense positive morale? To date, I’ve found no such figure. However, if you’re consumed by the following thoughts or habits, it’s safe to say you’re self-assurance is under serious assault:
1. Using images projected on the TV, magazines and other outlets define your sense of beauty and self worth.
2. Obsess over past regrets & attributes you’re not particularly proud of.
3. Similar to stinkin’ thinkin’, holding the belief you’re “not good enough” and lack the ability to attain a happy, meaningful existence.
4. Indulging in self destructive behavior is another confidence slayer. It’s difficult to manifest positivity if we engage in acts that are pretty much guaranteed to bring the pain.
5. Being selfish is not the same as engaging in self-preservation. Psychologist Abraham Maslow describes an insecure person as one who “’perceives the world as a threatening jungle and most human beings as dangerous and selfish; feels rejected and isolated person, anxious and hostile; is generally pessimistic and unhappy; shows signs of tension and conflict, tends to turn inward; is troubled by guilt-feelings, has one or another disturbance of self-esteem; tends to be neurotic; and is generally selfish and egocentric.’ He viewed in every insecure person a continual, never dying, longing for security.” Selfishness prevents folks from using their energy to assist those in need – and there’s proven therapeutic value in paying goodness forward, if you will.
6. It’s hard to build confidence in the mind, if our body is out of wack. A lifestyle lacking a nutritious, balanced diet and adequate exercise can lead to a deep sense of insecurity. Poor eating habits can result in obesity and/or a decrease in energy, both of which can have a dire impact on self-image & confidence.
7. Scrapping originality for the sake of fitting in. Some people deny themselves of their own personal sense of style, music preference, hobbies, and even acquaintances due to lack of self-assurance. This type of deprivation can create the “lost soul syndrome”; They’ve essentially rendered themselves invalid by denying the very thing that makes them unique in this world.
Folks from my generation may recall these words of wisdom from none other than Mr. Rogers (yes, I am about to cite him): “You make each day a special day. You know how? By just your being you. There’s only one person in this whole world like you. And people can like you exactly as you are.” And if they don’t, to hell with ‘em – I’d like to add, because the only opinions that embody true significance are those we possess in our own hearts and minds.
Developing a healthy sense of confidence is dependent on where one lies along the spectrum. For some, therapy could be the answer, while others may benefit from a few good self-help books or seminars. What’s most important is the commitment shifting your perspective – and for goodness sake – being kind to yourselves.
Reprinted with permission from Clutch