I wasn’t happy most of my life. I worried about what what other people thought of me. I attached my well-being to other people’s behavior. I was troubled by my thoughts and feelings. I worked hard every day to be perfect, to be worthy, to be whole.
I wanted a better life yet I believed I wouldn’t be happy until… until I got someone else to approve of me… until someone else behaved the way I wanted them to behave… until I achieved some certain status such as marriage or promotion… until I overcame all my shortcomings and became the most caring, most compassionate, most helpful, smartest, most successful person I could be… until life got good.
I didn’t experience true happiness until I starting living and loving the life I have- not the life I wanted, the life I dreamed of, the life I wish I had- the life I have. Right now, today.
Sure, there were things I wanted to change. There were things I needed to change. I’m always reaching, growing, and changing for the better. But my happiness doesn’t come from the future- it’s right here, now.
To achieve the life I wanted I had to start living and loving the life I have today. The more I allowed myself to relax and enjoy each day, the more I enjoyed life and the more progress I made on the things I did want to change. It’s funny how it works that way.
I invite you to live and love the life you have today.
Let go of judgements and expectations. Stop waiting for everything to work out. Accept yourself as you are- perfectly imperfect.
Embrace all of life’s gifts- big and small. Be joyful for the sake of being joyful- not because something good happened. Celebrate your life- celebrate you!
It’s simple, really, even if just for a day, an hour, or a minute- be in love with your life just as it is today.
I love your comments! What will it take for you to be in the love with your life today? What’s holding you back that you will let go? How will you relax into this day instead of struggling against it?Join the Conversation
Confidence is everything. Confidence builds trust. Confidence informs good decision-making. Confidence leads to success!
Lack of healthy self confidence holds us back from making the best of our lives and ourselves. Don’t let insecurity get between you and a happy, fulfilling, intentional life!
One day I met a successful business woman that was clearly intelligent but her words belied her competence and skills. In the course of our conversation she apologized several times, though she had not misspoken or erred. She used hedging language like “I think” and “I believe” when talking about her professional expertise. Her sentences ended on a high note as if asking a question instead of making a statement.
Here I was, having a conversation with an accomplished woman that clearly lacked confidence. The exchange made me reflect on my own past insecurities. When I started in the working world, I didn’t have much self confidence. I was terrified of making mistakes and I didn’t believe in myself. I knew I was good at some things, but I didn’t believe I was good enough.
It wasn’t enough for me to just stumble through my life- I chose to make the best life. I worked on building my confidence and here I am today- confident, capable, and kick-ass!
How To Build Confidence
Take a deep breath
Confident people are cool, calm, and collected so take a moment and collect yourself. If you’ve got an important meeting or conversation, take a deep breath before you speak. Stand or sit tall. Fill your lungs and send all that good oxygen to your brain.
Smiling puts others at ease. The more the people around you are easy-going, the more you’ll feel at ease, too. It’s an awesome example of getting what you give!
Fake it till you make it
If you don’t feel confident you can fake it till you make it. The more you practice confidence, the more confident you feel. Keep practicing until you get there!
We all have poor speaking habits that get in the way of our inner awesome shining through. Watch out for hedging language, stopping and starting, crutch words, nervous fiddling, and turning statements into questions.
You can create great speaking habits and build confidence in Toastmasters.
Do your best
When you do your best each and every day you get better and better at whatever you do. Get really good at something you enjoy and be your best!
Stop comparing yourself to others
When you compare yourself to others, you sell yourself short. This is your life, not anyone else’s. Live it, love it, make it great!
Believe in yourself
Confidence isn’t about what you can do but what you believe you can do. You’ve got mad skills! You kick ass! Believe in you!
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If that’s not enough tips for building confidence, here are even more ways to build self esteem!
I love your comments! Are you confident? If not, what’s holding you back?
The best life is lived by the day, not by the year, yet the end of the year is an opportunity for reflection and the beginning of the new year is an opportunity for renewal. Of course you don’t have to wait for the year’s end to reflect and renew- you can reboot your life anytime! Still, there’s something to be said for marking the end of the calendar year with celebration for all the things that happened during the year while setting goals for the year ahead.
As I reflect on 2012, in all it’s triumphs and challenges, I see the great lessons I’ve learned. I shared those lessons in blog posts and the tools I used to make the best of my life. I hope you stretched, grew, and learned as much as I did. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Here are my 10 most popular posts of 2012!
The 10 Best Lessons of 2012
This post was inspired by some harsh criticism I received at work. Through this experience I learned to believe in myself and give my best, regardless of what anyone else thinks of me.
I celebrated my 37th birthday in 2012 with 37 great life lessons I’ve learned along the way. These are great lessons to revisit anytime I need a boost, or just a little perspective.
It seems life can become increasingly complicated and cluttered as we rely on technology to keep us connected 24/7. Sometimes I just have to declutter my digital life and free up a little mental space.
I’m an active individual and I sometimes struggle to simply be. This post was all about recognizing that a little patience is good for me!
In life it’s easy to get wrapped up in comparing myself to others and doing so minimizes my accomplishments and my journey. For better or for worse, this is my life and I’m the only one that’s living it. I’ve got to reclaim and celebrate my own awesomeness!
The quality of my life is all about my perspective. Sometimes my perspective gets a little skewed and I think little things are really big things. The good news is I can readjust my perspective!
Work is as fun as I make it, so I make it fun! Here’s a few ideas to get started.
I can, occasionally, let my goals get the better of me. I may focus on where I want to be instead of where I am and when this happens I feel decidedly unhappy. Happiness starts where I am right now, not where I’d like to be.
It’s okay to say no and it’s even okay to say no after saying yes. I wrote this post when I realized two volunteer positions were no longer working out for me. Almost a year later and I can say resigning these roles was the right choice.
Achieving work-life balance isn’t always simple or easy, especially when I let myself get distracted by all the little things that happen day-to-day, but balance is possible! One thing I’ve learned is balance is about quality, not quantity.Join the Conversation
Do you believe you are capable? Do you feel confident? Are you comfortable making mistakes? What message do you tell yourself about you?
A healthy, objective inner critic can help you excel in life and an unhealthy, harsh inner critic can hold you back. Many of us have an unreasonable and hateful inner critic that lives in our heads that tells us we can’t.
The perfectionism problem
I was a perfectionist from childhood to early adulthood. I said “I can’t” far more often than I said “I can”. I didn’t believe in myself. When I started a project I experienced almost debilitating fear of failure.
I judged myself so harshly that it was difficult to complete a task because I was overly critical of my efforts along the way. Though I loved to write, sing, dance, and draw, I often judged my talents based on my first attempt, telling myself I wasn’t really any good at it.
This inner criticism kept me from trying many new things and when I did try, I often didn’t have the courage to see it through to completion. I did not accept praise from others because I couldn’t praise myself.
Fortunately I was tired of feeling miserable with myself and my life, and I began my journey to learn to let go of my own unreasonable expectations.
Is your inner critic holding you back or pushing you forward
Unhealthy inner criticism is born of perfectionism, as well as trying to live up to other people’s expectations. You may experience harsh judgment of ourselves when you don’t accept yourself as you are. Sometimes you have been berated by others until you believed what they said about you. Maybe you’re comparing yourself to someone else.
Healthy, realistic criticism can be beneficial by helping us determine when you need to set boundaries or ask for help. A healthy inner critic can provide valuable information about your skills and abilities and challenge you to improve.
When your inner dialogue turns from honest and humble to minimizing and belittling you have a problem. Your inner voice is no longer acting as an objective voice of reason when you feel discouraged instead of challenged.
Making peace with your inner critic
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If your inner critic is holding you back it’s time to shift your mindset. Here’s some ideas to try:
Focus on your actions, not your results
An unhealthy inner critic often focuses on the outcome over the action but oftentimes what’s really important is taking action. You learn and grow by doing, and preemptively judging the results of your efforts keeps you from trying. Acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of your effort instead of the outcome. Doing the right thing holds more value than getting the “right” result.
Check your expectations
If your expectations of yourself cause feelings of fear and stress chances are your expectations are unreasonable. It may also be helpful to ask for feedback from a trusted mentor or friend. An objective person can sometimes see when your expectation of yourself is unreasonable when you cannot.
Ignore everyone else’s expectations
You can try to live up to someone else’s expectations but living your life for another person’s approval is likely to result in a pretty miserable life! Even if you do everything right, which is impossible (see above re: perfectionism), you still can’t control what anyone else thinks of your life.
Tell yourself you can (even if you don’t believe it yet)
To make a good effort you need to believe it’s possible for you to accomplish what you set out to do. (And you can!) In the beginning it may be helpful to “fake it ’til you make it”, as they say.
Just do it!
Sometimes the best thing you can do is push through the fear and criticism in your head and just do it. You may not feel good about it at first but if you keep at it you may soon find that criticism has been replaced with confidence and competence!Join the Conversation
Comparing ourselves to others, even to our idea of what we could be, is perhaps human nature. But comparison robs us of our confidence, our accomplishments, our worth.
I still catch myself comparing from time-to-time, and I’ve come up with some ways to re-direct my attention from what I perceive someone else has to the awesomeness in my life. I recognize my awesome skills and abilities, and the unique contribution I have to make to the world. I learn from other people’s successes and mistakes. I find ways to motivate myself to make progress on my goals.
Acknowledge your choices.
When I compare myself to others, I often conveniently overlook the choices and hard work they have made to get where they are today. I may not be willing to make sacrifices they made, or endure the hardships they faced to reach their goals.
I’m happy with my choices and my life, and I have the opportunity to make different choices at any time, on any day. I’m living a life that works for me, and that means I achieve success at my own pace.
Recognize your limitations.
“Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.” ~Jon Acuff
When I find myself comparing, I consider if the person I’m comparing myself to simply has more experience. Of course I won’t be as successful as someone with years of experience when I’m just getting started.
Learn from someone else’s experience.
When I meet someone that has success I want I have the option to jump-start my success by learning from their experience. I can ask a more successful person to coach or mentor me. If they are unable to work with me long term, they may be willing to answer a few questions about what they’ve learned. I have an opportunity to develop a valuable contact, and maybe even a friend.
Make progress on your goals.
When I find myself comparing myself to others, I stop making progress on my goals. When I redirect my attention and efforts to my purpose, I stop worrying about what anyone else has. It doesn’t matter what someone else does, it matters what I do. I use this energy to motivate me.
Embrace your unique perspective!
I have my own voice, my own experience, and my own talents that no one else has! My gift to the world comes through sharing my unique perspective, not copying someone else’s. When I compare myself to others I minimize what’s great about me- something no one else can be. Making your own mark on the world builds confidence and lasting success.
Celebrate your success!
“Other people’s success is not an indication of your failure.” ~Jon Acuff
I see people with what I perceive to be greater success, and for a moment I envy them. Then I take a moment to reflect on my life and my success and realize I’m happy with where I am today.
Today I’m right where I need to be to learn what I need to learn, to enjoy the peace that comes with patience, to allow myself to keep pace with my success.
When you start comparing yourself to others, think of ways to leverage your experience to motivate and grow yourself!
I love your comments! How do you get past comparing yourself to others? How will you celebrate your progress today? How will you use someone else’s success to inspire you?
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