“Smile, for everyone lacks self-confidence and more than any other one thing a smile reassures them.” – Andre Maurois
One of the gifts from growing older is we get to experience our personal challenges more often. Because of this, we can find ways to overcome these challenges – if we make the attempt.
I have spent the better part of the last 50 years coping with the challenge of restoring my self-confidence on the days when it feels like its slipping away. Growing up with a speech impediment and an alcoholic mother has made it more difficult to see myself as a confident man.
However, just as I can see the fall in confidence begin to happen, I’m also able to find my way back to confidence a litter sooner now. When I fall, I rely on what I’m still learning to help me restore my self-confidence.
1. Recognize my demons. Acknowledging my enemies is the first step to their defeat. My demons prefer to operate in darkness. When I pull them into the light their power begins to diminish.
2. Feel my worth. It’s one thing to say I’m worthy, but to feel my worth is another matter. To do this, I consider one positive thing I did. I trace this thought from my mind and all the way to my heart. Once it arrives there, the action becomes more than something I did. It becomes a part of who I am – it becomes a part of my worth.
3. Make the choice. Every day I get to choose confidence. Some days I feel strong and on other days self-confidence is missing. On those days, at least I have the choice to say, “What would a self-confident man do in this situation?” When I find the answer, I can make the choice to act with confidence, or not.
4. Celebrate my humanness. I don’t want to be perfect; I just want to be Alex. When my confidence is lacking, I try to remember I don’t have to be perfect. Part of who I am is the mistakes I’ve made along the way. These mistakes contribute to my humanness more than the things I get exactly right.
5. Practice. Self-confidence is not natural for me. It takes focus and practice. When I feel the slide begin to happen, I practice keeping my legs strong just like I did as a child when standing in the surf. As a young boy, I would practice not allowing the wave to knock me down. Sometimes I would win and sometimes the force was just too strong. I still must practice.
6. Save some medicine for myself. When I stop doing the things I know will keep me strong is when I get in the most trouble. Recently I took a break from writing. I blamed my work schedule, Emily’s cheerleading schedule and being tired. When I do this, I play with fire. Writing keeps me centered. Writing is the medicine when I feel weak. After the most recent fall, I have committed that no matter how busy life gets, and after I’m finished taking care of everyone else, I will be sure to save some medicine for myself, too.