You rock. When was the last time you told yourself that and meant it? If you can’t remember or (worse!) you don’t agree, then it’s time for a major confidence boost. A lack of confidence affects everything from your productivity to your relationships to how you look and feel. So today, don’t go out and buy that fancy moisturizer. Spend the time instead moisturizing your self-esteem then watch that happy glow return and more importantly, last.
What most don’t realize is that confidence, like any other muscle, needs exercise and nourishment. Here are five exercises you can do that will raise your confidence levels and the best part is, you don’t even have to break a sweat! So take an hour, grab a pen, a pad and your appointment book. Pour yourself a refreshing glass of water, find your comfy spot and relax. This time and these exercises are a gift to you.
Dilute any concentrated negative feelings.
Review your past and identify any place that you feel a difficult feeling, such as sadness, anger, betrayal. Did an ex cheat on you? Did your boss pass you up for a promotion? Or maybe your parents could have done a little better. It could be big or small, but if it continues to bother you, it’s important. Make a list of every situation that is weighing on you.
Now, the fun part. People who use their imagination tend to have more confidence, so imagine some cute magic glasses with those pricey frames you like. What power do these glasses have, you ask? With them you can reread your list, but instead of just seeing anger, sadness and frustration, you can now see other feelings like forgiveness, compassion and understanding. Look at each situation and dilute it with as much healing as possible. Getting to less acidity in your stomach when you think of them is a good goal. It may take a minute. Eventually, you can be free of it completely. I know, cool, right?
Filter out unnecessary and unenjoyable plans
It’s now time to start keeping our flow clean. Open up that appointment book (yes, this is probably less a book and more some fancy electronic device that makes calls and does your laundry) and let’s review your plans.
How many of these are absolutely necessary? Yes, we mean your job. And yes, you do have to figure out what you need to give Uncle Sam. Only you know what in your calendar is mandatory. Those items can stay.
Of the rest, how many activities make you happy? Dinner with your best friend? Seeing a movie? A walk in the canyon? A trip to your aunt’s house?
Keep mandatory and happy, what’s left? How many plans are you dreading that are not a must? Filter them out. Do it soon. Do it now. These are the ones, as you are getting ready for them, you’re thinking, “How can I get out of this?” Changing plans last minute can be tricky. Being careful about what you put on your calendar in the first place will do much for your confidence.
Wash away unsupportive inner chatter
Review the self-dissing comments you are having in your head. You know they’re there! Do you judge yourself? Are you second guessing? Are you being downright mean? I am ready to bet that if you spoke to your friends the way you speak to yourself, you would be pretty short on friends.
At first don’t edit, let them flow. You need to know what the enemy thinks. It might take you a few days to identify ALL of them, but be on the lookout. Then, take your magical scissors (they are in the box next to the glasses) and cut out anything in your head that is dismissive. These comments are like pickpockets who sneak in and steal bits of your self-esteem. So be aware and catch them. When you notice one, tell the voice, I hear you, I don’t agree, now don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Don’t ever be a bully to yourself. So if there’s a bully in there, wash him away. It’s now time to fill the space with something new.
Rehydrate yourself with positivity
Ask for compliments. Yes, this might be awkward. But you just fired the meanie in there, so you can do this. Send an email to three of your favorite people in your life. Tell them you’re doing an exercise and ask them share what they like most about you.
You may think of this exercise as fishing for compliments. But hey, is it not fishing season? Whoever told you this was wrong is probably hungry. And salmon is delicious. So yes, fish for compliments.
Write down these compliments and keep them close. Make a note in that fancy phone of yours. Then, whenever one of those negative pickpockety voices creeps in, refer to your new list. It’s hard for both comments to occupy the same head, so why not listen to the one that’s cheering for you?
Irrigate the self-esteem fields of others
So, you’ve just learned to rehydrate yourself with positive reinforcement (hooray!), but others may not know how. Don’t wait for them to ask. Bring to mind five of your favorite people who you think could use a little boost. First, make a list with space underneath each name. Now think of three things you like about each person and write them underneath their names. Believe it or not, lifting others lifts you too. So, yes, email it to them.
Take a gulp
Are you reenergized? Refreshed? Are you ready to make time and give yourself the gift of doing an activity that makes your heart sing? Are you ready to take on that project you were hesitant with because you weren’t sure you could? Well now you know you can. After all, you rock.
Sophie Chiche, catalyst, visionary, curator of characters and mom is the founder of lifebyme.com, a global community gathered around the question, “What is meaningful?” She has master’s degrees in business, journalism and psychology.