Does your level of confidence influence your ability to love? It’s often said that before you can love another, you must love yourself. While I believe that most of us agree with that statement, it begs the question “What does it take to love yourself?”
Self-love and confidence
Imagine for a moment that you’re someone who possesses little confidence. So little that you often feel inept at virtually everything. Any dreams you might have are quickly replaced with doubts about your ability to make them come true, fear that you’ll fail again and frustration over the fact that life holds little promise for you.
You want a different life, but either don’t know how to go about getting it or believe that you’d bungle that attempt as well. Consequently, you don’t pursue a more confident life. As a result your doubts, fears, anxiety and frustration intensify to the point at which you are so consumed by these emotions that you can think of no one but yourself. And the thoughts of yourself are denigrating thoughts, not loving thoughts. In a situation like this, how would it be possible to love others? More likely, you’d envy them their joy and success and in the process shun them because they remind you of your perceived inadequacies.
Most of us fit into this category. We may or may not view ourselves as confident people, but realize that in certain situations we are comfortable and others not so much so. Generally we’re satisfied with who we are. Yes, there are things about ourselves that we want to improve, but they don’t prevent us from feeling good about ourselves. Consequently, we possess more compassion, caring and love for others because we love ourselves.
We’re more likely to help and encouragement to those in need and express love for others especially when we feel close to the person. You enjoy a much healthier and happier state of mind than people with little confidence. And it does increase your capacity to love.
People who are consistently confident know that they can deal with any situation that comes their way. They don’t fear failure nor do they bemoan missteps. They realize that each obstacle, each challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow, consequently, they relish each opportunity.
Other advantages of their mindset is that they suffer less anxiety. In those rare instances when they do experience anxiety, they quickly set aside that emotion in favor of more productive behaviors. They also experience less frustration because they realize that any attempt that doesn’t produce the desired outcome simply takes them one step closer to their desired result.
Consistently confident people love themselves…warts and all. They acknowledge the frailty of their humanity without judging it as being good or bad. Instead they view frailties as something to be dealt with, improved upon and a source of joy when they overcome them.
In fact, consistently-confident people love themselves so completely and are so confident in their ability to deal with anything that comes their way, that they rarely think about themselves. Instead, they focus on sharing with others the riches their confidence affords.
They are continuously striving to share what they’ve learned so that others can experience the joy confidence brings. They do this for people who lash out against them as well as those who are close to them. The reason they are able to do this is that they realize that the person who lashes out is experiencing pain. And that person is redirecting their pain toward them.
In situations like this the consistently confident person’s focus is helping alleviate the other person’s pain. Is there any greater expression of love than helping someone who is attacking you verbally and emotionally? I think not.
The key to increasing your love of yourself and, consequently, your ability to love others is to become more confident. And the key to that is retraining your brain to look at things differently than you currently are.
Depending on where you are on the abbreviated confidence spectrum I outlined above, here are some things to help you retrain your brain so that you can become more confident:
- Begin with a mindset that you aren’t going to judge the results you get as you employ the following steps. They are neither good nor bad, simply something to be dealt with.
- Make a list of the things that you have accomplished in your life. Don’t dismiss as being “little” or “insignificant” things like learning to tie your shoes, all the things you learned in school, the skills you developed in doing your job, what you’ve learned in your dealing with others.
- Make a list of the situations you’ve faced in which you had no background or experience. Note that you always found a way to deal with the situation. Again, don’t think about the fact that you might have done it better. The reality is that you learned from that experience so, of course, you could do it better today.
- Finally, review these lists of successes twice each day. Once in the morning shortly after rising and again just prior to going to bed. You’ll notice that with a week or two your brain will reference these successes more frequently and, as a result, you’ll experience less doubt, fear and anxiety. You’ll also feel a desire to share the love your feel for yourself with others.
- Continue building confidence by first reading about then employing NLP (neurolinguistic programming) to help you use positive language in both your self-talk and conversations with others.?li>
- When establishing big goals (goals that may take months, years or even decades to achieve), establish weekly mile markers, then celebrate each week’s successes as well as the lessons learned during the week. The lessons learned are going to accelerate your movement toward your ultimate goal.
- Make helping others an activity that you engage in multiple times a day. My mission is to leave everyone I meet better off than when we met. Not only do I get the psychic reward of helping others, I feel valuable and valued which helps me be healthier mentally and physically.
- Train your brain to trust your subconscious mind. One of the simplest ways to start this process is to set your alarm clock for the time you want to get up. Then instruct your subconscious mind to awaken you five minutes before the alarm goes off. You’ll discover that your subconscious mind never fails to awaken you on time.
- As you begin to trust your subconscious mind, tap into it consciously and at will to help you solve problems that your conscious mind is struggling to solve. Our natural tendency is to press harder when a solution eludes us. Instead, you want to stop the conscious approach as soon as you become aware that it’s not working and assign the task to your subconscious mind. Once you make that assignment, shift your conscious mind’s efforts to a different task.
- Realize that the emotions you feel are messages from your subconscious mind. When you experience emotions like procrastination, fear, anxiety, frustration, envy, anger or boredom, ask your subconscious what you should do to replace that emotion with a productive behavior. Then, once again, devote your conscious mind to another activity.
For you and for our kids
Print this blog post read it aloud with your kids. Discuss honestly where you are on the spectrum. Together devise ways to help one another achieve higher and higher levels of confidence. This isn’t a competition. Progress is success regardless of your starting point.
Repeat this weekly. As you do so, make sure that each of you is celebrating success and sharing in the joy of each others’ success. This simple act will enable you to regularly experience success and the joy it affords…and, increasingly, love of yourself and others.