Today’s blog is written by my friend and colleague, Jim Delpino, MSW. Jim is a gifted and expert dating coach™ and who has been in a committed relationship for more than 20 years. Learning how to believe in yourself is so crucial that we wanted to share his best strategies for you to use. Hope you enjoy!
Believe in yourself. Although these are simple words, actually to really believe in yourself is extremely difficult for many of us to achieve. Even those who appear confident are often covering up or compensating for real or perceived flaws that undermine a belief in the self. That’s why different self-help gurus and therapists have tried to help with this pervasive issue by offering solutions that boost self-confidence or raise self-esteem.
Over my 30 years of practice I’ve studied many different approaches. So I decided to jot down nine of my favorite strategies that have been the most helpful to my clients and me. Many of these techniques can be found in Dr. Diana Kirschner’s new relationship book, Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love.
- 1. Use Affirmations: The use of positive affirmations has been shown to be very helpful whether you are young or old, male or female. The use of positive affirmations has been shown to be effective cross-culturally as well. Affirmations are the most effective when they are simple positive statements, for example, “I am capable of overcoming this obstacle.” “I’ll know what to do in this situation.” They become more effective when repeated five to ten times per day. Consider it a form of reprogramming your inner computer/brain. We are designed in such a way that we begin to believe things that we repeat to ourselves.
- Use sticky notes: Those little pads of paper with sticky edges are a great tool in improving belief in yourself. Consider posting one on your bathroom mirror that says, “I deserve a good day.” This is the first thing you will see in the morning and it can set the tempo for a more fruitful day. It is also helpful to use these little notes on the refrigerator and even a place at work where you can see this message and be reminded easily.
- Write down all of your negative thoughts and feelings: This is a way to build awareness of what negative thoughts are floating around in your mind. Negative thoughts can undermine many otherwise good intentions and efforts in life. After you have written your negative thoughts down, ask yourself, is this a fact or a feeling? If it is a fact it will not change. If it is a feeling, remember that all feelings can be and do change. Next, write down the opposite or positive expression of all the negative thoughts, for example, “I can’t do this” becomes “It just feels like I can’t do this”. Feelings are known to be wrong many times. Make these positive expressions a part of daily affirmations and/or write them down on sticky notes as reminders of where to direct your mind.
- Try to believe in your ability to grow: Changing a core belief about yourself, other people and the world can vastly change the way you experience life. A positive shift in core beliefs will enrich your experience of life and bring you more joy. This is one of the secrets that happy people use.
- Develop an ‘attitude of gratitude’: Write down all of the things in life for which you are or could be grateful. Include even the very smallest of positive things. Keep this list handy for those times when you feel overwhelmed, challenged or down. Read the list to yourself as a reminder that the current problems of the day do not take away all of those things for which you are grateful. Many of the things that stress the self are short-lived problems that resolve themselves over time. Practice being grateful for even the smallest positives. Your skill at being grateful will improve over time and with practice.
- Write down your concerns of the day: When you view each item on the list, ask yourself if this concern will be important six months from now. You will find that many of these concerns are mental clutter and won’t be on your mind in six months from now.
- Call or write to someone who is having a tougher time in life than you: This helps to take your focus away from your own negative thoughts and feelings and instead puts the focus of yourself outside of you. Just listening to a friend who is suffering is a great and valuable service to render. You may not know what to say or how to help and that is ok. Your friend will not have to be in alone. Just being there with a person who is in pain can be a powerful technique.
- Try to be as kind, loving and compassionate with yourself as you are with others: It is so common to discover that many, many kind and loving people are actually very hard on themselves. The kindness, forgiveness and patience extended to others are not extended to the self. There is a myth that being hard on yourself will make you a better person. This is simply not true in most cases. Being harsh with yourself will cause damage and erode your own sense of goodness or effectiveness.
- Surround yourself with positive people: Positive and happy people tend to improve the moods of the people around them. If you spend time with happy people you will find that their moods are attitudes are infectious. You will also learn some of the tricks and techniques they use to increase self-belief and add to the sum total of their joy in life. We can all benefit and learn from each other in this way.
Thank you, Jim, for sharing with readers how to “believe in yourself.” And to help you on your journey be sure to take advantage of my offer of a FREE 40-minute session with an expert dating coach like Jim. If you are looking to meet the One or working the Love in 90 Days program you REALLY will want talk to one of my incredible Mentors.
Wishing you love,