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Over the past three weeks, we have been addressing questions posed by a serious student of self-confidence, Ashley. We started out by identifying Ashley’s top five questions, and then we dove into strategies for strengthening confidence. The next week, we dove into the following three questions:

How do you handle negative people?”

“What encouraged you to tell your story?”

“(I know everyone is different) but how long did it take you to become confident?”

Today, we will conclude with answering Ashley’s fifth and final question—“(I know everyone is different) but how long did it take you to become confident?”

When you shine a light in a dark corner, you give yourself the opportunity to discover the truth about what’s in that corner, which is rarely scary. The same thing is true when it comes to self-image. What you think you see is rarely as magnificent as the beauty of who you really are. By getting to know yourself, you see your real beauty, along with the strategies you’ve honed to cover it up.

These strategies aren’t “bad.” They simply become obstacles to experiencing the kind of freedom and joy that come when you allow yourself to be seen … by you.

Learning about your positive qualities (honest, loving, generous, kind, etc.) is much easier than uncovering less desirable qualities (righteousness, manipulation, aggression, etc.). It’s easy to reach for social media, text messages, food, caffeine and other pleasurable distractions when shame or guilt rise to the surface and you don’t know what triggered the feeling.

By giving yourself the time and support you need to clearly see yourself without judgment (i.e. “I’m worthless/useless/a bad person because … ”), your struggle with self-image will end. The only way to get to know yourself is by studying your actions/reactions.

A great way to begin seeing your patterns is by writing in a journal every day and then reading what you wrote a couple days or weeks later. Try doing this exercise every day—

Give yourself fifteen to twenty minutes of uninterrupted time (no phone—no nothin’) to answer these three questions:

  1. What are three things that happened today that I am grateful for? (Bonus—do this same exercise the moment you wake up.)
  2. What are three positive qualities I demonstrated today (i.e. I’m a good listener, I have a great smile, I take good care of myself, I honor my word, etc.)?
  3. What did I learn today? This can be something you learn about yourself. (i.e. I gossip about other people when I don’t know what else to talk about or I’m really good at acknowledging the efforts of others.) You can also write something you learn about gravity, math, English, etc.

The beauty, and the challenge, of strengthening your self-image rests solely in your hands. Only you can take the steps every day that give you access to learning the truth about yourself. By giving yourself the time necessary to grow in awareness, you give yourself the gift of healthy self-image, and ultimately the confidence you seek.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister