Today I took an online test to measure my self-confidence. In the past 10 years I have come a long way with building my self-confidence, but in the last year, with the help of a counselor, I realized that I am more self-critical or hard on myself than I thought.
I have been working on becoming more confident and having a stronger positive self-image, and rather than reinforcing thoughts that are self-destructive, or critical of the self, I am building a new self-image that is a bit easier on me! Often times, we are not consciously aware of how many times we criticize ourselves in a day, or beat ourselves up over insignificant things. Instead, though, we should be praising our little steps forward and our mini successes; we should be excited about our journey through the magnificent maze of life.
My goal this year has been to be easier on myself and to acknowledge that I will make mistakes and it will be okay. To realize that I can’t do it all and that I am not perfect. To be able to say “no” and take control of my time and the way that I spend my days. Over-committing is a self-destructive behavior because of the lack of personal time, or time to nurture the self. The interesting thing is that often times over-committing to things is to benefit something other than the self, which seems like a noble thing to do, but the problem is that it is at the expense of the person who is over-committing, at the expense of the self.
Being overly regretful can be another form of self-destructive behavior. Regret can be positive for our decision-making abilities, but can also be used to beat ourselves over the head again and again for something that we wished we hadn’t done. A way that I have learned to deal with regret is to see the situation for what it was and to figure out if I was at fault. If I was not at fault I need to allow myself to accept what happened, considering the circumstances, and if I am at fault, I need to come up with a plan so that the situation does not happen again or if it does happen again, I am better prepared to deal with it and achieve a more favorable outcome.
Building self-confidence is about preparation for positive results! Having a plan, taking care of ourselves physically and emotionally, working on our positive self-development, and letting others help us along the way. Knowing that we will stumble and most likely fall, but we will also get back up and brush the dirt from our backsides.
Remember that online quiz that I was talking about earlier? Well, I did pretty well. My score said the following:
“You are doing a fabulous job of learning from every experience, and not allowing obstacles to affect the way you see yourself. But you need to nurture self-confidence . . . .”
Here are the recommended steps for building self-confidence:
No matter what your self-confidence level is right now, you can probably improve it. But you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities before anyone else will.
Bandura’s theory of self-efficacy is a great place to start looking for ways to improve the way you see your abilities. According to the theory, there are four sources of self-efficacy:
- Mastery experiences – things you have succeeded at in the past. Develop new mastery experiences.
- Vicarious experiences – seeing people who are similar to you succeed. Observe others.
- Social persuasion – hearing from others that you’re capable.
- Emotional status – staying positive, and managing stress. Don’t let stress take over your life.
Three of these sources (the first, second, and fourth) are within your control. However, while we can’t force people to say good things about us (the third source), we can increase the likelihood of receiving positive feedback by being more confident in general.
Focus on the experiences in your life where you were successful. This can give you the ability to see the positive side of your mistakes and setbacks. Choose to believe in yourself, and surround yourself with other positive and confident people. The more you see the success of others whose skills and abilities are similar to yours, the more likely you are to believe that you can also achieve that success. Combine all of this positive energy with great stress management strategies, and you’ll soon improve your levels of personal confidence.
If we could all be a little better at caring for ourselves and giving ourselves a pat on the back more often, we would live healthier lives and enjoy spending more time with me, myself, and I.