There are moments in everyone’s life when despair crowds your mind, blinding you to everything you’ve accomplished, and all the talents you have.
Instead, your only wish is that you could become something other than the completely unique person you are. In an instant, you’d agree to throw away everything you’ve worked for, personally and spiritually, and become “just like the others.”
Keep in mind, of course, that the others are thinking exactly the same thing—we’re all plagued by self-doubt, although many people are very good at hiding it.
We’ve all been at social events and admired some so-called “social lion,” who exudes a level of confidence that we can only envy.
The fact is, we can’t possibly look behind the curtains, beyond those confident exteriors, and see the doubts in their hearts. Often, some of the most outgoing and “extroverted” people at parties are among the most insecure of anyone; they seek attention and make pointless small talk as a way of producing social noise, to drown out that inner voice of doubt that plagues their hearts.
Ever seen these motor-mouths who never seem to shut up? Does their banter and endless storytelling serve any real purpose? Certainly not to entertain the listeners! No, it’s all about hearing themselves talk, and creating a false sense of self-worth by tyrannizing the attention of those around them.
In their heart of hearts, though, they know exactly what they’re doing—and after the party, they’re more likely than anyone to go home and cry into their pillow. Believe it: you’re a lot more secure and level-headed than you probably give yourself credit for.
So, don’t compare yourself too unfavorably to those “confident” people you see around you. Everyone struggles with self-doubt. So you’re hardly alone, although you may often feel as if you are.
The irony is that those apparently confident people you see are probably looking at you at those social mixers, and thinking similar thoughts—how they’d love to walk in your shoes, and show your sort of fearlessness.
Self-improvement begins with a certain level of self-acceptance. Until you learn to be proud of yourself, and optimistic concerning your past accomplishments and future potential, you won’t have the spiritual and mental stamina to set out and pursue a serious path of self-improvement.
Many think that self-acceptance will only follow self improvement; that we have to achieve great things before we’ll ever be happy with ourselves.
The fact is that things are the exact opposite: you must establish a firm sense of self-worth and self-acceptance before you can ever hope to accomplish anything, not to mention realize your dreams.
Your closest friends can be an indispensable aid in this quest for self-esteem. Take a friend out to the local coffee shop or bar, maybe one you haven’t seen in far too long. Exchange stories, and tell about what you’ve done in the past few years…
You may amaze yourself, as you take stock of all you’ve accomplished in the recent past, and how far you’ve come. Sharing our successes with friends is one of the best ways to build our confidence.
It’s not enough to tell others about what justifies your existence; you need to convince yourself too of all that you’ve done, and truly believe it. Learn to control your inner voice. It loves to criticize, and often, its criticism is far from constructive. If you catch yourself beating yourself up, silence that insulting voice!
Refuse to listen to it! How can you hope to succeed if you’re always running yourself down?
Think positive! Stifle that voice of criticism, and replace it with a voice of confidence. Pat yourself on the back every once in a while!
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Photo by Michelle Brea– flickr.com