12 Steps to increase your confidence.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Confidence

Confidence.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Increase your self-confidence by following these 12 easy steps.

1. Stop trying to be perfect – no one is.

Focusing on being perfect keeps you thinking of the negative. Focus instead on your personal best. Work on being just a little better each time you do something and over the long haul you will see improvement. Skills take constant polishing to develop and to maintain.

2. Improve yourself.

Learn a new skill, tackle something you have never done before. Confidence is based on having a wide variety of areas in which you feel competent. Freed of the need to be perfect in everything, you can be however good you are at lots of things. The more skills you have, even rudimentary skills, the more confidence you will have.

3. Don’t compare your private self to others public selves.

We all know our private self. The times we have done something we regret. You know your imperfections. It is easy to compare yourself to someone else’s P.R. image. Do not compare your naked self to someone else’s red carpet costume. Time and again we have seen a public person that many thought had it so together, only to find out that this public person hid a major flaw.

4. Accept yourself warts and all.

The key to increasing your self-confidence is to accept that the way you are now is perfectly OK, all the while striving to become the best person you can be. Being self-deprecating is not being humble. Stop putting yourself down. Accept yourself and you make it easier for others to accept you. Reject yourself and no amount of accomplishments will make you feel good about yourself.

5. Please yourself first for increased confidence.

Trying to please others first results in being chronically unsure if you measure up. Outside people do not know you the way you know you. There will be others in your life you will never be able to please. Some parents think the way to get their children to do better is to always point out their offspring’s flaws. The result is that those children feel they can never measure up and some give up trying altogether, a thing we call learned helplessness. As adults, many people can trace their lack of confidence to a lifetime of trying to please impossible others.

If you have or had someone in your life like that, realize that pleasing them is an impossible task and focus on pleasing yourself.

6. Take more chances.

The great basketball players take more shots. Many highly successful people have tried a number of careers or businesses before they found their niche. You do not protect yourself from failure by sticking to the things you already know. Trying new things helps you discover talents you never knew you had.

7. Have a gratitude list.

Creating a list of the things you have that you are thankful for. Write down a list of your life accomplishments.  Remembering the things you have accomplished in life boosts your confidence. People who lack self-confidence tend to dismiss their accomplishments and discount what they have because they focus only on the things that are lacking.

Recognizing the things you have and the part you have played in creating those things can boost your self-confidence.

8. Use affirmations to increase your confidence.

Affirmations are an incredible tool for boosting confidence. Tell yourself that today you will have a great day and your brain creates it. Say these positive affirmations to yourself every morning. When you need a boost of confidence, repeat them to yourself.

For maximum effectiveness pick affirmations that you believe. Do not try to lie yourself into self-confidence. If you want to be more famous your brain may not accept the affirmation I am famous. It could accept that “Today I will do things that people should notice.”

9. Do your homework – be prepared.

Giving a speech about something you know nothing about will not inspire confidence. Teachers, even those who have been at it a long time, will prepare before classes. New to a field? Learn the basic vocabulary and the “who’s who” of your job. The more you know and the more subjects you know about the easier it will be for you to have conversations with people. Knowing what you are talking about breeds confidence.

10. Educate yourself – read.

Confident people know a bit about a great many things. Self-assured people read and read widely. Read about your own field but also read about things outside your interests. Being well versed in many things will help you interact with others in a confident way.

11. Find the things you care about.

Know yourself and know your interests. It is much easier to be confident when talking about or doing something you really care about. Self-knowledge should make you more confident not less. Accept your good qualities and do not dismiss them lightly. It takes time and practice to become proficient at things. Pick things to practice that you enjoy and you will learn them more rapidly and become better at them.

12. Look for the happy things in life – smile and laugh.

Being a happy person draws others to you. Happiness is a skill. It requires practice and observation. The negativity in the world yells at you every day. The positive happy things wait patiently to be noticed. Make happiness watching a skill you hone every day.

More self-esteem info

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Learning to love yourself.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Feeling of love

Learning to love yourself.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you do not like yourself you make it hard for others to like you.

During the growing up process, you can accumulate a lot of negative attitudes towards yourself. Someone told you that you were less-than or not worthwhile and you may well have believed them. An important part of recovery is learning to like and eventually to love you.

Developing a healthy respect and appreciation for yourself does not mean that you get conceited. It does mean that this relationship you will have with yourself needs to be positive.

You will spend more time with you than with anyone else on earth. Wherever on earth, you go, when you sleep, you will wake up with you. Learning to like you is an important skill.

Work on being your own best friend and start treating yourself the way you would want your friends to treat you.

Here are some tips for becoming that best friend and learning to like you.

Make time to be with you.

Do not consider time alone downtime and go frantically searching for someone to be with or something to do. Learn to enjoy your own company. Take a walk, read a book or just sit mindfully and meditate on nothing in particular. Enjoying your solitude can make interacting more enjoyable also.

Treat yourself the way you would want to be treated.

Do not abuse yourself physically or mentally. Do not call yourself names. Nurture yourself.  Ask yourself if you would treat your best friend this way. If the answer is no, don’t do that to yourself either.

Ask yourself questions and write those answers down.

When you first meet a new person you ask them lots of questions. Make up a list of the things you might ask a new acquaintance and then think how you would answer those questions. Write the answers down and periodically look over those statements.

Explore who you are and how you became that person. For some, the best way to get reacquainted with themselves is to write out their autobiography. You do not need to have lived an extraordinary life to have had some extraordinarily interesting experiences. What are some of your life experiences? Where were you when an event in history happened? How did you feel when you heard about an important event?

Compliment yourself – recognize your achievements.

Make sure to give yourself compliments. Learn to recognize when you do something worthwhile and you will be less compliment starved when you are around others.

Knowing a list of the things you have done well can help offset those self-doubts that your life has not been enough and you have not done great enough things.

Inventory the ways you feel loved and then practice these things.

What things do others do for you that make you feel valued and loved? Practice doing these things for yourself. Becoming more self-loving opens up a place for you to express love and positive feelings for others.

Monitor your feelings and take action when needed.

Your feelings are just as valid and important as anyone else’s. Respect and honor those feelings. If you find yourself having an unexpected feeling find out what that is about.

Feelings and intuition can be powerful voices for good if you will just learn to listen to them.

Make meeting your needs a priority.

Getting your needs met should not be an afterthought. Learn to make your needs a priority.

Believe that you deserve to be loved and no one can do this better than you.

Work on experiencing love and on having plenty of it.

Take yourself on a date.

Do something nice for yourself. Travel; go to a movie or dinner alone. Do not look at this as being lonely but as carving out some time to be fully present with yourself.

Keep a list of the things you have accomplished in your life – no discounting.

Write down all the things you have accomplished in your life. Did you play a tree in the Second-grade play, write this down. Do not dismiss this as only a second-grade play. This was an accomplishment for the second grade you. Add up all those achievements and pull out that list for another look during times when you doubt yourself.

Keep a blessing or gratitude list.

Stop thinking that only the things others have matter and you don’t matter. Tell yourself that you have things others only dream of. Do you have a house? Do you have running water and electricity, even if it is just some of the time, this is more than some people have.

Has anyone ever loved you? Have you ever loved someone else? Be grateful for those experiences even if they had to end. Write this list of gratitude’s out and keep adding to it.

Love without strings – unconditionally.

Love as many people as you can as much as you can. Love does not mean being the victim. That is not love, it is bondage. Have you ever had a pet that loved you unconditionally? Look to this memory for a model of what unconditional love should look like.

Forgive yourself daily.

You may or may not be able to forgive others but make self-forgiveness a priority. We all live, we all make mistakes. Accept that this is part of being human and so is forgiving you.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Making friends by calling them names.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Friendship

Friendship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Does criticizing people get them to like you?

There seems to be a widely held belief that the way to get people to like and respect you is to criticize them and tell them what they are doing wrong.

Intuitively most people understand that if upon meeting someone for the first time, you began to upbraid them, called them names and told them how worthless they are, this would not be likely to lead to having a large number of friends. We know this but we often do it anyway.

You would expect that each of us would be striving to treat ourselves well and yet we frequently call ourselves names that we would never, ever, dare call a friend.

Ever call yourself “stupid’ or “dumb?” Think for a moment about saying that to a friend. Not once, when they made an unusually poor choice, but consistently day after day. We wouldn’t do that to a friend, but most of us, most of the time, repeatedly call ourselves names.

The danger to calling yourself names is that you will start believing what you tell yourself.

Pictures of cute little puppies and little children inspire us to want to help. They can inspire us to kindness. It is easy to be kind to others. Most of us are afraid to be kind to ourselves.

Why is compassion reserved for other, unrelated people?

Somewhere we got the idea that it was acceptable to be kind to others but if we were to be nice or kind to ourselves then we would spoil ourselves and thereafter be worthless. So year after year we continue to beat ourselves up for one thing after another.

People, who truly spoil themselves, in a bad way, are not those who are kind and compassionate to themselves. The worst sort of spoilage occurs when we tell ourselves we are no good, worthless or useless and then use that self-description as an excuse for behaving badly.

If you tell yourself you are a slob and then stop trying to clean up your living space because after all you are a slob and no one should expect a slob to clean. If you say you are stupid and then use that belief as an excuse to never attempt anything, expecting your family or society to take care of you. You are using your self-criticism to excuse poor behavior.

Some people tell themselves they are addicts, and what do you expect from an addict? Why of course I relapsed and used drugs again, I am an addict. But if you begin to tell yourself that I USED to be an addict, look at the possibilities that opens up.

One form of therapy is called “narrative therapy.” The way I understand this is that we tell ourselves and others stories, not untrue stories, just stories, and then as we tell them more and more we begin to believe our own fiction. So if you tell yourself you are dumb or worthless you become less and less able to accomplish anything.

People who say “I am an angry person,” stay angry and convince themselves they can’t change. If we can get them to start saying I USED to be an angry person, but I am changing, then amazingly they change.

Do you believe that the only way to get anybody to do things is to beat them? We find that this is a poor way to motivate either ourselves or others. Yet many people continue to beat themselves up, verbally, day after day.

One thing we tell parents as part of basic parenting class is to catch their children doing something right. Small amounts of praise, judiciously used are great motivators. If the only way your children get your attention is to misbehave, they will misbehave for attention.

The parent who does nothing but criticizes their child finds that the child may give up. Consider the child who wants badly to please their parent; they study very hard for a big test. When the results come out the child has achieved a score of 99 out of 100 possible points.

What does this parent say? Why did you miss that one? You knew that! The result is that the child stops trying, convinced that no matter how hard they tried they will never be good enough.

Years later we find that person and many others still trying to motivate themselves by telling themselves that how they are is not good enough.

The risk here is that rather than motivate yourself to try harder, you will convince yourself that you are a failure and stop trying.

Ultimately you may become the person you say you are.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.