Monday, April 21, 2014

The Confidence Blog

I've read that (almost) all children are born loving things like art and music, and that it's only as we go through the influences and demands of society that those things taper off and are conditioned out of many of us. I feel it's a bit the same with self confidence. Most little kids have no idea of their strenghts and weaknesses. They don't care if you think they dance badly or sing out of tune. If you've ever been to a kids holiday concert or play, you know what I'm talking about (trust me, I was in them). But I think that as we go through life, we not only learn our skills and talents, our positive traits and those we might need work on, but we also learn what other people think of all of these things - and often they don't coincide. I also believe that some of us are better "built" to handle these inconsistencies, while others, including myself, let them affect us much more. The reasoning behind this, I couldn't begin to explain. I just know that some people seem able to let nothing shake them, while others let even the most obviously blatant un-truths deeply affect them.

In my case, I believe that my cyclothymia predisposes me to be less confident - it's a bit tough to be confident in myself on a whole when I can't be confident how my brain is going to react life on a daily, or even hourly, basis. I also know that I take in too much of the negative from others' thoughts and opinions. Instead of seeing them as such, I see them as fact, at least if they even remotely could have any truth to them. Over the years, I've let these things ruminate in my mind, and, especially during my down times, I let it knock me down until my belief that I can't do or be something becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

The inability for the brain to distinguish between what it's told and actual truth is the reason that tools such as visualization and affirmations are thought to work so well. While I love affirmations, I find that they can sometimes be a bit generic: "I am loved" is wonderful, but it doesn't target who one is loved by. "I am loved by my cat" is not the same as "I am loved by my spouse", and in all honesty, while I'm sure in a perfect world we should just be glad to be loved, one of these probably matters more than the other (note this is a hypothetical example, as I have neither a cat or a spouse). So I thought I'd take a twist on the more generic affirmation, and suggest a more customized one that "attacks" a few areas personal to ourselves.  I suggest taking three to 5 areas in which you particularly feel you lack confidence, especially those in which this lack of confidence is rooted in other people's negative opinions. Then, create a positive affirmation that directly negates this contrary opinion. Write it down and place it where you'll see it. Read it - out loud if you can - at least once a day.

To get you started, I thought I'd share a few of my own. I'll admit that this isn't easy for me. It's putting my "weaknesses", areas that I'm sensitive about, right out there for everyone to see. But nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

  • I have the abilities, skills, and work ethic to have a successful, happy career that I love. 
  • I am fun, and people enjoy my company and want to be around me. 
  • I have the ability to relax and let things happen without becoming anxious or stressed. 
  • I am a strong person who can overcome difficulties and obstacles.
  • I deserve all of the positives in my life. 

I had to dig deep for these. These are not things that, if you asked me to rattle of my top qualities, I would say about myself. I would say "I'm a good person. I really care about others. I'm loyal and honest".  I wouldn't say "I'm great at being chill and not getting anxious." Because honestly, I wouldn't need anyone to laugh at me - I'd laugh at myself.  But I know that I have the ability to do this, somewhere deep down inside, and that's the way I wrote my affirmation.

If you were to create customized affirmations, what would they be? As always, feel free to share them in the comment section or a private message. If you'd like a little inspiration, or just a smile, here's a fun clip from the movie Cool Runnings to get you started.


  1. This is good stuff and something I knew about but had not thought about recently. What would my affirmations be? I dunno at the moment what the exact words would be though I can say I should definitely adopt your "I am fun..." one as well as one to help me deal with people around me, especially strangers. Seems the world is changing. Seems it is ok to brush up against someone or bump into them and not say "Excuse me" and this bugs the crap out of me. I enjoy my personal space. But I am NOT gonna change the least not that part of it.

  2. "I can get all my email answered today!" Feel better, thanks!

    1. Thank you, Jodi! I hope you did indeed get all of your emails answered today!