Ten steps to greater self-confidence

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Here at my practice in Bexhill I see lots of people who struggle with self-confidence. This isn’t a problem unique to Bexhill as I frequently discuss confidence issues with clients all over the world via Skype.

Why is it that low self-confidence is such an issue?

There can be many reasons. Often low self confidence has it’s roots in our early relationship with our parents or siblings; sometimes bad childhood experiences such as bullying and abuse serve to shape the way we view ourselves. The cumulative effect of “put downs” and ridicule lead us to form a view that we are somehow less worthy than others. .

This view of ourselves becomes a rigid template upon which we hang our identity. Yet, so often, these, what I consider to be, “false beliefs” are never challenged or even questioned. More often than not they are accepted as established facts, yet these so called “facts” are just “opinions”.

It is time to challenge and re-shape these opinions. Here’s how:

1. The first step in improving self-confidence is to accept responsibility for change and growth. By this I mean, to make a decision to change the patterns of behaviour and thinking that keeps you locked in a cycle of insecurity.

2. Stop spending time aimlessly drifting; stop procrastinating and do things on time. Recognise your own needs: sleep, relaxation and a good diet.

3. Are you a dreamer? If so, make some goals so that your dreams can come true.

4. Take risks, share in groups, give feedback to others. Don’t be too proud to ask for help and admit you’re wrong. Don’t refuse help when it is offered.

5. Start asserting yourself and stop saying yes when you really want to say no. Stop being a “people pleaser”.

6. You are an OK person. You do not need to depend on others for a sense of importance. You are of equal worth.

7. Speak up, believe in yourself. Remember, no one can insult you or put you down unless you allow them to so. It is how you feel about yourself that really matters.

8. Behave towards yourself as you would a friend you care about. Listen to your inner compassionate voice not your inner critical voice.

9. Lower your expectations of yourself. No one has to be perfect. Avoid self pity at all costs. Poor me, poor me.

10. Remember you are unique; you have a lot to offer, you are special and there is only one of you in the world. You are a worthwhile person.

Begin to make changes now. Improve your life by changing your outlook.

Good luck.

Until next time, Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

Visit us @  www.steveclifford.com                                                                                      Like us @ www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters                                                Tweet us @ cbt4you

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Ten simple rules to improve your self-esteem

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In my Bexhill practice I see many people with low self-esteem. Sometimes it arises out difficult childhood events, such as bullying or abuse, sometimes it is the bi-product of depression, anxiety or insecurity. Fortunately, it is very treatable.

As children we take on board messages and believe that we are somehow not good enough, illness too can really squash our outlook. However, as adults we can now choose to take on, or reject the messages we are given.

High self-esteem arises out of a combination of key ingredients. The more you work to put in place these ingredients the higher your self-esteem will be. Building high self esteem is not something that can be achieved instantly. It is something that develops when you do certain things and stop doing certain other things. Every single person is capable of having high self esteem if certain rules are followed.

The ten simple rules are:

1. Stop putting yourself down. Don’t ever use derogatory comments such as, “you stupid fool” or any other such statement however negative you are feeling about yourself. Stop insulting or mocking yourself. Be compassionate, kind and understanding towards yourself.

2. Forget all about comparing yourself with others. There will always be people who are better (or worse) than you. If you start doing this you will never feel good because there are always going to be those who appear more confident, more intelligent, more witty, more wealthy, more sexy, etc.

3. Take on board compliments, say “thank you,” not “Oh, it was nothing.” Stop rejecting compliments, you are worthy of praise and remember people like giving compliments just as much as you should like receiving them.

4. Use positive affirmations on a daily basis. For example, repeating a phrase such as, “I am a valuable and worthwhile person who has views and opinions of my own.” Believe in your worth as much as your own views and opinions.

5. Use every opportunity to read about developing self-esteem. Make it your life’s work and remember this will be “work in progress” from now on. Even if you only find one thing that resonates with you when you read a book on self-esteem it will have been worth the money you spent on it.

6. Mix with positive people, avoid people who will put you down. They are confidence destroyers not confidence feeders. Just like a flower, you will grow in confidence and esteem with the right conditions, just as the flower will blossom with the right fertiliser and the right conditions.

7. Keep a positive book and list all your successes, however small. Read this list often. Shut your eyes and feel your success throughout your whole body.

8. Spend time doing the things you love and feel passionate about. Do things that make you feel good. Devote some time to others, helping them. Remember to give of yourself, for you are developing abundance and positivity.

9. Be true to your values. Live the life you want to, not the life others think you should have.  The only person you need approval from is yourself.

10. Remember this always – You are a magnificent human being with a positive contribution you can make to the world. This is your birthright. You are truly unique, worthy of love for yourself and capable of giving love to others. Feel good and respect yourself.

Start today.

Until next time, Steve Clifford, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapist

Visit us @  www.steveclifford.com                                                                                      Like us @ www.facebook.com/yourmentalhealthmatters                                                Tweet us @ cbt4you

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