Do you love yourself?

It’s a classic line, often used to describe someone who we might consider to be arrogant, “oh he loves himself.”  The inference being that the individual being described clearly has such an over-inflated opinion of themselves as to be arrogant rather than confident.

 

But if you think about it, what is really wrong with loving yourself?  Not to the point that people feel you are arrogant and unpleasant, but at least to the point that you have a decent opinion of yourself and the person that you are.

 

We as human beings are social creatures.  We are not designed to exist in isolation, and therefore we aspire to be liked and accepted by others, and to be a part of a social group.

 

But if you don’t like yourself, can you really expect others to like you?  If you don’t love yourself, can you expect others to love you?

 

If you think about it, there must be one thing you like about yourself.  What is it?  And once you’ve thought of that one thing, can you think of something else?  If you don’t think there is, why is that?

 

We all have people in our lives that we love.  Friends, family, partners, but in truth loving others isn’t enough, you have to love yourself too.

 

Do you love yourself?

Do you fake it till you make it?

Have you ever been into a situation where you just didn’t feel confident but not appearing confident would be seen as weakness?  A job interview? A meeting??  You know that you’re not confident going into that situation, but you know that if you show that you’re unconfident that will weaken your chances of getting the job, or coming across as knowledgeable in front of your work colleagues in that meeting.  You know that crumbling isn’t an option, so you grit your teeth, hold your head up, and do what so many of us do, you fake it till you make it.  In other words, you pretend that you have a confidence on the outside which you don’t actually feel on the inside.

 

Then, when you get to the end of the experience, you realise that actually, you didn’t have to fake it, it went really well and next time, you know that you will be able to do the same thing again with a confidence you actually do feel.

 

For me, having confidence is always preferable to being unconfident.  However, sometimes if that confidence is lacking then faking the existence of that confidence is a useful alternative.  I’ve certainly been in situations where I wasn’t entirely sure of myself, but rather than lose face I would show an outer confidence which I didn’t feel at the time.  But after the event, when things have gone well, I’ve always realised that actually, I wasn’t as unconfident as I thought I was, and that even being able to fake confidence shows a confidence that I perhaps didn’t realise existed.

 

If you were genuinely unconfident, would you be able to fake it?  Even faking it shows confidence.

 

So, do you fake it?  If so, consider that you have a confidence you didn’t know you had.

 

 

What are you good at?

In a previous post, when I defined confidence, I defined it as “Not what you are good at, but how you feel about what you are good at.”

 

I stand by that principle, after all, if you’re not good at something, doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with confidence anyway.

 

But while confidence doesn’t need to be all about the things you are good at, it is none the less still important to know what those things are.  After all, we are all good at something, how ever insignificant that may appear to be, so why is it that we seem to be incapable of recognising or admitting that?

 

Recently I posted a message on twitter asking my followers to list one thing they are good at.  Out of the nearly 200 followers I have on my personal account, only two actually replied and listed something.  But I could list many more myself and tell you what they are good at.

 

I reposed the same question just before starting this post and thus far I have had another three responses.

 

So why is it that we are so reluctant to admit to the things that we are good at?  Yet I have little doubt that if I posted the question in reverse people would be quick enough to list the things they’re not good at.

 

In my own case, I had always viewed admitting to being good at something as arrogance, and yet I know that I am not an arrogant person.  And in some cases there are things that I am good at, but I didn’t have the confidence to believe that I am good enough to admit to being good at those things.

 

So why is it you can’t admit to the things you are good at?  You know you are good at something – everyone is.  You likely even know what it is, so why won’t you admit it?

 

Here’s the challenge:  Think about at least one thing you are good at, and then leave a comment underneath this post.

 

For my own part I know I am a good communicator.  I know that, even though I have had people tell me that I’m not.  By contrast I am a good keyboard player.  I never used to believe that, even though other people told me that I was.  But now I believe that I am.

 

Now it’s your turn.

 

What are you good at?

why apologise for who you are?

Have you ever apologised to someone for who you are, or the way you are, or for something you typically do?  “I’m sorry, I’m really shy/opinionated/I don’t speak as eloquently as you/I have a common accent,” to name just a couple of examples.

 

Whenever you apologise to someone for being who you are, you are essentially saying that who you are is a bad thing.  But is it?

 

What do you apologise for?  Why do you feel the need to apologise?  And if you didn’t, what do you think would happen?

 

Being you is not something that is wrong or needs to be justified by way of an apology, you can change the things you feel the need to apologise for, but you should only seek to do so if that is really what you want.  But even if you feel the need to change certain things about you, be that shyness or outspokenness, or the way you speak/write/come across, that still doesn’t make the way you currently are wrong.

 

So next time you feel the need to apologise for who you are, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Why am I apologising?”  And instead of apologising, let the people you would be apologising to make their own minds up about who you are, rather than you feeling the need to justify it to them.

 

Don’t apologise for who you are, you haven’t done anything wrong.

 

 

Who’s your greatest influence?

Have you ever filled in an application form for a job, a competition, an event, and had to answer the question, “who is your greatest influence?”

 

We are all influenced by others, both in positive and negative terms, and this is never truer than when it comes to matters that impact on our own confidence and self worth.

 

If you tell someone often enough that they are good at something, and support them in being able to achieve their goals, eventually they will believe that they are good enough, because others think they are.  But by the same token if you tell someone that they are not good enough, eventually that belief will filter through to them, to the extent it will eventually impact their own self belief and confidence.

 

While confidence is all about who we are, and how we feel about the things we are capable of, the influence of others should not be underestimated.  Because it is only by realising that other people have an influence on how we feel about ourselves, that we can take the decision to either embrace those influences or disregard them, on the basis that they are not important.

 

Your confidence can only be affected by someone else if you allow it to be.  If you don’t believe you are good enough at something, no amount of people telling you that you are will change that.  But similarly, if you believe that you are good enough at something, other peoples’ negative beliefs and influences can only change that if you allow it to.

 

So, who is your greatest influence?

Does fear hold you back? what’s the worst that can happen?

How many times have you held back from doing something because you were afraid to do it, but seemingly without good reason?

 

So often the fear of what might happen is far worse than what might actually happen, and yet we allow that fear to hold us back.

 

I will actually take it a step further and say that often there isn’t even a real fear – that often we are simply afraid to move forward but haven’t considered the reasons why.

 

So, think about something you are afraid to do.  Think about the reasons why you are afraid to do it, and ask yourself, how valid are those reasons?  And when you’ve considered the reasons for your fear ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

 

Often the fear is worse than the worst possible outcome, and it’s only once we stop and consider that that we realise that in fact, there’s nothing holding us back.

 

So, when you think about that seemingly unreachable goal, you know, the one that you are afraid to reach, ask yourself, if you move forward, what’s the worst thing that can happen if it doesn’t work?  And once you have your answer, ask yourself, is that worst case scenario likely?  Or is the fear of the worst case scenario worse than the actuality?

who’s that about?

So often people tell me that they can’t do something because of someone else’s reaction, or the fear of it, or that they do certain things in a certain way because of someone else.  And my response to that is almost always, “who’s that about?”

 

We do not live our lives in isolation, and it is therefore natural that we will often make decisions based on the impact they have on other people, or that our actions will be based on other people’s reactions.  However, so often this can filter through into more personal things we do within our own lives, to the extent that we allow other people to hold us back.

 

Ultimately, if *you* want to achieve something, as long as it is achievable, the only person who realistically can hold you back from doing so is you.  Others can tell you the reasons why you shouldn’t do so; other people’s opinions of your abilities might influence your own belief in yourself, but if you fail to move forward because of the opinions/beliefs of others ask yourself, who’s that about?

 

So often the things we do are about other people, their thoughts, their feelings, their beliefs.  But what about *you*? What do you want?

 

I previously wrote about confidence, and about how that is about what we think about the things we can do.  And this ties in with that thought process, because if we are confident we can do something, then the question “who’s that about?” comes back to ourselves.  If we are less confident in the things we believe we can do, so often the question comes back to someone else, because it is when we lack confidence that the opinions/beliefs of others can have an impact on that.

 

Turn the answer to the question around.  Make the answer “it’s about me,” and see the difference it will make.