Self-Confidence

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Self-Confidence

 

Self-confidence is defined as confidence in oneself or one’s abilities.

I didn’t grow up with much in the way of self-confidence or self-esteem. Although the operating word in here is self, one has to have this trait mirrored from parents, family, friends or society as they are growing up in order to get a sense of self from their caregivers and peers.

 I was raised in a very abusive household. Lots of name calling and physical abuse from family members was the pretty much my daily experience when I was growing up. An absent father who worked out of town didn’t help shape my life in any positive way. This just added to the rejection and abandonment issues I felt with not having my mother in the picture from the age of about 5 or 6.  I was in the ‘care’ of an angry, abusive step-mother along with her four kids, and my brother. In my mind this was a blended family that didn’t blend. There was lots of sibling rivalry and fights – a lot of favoritism towards her children.

I seems to have taken me a lifetime to overwrite the horrible names that I was called – first by my step-mother, then by kids at school. Names like: stupid, worthless, no good, dummy – those are the ‘nicer’ ones I was called. I won’t even begin to share some of the other ones!!

And schools, society and religion also imprint us with their own messages: “you’re stupid, a failure, not good enough in any subject, or to be a part of the cool group,” “you’re not thin or pretty enough,” “you’re born a sinner,” etc.

 

Building Self-Confidence

 

I liken the process of overwriting other people’s imprinting on one’s psyche to painting a fence with white paint – to make it pure and pristine again.

Imagine that each person has used a different color of ‘paint’ in their messaging of you. Your mother used red ‘paint,’ your father used blue, your grandmother used yellow, and each sibling, teacher, and society used a different color. If you remember the days when you used water colors, each time you dipped your paint brush in the water before changing colors, after your painting session the water was muddy brown. That to me is what my ‘fence’ – or psyche ended up looking like by the time I left home at sixteen. Pretty ‘shitty’ brown. That was reflected in my self-confidence and level of self-esteem.

Now, during my adulthood, it is up to me to rewrite, or re-paint my fence. I once read that it takes seven or more positive comments to overwrite one negative comment. If one can visualize that painted fence being muddy brown, I can understand why it would take multiple coats of paint (positive affirmations, or positive self-talk) to overwrite that muck!!

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Ten Steps to Self-Confidence

(photo credit  Healing Art Forms )

 

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