If you want a better life you’ve got to do something different from what you are already doing. Trouble is when you do something new you get out of your comfort zone and this produces fear. When you are afraid you have two choices:
- You can avoid what makes you afraid
- You can face it
Whatever you avoid reinforces the fear so if you create a habit of avoidance you will become more afraid of that which you are trying to avoid. Fear will cripple you if you let it.
Overcoming fear requires courage.
Courage is not a pleasant feeling. It is when you do something despite feeling afraid. And using courage to overcome fear is a habit just as much as avoidance is. Now ask yourself:
- What has your fear cost you so far ?
- Are you going to allow your fear to drive you ?
- Are you really going to give it so much power that you will allow it to dictate the direction of your life ?
And most importantly:
- What is the most courageous thing you have done in your life ?
Confidence doesn’t just come naturally. It’s tempting to think that some of us are born confident and others shy, but the truth is confidence is a built on courage so remind yourself now that you do have the ability to be courageous because you have already been courageous in the past despite of your fear.
Don’t wait to be confident to be courageous. Be courageous to get confident.
The second element that is essential in building confidence is commitment.
Commitment is not obligation. Commitment means giving things 100%. It means to treat your goals as important enough to give them all of your attention and focus. When you are committed to something you are empowered. You take it seriously.
- What did you ever accomplish in your life without commitment ?
- Did anything ever work when you did things half-fast ?
The truth if you wait for something to be successful to commit to it you will guarantee its failure. If you want something to have a chance to be successful you must commit to it.
So commit your self to push your self out of your comfort zone and do something you fear every single day.
The third element that is essential in building confidence is learning new skills.
Every experience you have ever had, every person you meet, every book you read is an opportunity to learn something new. So don’t get depressed by the amount of things you don’t know or that you don’t know how to do. Instead focus your attention on learning something new every day because as you do your opportunities will expand and so will your confidence.
Building confidence is a practice in developing yourself. Rome wasn’t built in a day so start putting the first brick down now.
Failure is only failure to learn the lesson. You can only get better at learning it the more times you fail. If you don’t fail you are not pushing yourself enough.
Now all of this is well and good, but what about self sabotage ? Why do you have an inner enemy that keeps getting in the way of all your good intentions?
The Inner Enemy is the part of us that criticises and puts us down.
We all have it. It is an internalised form of negative messages we have acquired from external influences and relationships such as
- limiting beliefs from people who are either trying to ‘protect us’ or who cannot stand seeing us fulfil our dreams because they have given up on their own dreams and that is too painful for them to face
- critical messages from significant others (including caregivers, parents, romantic attachments, friends, bosses etc) that focus on our weaknesses
- fear inducing news
- societal conditioning meant to keep us on the ‘safe’ track of what is consensually agreed as normal (ie. keep on doing what everyone else is)
- traumatic experiences of psychological emotional or physical abuse where we felt powerless and ended up blaming our inner ‘flaws’ as a reason for the attack
We create our sense of identity partially on the opinion of others, especially when we are growing up. Trouble is other people’s perceptions are not an accurate reflection of reality. So we can end up accepting other people’s distorted views of who we are and what we should do as if they were reflecting the truth about us.
The first step in not allowing this to happen anymore is to recognise it when it happens. From now on when you hear a negative voice inside your head that’s putting you down ask yourself:
- What does this voice remind me of ?
- Is this really the truth or could it be a lie ?
Stay tuned for part 2 of this series on confidence and self sabotage to find out what else you can do to defeat this inner enemy and create the life you deserve.