First, believe in yourself…

July 31, 2014

“If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?” – seen in the comic strip Nancy.

Every now and then a daily comic strip from the paper will strike a chord with me; admittedly that was more unicornoften when the Calvin and Hobbs strip was a daily feature, but it still happens. In this strip Nancy and her Aunt Fritz were discussing the disappearance of Unicorns and Nancy offered that bit of pithy insight into what might have happened to them. They didn’t even believe in themselves, so they vanished from the earth.

The really important message in Nancy’s little saying is that your success, your breakthrough in life, your ability to cope with what life throws at you, your ticket to happiness begins with your belief in yourself. Others will not get or develop a sense of you as a person that they want to know and be around, if you can’t even develop that same feeling about yourself. I’ve written about that here in many different posts (so read backwards through my posts until you find them all). You have to like you first; then you can start liking others and they can like you back. Feel free to substitute the word love in that last sentence.cheering up

Now, I will admit that there are people who sometime may have more faith and confidence you than you have in yourself. Those are your personal “cheerleaders” and they are an important reinforcement for the belief that you must have in yourself. Some of these people may occasionally take on very aggressive roles similar to the trainers that you see on the TV reality programs such as “The Biggest Loser”. They may push or cajole you towards success; sometimes seeming harsh in their entreats, but always on your side and cheering you on.

It’s great if you have those supporters in your corner; but, the fact remains that it is you who must believe; you who must know that you can achieve the goal; you who be willing to push beyond your old, self-imposed limits to reach new heights. You must believe in yourself. After a while, if you don’t believe in yourself, those cheerleaders will turn into sympathizers or worse. People will cheer forever for the person that they think will keep trying forever; but they will leave the stands and go home on the person who quits and admits defeat in front of them. So, like the Unicorns, who may not have believed in themselves as Nancy put it; you will disappear.

reaching goalYou must believe that you make a difference, that your dreams and aspirations are worthwhile and that, if you work hard enough and long enough, you will achieve them. You must believe in you first. Others, who believe in you, too, will follow. I’ve met many people in my journey through life who struggled with believing in themselves. Some had been beaten down by bullies in their life (sometimes parents) who tried to convince them that they weren’t worth anything. Once they found a way to like themselves and accept who they are, as they are; they next found the strength to stand up and say, “I believe in me and there’s nothing that can stop me now.” They are a joy to watch and fun to be around, because they are finally empowered to be all that they could have been all along.

If you’ve already “jumped that shark” and feel good about yourself and empowered to be successful, reachhelping hand back and grasp the hand of someone you might know who is still trembling in fear of failure and help them get to that place, too. There’s nothing wrong with sharing some of the power by being able to say,” I believe in me and I believe in you, too.” Help them get to that state of belief in themselves that feeds upon itself and fuels success.

Have a great, empowered day!

Three little words that may change your life… I like me.

April 30, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

It’s interesting and more than a little sad sometimes that some people spend a lot of time and energy trying to get people to like them. You see it on Facebook all the time – “If you like me, I’ll like you back.” Sometimes I get those “Like me, Like me, Like me” messages from people that I don’t even know, much less know if I like. I think it is much more important that you are able to look at yourself, how you conduct yourself in public and with others and how you feel when you are alone and be able to say – I like me.

After all you will spend more time with yourself than with anyone else, even a spouse; and, if you can’t ugly mirrorstand being alone with yourself, I’ll bet that you have issues with being with other people, too. Learning to like yourself is learning to be honest with yourself, but not harsh on yourself; especially if you’ve just screwed something up and you feel bad about it already. There are enough people taking shots at you, don’t beat yourself up. Sit down with some soft music on and a glass of wine and say, “Whether anyone else in the world does right now; I like me.”

I have known people who absolutely could not stand to be alone. Sometimes I’d think it was because they bored themselves to death, but the reality was that they just didn’t like themselves. They had no thoughts or opinions or dreams that they could just focus upon when no one else was around. They found themselves to be uninteresting. That’s just sad and for them scary. What they needed to do, and we all need to do, is to take ownership of their lives. Most of these people were joiners, followers and hangers-on, which is OK; but, one cannot live one’s life completely through others and by following along with others.  Eventually you have to take some leadership responsibility, if with no one else at least with yourself. You have to be responsible for your own entertainment and contentment, even when you are by yourself; and, that starts when you can get to the point where you admit to yourself – I like me.

look in mirorThat’s not narcissism (I love me might be, but we won’t go there); rather it is just being comfortable in your own skin. Being comfortable with who you are, where you are in life and confident about where you are headed and how you plan to get there. You know people like that; maybe you’ve met some or you would like to. You see them walk into a room and it’s not that they “own the room”; it’s more that they own themselves; they exude a quiet self-confidence, and others in the room find that interesting and gravitate to them – they are probably some of the people whom you’ve been following around. When you become a person who’s like that (someone that you’d like to meet in life); it’s because you have become a person, like them, who can say – I like me.

Let’s face it; it all starts with you. If you are the timid and shy wall flower, you don’t like that and you probably don’t like yourself either. The funny thing is that you don’t have to do all sorts of weird and unnatural things to break out of your cocoon of shyness, just start by liking yourself first. If you think about it, there probably aren’t a lot of people standing around pointing at you and saying, “I don’t like you.” It’s mainly you, staring into the mirror and saying that; so start by stopping that and starting each day with a quick look in the mirror and saying to that person – I like me.

Don’t tear yourself down; build yourself up.  Don’t find reasons to be fearful; find reasons to be confident. Don’t worry that you might look different; revel in the fact that you look unique. People will remember meeting you; make those memories pleasant and fun. If you wantlooking at self a good laugh that might help you put things in perspective, click on this link to take a quick look at the childhood pictures (and current shots) of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Don’t you think that they were once where you are now? They survived and got by that stage and now they like themselves. Once you can like yourself, you’ll find that you will spend less time avoiding the situations that used to make you nervous and withdrawn because liking yourself allows you to care a lot less about what the people around you will think of you and that self-confidence will shine through. You’ll also find that it is a lot easier for people to like you once you get to the place where you can say – I like me.

People conjure up amazing reasons to believe that others will not like them, if they have a problem liking themselves in the first place. All of a sudden a zit in the wrong place at the wrong time (is there every a good time) is imagined to be as bad a being labeled a leaper; a slight speech impediment or accent is conjured into an indictment of your intelligence; a lack of flashy athletic or academic happy reflectionachievements and awards is turned into an indication of failure in life. None of that is true and in most cases, none of it exists anywhere but in your imagination. Yet we let our imaginations and the fears that it conjures up rule our lives. Take your life back! Look in the mirror and tell yourself that none of that stuff matters. What really matters is that you know that God loves you and that you can look at that person in the mirror and say, I like me!

You’ve just satisfied the two most important people in your life, the others will come around.

Three little words that can change your life… Bring it on. (13 of ?)

April 3, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

Today’s three little words are about self-confidence and self-esteem.  You have to like yourself and be confident to challenge life to say, Bring it on.

anxiousSaying bring it on doesn’t mean that you have no fears or concerns about whatever the challenge is that you are facing; but, it does mean that you are confident enough in your ability to deal with whatever life throws you way to be able to look it in the eye and say, Bring it on.

You don’t get to the stage in life where you can confidently face any challenge without having been through quite a few challenges already – it’s called experience. Experiences in life allow us to build a knowledge base of what worked and what didn’t work. It also allows us to understand that most of the time the fears that we had going into situations seldom turned out to be anything more than our own imagination. We are better equipped to sort through the real and the imagined dangers in life to control our anxieties and say, Bring it on.

While this little saying seems on the surface to be a testosterone laden response to life’s trials, it is really more about inner strength and inner peace and women tend to actually be better at it than men. The old saying goes that men toil from sun to sun, woman boxerbut a woman’s work is never done. Women may not be able to lift as heavy a single load as men, but they do seem to be able to bear their loads much longer than men and with much less drama. When life’s burden’s overwhelm them and men give up, saying they can’t take this anymore, it’s often the women in their lives who pick them up, offering support and comfort and saying, Bring it on.

An interesting side benefit from taking this positive, unafraid approach to life is that it actually strengthens and empowers you. Tentativeness and timidity cause you shrink and be less than you are capable of being. Standing up to be counted in the face of hardships or difficulties in life makes you feel alive and good about yourself. You stick out your chest, face into the winds of challenge and say, Bring it on.

desperateSo, as you start your day each morning, you have the choice of sitting there wallowing in fear, uncertainty and doubt; hoping that whatever bad things you have imagined might happen today won’t; or you can choose to suck it up, look at yourself in the mirror and with confidence say, Bring it on.

If you need just a little reinforcement each morning try this little prayer, “Lord give me the strength today to do what is right, the courage to resist doing want is wrong and the wisdom to be able to tell the difference between the two.” Then, open the door and start your new day by saying, BRING IT ON!