Over the last four blogs in this series, Six Tools to Build Self-Confidence, I have offered you some simple techniques to use to develop your self-confidence and reduce anxiety.
Self-confidence is like a muscle. It has to be used to be developed. If not, it will atrophy and shrink. Using a technique once is not going to suddenly give you self-confidence and enable you to do the thing you want to do. This sounds obvious but you would be amazed at how many people do something once, don’t get the result they are seeking and then say “Hey that didn’t work”.
You wouldn’t go to the gym once and expect to have toned muscles, would you?
Enabling yourself with a new behaviour takes effort, time and commitment. It’s said that you have to do something different 40 times before it becomes an embedded behaviour.
You can ‘just decide’
Think about how long you have had an issue – not being able to say “No”, fear of public speaking or asking for the business – it may have been many years. It’s logical that to undo that behaviour and embed a new one is going to take some time. Conversely, I have had the experience of just deciding not to do something and being able to change that overnight. Sometimes we can ‘just decide’.
Some years ago, I realised that accepting a compliment was hard for me. When someone said “I like your …”, “You look great in that …” or “You’re really good at ….”, I would brush it away with a statement something like “Oh it’s just …”. I learned that accepting a compliment was like receiving a gift and I decided that from that point I would take the first step in accepting it. I didn’t have to believe it. I just had to hear it and not bat it back.
To change your behaviour and do something different you have to be in the present (Gestalt). You have to notice what you are doing, you have to ‘catch yourself’ doing it and then you have to inhibit your response, take a breath and do something different.
I learned that when I received a compliment, my instinctive response was to think negatively and then voice it. To inhibit this response I had to be aware of what I was thinking, actively stop myself saying it and then do something different, to say “Thank you”.
It can require effort
Actively changing behaviour takes effort and I didn’t do it every time. It took practice. Eventually, I got a handle on it and now I simply say “Thank you” without having to think about it. The result is that I hear the compliment and feel good about the exchange between me and the other person. Accepting a compliment is like accepting a gift – not giving it back – the giver feels good about it too.
Practice doing something different. Be kind to yourself. Accept that you are a work in progress and appreciate yourself for the effort you are making to change and feel better about yourself. You may not achieve it every time and that’s ok. Flex the muscle and it will grow.
If you aren’t sure about your internal dialogue, book a Discovery Session. We’ll identify your negative self-talk, I’ll teach you skills to manage it and we’ll flex your self-confidence muscle.