Confidence. What is it and how do we get it? Or more of it? This is the eternal question. Through the years, in my personal experience and by working with many, many clients, I have found that no matter how many kudos we get from others, those compliments often ring meaningless without having an intrinsic, deeply felt feeling of self worth.
Self worth, self acceptance, and self love are crucial for us to be our “best” selves, both for our own personal fulfillment and for our ability to serve the world through our own highest purpose and calling. Louise Hay, a renowned thinker and writer in the world of new age spirituality, routinely advises others that the first thing one should do when they wake up in the morning is to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I love you.” Skeptics may find this cheesy, untenable, maybe downright aversive–but this practice was critical to Hay’s own self-healing from what was supposed to be terminal cancer.
Why wait for a cancer diagnosis to practice self love? Regardless of our personal circumstances, we must believe in ourselves in a truly authentic, heart-felt way before we can truly appreciate others’ belief in us. Conversely, if we do not believe in ourselves, compliments from others feel meaningless–we feel like imposters, concerned about being “discovered”–worried about what others would think of us if they reallyknew us, warts and all.
Jobs, relationships, family are all important aspects in how we think about ourselves. All of these different roles provide us with opportunities for reflecting both how we impact others and how we show ourselves to the outside world. Others’ compliments (and criticisms) offer a meaningful window into how we effect others. In the end, however, what others say to and about us are really just opinions. We can choose to listen or not. Key to being a neutral listener–meaning able to really hear what others are saying to us–is a solid sense of self. If we know who we are and what we stand for, we are better able to sift through the conflicting chatter that constantly comes from the outside world and sit with ourselves, deciding what feedback rings true and what feedback may be more a reflection of someone else’s issues rather than our own.
Think of building confidence like taking a long, meandering, but very beautiful, appealingly scented trail up a mountain. Sometimes we may forget where we are, or get sidetracked, or feel a little bit lost, but with the right compass–our inner compass– we can always find our way back.
Who we choose to surround ourselves with on the journey is inextricably linked to the pleasure of our journey. Choose wisely, and peace and happiness will be not far behind.
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