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HELP! I've Lost All my Confidence!

 

flowers

Q. I'm 22 years old and I have absolutely no confidence. I've never had a boyfriend or ever kissed a boy. When guys hit on me I think they feel bad for me or are just being nice. My family has always made remarks since I was young about me being worthless and my little sister, who has a revolving door for boys, is embarrassed for me. She and the rest of my family make fun of me and it hurts. I just feel like I'm too ugly and too fat and that nobody would ever want me. What can I do to gain confidence? Is there any hope for me?

A. It must be very unpleasant for you if all you are getting is negativity coming at you, especially from those closest to you who should value you. Not a good place to be, I'm sure. The greatest cause of low confidence is our home, the way we are brought up and the support we have. It does not seem as though you have too much support at the moment, but you have lots of time to turn it around, so don't worry.

The first thing to do is to begin to appreciate who you are and to try to love yourself. I know it is diffiult to do but no one can love what you reject, so stop thinking that you are fat and ugly. If you believe that about yourself, how can anyone else think otherwise? You really have to like yourself if you want guys to like you too. That self-love will make you seem more attractive instead of being just gloomy and negative. As hard as it is, just keep telling yourself EVERY DAY how lovely and slim you are, how unique and special (because you are, there's no one else like you in history!) and say it as often as you can in your head. You really have to get on top of the negative thoughts which are your constant company and replace them with more positive, uplifting ones, because thoughts are the keys to the quality of your life. Negative thoughts give poor self-esteem because people treat you exactly how you treat yourself which then makes you feel even worse.

Next, try to build up other friendships outside your home which are more supportive and positive. You cannot help the family you are born into, but you are an adult now so you can take some steps to build up other social friendships which will make you feel much better and reduce the time you have to spend hearing negative comments. If you don't feel ready for that yet, there are online social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace that can help you make new friends who like you and build your esteem.

Most important, try and accept that you ARE worthy. If you don't accept that fact, you will always put off people from making connections with you. Take an interest in others and take the focus off yourself. You will be even more interesting as a person because you will feel more included in social things. Often when we are unhappy we just sink inside of us and notice the negative things while ignoring positive ones, which only makes us boring to be with and also appear self-centred.

Confidence comes from inside us, nowhere else, but it is tied up with our feeling of belonging, acceptance, achievement and self-esteem. Once you sort out these aspects, especially the self-esteem and feeling of achievement, your confidence will grow, but it does take a while without positive help. You have to make a superhuman effort to be positive in that kind of environment, to focus upon good things and ignore the negatives around you.

Begin to appreciate that guys do like you because you are attractive and they will lose interest if you never return their attention. Most of all, begin to give thanks and gratitude for your life, to welcome every new day instead of taking it and your blessings for granted and focusing on what is wrong. You will gradually begin to feel much better about you, your true value and what you want for your life.





What is shyness and why are we shy?

 

Shyness is an overwhelming feeling of unworthiness, a major obstacle to greater enjoyment of life. It is a sense of unease with the self, not being happy in one's skin, and a fear of interacting with others in various social situations. Shy people do not trust themselves to know the 'right' things to say, or the 'right' way to act, though there is no one right way of living life! They are loathe to meet others, especially in a group, to talk with them face to face, or to share anything with them directly because they are likely to feel inadequate. They do not trust others to interact as they expect and so FEAR tends to dictate their reactions.

A shy person tends to take no interest in others, does not usually invite sharing or confidences, does not like to initiate contacts and tends to focus on perceived weaknesses rather than strengths. That attitude, being rather fearful and detached, would not endear them to others, which then isolates them even further. Shy people are also self-focused and are constantly comparing themselves with others and coming out wanting. This means they lack the booster they need to feel good about themselves because they seldom get any social reinforcement from others.

Shyness encourages a belief of having little to offer the world and so shy people leave it up to others to make the first move. But that tends to be counter-productive as they are often deprived of the very opportunities they need to demonstrate their capabilities in using their initiative. Worst still, because they are so introspective and disinterested in others, they often appear to be rather selfish, boring people when they are often very interesting in their own right, once they take the opportunity and have the confidence to shine.


Where does shyness come from?
Shyness is caused by low self image, low confidence and self belief, and negative feelings about self-worth. It is based on a desire to be perfect (or to avoid being hurt), a lack of trust, and the mistaken belief that everyone else is perhaps more perfect, which makes the shy person feel unworthy to share their company. The main idea that everyone out there is better than we are, perhaps better looking, more clever or such social experts constantly dogs the shy person. Hence to be really shy robs the individual of essential interaction with others and new experiences, while allowing them to have a distorted view of their world and their true value. In a mild form, shyness can be dealt with by acquiring greater confidence, but the extremes of shyness become social anxiety, a definite phobia against certain things/people or even panic attacks at the thought of interacting.

It would have orginated from how one is treated in childhood: whether one was affirmed and reinforced as a valued person, or was mainly criticised and made to feel inadequate in whatever one did. It is also related to whether one was given enough responsibility and trust, or overly protected from life. It is then difficult to have a strong sense of self or to develop confidence in one's abilities if even one's parent's didn't think highly of one either. Unfortunately, shyness is self-reinforcing in a vicious circle.

In general, shyness prevents full expression in one's person: in thought, behaviour and feelings, so that the shy person tends to live inside him/herself, desiring freedom in social interactions, but being the eternal observer to other people's actions. Controlled by fear, there is always the overriding feeling of being on the periphery of life, being unwanted, unable to trust and being definitely unappreciated and undervalued.

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How do I Love Myself When I Feel Like Crap?

 

flowers

Many people see my constant, happy smile and make instant assumptions about me and my past. However, my childhood was a pretty traumatic one. In the bad old days, as I call them, I would pass a mirror, momentarily liked what I saw but then suddenly, and inexplicably, would start telling myself that I was 'crap', that I 'hated' myself and I was 'pathetic'.

I had buried my trauma deep inside me, refusing to face them and, slowly, they took their toll in continuous self-loathing and low self-esteem. Gradually, and painfully, I learned that I had to sort out my past, face it and move on, and then begin the slow process of self-love. The wonderful result is clear to see now.

At the root of our main problems is likely to be a chronic lack of self-love. It is much easier for us not to love ourselves because the natural instinct to blame always seeks scapegoats, especially internally. When we do not wish to blame someone else for the hurt, pain or unappreciation we feel, we go inwards with the anger and beat ourselves up instead.

For example, victims of racism are likely to loathe themselves or their children, likely to tell their children how 'ugly' or 'horrible' they are, externalising the self-hate they feel. The same with victims of domestic abuse. They usually blame themselves for the violence, being willing to believe that they must have done something to deserve it and they are not worthy of anything else. This lack of self love perpetuates the negative situations, reinforcing the very behaviour which is hurting them.

Respect starts with the self
Self-love is the key to personal value, feelings of worth, inclusion significance and ultimately respect. We cannot earn the respect of others if we have no respect for ourselves. We cannot expect others to love what we reject if we have no love for ourselves and we cannot expect value from others if we give ourselves no value. What happens in our life happens in circular motion: whatever we feel we then give out to our world which comes back to us ten-fold through the natural Law of Attraction. So if we feel awful and negative, we give that out, the energy we send out attracts similar negative energy which then returns to haunt us even more in a dismal cycle. That is why certain people constantly have negative experiences. Nothing will change until they change their thought processes. So you need to be careful what you focus on because that is all you will get in life!

However, how do you begin to love yourself when others might not have affirmed or loved you? A very good question, and not so glib to answer because it is difficult to do. It means you have to try to overturn years of negativity and being undervalued by parents, lovers or friends. However, it starts with establishing 5 things:

The value you place on yourself;


Gratitude for your life and blessings;
What you wish to do with that life;


Self-appreciation and living in the present.


Self-forgiveness.

Who is your Personal Manager?

First, begin by looking at yourself from the outside. Ask yourself, if you were your own manager would you employ you? Would you employ someone who puts you down, tells you how terrible you are, beats you up for every mistake, loathes you and does nothing to motivate you? One who forces you to put up with violence or putdowns, or to be treated like a doormat? Of course not. Yet you constantly do that to yourself! Time to sack that personal manager, that little voice of negativity within you, and get a new motivational one!

Second, begin to give thanks for your LIFE and its blessings. Your time on earth is very precious because many people have no life. Theirs have been taken while you are still enjoying yours. Appreciate that simple fact and be grateful. It is a fact of life that the more we give thanks is the more we have to be thankful for (that Law of Attraction again). Our gratitude energy goes out and attract other similar energy and brings us back much more in return. You don't ever have to do something wonderful to be a winner. Just by opening your eyes each morning and finding yourself above ground makes you the biggest winner! Give thanks for that. Never take it for granted because one day you simply will not be there.

To begin the process of self-love, you have to ask ourself these questions:

When did I last give deliberate thanks for...
- waking up and seeing another day?


- the people in my life?


- the things I have been blessed with?


- the talents I have?


- the faculties that still work?


- my beauty, life and experiences?



When did I affirm and reinforce someone?

Do I just take everything and people around me for granted?

Go through that list again and award yourself up to 5 points for each, if you did it yesterday or today. Anything under 20 is bad! My score was 35. Up to 12 years ago it would have been no more than 10 points.





Establish your life purpose
Third, what do you wish to do with that life? We are not talking about your job here. We are talking about your PURPOSE. What makes you want to jump out of bed in the mornings, makes you want to fly, thrills you with a warm glow when you think of it? That's your purpose. If you are feeling generally unhappy, you have not identified your life purpose yet, otherwise you would be almost delirious with excitement, as I am every day of my life. My work is just magic. I can actually see the difference it makes to others and that is so empowering - both to me and the receivers. You are probably just doing your job for the sake of the money, trapped by a mortgage or being a slave to material things. That will not make you feel good in the long term. It will not give you much value. When we are living to purpose the world is our oyster and everything we want gradually comes into being. We don't even have to try too hard, we just do our best and the Universe delivers.

Fourth, I have learnt that when we keep ourself in the past it is because we don't like our present too much. We probably feel isolated, excluded, unloved and unappreciated, so we secretly blame ourself, we use our depression to maintain attention, but of a sort which, sadly, alienates us from others and have counter-productive effects. In short, our current unhappiness helps us to hark back to the past to remind ourself of how terrible we are while making our situation worse. We keep the negatives stuck in our head, perhaps for sympathy, instead of facing them, acknowledging them, forgiving OURSELF and others and moving on. I could not forgive until I found love .. my own self-love. To find true love from someone else, you have to love yourself first. No one can love you for you.

People who live in the past tend to take their present for granted, while many others have not been so privileged to have one. We have no present or future if we live in the past. We are so busy looking back there, we have no time to make a future or to appreciate what we have. Hence we come across as selfish and ungrateful.

Someone once said, "If you want to know what your future will be like, look at your habits now". Whatever habits you have today will dictate your tomorrow. If you have negative habits that keep you stuck in the past, you will only keep getting what you've always got. Your future will be no different from today. Your habits, the way you do things now, will guarantee that.

So, in a nutshell, you have to STOP:


a. beating yourself up over past actions.


b. aiming for perfection

.
c. comparing yourself to others, otherwise you will always feel inadequate.


d. seeking the approval of others when the only standard should be your own.

On top of all that you have to:
e. Look outwards to others in love and appreciation than just focusing on yourself.
f. Appreciate your limitations.
g. Praise yourself DAILY for being a wonderful and unique human being.

(Just think...you're the only one, ever, throughout history!)

If you put these items together with the other 7 questions above and use them as a weekly regime, the difference would be dramatic.

I have found all these items to be most helpful in developing self-love. But, most of all, accepting myself as I am and giving thanks for every new day of my life, instead of taking it for granted, has been the biggest factor in nurturing my self-love and moving me from feeling like 'crap' to feeling fabulous and fantastic.






Please help! I'm fed up with people putting me down

 

Q. I met a 22 year old guy online and we went on a few dates, but I didnt feel it was working so told him (I honestly never insulted him once). He said that he lowered his standards for me and that the reason he wanted to be my boyfriend was cause he was desperate. I'm the shy and introverted type. I know I dont look good. I got rated mainly 4's out of 10 for some facial attractiveness activity at college. I got the lowest and that wrecked my confidence. He's the only guy ive dated and hes made me feel as though im too ugly to break up with a guy. I want to be more outgoing but the more I try the more people put me down.

A. This is so sad because all you are doing is allowing ONE person in the whole world, whom you don't even like, to affect how you feel, when there are many more waiting to like you. Just because that guy is low in confidence, and takes it out on you because you wanted to finish the friendship, doesn't mean you let his words affect you and become like him. Once you feel you don't like someone, you really should not talk to them anymore or hang around with them, because some guys can't take any kind of rejection and will then turn on you in any negative way they can to compensate for the emotional disappointment.

Everyone in this world is good looking to some degree because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There is no rule book that says you have to look a certain way to be regarded as beautiful. Appreciate yourself as you are. If you don't love yourself, how can anyone else love what you reject? 

There is nothing wrong with you. You might have got '4' in a past rating for your looks but they were probably rating your personality (especially if you were quiet and don't make friends easily) than your actual looks. it sounds as though you need to boost your confidence and self esteem, by accepting yourself fully and appreciating who you are, and not depend on others to rate you, or tell you how you look, because you will never please everyone. 

Most important, people can only reflect the value YOU give to yourself, they cannot create that value. So if you feel terrible they will only reflect that back to you, too, because you won't appear very attractive. Your attitude and behaviour will ensure that. It's a positive personality that makes us appeal to others, not just looks, per se. So try to build your confidence and esteem, smile more and be more interested in others, and more people will want your company.

Time to stop noticing what that loser guy is saying, to leave his negative orbit, and find someone who will appreciate and uplift you rather than put you down.







How can I deal with confrontations better?

 

Dealing with confrontations isn't easy, especially when we lack the confidence and interaction skills to do so. You get nervous etc., because you lack confidence. You believe you are confident but you are not, because you only seem confident when things are going well and to your liking. Yet, life is about interacting with others in the most comfortable way and not everyone is going to act according to expectations.

Confidence carries no fear, except those for our survival. If your background did not prepare you for dealing with confrontations then, not surprisingly, you would try to avoid them. Another reason why you would feel terrible and fearful is because you perhaps seek the approval of others, having low self esteem, and so you fear the consequences of getting into a confrontation and losing that approval. Finally, you feel like that because you lack the interaction skills to deal with any form of conflict.

Life is about balance. It is a combination of pain and pleasure, good and bad, up and down. We cannot have one aspect without the other because that balance is integral to life. So you will never have a life where you agree with everything that's happening, where your interactions with others are fantastic all the time, or where everything happens exactly as you wish it. That would be abnormal. The only answer for your predicament is to LEARN how to cope with difficult situations by both boosting your confidence and becoming more assertive in dealing with others.

A very useful tip you can have is this: Always remember that you have the RIGHT to say how you feel and the other person has the right to accept what you say or reject it, and vice versa. If you do not address the things you don't like, they will only get worse, as people take advantage of you, so never ignore them. Look at confrontation as a necessary part of life which you have to learn to cope with instead of always feeling badly about, or taking flight. Simply learn some coping skills and in the process you will know when to defend your corner, when to assert your own perspective, when to agree to disagree and when to simply walk away without any fear whatever.







How Do I Develop Self Love? 3 Essential Starters

 

flowers

Q. How do I develop self-love? Sometimes I really hate myself and can't see any way to change my feelings.

A. A very good question. Not so glib to answer because it is difficult to do. It means you have to try to overturn years of negativity and being undervalued by parents or lovers. However, it starts with 3 things:

* Gratitude for all your blessings in life
* Self-appreciation and living in the present, and
* Self-forgiveness.

A lack of self-love comes from a feeling of being unappreciated and unwanted, usually from our childhood which is then reinforced in adulthood. It also tends to keep us in the past reliving those unloved moments. I have learnt that when we keep ourself in the past it is because we don't like our present too much. We probably feel isolated, excluded, unloved and unappreciated, so we secretly blame ourself and live unhappy lives. We use our depression to maintain attention, but of a sort which, sadly, alienates us from others and have counter-productive effects. In short, our current unhappiness helps us to hark back to the past to remind ourself of how terrible we are.

We tend to keep the negatives stuck in our head, perhaps for sympathy, instead of facing them, acknowledging them, forgiving OURSELF and others and moving on. I could not forgive until I found love: self-love. To find true love from someone else, you have to love yourself first. No one can love you for you.

To begin the process of self-love, we have to ask ourself these questions:

When did I last give deliberate thanks for waking up and seeing another day?

When did I give thanks for the people in my life?

For the things I have been blessed with?

For the talents I have? For the faculties that still work?

For my beauty, life and experiences?

Do I just take everything and people around me for granted?

When did I affirm and reinforce someone?

I cannot answer those questions for you, Rose, only you can. But people who live in the past tend to take their present for granted and are often mean with appreciation for their blessings, while many others have not been so privileged to even have a life. We have no present or future if we live in the past because we are so busy looking back there, we have no time to make a future or to appreciate what we really have.

The Power of Personal Habits
Someone once said, "If you want to know what your future will be like, look at your habits now".

Whatever habits you have today will dictate your tomorrow. So, if you have negative habits that keep you stuck in the past, you will only keep getting what you've always got. Your future will be no different from today. Your habits, the way you do things now, will guarantee that.

So, we have to stop beating ourself up over past actions, stop aiming for perfection and stop comparing ourself to others, otherwise we will always feel inadequate. We also have to appreciate our limitations, praise ourself DAILY for being a wonderful and unique human being. Stop seeking the approval of others when the only standard should be your own, and look outwards to others in love and appreciation than just focusing on yourself.

I have found all these to be most helpful in developing self love but, most of all, accepting myself as I am and giving thanks for every new day of my life, instead of taking it for granted, have been the biggest factors in nurturing my self love and moving from feeling awful to feeling fantastic. Do remember that no one can love what you reject, Rose, and if you really want to be appreciated, regardless of the opinion of others, you have to begin by loving yourself and being satisfied with who you are.





Does self esteem have to be earned
before one can have it?

 

flowers

Q. According to an article I read: "Self-esteem is not a gift; it can only be earned. Affirmations, self-talk and encouragement are all useful in your quest for self-esteem, but you only develop self-esteem the old-fashioned way, “You earn it!”

As you achieve, your self-esteem grows and as your self-esteem grows you feel better prepared to face greater challenges and create greater successes." Is that right?

A. Interesting conclusion, but I beg to differ. That's a superficial way of looking at the most important aspect of our lives. Self-esteem has little to do with success, per se. It cannot be 'earned'. Self esteem gradually emerges from one's childhood experiences: how one was valued or ignored, praised or criticised, affirmed or negated.  A child who is never reinforced by those who are significant to him/her grows up living in doubt, with anxieties around who they are and with issues of belonging, potential and self worth. So how children are treated in the main, whether affirmed or ignored, has a long term effect on their esteem.

We get poor self esteem when we are not treated with any value or respect, which makes us loathe ourselves, and high esteem when we are clearly valued and treated in a significant way. Above all, high self-esteem is built through love and appreciation of the self. That's the only way to negate the effects of poor childhood experiences. Without self love - accepting who we are, warts and all, without seeking the approval of others - we tend to feel inadequate, to feel pessimistic about life, to feel in terms of constant loss and negativity, instead of optimism and confidence. It really is about value. 

One can be very successful without high self-esteem (attributing their success to luck, to fluke, chance, or the support of others) or be unsuccessful but still very confident and high in esteem (perhaps believing that they have not done their best, or not really caring about success itself). Such people tend to act because they want to, without caring about the result in terms of social success (example artists and independent professionals).

Does self-esteem produce success, or does success improve self-esteem? 

Self-esteem does not automatically produce success, but it does predispose the person to be more of an achiever than someone with low self esteem. It all depends on the individual and his/her aspirations. Again, success often improves self-esteem, but the person has to be optimistic enough to accept that their own efforts led to their success and have the desire to repeat the performance. Most important, whatever they do has to satisfy their basic needs.

The one known factor when it comes to people and their emotions, is that the better one feels about one's self (high esteem) is the more confident one tends to feel about one's world and abilities, and the more one will be inclined to put that confidence into action to test its possibilities and its limits.  Successful people are always likely to be more successful, but it really depends on the individual's aims and aspirations, the support they get (which you rightly mentioned) and the belief in themselves. Anything else about that correlation would be pure conjecture.