Confidence is a big word, and for years it eluded me. Every therapist I saw told me I needed more; my friends and family wholeheartedly agreed. Men broke up with me citing my lack of it. Great – what do I do? So I went on a search for confidence, listened to many speak on the subject, read dozens of books, hunted in the really deep, dark places of my soul trying to figure out where I went wrong. Always I came to the same conclusion: I was broken. And who was to blame for my lack of confidence, my missing sense of self, this deep lack in my persona? My parents of course! I discussed it with my therapist and friends ad nauseum. They agreed that my parents were the culprits, and in fact many of my friends came to the same conclusion about their own parents.
So my suspicions were confirmed: my mother and my father were definitely to blame. They didn’t compliment me enough, nurture me enough, in fact they criticized me. I had a long list! It couldn’t be MY fault; I’d been trying so hard for years, a victim of low self-esteem and very little confidence. No one wanted it more for me than I did. I thought, can I just take a pill? Isn’t there an easy solution? Then the pill didn’t work either, so that left me thinking, now what? Am I doomed to a life of not believing in myself and never reaching my potential?
Here's where I busted in on my own pity party, and let's hope I'm busting in on yours, too. When I began as a life coaching client seven years ago, I discovered a secret. What I had been looking for was exactly what I had been running from and avoiding for years: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but MY truth. I asked myself: how was I living, being, taking on each day? Was I proud of myself in every area of my life? The answer was a very loud NO. So there’s the connection, my parents were not at fault. It was my own actions; not living by my own truth was what was diminishing my confidence.
I learned that confidence is a verb. It is the action-taking and doing: taking actions I was proud of and doing all the things I wish I would do. The answer was simple, but not easy. I had to make real changes. You can, too, if you're willing to stop whining, complaining and blaming, and just start doing what you say you'll do, what you wish you would do. Increased confidence will come immediately as a result.
It's years later and now I'm a Senior Coach with Handel Group™ Life Coaching. I take my clients through a very similar journey to the one I went on. We start with the very basics of taking the right actions. The first thing I had to tackle was my body and I find that is the same for most of my clients. Luckily, this is an area of life where we have total control; no one else has a say. The mother ship does not come down and feed you pizza and ice cream as you sleep. It’s all your choice, the actions you take and don’t take. Your confidence is based on this phenomenon. Trust me; if you go do your workout, eat your salad, put down the sugar and the bread, you will feel differently about yourself.
I recently worked with a client and over the course of three months. She not only lost 20 pounds and fell in love with her body again, but the rewards of following through on her diet and exercise program also profoundly affected several other areas of her life. As she lost the weight and gained confidence, she transformed several key relationships at work that had been holding her back for years. She also went on a mission to master time management and she quit her procrastination habit. Lastly, and I think most importantly, she is connecting with people: friends, family, colleagues and her husband, on a much deeper level than she ever did before. She’s being herself and is finally proud of who that is every day. There’s nothing better.
So my challenge to you today is to start considering it a pleasure to nurture, heal and care for your body. You have one body and it provides so much for you. It’s a gift you have been given that needs your attention and love. And then there’s the confidence factor; limitless amounts of confidence are available to you in return for honoring what your body needs. Are you ready to start reaching for it?!
If you want help along the path of loving yourself and your body, I do both individual and group coaching. For the past several years I have been leading a group telecourse called “Dream Body” with wild success. Click on the link for more information or to register online for this upcoming group telecourse.