Tag Archives: self-confidence

Boost Your Self-Confidence in 5 Easy Steps

confidence

We aren’t innately born with perfect self-confidence. In fact, I think I was born with the least amount of confidence in myself as was possible and it took me a long time to build it up. I spent years in high school feeling awkward, unbalanced, and just plain out of place despite the fact that nearly every other teenager around me felt the same. My low self-esteem swept me up into a flurry of years of college as a quiet, constantly-apologizing, ball of self-doubt.

Many of us spend our days criticizing or comparing ourselves to everyone, and because of this, you might realize you aren’t very content or comfortable in your own skin. You might become overly anxious because of this, stressed or even depressed. As I began investing more time into understanding how to love me for who I was and also figuring out just how to “gain self-esteem,” I began to realize how common my own journey was.

According to the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center at the University of Texas, low self-esteem can be a big cause of strained relationships, it can impair your performances at school and work, and can “create anxiety, stress, loneliness, and increased likelihood of depression.” On top of this, low self-esteem can even make you more vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. No one wants that.

Because of the change that this journey had on my life, I knew I couldn’t just walk merrily along my way and not share. So here are five ways to help you boost your self confidence. And know this: how you love and view yourself won’t change overnight. It will take time, and patience, but it will happen. And these five things aren’t the end-all, you will spend time each week practicing these things to keep your confidence and yourself in a good place. Continue reading

How to Own Your Flaws Like a Champ

Freedom“Hi, my name is Yael and I’m a flirt. It’s embarrassing for me. I don’t like it.”

Believe it or not, this was progress.

This is the conversation I had with myself in my room several months ago, before I fell asleep. A fairly revealing talk with my best friend left me thinking. As she had (multiple times) before, she told me that I’m a “flirt.” That “everyone” knew this and it was just a part of who I was. This offended me, so I ignored it – like we all ignore things what we wish to avoid and pretend never existed…ever. But I soon came to realize that “avoidance” is a silly and detrimental thing.

Surprise! None of us are perfect. We ALL know this, yet we have trouble looking at ourselves once we realize that we, in fact, aren’t perfect (whatever “perfect” means). We all have qualities that need fine-tuning or adjusting. To ignore them is to do ourselves a disservice. So let’s empower ourselves and get to tuning!

Years and years of self-analysis, frustration, shamelessly crying, and over-thinking have led me to a place where I know how to “edit” myself pretty effectively and relatively painlessly. Here are some tips I’ve learned that may help you achieve a place of calm and self-acceptance:

  1. Find your cave. It doesn’t have to be a cave. It can be your bed, the corner of your room, your favorite lawn chair, or even your local ice creamery (I mean…why not). It mostly just needs to be a place you call your own—one you feel blissfully comfortable in. This is your quiet place. Your place to think.
  2. Get comfortable. We’re about to do some fairly uncomfortable things, so don’t make the situation worse. Use the restroom, make sure you’re properly hydrated, and put on some sweat pants.
  3. Reflect. Think about your daily actions. Try to hone in on the things that didn’t feel right or perhaps upset you.
  4. Analyze like you’ve never analyzed before. Try to look at those little bits more carefully and figure out where they are coming from. Is this a recurring pattern? Is it triggered by something else? What can you do to reverse this? What does it make you feel?
  5. Let it all out. Now that you’ve picked yourself apart, you’ve got to organize! You can’t let these thoughts continue to stew in your brain and transform into a frightening monster you’re likely to run away from (because we’ve been running for far too long). To do this, you should write it down or say it aloud. I personally prefer the latter (though I do write quite frequently as well). When you say your issue out loud, it’s almost as if you are transforming it into an entity that is outside of your self. You hear it from a distance, and it becomes less personal, less internal, and you start to warm up to the idea that it can and should be worked with. The same goes for writing, or really any expressive tool. Once it’s out there, in the open and out of your head, it’s manageable. It’s more concrete. It’s a real, tangible thing you can handle.
  6. Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm. At this point, you should try to think of solutions for your problem. You don’t have to do this alone if you feel comfortable enough discussing it with a trusted other (but always trust yourself, first and foremost). Think of ways you can change the aspects of yourself that are weighing you down. If you come up with something, I suggest trying to put it into a short, witty mantra so you can carry it around with you in your head, all day every day. If you don’t come up with a solution, it’s not the end of the world. A lot of the time we won’t. It’s important to acknowledge that merely getting it out there in the open is beneficial in itself. The solution will come with time.
  7. Hop on to the flip side. Get positive! Just like you were once required to do when editing someone’s rough draft in high school English class, it is pertinent that you point out some flaws you may want to address (or keep as part of your quirky bits of flair), but ALSO, and very importantly, make note of the things you really like. When you analyze yourself, you need to also praise yourself for and reflect upon your positives. The things you love about yourself and that others love about you. This creates level-headedness, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Things that suffer when we acquire a tunnel-vision-focus on our personal flaws. You’re awesome. You’re great. Be patient with yourself. You wouldn’t throw out a car just because it needed a few routine maintenance checks—that would be silly. So why would you treat your self-esteem and self-confidence like that? Don’t do it. Just don’t do it. You deserve better than that!

Like most things in this world, it comes back to balance. Treat yourself with care. Do not beat yourself to a pulp with your flaws, and do not raise yourself up to the highest peak with compliments. Do not be afraid to make adjustments you really think will better you as an individual, but do not be too hasty to alter all the little things within you that make you, well… you. This process takes practice, but that practice will lead you to a comfortable place that no amount of avoidance could ever get you. I’m still working to get there, but I can’t wait.

 

8 Reasons To Be More Present In Your Life

asa_yoga_meditatingHave you ever lost your car keys? Or arrived at the grocery store and realized you’ve left your wallet at home? I have, and I’ll bet many of you have too. You know how much stress and anxiety these situations create, and all because we were not present when we put our keys down (somewhere!) or were preparing to go to the store.

Cultivating a practice of deliberate presence can help us be more relaxed, productive, and confident in our daily activities. This practice is not about erasing our thoughts. It’s about becoming aware of the process of thinking so that we are not in a trance – lost inside our thoughts (which is when we lose our keys!). That’s the big difference. To train in becoming aware of thoughts can help us notice when our mind is actively thinking, either using the label “thinking, thinking”, or identifying the kind of thought as “worrying, worrying” or “planning,planning.” Then, we can change our focus to what is happening right here and now.

Here are 8 Reasons To Be More Present In Your Life:

1.  Save time
Looking for lost items takes up a lot of time, not to mention the stress that goes with it. By taking a few extra seconds to be more deliberate when you put things away, you can save yourself time and stress. And you gain more enjoyment in your day!

2.  Save money
The last time I lost my house key, I had to pay a locksmith to come out and let me in to my own home. Being lost in thoughts can get expensive. It only takes a few extra seconds to stop, breathe, come into the present moment, and check if we have everything we need, or check an email before we send it out, or whatever it is that our present moment requires. The investment of a few extra seconds of time can save us a lot of money…and stress!

3. Be more relaxed, confident, and calm
When you are not scurrying around in a state of high anxiety because you can’t find something, you feel good because you know you are well-prepared for your trip. In that relaxed state, your self-confidence is strong, you are at your productive, creative best, and you know that you can handle any unexpected circumstance that might arise with focus and clarity.

4. Build better relationships
When you listen with deliberate presence, the other person feels heard and has a tendency to trust you more. Trust is the cornerstone of all relationship-building, whether it’s with friends and family, at work, or even random people you meet at the grocery store or when traveling. Being present is a likeability factor, and gains you respect, friendships, and good things happening.

5. Experience less judgment and more love
Being deliberately present gives you choice. At the moment in which you pause and realize that these thoughts are not really serving you, you have the option to come back to presence. This process of choosing becomes more powerful as you realize how thoughts can create suffering and separation. They can create an “us” and a “them”. They create judgment. Deliberate presence allows us to see people (and ourselves!) without judgment, which opens us to being more kind, compassionate, and loving.

6. Gain greater self-awareness and self-love
As our practice deepens, we become more aware of our thoughts. This gives us the opportunity to assess them and notice that much of the time our thoughts are not really serving us. Many thoughts are driven by fear and lock us into insecurity. We realize we don’t have to believe our thoughts! They are not reality. Presence gives us the opportunity to be kinder to ourselves.

7. Activate the positive law of attraction
The Law of Attraction states that we get what we vibrate. The more present we are, the more we can be aware of our thoughts and feelings, and keep them positive. Becoming more in mastery of what we are transmitting energetically will change what we attract, and life will become easier, more positive, and more joyful.

8. Gain in integrity
Integrity means being connected to yourself – body, mind, heart, and soul. You are in an optimal state to respond to daily occurrences. Integrity also means making three agreements with yourself:

*  Saying yes, when you mean yes.
*  Saying no when you mean no.
*  Always doing what you say you are going to do.

A practice of deliberate presence helps you to tune in with yourself. Then you respond to situations from a place of inner integration and feel good about yourself. It’s easier to make decisions and keep your word.

The key here is that we approach this practice with gentleness and kindness. Each time we recognize thinking and come back into the present moment we are planting a seed of awareness. We are creating a new habit – a new way of being in the world. The incessant buzz of thoughts in our minds starts to take a back seat. We live in what is true – the aliveness, vulnerability, and honesty of the present moment – rather than in the story line of our thoughts. We experience the courage to be our true selves.

I look forward to your comments.

If  this resonates with you, join my Laughing Buddhas Network online community – it’s FREE!

photo by: tokyosucks

Building Self-Confidence: 6 Key Steps to Find the Bravado Within

ready for actionHave you been looking for professional and personal success? Do you want to make an uplifting difference in your life? Would you like to maximize your potential?

If you are tired of feeling anxious, discouraged and afraid then pay attention because this one’s for you!

Did you know that self-confidence affects your thoughts, feelings, behavior, body, the way you look and, most influential, your decision making process? That’s right…self-confidence affects a persons choices in life.

Question: Can someone with low self-esteem develop self-confidence?

Answer: But of course! 

So let’s get started! What does it take to have the confidence you’ve been looking for?

Think about the things you do best and why you are so good at them. Literally take a second and really think about the specific things that you do better than good. Focus for a second on those few things you do great and why. Chances are, you are great because you have devoted endless hours to practicing the craft. Regardless of formal or informal training the thing you do best is something you’ve done often.

A great starting point to boost your self-esteem is to begin by addressing your areas of low self-confidence. In order to find a solution you must admit that something needs to be resolved.

  • Admit your weaknesses.
  • Focus on what you are good at.
  • Always be you and honest about who you are.
  • Never use labels because you are what you think and say.
  • Find comfort in new situations.
  • Develop an optimistic outlook on life.

Self-confidence may not happen overnight yet the possibilities are endless. Defeat your fears and doubts by stepping into the unknown. Typically you find yourself feeling weary and doubtful when you are uncertain what may happen. The next time you find yourself feeling lost and confused it’s okay to act as if you’re overflowing with confidence. Act as though you are in control and your entire mood and day will shift in a positive direction. I guarantee it!

A highly effective way to develop confidence is to act like you are confident. Believe me, most people you stumble upon during a typical workday are insecure persons acting as if they are secure. They are simply stepping into the unknown with self-confidence and now it’s your turn.
I would like to conclude by sharing a bit of advice a girlfriend gave me more than a decade ago, “Walk the walk and talk the talk and you will own the room!”

Photo credit: Micah Esguerra
Originally published May 2010.

Who Needs A Partner When You Can Marry Your Self?

FreedomDo you think that you need someone else to make you happy? Why not marry yourself instead? Nadine Schweigert, a woman in South Dakota who had been through a divorce, created a wedding ceremony to marry herself. If that sounds strange to you, then maybe you’ve never abandoned your true Self. But if you’re like me you may have found yourself in relationships where you separated from your authentic Self to please others and make them happy. Self-betrayal is no way to have a healthy relationship with anyone. So the woman in South Dakota invited a small group of friends and family to join her in a celebration of vows to herself. The vows included a commitment to love, respect, and cherish her Self.

How often do we think we need someone else to love us to be happy when what we really need is to make the big steps to care for, nurture, and love ourselves? This kind of Self love is not the narcissistic kind that focuses on taking care of selfish pleasures. It’s about going deep and learning to give the kind of love that we yearn for from others to ourselves. When we marry our Self, we develop the relationship between our self and that higher, Divine Self. That wise Self will guide and dance with us. Life becomes magical and alive with synchronicity. It may not always be easy, but Nadine says that through kindness to herself she lost 50 pounds and stopped drinking.

If you were to fall in love with your Self and write a love letter, what would that look and feel like? What would you say? I challenge you to at least begin to look at your Self with the look of love using eyes of kindness that appreciate your qualities. Why not give your Self a hug and say, “I do”?

* * *

Debra Moffitt is the award winning author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life and “Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery”. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices, writing and creativity in the U.S. and Europe. More at http://www.awakeintheworld.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/DebraMoffittAwakeintheWorld

9 Ways to Develop True Self Esteem

Most of us know that increasing our self esteem will help us live fuller lives and have better relationships, but how exactly do you do this?

A lot of people present self esteem development as simply being a matter of doing nice things for yourself.  True self esteem comes from hard work and challenging yourself.  Perservering through difficulties, facing fears, overcoming challenges, making difficult choices and changes.  These are the things which truly develop self esteem.  Here are 9 ways to do that.

1. Finding Meaning

I think a lot of efforts to develop self esteem involve focusing only on ourselves.  Good self care is important and I will examine this further below.  But it isn’t everything.  Human beings are social creatures.  We live in and are affected by the society which surrounds us.  I believe that disconnecting from this and isolating ourselves leaves us empty and contributes to the depression which is so prolific in modern culture.  To truly feel good about ourselves we have to feel part of our community in some way.  We need to feel that we are making a contribution.  The way in which one does this is unique to every individual.  But connecting to and participating in something bigger than yourself contributes greatly to your own sense of self worth.  Find a meaning.  Find a cause.  Find something which is important to you and create it, build it, defend it.

2. Self Care

Developing good self care techniques is necessary not only for developing self esteem, but for maintaining good mental and physical health.  But good self care is not simply a matter of being “nice” to yourself.  Sometimes it requires making some tough choices; i.e. changing your diet, starting an exercise regimen, etc.

3. Self Talk

Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.  If you are delivering a constant stream of name-calling, put downs, insults or negative language to yourself it’s almost impossible to have a good sense of self esteem.  Developing healthy and appropriate self talk is almost as important as developing good self care.

4. Choose Your Heroes Carefully

Don’t let the television determine who your mentors are.  Think for yourself and make your own choices.  I think we are too passive about letting the media choose our idols or heroes.  Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Kobe Bryant and Paris Hilton may be famous and may have millions of dollars, but are they really people we want to learn about life from?  Personally I don’t find that I have learned anything from them or find their stories or words inspiring.  I’m much more enlightened by the stories told by Aimee Mullins, a double amputee who runs track.  While training for a race she realized she was having trouble with one of her prosthetics.  She went to her coach, a tough old guy from Brooklyn and asked to be excused from the race.  She was afraid if she continued running her leg might come off in the middle of the race.  His response?

“Aimee, so what if your leg falls off?  You pick it up, you put the damn thing back on and you finish the God-damned race.”

She handed him her fear and he responded not with pity, but with humor.  And he handed her back courage.

See “Aimee Mullins on Running” to hear her story in her own words.  Turn off “reality TV” and listen to Ted.com for words and ideas that will inspire and enlighten you.  Read the biography of someone you truly admire.  Feed your mind.

5. Choose Your Relationships Carefully

Choose your family

Yes, you can choose whether or not to have a relationship with family members.  Just because you are blood kin does not mean you have to allow yourself to be in unhealthy relationships with them.  If you have a family member who is demeaning or abusive consider what keeps you in a relationship with them.  You may need to make some tough choices.

Choose your friends

You can also make choices about your friends.  If you surround yourself with negative, hypercritical friends this cannot help your self esteem.  I’m not suggesting that you surround yourself with people who won’t tell you the truth and give you nothing but positive feedback – that’s false.  I don’t consider that a friend.  In my opinion a friend is someone who will give you honest feedback when you ask for it, but do it with compassion and kindness.  They tell you the truth, but they don’t attack or belittle you.  They don’t bring you down, just keep you real.  Look at who you spend the most time with and how your interactions with them affect you.  You might need to make some changes.

Choose your partners

If you are in a relationship that is unhealthy you may need to take some time to work on it and make a clear decision to leave.  You cannot lift your self esteem while being disparaged on a daily basis.  Many people stay in relationships which are unhealthy out of a fear of being alone.  It may be necessary to turn and face this fear before you can feel better about yourself.

You may also want to look at the patterns in your relationships.  Do you always pick partners who are needy?  Dependent?  Partners with substance abuse problems?  Abusive partners?  See if there is a pattern to your picking and find what is behind it.  You may need to work with a counselor to learn how to make different choices.

6. Find Your Passion

If you haven’t found what excites you, explore.  We spend an awful lot of our lives working.  If your work is not your passion, if it is only for the money, if it is only because your family expects it of you – think again.  Work that is depressing or unfulfilling sucks an awful lot of energy out of your life.  You spend all day at this.  Choose carefully.  Change if you need to.

7. Stop Dressing for Success and Dress to Express

Express yourself.  I don’t wear what other people think I should.  I wear what is comfortable.  I wear what I feel good in.  I wear things that express who I am as a person.  If you live in a situation where you are not free to express who you really are, you may need to make some different choices.  LIving a lie, maintaining a facade everyday also sucks a lot of energy and reinforces in your mind that you are not “O.K.”.

8. Challenge Yourself

If there is something in your life which is plaguing you, grab it by the horns and change it.  I used to be horrible at managing my money.  But I made some tough choices and some tough changes.  My money is now much better in control and it makes me feel more mature and self confident.  If there is some behavior which bothers you, i.e. procrastination, money management, being on time, being better organized, etc. tackle it.  Getting a handle on something which has been handling you will increase your self esteem and make your life more manageable.

9. Face a Fear

I used to be terrified of guns.  So I found an instructor who specialized in teaching women how to shoot.  I now have a very healthy respect for the damage a gun can do, but I do not fear one, because I know how they work.  I know how to disarm them and make them safe.  I once knew a woman who was terrified of palmetto bugs.  (If you’ve never seen one, imagine a giant cockroach, which can fly and is very aggressive.)  Her fear became so bad it was running her life.  She decided not to give in to it and signed up for exposure therapy (where you are slowly and carefully exposed to the thing you fear until you no longer fear it).  It worked and she feels quite proud of herself for no longer being at the mercy of a bug.  I had another friend who was terrified of speaking in public, so he signed up with Toastmasters.  Now, giving a speech to a room of 500 people doesn’t even daunt him!

So often we are taught to run from or medicate our fears.  This may work in the short term, but it doesn’t develop self esteem.  Self esteem comes from overcoming something, from fighting your way through to the other side and knowing you beat it.  Be sensible about the fear you choose to overcome and be reasonable in how you choose to overcome it, but try it and see if you don’t stand a little taller.

Originally published in 2010

photo by: Amy Wilbanks

8 Signs You Are Self-Sabotaging Yourself… And How to Stop the Cycle

Bonjour, Good Day, Shalom and What’s up Tushkateers?  How goes it?  What’s happening in your neck of the woods?  All groovy here!  More or less.  Depending on your definition of groovy, and your slant/ability/determination to go with the flow, as unexpected happenings happen.

For instance, you go to a reputable place for a brow wax, a place you’ve been to many times, and let’s just say that they go too far!  Do you freak out?  Do you hit the ice cream emporium on the way home?  Or maybe head straight to the fridge for a full tilt when you arrive home?  Do you try to soothe yourself using maladaptive ways that ultimate sabotage every inch of the weigh?

No!  No, you make sure you have bangs to cover the damage and you stop at the local cosmetic place and ask for a make-over, buying their most expensive brow pencils.  Maybe you freak out for a minute or two – maybe even 10, but then you put a lid on it – and you don’t sabotage your entire day, week, month or life.  You steer clear of the Super-Highway to sabotage!

Which brings me to an email I received from Tushkateer Joyce R. which just happens to be about sabotage!

CHEWING THE FAT

Dear OLofWL,

I don’t quite understand it.  I wake up in the morning and say to myself, “Yay!  It’s a brand new day!  A new start!  It is full of possibilities and opportunities, and full of fruits, veggies, whole foods and portion control.”  My breakfast is a good one, my lunch, too, but somewhere in the day, something happens.  I’m not quite sure what, but I switch tracks and I’m off and running, sabotaging my morning success, sabotaging the ultimate goal I’ve set for myself.  Goal:  Eat healthy. Let go of the excess weight.

Why do I keep sabotaging myself?  How can I stop sabotaging myself?  Help! Please …

~ Joyce R.

Dear Joyce R,

Needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), there is so much I could say in answer to your email – too much for these pages, so let’s narrow it down to a mini-discussion on sabotage that may shed LITE on the topic!  Okay? Okay!

What is Sabotage?

Sabotage is an intentional act of destruction.  Someone messes up something on purposeSelf-Sabotage is something you do to yourself when you feel you don’t deserve good things to happen to you; when you feel defeated.  OR – when you revert to bad habits that work against you.  You could get help for these self-sabotaging things that you do to yourself but you may not even know that you are self-sabotaging yourself!

Sabotage kills confidence which sets the downward spiral into motion.

Let’s return to the brow incident.  Suppose the ‘lack of brows,’ the odd shape of it all set me into a tailspin, sending the downward spiral in motion.  If that were to happen, downward spiral in motion, self-doubts would set in and I might look in the mirror and say, “Oh man … It’s going to take months for my brows to return to their original shape.  I look awful; a freak of nature. What’s the use?  I’m never going to be okay.  …. “  All leading to defeat; leading to old habits that no longer serve me.

What a heavy load of negative self-talk, catastrophizing, expecting perfection and more …

8 Signs: Are You SELF-SABOTAGING Yourself?

Acts of Self-Sabotage start with self-sabotaging thoughts.

  1. Beating yourself up,
  2. Playing it too safe,
  3. Expecting perfection,
  4. Comparing yourself to others,
  5. Competing too much,
  6. Catastrophizing,
  7. Struggling with social fears,
  8. Experiencing too much anxiety … then you are setting yourself up for self-sabotaging behavior.

Remember:  Thoughts –> Feelings –> Actions –> Results

If I have self-sabotaging thoughts, I feel defeated and sad, so I eat too much to soothe myself, resulting in weight gain, which creates more self-sabotaging thoughts.

How to stop the cycle?  Be aware of your thoughts.  Turn them around. 

  1. Stop beating yourself up when you make mistakes.
  2. Stop catastrophizing when the life (and the people in it) do not show up the way you want it/them to.
  3. Compliment yourself.
  4. Confidence comes from the inside.

I hope the above provides enough food for thought to help you to begin to turn it around!

For more discussion on this topic, be sure to visit a Kick in the Tush Club on Facebook!

Spread the word … not the icing!

Janice
Life & Wellness Coach, Author, Weight Loss Artist
wise * fun * utterly useful

The Secret to Sex Appeal

Selling sex appeal is a billion dollar industry. Everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with sensory stimulation that insists how buying a certain outfit, a pair of shoes, a brand name perfume, handbags, prohibitively expensive cars, underwear, accessories even a certain pair of socks will make us ooze sex appeal.  Just the thing we need to spruce up our otherwise banal existences.

Billboards are getting exceedingly edgier, not to mention television advertisements in which models adorn high-end luxury cars, sending subliminal messages suggesting that the man who purchases this car will now be armed with the adequate sex appeal to attract copious leggy models. Recently I came across an advertisement doing the rounds on the internet, of a model biting hungrily into a juicy burger as mayonnaise drips down the corners of her mouth. It makes you think, who needs the hassle of a relationship when you can have a burger that apparently provides all the sexiness, without the drama?

Have we not become overburdened with such images? Everything guarantees sex appeal and lots of attention, even a dishwasher! So pervasive are these images that once too often we have noticed the poor dear on the street that donned the latest ‘sexy trend’ only to do him or herself the gravest injustice. Sexy is neither the fabric nor the tailoring, if you don’t’ have what it takes to carry it. But the persuasive advertisements will have you convinced otherwise. They will direct you to what ‘they’ think, (“they’ who have no clue of your individuality) what you should wear and how you should look. The dirty secret ‘they’ don’t tell you is how sex appeal, like many other qualities cannot be bought at the mall because it is not sewn into the fabric of the merchandise they are trying to sell you.

It is not such a rare occurrence to come across a uniquely attractive face, that does not hold up to the standard, air-brushed images splashed across magazine covers, and yet has a certain je ne sais quoi? We know it wasn’t the clothes or the shoes, it was unmistakably a deeper element ensconced within the personality, which ever so casually oozed out of every pore of that person’s being. You look carefully and see the facial features are not quite the standard idea of beauty, despite that, the whole persona is redolent with sex appeal.

When you don’t have to buy the hottest trends, the most expensive clothing or jewellery and get your hair and make up done by a professional each time you want to be ‘seen’, and yet, you exude an appeal that makes one hunger for just another look; that is what is sexy in the truest sense. We have all too often spotted women baring it (almost) all and looked on with dismissive amusement, while none can deny being totally taken by the vision of a confident woman who’s engaging and beautiful smile had our eyes follow her halfway across the block. There is an allure, a certain mystery that sets her apart. Baring it all will attract attention, for a definitive period of time and not always the kind one seeks, whereas floating with that inner confidence and feminine presence will always invoke lasting admiration.

Sex appeal is not a product that can be purchased over-the-counter, it is a state of mind, an inner state of being. It has nothing to do with the act of sex itself. It is not to be found in your closet, in what you wear, it is inside your head. Some women and men can look incredulously sexy hailing a cab, or stirring coffee in the kitchen or watering plants.

That is because sex appeal has more to do with self-esteem and confidence than with low necklines and high skirts. Not the kind of self-assuredness that comes across as hubris, but the kind that is at peace with its strengths and its flaws.

This holds true for men too — not all men who have toiled in the gym for the buffest body will ooze it. They may warrant a head turn or two; but we have also seen men who have a certain presence, an inner confidence as they walk into a room, again, that certain je ne sais quoi. That is the kind of sexy that lingers on in the mind, inviting curiosity and interest.

Confidence and self-esteem are qualities one is hard pressed to find in abundance in both genders. So when we see it, we instantly recognize it, it always makes the individual stand apart. It’s hard to put one’s finger on what it is exactly, but suffice to say people who have worked to conquer their inadequacies and made peace with themselves are the one’s who have that evanescent appeal.

Sex appeal comes from having the confidence to not just play up one’s qualities and revel in them, but to embrace one’s imperfections too. So its not as simple as putting on a sexy outfit, because on closer look anyone will notice that there is little else beyond the outfit. It is being sexy in whatever you’re wearing or doing.

Originally published July 2009

photo by: Helga Weber

How To Love Yourself & Gain Self-Confidence

Loving yourself gives you self-worth, self-respect AND self-confidence. Love is a behavior and it starts with you. If you don’t love yourself, you will never be able to truly love and experience the infinite joy of giving and receiving love. The more you love yourself, and draw on the infinite source of love from within your own heart, the more your heart expands and you begin to experience love and happiness for no reason. Self-confidence grows as a by-product of self-love, so stay focused on loving yourself and your self-confidence automatically and naturally soars.

We all start this journey from a different place and have different pieces of the puzzle missing. I am sharing with you keys that have helped me on my journey. They work!

Having Compassion

Loving yourself is not about being perfect or egotistical pride. It’s about discovering your authentic self, your passion, what gives life meaning and purpose for YOU, not for someone else. Be vigilant of the mind coming in with criticism and judgment. Let those thoughts pass by and stay with feelings of great compassion for yourself. Love yourself no matter what. If other people criticize you, let them. You can never please everyone else, only some of the people some of the time. But you can always please and love yourself. On the surface this might seem selfish but those who fill up their own well first have the most to give others.

Taking Responsibility

A pivotal turning point for me was to take responsibility for what was not working in my life and stop blaming other people. As soon as I took responsibility I gained my power back and became the master of myself instead of the victim of other people’s manipulations. Look at the people and situations in your life right now. What do you see? Who/what do you not like? See if the people/situations you don’t like reflect something about you. We can’t change what we are not aware of and don’t acknowledge. Sometimes this is obvious, sometimes very subtle. Take a long hard look. As soon as you shine the light of conscious awareness on something inside of you, a transformation happens.

Being Courageous

Courage is not an absence of fear. Courage is rather the presence of fear, with the courage to face it. Courage comes from the heart and really this journey is about moving from the head to the heart. Fear and greed live in the mind so allow your heart to become the master and the mind the servant of the heart. Then you will have things in the right order and your life will align and flow with much more grace and ease. You will be amazed how the universe steps in to support you when you follow your heart. Do something courageous today!

Committing to Yourself

Set the intention, DECIDE to love yourself and don’t ever, ever, ever give up. If you do forget, get back to loving yourself as soon as your awareness allows. Forgive yourself, have compassion for yourself, and keep moving forward. Reach out to friends, teachers to support you. We all need support. Everyone has ups and downs. The important thing is not to stay down but to get back up and participate fully in life. Love is participation.

Receiving

Receiving is as import as giving, as important as breathing. Women in particular have a habit of over-giving and need to learn to receive more.(I did!) Love comes in many forms. Learn to recognize it and breathe in when someone gives you something,whether it’s a hug, a gift, a smile…consciously breathe the love in. Take a moment to savor this love you are being given, don’t rush past it, let it in. And give to yourself in as many ways as you can think of. Treat yourself to something, buy yourself some flowers, have a massage, take a bubble bath, whatever it is that makes you feel great!

Meditation: Listening To Your Own Feelings

The most important person you are honest with is yourself. Be true to your inner voice. Truthfulness means authenticity.

Find a quiet place and sit in silence, or go for a walk in nature. Just make sure there will be no information going in to your head and no one to disturb you.

Notice what you are feeling. Are you sad, happy, disappointed? Whatever the feelings, allow them to be there with non-judgment.

The important thing here is not to judge yourself for having particular feelings. Don’t let the mind come in and start criticizing. Just let the feelings be the way they are. Give them space….. notice them. Over time they naturally change and transform.Don’t repress and don’t avoid….simply allow them to be there.

You reap the most benefits from this practice when you spend a little time every day listening to your feelings. By and by you become  honest with yourself and know your true feelings at any given moment. This helps with decision-making, clarity of communication in all your relationships, anxiety relief and your own inner peace.

 

FREE CALL: Tuesday, August 30th “Laughter Meditation for Anxiety Techniques. All are welcome!

My website is www.discovermeditation.com

 

Teaching Others How To Treat You

Do you also believe that we teach others how to treat us? It is a motto I have religiously adhered to for most of my adult life. However, I must add that I have made some radical changes to my ‘teaching strategy’ over the years, and this change in my approach has brought me much inner peace and harmony with others. I have learned that we can ‘teach others’ with much less fuss and drama.

In my early adulthood I used to take a firm stand on just about everything and everyone who I felt were out of line. I am someone who often feels compelled to stand up for others, as well as for myself and my beliefs.

I also have this annoying habit of constantly wanting to side with the ‘underdog’ in any given situation. Like most empaths, I just cannot come to grips with any form of injustice or underhanded behavior. Circumstances that are unfair, dishonest or cruel really trouble me, and people who are unreasonable, inconsiderate or simply mean have always been one of my ‘pet peeves’.

 

Love is misunderstood to be an emotion; actually, it is a state of awareness, a way of being in the world, a way of seeing oneself and others ~ David R. Hawkins

 

Apart from being an empath, the desire for justice and fairness also stems from my youth. The trouble started long before I was born. Not only did I enter this lifetime blessed with the psychic abilities of my ancestors, I was also one of the many ‘first wave’ Indigo children who arrived on our planet in the 60’s and 70’s. I was a gifted and very unusual child, growing up in an extremely conservative and conformist society. I carried a target on my forehead from my very first day in kindergarten.

I was bullied and ridiculed for most of my childhood and teenage years. South Africa under apartheid was not the most friendly place for anyone who dared to be different in any way. Bigotry, prejudice and intolerance was to be found around every corner and in all walks of life. If you were discovered to be out of the ordinary, or if you did not conform to the norm, you were not very welcome in the politically controlled and socially engineered world which I grew up in.

Thankfully all of this changed when I was coming of age. By the time they released Nelson Mandela from prison, I had also been personally liberated by means of a tertiary education and the inner strength that comes from surviving several traumatic life events, as well as a growing personal acceptance of my psychic legacy. I was now a young adult and along the way I had also discovered that I am more than able to take a stand and defend myself, and others, whenever I felt it necessary.

 

There’s much more in any given moment than we usually perceive, and we ourselves are much more than we usually perceive. When you know that, part of you can stand outside the drama of your life ~ Ram Dass

 

I certainly wasted no time exercising my new found personal freedom. I was very much inspired by the newly achieved democracy in my country and those who had fought for it. In my own way, I also had a voice now and I wanted to use it. It was important to me to put the ‘bad guys’ in their place. Mean, nasty behavior had to have consequences. Keeping my mouth shut or backing down was no longer an option. I was never going to return willingly to that psychological prison created by others’ small-mindedness. I was, after all, busy teaching the world how to treat me and I had a lot of catching up to do. I certainly was not going to take any prisoners.

Fortunately, we never stop learning and over the years I have come to realize that this ‘fight for your right’ approach offers very little spiritual fulfillment or lasting inner peace. I have in time discovered that it is mostly the weak who react in anger or frustration. It is the weak who constantly seeks justice or revenge. It is the weak who feels compelled to be tough and defiant.

Standing your ground is trivial and has very little to do with your inner strength. The truly enlightened and wise find their power in unconditional love. Who is right and who is wrong is spiritually insignificant. Truly powerful people seldom have any need for excessive self-defense or forcing their views upon others. It simply does not matter. Do you want to be right… or do you want to make a difference in the world?

 

To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad ~ Eckhart Tolle

 

Instead of focusing on what others say or do or believe, turn your attention to your inner being. Focus on your own vibration. Work on feeling better about yourself and your life. Other people are not responsible for how you feel. If the words and actions of someone or something are currently determining your state of mind, or your self-esteem, it means that you have been giving away your power, and it is time for you to take it back.

You were born with the basic spiritual right to feel good and be happy. In fact, you have inherited a divine right to feel really great about yourself and your life. It is vital that we feel this way, because it empowers us to love others unconditionally. Once you feel happy and centered in your own being, it is so much easier to be kind and tolerant towards others.

Claiming your place in the sun and staying true to yourself does not have to involve any form of violent conviction, dogged persistence, foolish bravery or brute force. There is nothing that you have to prove to anyone. There is nobody that must be resisted or refuted or convinced by you at all cost. Not everything needs to be changed by you; everyone and everybody does not require your supervision or control. Your opinion is not always required. When you are in alignment with your higher self and your true life purpose, others can behave as they wish; you won’t even notice.

 

You are killing one another as you argue over whose way of life is the right way, when there is not one right way of life. There is just life…and you all get to choose the way. No one can threaten your way of life ~ Abraham-Hicks

 

When you are in that ‘zone ‘ it simply does not matter what other people say or do or think. What matters is how you respond to them. There are never any winners if there also has to be losers, no matter what the circumstance. Jesus referred to it as “turning the other cheek” and “doing unto others”; the Buddha talked of cultivating “a limitless heart” and the Prophet Muhammad encouraged the “conquest of self” and loving our “fellow-beings first”. It does not matter how one describes it. What matters is how ‘the zone’ makes you feel, and what it enables you to do in order to make the world a better place.

With this approach it becomes so much easier to ‘teach others’. You no longer have to deal with all the stress, drama and negative, destructive emotions. There is no longer any desire to be constantly affirmed or acknowledged by others. Gone are the regrets and the grudges. Conflict and arguments all but disappear from your life. It really does take two to tango and nobody enjoys dancing solo, especially if there is no music to dance to.

The results are amazing. When you respond to the mean, petty moments of others from within your ‘zone’, you will find that the guilty parties tend to apologize more often and more readily. When you’re true to yourself and aligned with the rest of the Universe, people actually become willing to listen and calmly consider your point of view. Even the really tough and deluded folks become a non-issue, because they will eventually give up and move on.

 

Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich ~ Tao Te Ching

 

All of this may seem like a lot of hard work, but it does not have to be. Getting into the ‘zone’ is much easier than you may think. Deepak Chopra describes it as following the ‘Law of Least Effort’.  There are three components to this law, namely acceptance, responsibility and defenselessness, which he outlines in his book, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

Chopra explains that “acceptance simply means that you make a commitment: ‘Today I will accept people, situations, circumstances and events as they occur.’ This means you will know that this moment is as it should be, because the whole universe is as it should be”.

Responsibility means “not blaming anyone or anything for your situation, including yourself. This allows you the ability to have a creative response to the situation as it is now. All problems contain the seeds of opportunity, and this awareness allows you to take the moment and transform it to a better situation or thing.”

Finally, he describes the most important component of getting into the ‘zone’, namely becoming defenseless. He defines this process as “relinquishing the need to convince or persuade others of your point of view. If you relinquish this need you will in that relinquishment gain access to enormous amounts of energy that have been previously wasted”.

 

If you knew your potential to feel good, you would ask no one to be different so that you can feel good. You would free yourself of all of that cumbersome impossibility of needing to control the world, or control your mate, or control your child. You are the only one who creates your reality – Abraham-Hicks

 

I also recommend three simple rules of thumb that I try to follow to help me stay in my ‘zone’. The first is to always pick your battles carefully and to let the Law of Karma take care of the rest. The second is to not buy into other people’s drama. The third is to recognize that you were never supposed to be anybody’s doormat, so don’t allow yourself to go down that slippery slope in the first place.

Does this mean that we should always remain silent when we are made victims, or look the other way when we see atrocities committed? Not at all. Nelson Mandela did not remain silent. Neither did Mahatma Ghandi. But they also came to the realization during the course of their lives that using force to convince others was not the best way to change the world. “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”, said Ghandi. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner”, said Mandela.

It is not about remaining silent or avoiding reality. It is about remaining faithful to your feelings, beliefs and values, without having to force it upon others. Your life and the rest of the world can be changed without violence or drama or force. We don’t have to shout our personal slogans from rooftops. Mandela and Ghandi are two excellent examples of how to achieve personal peace, spiritual wisdom and harmony with others… and yet, they both managed to completely change the history of the world!

 

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall – think of it, always ~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Now, I must admit, this alternative approach to ‘teaching others how to treat us’ remains a work in progress for me. I don’t always get it right in my moments of weakness. Some bullies just have the uncanny ability to drag you away from your ‘path of least resistance’ and, before you know it, you are completely out of your ‘zone’. On those occasions one tends to forget all your best intentions and give in to anger, hurt or frustration.

But it gets easier with practice and one does become stronger. And while I learn to let go more and more each day, I find comfort in the words of Jack Kornfield who once said that “a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring them to the transformative power of our heart”.

© 2011 Anthon St Maarten

Image: graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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