To become a master at anything, you need to understand where you are starting from and forming positive self belief is no different. Being a master is easier to identify in some skills e.g. playing the piano but much more difficult when dealing with subjective practices. What we need to do is acknowledge to ourselves exactly where we are and be truthful in how we talk about and talk to ourselves. This can often be tricky.
Be truthful to yourself. Not reactionary to what you think others think about you, but be honest about how you feel. If you document what you think and how you feel, this will help you realise how far you have come in the process of understanding your self beliefs. Start by writing down what you have done in your life, the milestones to date, and what you feel you have been good at. This doesn’t have to be about exams, tests or qualifications. It can be about your relationships, your interactions with people and how people say you make them feel. It could be as simple as people loving your smile.
To know what to work on, you need to identify the weaknesses in your life. But this is not for dwelling on, this is for holding your hand up and saying “yep, that’s me”. This could be having a job that you hate because you do not have a fulfilling role. This means you find that you are unable to do this to the best of your ability. Your brain thinks “I’m really bad at this” where that may not actually be true. It could be that you just really don’t like what you do.
It is also helpful to identify all the negative thoughts you have because over a period of time, you can start to see patterns emerging of who, when, where, why and how these are being formed.We have around 60,000 thoughts a day so by no means is it possible to document them all, but you can start by identifying the most powerful or overwhelming thoughts.
It could be that you spend time with a friend who is always putting you down. I call these “toxic” friends as they actually do nothing to help your well being. Your self belief can be easily driven down by these people so you can easily think that you are not clever, not attractive, not successful because actually they want you to feel like this so they feel better about themselves. Some friend! Identifying who these people are is a big step forward as you can then identify how they make you feel and examine whether there is any truth behind what they way.
Or it could be that your weakness is chocolate! Or cheese? Or eating crisps whilst watching the TV? If you really are being honest with yourself, perhaps the fact that you might be overweight is possibly because of the food that you consume in excess is not helping your weight. Your belief that you are overweight might be accurate but you are being honest in appreciating that you actually know what the cause is. Its not about being harsh on yourself, it is about being realistic.
Stop comparing yourself too. None of us have any real idea of how another has achieved/has succeeded in their world. To constantly keep comparing creates misery and keeps the negative thoughts growing. You are special and you do have something to give.
Start to challenge what you realise you are thinking and doing and work out what you really want. If you find yourself saying “I wish…” stop and think why you are thinking that. There might well be something that you can do over a period of time to change this. For example, if the job that you are in is really not what you want to be doing for the next few years, then ask yourself what is it that you would really like to do. For me, I knew that I had to be able to work on my terms so I needed to work out what I could do to facilitate this.
If you think you need to get qualifications or experience or just speak to the right people, then make it a goal to start to find out the information you need to move forward. You will feel a real sense of accomplishment when you find the information you need. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Break down what you need to do next into very small steps or goals and with each that you achieve, your positive self belief will be reinforced. It doesn’t matter how small, you’ve done it!
Along your journey, you will meet new people and forge friendships. Nurture those that help you and make you feel good about yourself. Make an active point of spending less and less time with “toxic” friends. They will never help you long term. However, you are mastering the skill of realising negative comments so for each one you hear, make alarm bells sound in your head and convert it to a positive statement whenever you can. Remember, you are just hearing their take on the world, not truth. Over time, your confidence will grow and you will have the courage to respond to negativity and even convert it to a positive comment that you say out loud. I’ve noticed that negative thinkers are always quite shocked when they hear another way of thinking. It doesn’t need to be aggressive but the inner lift or positivity that is felt is always very rewarding. A reinforcement of your own positive self belief.
Finally, what has happened in the past does not mean that this will always happen in the future. You are the one person who can create your own future and every day, decisions made determine whether you let the past affect your future. Choose wisely.