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Confidence Killers

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They stalk you, they sneak up on you, and sometimes they're right in front of your face and you don't even see them. What are your confidence killers? Worry, blame, stress, jealousy, doubt, dishonesty, negative people -- the list goes on and on and it can be a monster. There are a lot of things we do to ourselves that are confidence killers.

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Lack of personal TLC

Not getting enough sleep, letting ourselves get run down, over-eating, over-drinking, taking drugs... all of these things steal our confidence because they throw us off balance. Our body can't do its job correctly and we are not the fine, working machine we were designed to be. Since our body and mind are connected, we can feel unmotivated and unable to handle the different situations that confront us.

Worry and Dwelling

They're a team of natural-born killers. It seems to be easier for us to think about what can go wrong and what we don't want, instead of focusing on what can go right and what we do want. Remember the biblical proverb: "As a man thinketh, so is he." So start thinking about what can go right and focus only on what you want to have happen in your life .Try it for a few days... you'll be amazed at the different it makes.

Dishonesty

Many people who lack confidence use dishonesty to cover insecurity, lack of ability, and to protect their ego. The problem with dishonesty is that you subconsciously live in fear of being found out. Everything you do is built on a shaky foundation. It's almost impossible to be dishonest and feel good about yourself, unless you are really good at fooling even yourself. Dishonesty is like a beach ball being held under water, once your wet hand slips off, it's going to surface for all to see, and, boy, does it make a splash! When you have a clear conscience, you can stand up to the toughest challenge and the toughest people.

External Definition

It's been said that confidence is an "inside job" and that's right on the money. When you define yourself by things outside yourself, it's really hard to be confident in multiple areas of your life. You are not your job, you are not your finances, and you are not your alma mater.

Focusing on the Past

The father of positive thinking, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, said "The person who has the philosophy of the new beginning is the person who will never continue to associate with his failures. Never hang around with your failures. Never talk about them. Never think about them. Walk away from them -- no matter what they are. Never settle for a failure." You cannot change the past, what's done is done. Why relive it in your mind? Move on. A shark will die if it doesn't keep moving forward. So keep moving forward. I used to write down things that I thought I had failed at on a piece of paper, crumple up that paper and throw it into the garbage. Somehow the physical act of discarding that piece of the past made it easier to put it behind me and be done with it.

Gossip and Criticism

It's all just negative energy. The most confident people are always building others up. As mothers throughout history are known for saying "If you don't have something nice to say about someone else, don't say anything at all." When you build others up and look for the good in others, amazingly, you find it in yourself. When you hear others gossiping or bad-mouthing someone, bow out gracefully or change the subject to something positive. There will always be negative people out there, and they love to get support from others to justify their negativity. Don't be an accomplice to energy that stinks, because then you stink, too, and other people can smell it from a mile away!

Comparing Yourself to Others

You cannot compare an apple to an orange -- the two will never be the same. There is no one in the world like you. Out of the billions of people in the world, it is truly incredible that we each have our own set of finger prints. Think about that. It's your personal code that proves you are unique. This means that when your hand touches this life, it's never been done in just that way by anyone else before. Everything you do is marked with your own personal energy. Just because others have done something before, it has never been done your way before, with your unique life force. And it will never again be done in the same way by anyone else.

Minimizing Yourself

This one's a doozy. Can you accept a compliment? When someone says something nice about you, do you downplay whatever it is? Or do you say, "Thanks so much, I really appreciate it!" or "Hey, thanks! You made my day." People who can accept compliments also seem to find it easier to spread them around to others. Do you minimize your past accomplishments? Do they somehow seem like they were easy to attain, now that they are in your past? I heard a soap opera actor being interviewed on the radio one day and he kept making it sound like what he does is not as impressive as the "big" movie he was trying to write with a friend. He wanted to prove that he was working on something that he thought to be of a higher standing or of more importance than acting. But as someone once said "There are no small parts, only small actors." To all those out of work actors that might have been listening at the time, I'd bet that soap opera job looked like winning the lottery.

Self-Focus

Being overly self-conscious can really throw you off your feet. When you focus too much on yourself, it's really hard to focus on others and what's going on around you. It's easy to believe people are watching your every move until you realize they are watching their every move. People really aren't that concerned about you (with the exception of your family and close friends). They're thinking about themselves and hoping they make a good impression. Or they're thinking about all the stuff going on in their own lives. And once you get out of your own head and starting focusing on others, you forget about yourself for a little while. That kind of "forgetfulness" can be very liberating. It allows you to live in the present and respond in a genuine and natural way to the world around you. That's one of the reasons why volunteering or helping others has been proven to bring us better health. When we stop dwelling on ourselves, we begin to see our connections to each other and we are more alive. When your thoughts are "How can I help?", instead of "I hope they like me," the whole world changes.

Patricia Stark is the host of Craving Confidence, a weekly show about confidence, life, and business skills. To subscribe to the show or the monthly newsletter, visit www.cravingconfidence.com

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