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No one is born naturally confident. Confidence is a quality that we develop over time.  It doesn’t happen overnight, and very often, it comes with age and maturity.

Confidence is not the same thing as arrogance or haughtiness.  It is more subtle.  Confident people are simply people who feel comfortable in their own skins. Confident people like themselves, even though they know that they are imperfect.

Below are four things that confident people do regularly.  If you lack confidence, consider adopting some of these habits.  If you start doing some of these simple things, you will find your confidence begin to grow.

Confident People Have a Healthy View of Themselves: Confident people are neither arrogant nor are they insecure.  They have a reasonable view of themselves.  They understand that God has blessed them with certain qualities – just like every other person on this earth.  So, they appreciate the qualities that God has given them.  And they don’t sit around feeling badly because they don’t have the qualities of their neighbor or best friend.

Unfortunately, it is challenging to have a healthy view of oneself.  We live in a society in which we constantly compare.  For example, parents compare their children to each other, instead of delighting in the uniqueness of each one.  As adults, we compare our houses, cars and jobs, instead of feeling happy with what God has given us.

It has taken a long time for me to stop comparing myself to other people, and that has been the key to my ability to be confident. For example, while I admire the talents of other people, I no longer feel frustrated because I don’t possess their talents.  I know that God has created me with certain natural skills.  He has given me a certain appearance, personality and level of intelligence that He thinks is right for me.  So, I feel confident when I walk into a room because I know that I am perfect in God’s eyes.

Confident People Rack Up Accomplishments: It is hard to feel confident when you aren’t accomplishing anything with your life.  God has given each of us gifts and talents for a reason!  You are wasting those gifts and talents if you don’t find ways to use them.

God has given each of us unique gifts and talents in order to accomplish good works. For instance, I have a friend who has a brain for finances.  She not only manages her family’s finances, but she does an exceptional job of managing our church’s finances.  Everyone at the church holds her in high regard because we would be in a financial quagmire without her.  She, in turn, gets a feeling of satisfaction knowing that she is accomplishing important work using her God-given talents.

Once you identify the special skills that God has given you, work at honing them. Take classes, read books, or practice your skills.  Then use those skills to accomplish things in service to God.  By developing and using your God-given talents, you will feel more and more confident and capable.

Confident People Ignore the Negative Opinions of Others: The sad truth is that there aren’t many encouragers in this world.  Most people love to point out the faults and limitations of others.  Confident people learn to ignore those negative opinions.

It took me a long time to stop listening to other people’s opinions of me, and to start listening to God’s opinion.  I have gotten negative feedback about my appearance, intelligence and personality from different people, even some who have been closest to me.  And I will admit, that it is upsetting to be criticized in such a manner.

However, the most liberating thing happened to me about seven years ago. Someone close to me was criticizing me, and I said, “You are welcome to your opinion, but I am good with God, and that is all that matters to me.”  That was truly a life changing moment, and I’ve never looked back.  From that point forward, there has been only one opinion that matters to me – God’s.  When God is the one you are trying to please, it is much easier to be confident because God created you and loves you, just as you are.

They Are Quick to Praise Others: One thing that I have observed about authentically confident people is that they build others up.  When you are in a position of confidence, you aren’t threatened by the skills and attributes of others.  You have your skills, and they have their skills.  You aren’t in competition with others, so you can easily praise others when they do something well.

People who lack confidence tend to either insult others, or they are stingy with praise. Their insecurities prevent them from acknowledging the talents of others.  And unfortunately, some people tend to put others down as a way of making them feel better about themselves.

It is good to get in the habit of praising others. Telling someone that they look nice or that they did something well is what people of excellence do – all the time.  I know that sometimes we think complimentary thoughts in our heads, but we forget to verbalize them.  I am at fault for that as much as anyone.  But I do try to compliment and praise, as much as possible.  And when I do, I feel good about myself for having been gracious.  And the recipient of my compliment feels good as well!

Try using the above “confidence habits” to change how you feel about yourself. Just doing these four simple things will make you feel more happy with who you are as a person.  You will soon start walking into any situation with your head held high, knowing that you are a perfect creation of God and that you have so much to be confident about.

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I have an approach to problems, which I refer to as The Coin Theory. I consider problems to be like a coin.  One side of our problem is the heads side, and the other side is the tails side.  The tails side is the obvious, bad part of our problem.  The heads side is the positive perspective on our problem.  The key to living a happy life is to acknowledge the tails side, but to focus on the heads side.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you are great at your job.  You are knowledgeable about your field, and you work hard.  However, your boss won’t give you a raise.  She tells you that while she appreciates all that you do, she simply doesn’t have the extra money for a raise.

Under these circumstances, what are you going to focus on each day when you go to your job? Are you going to focus on the heads side of your job?  Are you going to feel good about the fact that you are well-accomplished in your work?  Or, are you going to focus on the tails side?  Are you going to feel frustrated by the fact that your boss won’t pay you the amount of money that you would like to earn?

If you focus on the tails side, you will go to work each day in a miserable mood. You will feel unappreciated and frustrated by your job.  However, your angry attitude won’t change the situation.  Your boss simply isn’t going to give you a raise, even if you are doing your job beautifully.

So, you have a choice. You can go to work every day unhappy because you aren’t being compensated in the manner that you would like.  Or, you can go to work with a smile on your face, knowing that you are incredibly good at what you do.  You can derive confidence from being great at your job.  You can focus on learning new skills at your current job which will enable you to get the next job, where you will receive the pay and recognition that you deserve.  The choice is yours.  Which side of the coin are you going to focus on?

This approach works for any troubling situation in our lives. Let’s say you have heart issues.  On the tails side, you can focus on the fact that heart disease is very serious.  It is the leading cause of death in the United States.  You can feel overwhelmed and wonder if your own death is imminent.

Or, you can focus on the fact that you have a physical ailment which can be improved by making simple lifestyle changes. Changing how often you exercise and what you eat can have a huge impact on heart disease.  It is far better to have an illness which can be improved through our own efforts than one which can only be treated with medications or serious surgeries.

The Coin Theory especially holds true in relationships. So often a spouse will focus on the one thing that they don’t like about their husband or wife, rather than focusing on the other million great traits that he or she holds.  For instance, a wife might be frustrated by the fact that her husband lacks spontaneity.  But she overlooks the fact he is very responsible, and that she never has to worry about their making ends meet, or that their bills won’t be paid on time (big things!).  Or a husband may wish that his wife enjoyed the same interests that he does.  But he forgets that she works hard at her job to contribute financially to the household, or that she does a great job to make sure that the kids are organized and are doing well in school (again, big things!).

I shudder to think of how many marriages end up in divorce because spouses choose to focus on what they think their spouse lacks, rather than focusing on their spouse’s wonderful attributes. The same holds true for our relationships with our children, co-workers and friends.  I’m not suggesting that you turn a blind eye to the bad qualities of other people.  As a matter of self-preservation, you need to be aware of where other people have failings.  But relationships run more smoothly when we focus on what others do well.

The Coin Theory works for all problems in life. This week, consider using it when approaching your own problems and concerns.  See how flipping your perspective from what is wrong in your life to what is so very right can make a big difference in how you experience the world.

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So often, we get frustrated with our jobs because we treat them like they are our calling. As a result, we give our jobs a higher level of importance than they deserve.  Then if we have a bad day at work, or our boss doesn’t appreciate us, we feel badly about ourselves.

Admittedly, there are a lucky few for whom their jobs are their calling. But for most of us, our jobs simply are a way to make money, and God’s calling for our lives is something very different.  And that is OK!  There is nothing wrong with your job not being your life calling.

For instance, I have a job which I enjoy. It is pleasant enough.  I work in the legal field, so my job allows me to use my law degree.  In addition, I serve the public, which makes my job more meaningful.  But my job, ultimately, is just a way to make money.  Nothing more.  So, I don’t invest a lot of emotional energy in it.  As a result, if I have a bad day at work, or I don’t feel adequately appreciated for my efforts, that is OK.  The purpose of my job is to make money to pay the bills, nothing more.

Of course, as a matter of self-respect, I work hard and try to do my job well. However, I don’t identify myself with my job or title.  My job isn’t who I am.  And I would hope that in my obituary, my job merely will be a small footnote compared to the other things that I have done with my life.

When you keep your work life in perspective, you then can devote your real mental energy to God’s calling for your life.  And frankly, you may have more than one calling!  I do.  For example, I am first and foremost called to be a good mother to my daughter and a good wife to my husband.  But I also feel called to be a loyal friend to a few trusted people in my life.  And I feel called to write this column for Beliefnet.  Writing this column is incredibly meaningful for me.

The key to being happy with your life is to be able to distinguish those things that you do that are practical activities (making money, cleaning your house, cooking, etc.) from those things that you do that are God’s calling for your life.

We all have to do practical activities. We all have to make money to pay bills, and we have to do the chores that make life more civilized and pleasant.  But our emotional energy should not be directed toward our practical activities.  Rather, our emotional energy and drive should be directed toward those activities which are our calling.

So, at the end of the day, what matters is not whether my boss gave me a pat on the back or a raise for a job well done. Rather, what matters is this:  Have I been a good mother today?  Is my daughter happy and secure?  Does my husband feel cared for by me?  Have I reached out to a friend today to give him or her some support?  Have I made a positive contribution to the world through my column on Beliefnet?

This week, take some time to consider which are your practical activities in life versus your life calling. Do a good job in all things, but give your emotional and mental energy to your calling.  When you realize what is important in life – accomplishing your calling – the irritations that inevitably arise from our practical activities aren’t nearly so frustrating.

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In 2016, approximately 60% of eligible voters cast their ballots in the presidential election. Which makes me wonder, “What were the other 40% doing that day?”  Did they all get lost on the way to the polls?  Were many of them stuck under a large piece of furniture?  What exactly was keeping them from meeting their civic responsibility to vote?

In our country, we like to talk a lot about our rights as citizens.  We have the right to free speech.  We have the right to buy guns.  We have the right to remain silent and not incriminate ourselves.  But we are loath to talk about our responsibilities as citizens.

Part of living in a democracy means that you have a responsibility to participate in elections. This responsibility is an important one.  When everyone votes, that allows our country to elect government officials who accurately reflect our American values.  Otherwise, we risk electing leaders who are unqualified, either intellectually or morally, to lead.

In the 2016 election, I heard a lot of very poor reasons for why people didn’t vote. Some people said that they didn’t “like” either candidate.  Really?  This isn’t high school.  Elections aren’t a search for the king and queen of the prom.  They aren’t popularity contests.  Elections essentially are job interviews, and a candidate either has the experience and demeanor for the job, or he or she doesn’t.

Sometimes people complain that they can’t take the day off work. Well, you don’t have to.  You can vote by mail.  My elderly mother votes by mail for every election.  If an 83-year-old lady can figure out how to vote by mail, so can you.

We are no longer living in a world in which we can be complacent about choosing our leaders. If the last two years has taught us anything, it is that by not voting, we can end up with leaders who don’t reflect our American values, and who don’t even understand what it means to be American.

We can end up with leaders who don’t understand that we are a country that was created by immigrants, and it is the immigrant tenacity which has made our country great. We can end up with leaders who don’t think that women should have authority over their own bodies.  We can end up with leaders who don’t understand that the United States is supposed be a beacon of morality, and that it is our duty to help those who are less fortunate and suffering, no matter where they may be on the globe.

So tomorrow, meet your responsibility as a citizen and vote. Your opinion and your vote matters.

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