Sunday, April 29, 2018

Self-Confidence

I can't exactly remember when I suddenly felt self-confident. It seemed like one day I woke up and I was. It has been a long journey in which I lost all sense of what little self-confidence I had to where I am now. Occasionally, I flounder but temporarily.

I'm certain Facebook (and recently Instagram) had something to do with it. I not only found Positive Psychology, I found lots of people who were practicing it as their professions. However, just like many other people, at first, I dealt with Facebook envy... until I came across articles on this very subject... and learned it is REAL. After seeing a feed of all the wonderful things happening in other people's lives,  people can get depressed. Here's a link with more about this topic:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201505/exploring-facebook-depression

Then I became one of the people who only posted the best that was going on in my life. Yes, there are many posts by people asking for prayers for a life crisis, giving me opportunities to send energetic prayers. There are also people using Facebook to vent and the cyberbullying that follows.

I also noticed that I had people envy. I'd see people dressed well and presenting themselves well, driving nice cars, assuming they had everything I always wanted and didn't or ever have. Again, over time, as I learned more about the people who were in the clubs I attended, I found out they had personal challenges, too. They had just learned to smile through it all.

I had lived way too many years isolated in a "box," after being rejected so many times for talking about my issues... without realizing I was talking to the wrong people. Then in July 2015, I found Toastmasters. Just about every speech I heard, especially ones given at contests, included a tragic (my viewpoint) story the person speaking had managed to transform. 

Yesterday, I went to the Toastmasters Division L contest. There were five amazing speeches, and we all wondered how on earth the judges would be able to select first, second, and third place winners. In my selective listening, my inner antenna picked up on what was said by officers and dignitaries in addition to speakers. Toastmasters had transformed their lives because it had given them opportunities to learn new skills... and help other people. 

At first, I was one of the people receiving the help. As I took advantage of training that was offered, and as time went on, I developed skills that could help other people, but not just any way. Help other people build self-confidence. Since it took me so darn long to get this myself, I have lots of patience and understanding for others who are still struggling with this. I now know it is possible for everybody, regardless of the roads they've had to travel. Without their stories, people wouldn't have any interest in listening.

With the help of Google, here are a few quotes I found:
“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” -- Louise L. Hay
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -- Eleanor Roosevelt
“To establish true self-confidence, we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.” -- Denis Waitley

I also found an article on the 10 Things You Can Do to Boost Self-Confidence by Chris W. Dunn. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/281874   He begins with the following quote and I included the first paragraph: 

“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.” -- Maxwell Maltz

Nobody is born with limitless self-confidence. If someone seems to have incredible self-confidence, it’s because he or she has worked on building it for years. Self-confidence is something that you learn to build up because the challenging world of business, and life in general, can deflate it. -- Chris W. Dunn

Number 7 is the one that has influenced me the most. Help someone else. Helping someone else often enables us to forget about ourselves and to feel grateful for what we have. It also feels good when you are able to make a difference for someone else. Instead of focusing on your own weaknesses, volunteer to mentor, practically assist or teach another, and you'll see your self-confidence grow automatically in the process.

There have always been ways to volunteer in my community... at churches... the Mission... animal rescue... nursing homes... hospitals... but for me, I found my nitch in helping people who need a boost in self-confidence.

Smile, Volunteer, Be Grateful, Exercise, Empower Yourself With Knowledge.

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