How to build confidence. Oni is on it, issue 3!

In issue 3 of Oni is on it, I tackle the subject matter of confidence.

(All names have been changed or slightly altered)

Okemah from Instagram wrote:

“Hey Oni, 

Love this whole advice thing! Anyway, I wanted to ask you about confidence, how does one build confidence when you are feeling self conscious and just unworthy I guess. I’ve finally started dating again since my divorce and it’s very hard to get out of my own head, I often think I’m not good enough for the people I’m dating.  When I talk to my friends about this they don’t understand, they tell me I’m crazy, reassuring me with lots of encouraging comments. But, I just can’t help how I feel. What do you suggest in regards to building confidence?”

Hey Okemah,

I’m sorry that you’ve been feeling the way you’ve been feeling.

First I wanted to say that everyone has moments of doubt, everyone has moments where they feel insecure or not worthy of something, I think those emotions are completely human, but in order to move past them you have to figure out why you are feeling them to begin with.  Start asking yourself questions to get to the source of your emotions, because a seed has to be planted in order for a plant to grow.  So where did the seed come from?

What is the catalyst of feeling unworthy?

What creates the the feeling of being self conscious?

At some point in your life someone or something planted a seed, a tiny thought in your brain, that you were not good enough. Maybe your father left when you were young, you got let go from a job you loved, or your husband was cheating on you.(These are all generic examples, not necessary somatic to what you’ve experienced) That tiny seed that was planted is now associated with fear, fear that you will be hurt again, experience similar pain again. You are associating the emotion of fear directly with the idea that you are less-than, and allowing yourself to feel self conscious because you have the nagging feeling that you are not good enough, but you’re not entirely sure why.

Before I go on let me say this, no I am not a therapist, people ask me this a lot.  No I do not have a degree in human behavior or psychology or counseling, or any of the above. I am just a writer who has herself gone to therapy and experienced tremendous growth over the years, read a lot of self help books prior to writing one, and has researched human behaviors quite significantly.

What I suggest from personal experience Okemah, is that you teach yourself how to dissociate from the idea that your fear of new experiences, the fear of possibly finding new love again, or being hurt by that new love is also directly related to the fact that you are not good enough. Write a list of all the reasons that you would make a great partner, you are kind, you are funny, you are brave enough to write into a self help column to a complete stranger, you love to cook, you’re a great mother, etc. etc. etc.  Before you venture out on your next date with one of these new prospects, read this list to yourself over and over again while you get ready.  This will remind you that you are human, it will ground your feet in the fact that you have palpable things to offer, and anyone would be lucky to have you in their life.  Right before you leave your house, say the following to yourself in the mirror, as you look yourself in the eyes, repeat three times:

“My fear does not own me.  My fear does not give me permission to think poorly about myself. My fear is not directly related to my worth.”

Now you are off to meet a new prospect with some tools. You have the knowledge of what you are offering to the world, and you have the ability and reminder to know that your fear can exist, that’s OK, but it does not define you.  It does not own you.

When you have moments of feeling self conscious or less-than, because those feelings are bound to creep up, live in them for a beat, and then try to understand why that feeling is there.  Don’t forget, you are worthy, you have things to offer the world, your sporadic dips in confidence, your fear, does not devalue your worth.

“My fear does not own me.  My fear does not give me permission to think poorly about myself. My fear is not directly related to my worth.”

Good luck!

It will all be OK, Oni~

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