Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

hand reachingNo one is born feeling self-empowered. Confidence is learned. EVERYONE has fears and insecurities. But, some create a confident façade. Attractive people at the top of their game share fears and self-loathing at my workshops or during counseling. Nobody feels perfect but some of us magnify our flaws more than others. You CAN empower yourself, step by step, with patience and determination. It can take a while but you can start today to inch your way to becoming self-empowered and break any People Pleasing Habits you might have!

Repeat affirmations. Affirm that you can do what you want, repeatedly, until it sticks. When you have an important meeting to attend or phone call to make, before you leave or call repeat, “I know what I’m doing.” or “I will make a great impression” or “It will all work out for me.” The more you say an affirmation, the more it will sink in and become true for you. Repeat a positive one until you believe it! Create your own affirmation. “I can do anything I choose.”

Build self-appreciation. Self-esteem that’s based on external achievements doesn’t last! Take a personal inventory of your good qualities. Often what you hate blinds you to your great attributes. Become aware of yours by looking for them (ask loved ones for suggestions) and writing them down just to impress yourself. Read it often and let them sink into your consciousness to help you value yourself more. Like any skill, self-appreciation needs regular practice. Read my FREE book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways, for more suggestions As you begin to own your good qualities with pride, it will reflect in your attitude. “I appreciate the wonderful person that I am.”

Accept that no one, including you, is perfect or completely secure. Stop holding yourself to higher standards than others. Striving to be perfect disempowers you. if you wait for perfection to feel good about yourself it will never happen. Since perfection is impossible, you’ll always be going after it and feeling low for not getting it. Even if you do something perfectly, there will be some area that isn’t and it will bring you down. Repeat, “I accept myself in my own imperfect skin.”

Take responsibility for your thoughts. It’s YOUR choice to adopt criticism from others as YOUR perception of who you are. Allowing criticism from others to rule your thoughts reflects in your behavior. Remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s wise words – “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.” You CAN choose to brush off criticism and feel good about yourself. Someone may call you ignorant but you’re not unless you decide to agree. “I choose to think well of me.”

Fake confidence. Rene Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.” Even if your confidence is shaky, fake it. Practice can make it real! “I think, therefore I am.” You can ACT confident, even if you’re not using many of the other tips. Often the difference between a confident person and you is consciously projecting a self-assured aura. Watch how people who seem confident carry themselves and do what they do. As you convince others, you’ll own it! One day you’ll realize you’re not acting. It’s glorious to grow into confidence. “I think and carry myself like a confident person, therefore I am one.”

Be consciously kinder to you. The more you do for you, the better you’ll feel. Each kindness will make you want more. It helps you focus on you and believe that you deserve good. Give yourself a break. when you’re tired. Take a bath. Buy the lotion or coffee that costs a few dollars more than the cheap brand. Self-kindness can blossom into self-love from which self-empowerment can grow. Take The Self-Love Movement™’s pledge to make a 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment. “I deserve to be treated with kindness.”

Practice good posture. That’s easy to fake! Standing tall is a good habit. Straightening your stance feels better physically. I initially developed good posture to avoid back pain and felt more confident by standing straight, arching my shoulders and holding my head high. Make eye contact. Helen Keller said, “Never bend your head. Hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.” Your stance makes a statement. People will buy a confident image if you create good habits. Set a tone for their immediate perception of you. Good posture can make you look and feel more powerful! “I command my power.”

Give self-pep talks. Affirm in a mirror that you’re good enough. Recite your positive qualities. Support YOU as you do others. When nervous, repeat, “You can do it” until you calm down. Tell yourself how terrific you are. It encourages taking a positive step. When you need a confidence boost, affirm, “I’m wonderful and know I’m capable of doing what I need to do.”

Stop negative self-talk. “I can’t get taken seriously.” “People won’t like me if I stop favors.” Override them with affirmations. “Everything will work out for my good.” Pay attention to any self-defeating thoughts you have. Try hard to be positive. It makes a big difference in your spirit. Talk to yourself like you would to your best friend, not to someone you don’t like. “I deserve to be talked to with a loving attitude.”

Control How You Speak. When anxious, you may talk faster. Consciously slowing down and enunciating words offers more control and allows leeway for speeding up if emotions kick in. Managing your pace and enunciating words controls emotions, which helps you feel more confident and sound more serious! Your voice may go higher when you’re frustrated or nervous. Emotions lower credibility if they make you sound squeaky. A quick fix? Begin speaking with your voice lower than usual to allow leeway for when emotions make it rise. Bringing the pitch down sounds more serious. If you speak slower, in a lower pitch and enunciate your words, people will give your words more credibility. It translates into real confidence as you get better responses. “I speak up for myself well.”

Speak with conviction. You get taken more seriously if there’s conviction in your message—a combo of how you phrase it and how assured you sound. Sounding like you’re just hoping for instead of expecting a positive response doesn’t sound serious.  “I’d like____. Can you get it for me?” can be, “I expect to get the ___. When will you have it?” Show you mean business! Being tentative or wishy-washy won’t generate respect or results. “I do mean business!”

Create a support team. Buddy with someone who’s also trying to improve. Talk every day—positively. Cheer each other on. Or, create an informal group of people who meet to encourage each other. Call one when you’re struggling. We benefit from helping each other. Invite pep talks from friends about why you should be empowered. “I deserve to be supported.”

Use a firm handshake. A handshake sends a message. Limp ones don’t impress. A firm handshake gets noticed. Practice your grip. Don’t squeeze too hard but let your hand seem confident, even if you’re nervous. Practicing a good handshake can get you more respect from people, which builds confidence for real. A firm grip is easy to fake and makes a solid impression. “I can make a good impression.”
Let go of negative people. We absorb other people’s negativity. That’s why it’s good to avoid the negative or toxic ones who bring you down and make you feel like you’re not capable. If you want to keep one in your life, limit time spent with that person. And ask that they not make the negative comments. If they do, leave. Love yourself enough to not allow negative people to hurt you. “I only allow positive people into my life.”

Learn more. Do you feel inadequate because there are things you want to do but can’t? Do you want a better job or to fix something on your own? Learn skills! Adult Ed classes and books teach how to do a gazillion things. Learn to do simple plumbing, maintain a website, create a newsletter, etc. You’ll feel more competent. Do computer classes go too fast or confuse you? Are you scared to take auto mechanics? Find an expert for private instructions. Hire a computer whiz college kid for a few bucks to show you. Find the right person to tutor you instead of feeling dumb about not understanding how to do it. Being able to do something you couldn’t makes yo feel more empowered. “I can learn to do anything I choose.”

Learn comfortable ways to say “no.” Saying “no” to what you don’t want to do says “yes” to you, which is very empowering. If you find it hard to turn people down, ask yourself what scares you and what’s the worst that can happen. People who matter to you, and care about you will understand. If it’s too uncomfortable at first, don’t say “no.” Say that you have another commitment. Eventually just say, “I can’t do it.” Most people will accept that if YOU do. Or say you have to check your calendar and will get back to them. then email that it doesn’t work. You can learn to Say “Yes” Slowly, or turn people down if you don’t rush to answer. You CAN Say “NO!“I deserve to be able to turn people down and can do it.”

Let faith help you through. Faith is your biggest power tool.  The more you trust that you’ll be taken care of, the more you’ll be able to relax in that knowledge. Knowing that God, or whatever higher being you believe in, will be with you all the time can seriously boost your ability to empower yourself. Faith helps you have the courage to do what scares you and to believe in your ability to get things done. “I am spiritually supported in whatever I do.”

Join the Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 2013 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE. Join the Self-Love Movement™! on Facebook.

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