Archive for August, 2013

Set Your Mental Channel to Confidence

August 22, 2013

Sweaty palms, racing heart, an overpowering sense of impending doom….do any of these things sound familiar to you? Personally, I experience all of them when I am about to venture out in public wearing a bathing suit, but that’s just me.

Actually, these are sensations that many people feel when they are placed in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. Many of us lack confidence when we are asked to step out of our comfort zone; possibly because we no longer feel in control of the situation.
Perhaps you have been told, at some time in your life, that you are not qualified or not good enough to do something. Maybe you have been compared, (or compared yourself) to someone else and you just didn’t measure up. Or it could be that you have felt embarrassed by failing at something that you attempted and have let it affect your self-esteem. Most of these feelings come from messages that we have received from sources that don’t have your best interest at heart. Don’t let these false assessments of your abilities define how you feel about yourself!

So, how does one build confidence in oneself? Begin by throwing out all of the negative images about yourself that you have stored in your brain. Remind yourself that your opinion of your worth is just as important as anyone else’s opinion of your value….probably more important. Think about how many opportunities you may be missing by clinging to false beliefs. And remember that in most cases, not being in perfect mastery of a skill when you first start out, is not unusual or disastrous.

Next, remember that feeling confident doesn’t mean that you have to know everything there is to know about your new experience, job, endeavor, etc. It simply means that you believe that you will be able to figure it out. Think back on all of the times that you learned something new. When you were in school, and were first shown all of those things called letters, you didn’t know how to put them together to make words, but you learned. When you first got behind the wheel of a car, you probably were a little shaky, but you were also probably determined to drive and that determination overcame the fear. When you first saw a computer, you probably didn’t know how to use all of the functions, and maybe you’re still learning…but somehow, you figured it out. Every new adventure requires taking baby steps and building to a level of competence. With each new level of competency, you gain more comfort and confidence.

The first time I had to get up in front of an audience to sing, when I was a little girl, I remember being scared to death and hiding in the coat closet. My teacher told me to picture the audience in their underwear. That made me feel worse, because I certainly didn’t want to see that! But then my kind father quietly said, “Just sing and enjoy the moment. There is nothing that can happen that will make one bit of difference in the way the earth spins. You will be just as valuable as a person whether you sound like a bird or a frog!” Those words ring in my head every time I step out on a stage.

It hurts my heart to hear people say things like, “I have no confidence in myself.” That is the same as saying that you don’t think you can learn and if you don’t know everything all at once, you are a washout. Nobody starts out knowing everything, but people who have switched their mental channel to receive the message, “I am an amazing creation with the capability to learn, and it doesn’t matter if I am perfect” are way ahead of the game! Sometimes we have to fake it ’til we make it!

Angry Eyes

August 19, 2013

My favorite characters in the Toy Story movies are Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. I love the scene that shows Mrs. Potato Head packing for her husband, and she tells him that she is packing an extra pair of shoes and his “angry eyes,” just in case.

It makes me think about the “eyes” that I pack every day. Sometimes, we set ourselves up for having a bad day, by preparing and expecting the worst. Every morning that I awaken and play the “Guess my Stress” game or assume that something will go wrong, or that traffic will be horrible, or that someone will make me mad, etc. etc….I am already subconsciously packing my angry eyes.

Have you heard of self-fulfilling prophecies? Sometimes, we sabotage ourselves by expecting and looking for the worst in situations. If I look hard enough for something to be wrong with my day, I will find it. However, if I take off my angry eyes and put on my hopeful pair, it will help me to look for the joy that the day may hold, rather than to focus on the bleak stuff.

Some may think that is like looking at everything through rose colored glasses and being a “Pollyanna.” I prefer to think of it as choosing to filter out the unimportant negativity and refusing to rent out my brain cells to non-productive thoughts. I’d rather be at peace than to live in anger. If you’re always on the lookout for trouble, you may miss some good things.

They say that the eyes are windows into the soul. When I think of that, it makes me want to keep those angry eyes in storage and wear my joyful ones!

Metal Chains Aren’t as Restrictive as Mental Chains!

August 18, 2013

Most people probably wouldn’t find the idea of being locked up in a prison very desirable. Given the choice, we would rather be free to roam and romp and do whatever we like to do. It is ironic, then, that we often lock chains on ourselves which make us feel trapped and powerless.

Of course, these aren’t physical chains. They are chains made of thoughts and habits which can restrict you as much as any metal restraint. Each link is made of a counterproductive belief about yourself. It can take the form of negative self-talk, self-sabotage, feelings of unworthiness, false ideas about your abilities and talents….and the list goes on.

Every time you allow your mind to spend time on these thoughts, you are tightening the grip of your shackles, and you’re putting one more lock on the door of your self-made jail cell. You will eventually find it more difficult to even ponder finding joy, success or freedom to live the life you desire.

Each one of us has a choice. The only guard at the prison door is yourself and you carry the key! You can sit on your pile of chains and mournfully sing “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” or simply claim your “pardon” and step out into freedom. The key is in your pocket. It is your ability to love and accept who you are, as you are. It is your willingness to turn your back on old fears, worries, doubts and resentments and speak to yourself kindly, with affirmations of your value.

The path may not always be easy, but it sure beats sitting chained up in a prison!