The power of self esteem

We went to see a friend’s daughter, who is not quite 14, sing at an open mic night in a pub the other night. As she stood alone on the stage looking entirely self composed, I envied her incredible confidence and self esteem.

As her lovely voice echoed around the room I thought about myself at 14. I was painfully shy at that age, throughout my teens and into my twenties. There is no way I  could have jumped on stage even if I could sing!  I had very little confidence and, looking back, I can see how limiting that was.

If you believe you can, you can!

What I have come to realise is that If you don’t believe that you can do something you won’t even try, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This might mean you don’t revise for exams – what’s the point if you ‘know’ you’re not clever enough to pass? That opportunity for promotion at work? There are loads of people who are better than you who will go for it. You have no chance. University? You will never be offered a place and you don’t think you will manage living alone.

How many super successful people lack self confidence? Do you think they don’t have knock backs and doubts? The difference between those who settle for an ok life and those who strive for more is routed in their self esteem. So, their big idea was rejected or didn’t work? They will put it to one side and try something else. They will keep going because they believe that they will get there.

Running a marathon

Self belief will get you started and then give you the motivation to keep going. Marathon runners have likely trained for the event but as they approach the end it is the encouragement of those around shouting them on plus the little voice inside their head that says ‘I can do this’ that will see them across the finish line.

When your internal dialogue is telling you that you can’t achieve something, try switching it to ‘I can’. My auto response was always to doubt myself . I was so terrified of failure that I could barely begin, let alone stay motivated to achieve what I wanted. When these negative thought pop up, I recognise them and replace the though

Overcoming self doubt

Age and experience have shown me that I can beat those feelings. When I thought about training to be a yoga teacher my over riding attitude was ‘I can’t stand up in front of a room full of strangers and teach’! By then I had enough experience to put those feelings to one side and give it a go. Fortunately, the teacher encouraged me to start a class as soon as I could and within six months I was teaching at the local adult education centre.

When I divorced my husband I was full of self doubt. How would I cope financially? Could I manage everything alone? I found that I could. This is where my frugal journey began in earnest and this little blog was born.

This all had a ripple like effect on other areas of my life. When I was younger I would never stand up in a meeting to speak. Now I do that regularly. I doubt I will ever find it easy but I know I can. I had to do a group interview for my current job. Many people find this kind of situation terrifying but I quite enjoyed it!

Learning self esteem

Although many of us aren’t gifted with natural self confidence from an early age that doesn’t mean we can’t learn it. We can overcome shyness and lack of self esteem. We can replace each negative thought that pops up to undermine us with a positive one. We can develop awareness of our negative and sel-limiting thought patterns and retrain our brains to think differently.

I may not have been able to stand in the spotlight at age 14, but I can do it now! I am a work in progress and still need to give myself a talking to on a regular basis, but I am getting there! How about you? Has a lack of self confidence stopped you achieving what you want?

3 thoughts on “The power of self esteem

  1. Tania

    We all find ourselves at different points in our lives and for different reasons. My job pushed me, I would be posted all over the UK and France driving to various locations, meeting new people. Renovating properties also meant I had to speak to lots of suppliers , pick brains and read up on things. Thank goodness for YouTube you can learn so much more now.

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  2. Quest

    Wow, I admire your friend’s 14 year old daughter for having the ability to sing on open mic night! I also applaud your friend for raising her daughter in such a way that she feels that she can take risks and everything will be OK! That is awesome.

    As a 14 year old, I was a mental mess. My mother and father had instilled such terror in me and my sibling both, that neither one of us would ever have had the courage to sing in front of strangers. It was enough just to leave the house. We never achieved our full potential to this day. There is always that feeling of shame, humiliation and ‘never being good enough’ in the back of both our minds. Sorry for the downer but my self esteem has been a big fat zero for most of my life. Things have changed as I have grown older. I realize that I received crappy parenting from a pair of people who could barely take care of themselves and who, to this day, continue to belittle and criticize everyone around them. How sad that, as children, we internalized and believed what these types told us.

    Seeing that 14 year old on stage makes my heart smile 🙂

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  3. Julia

    As my 16 year old enters his last week of exams, he is another one crippled into inaction by the “I’m going to fail anyway, so why bother” line of thought.
    From my age and experience I can see that it is such a waste of potential, and had hoped he would learn from his brother’s mistakes, but it seems some of mine need to make the same mistakes themselves in order to learn from them!

    Ah well, in the grand scheme of things, it is but a short moment, and things usually work out given time and experience.

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