This month I’ve been working with a few clients who are struggling with both confidence and self esteem issues and they’ve reached a point in their life where they no longer want to be hindered by these issues. They feel like the feelings and emotions they have in relation to this area of their life are so powerful and they can see how they’re holding them back and restricting them from going forward with their life in the direction they choose.  They decided to work with a qualified coach (me) to help them delve deeper into this area of their life and finally overcome these fears and the restrictions they have that are limiting them from doing the things they want to.

Confidence and self esteem issues are so common and some carry the burden of this around with them often without others even knowing there are issues embedded deep within.  They learn to hide the issues they experience daily and cover them up so people don’t notice and by doing this it then feels like they’re performing an act instead of just being themselves meaning their true self can be hidden deep within.  This in turn can cause all kinds of problems both physically and emotionally as the person rarely seems to show their ‘true self’ as they feel it’s not good enough and not accepted by society and those around them.

Not feeling good enough is a hard statement to make but, it exists in so many people I work with.  The issues and concerns they have can have manifested from many years ago or can be as a result of circumstance or perhaps a situation they’ve recently dealt with and it can be debilitating for many. Some take the first step of recognising that they may need some support with  this and even counselling and some may choose to get their support from a life coach that can help them identify where they are now in relation to where they want to be in the future and a coach can show them how to get there.

Confidence and self esteem issues can be a complicated subject but, sometimes with a little support and understanding of these fears and restrictions can help others to overcome these issues sooner than you think.  I truly believe that confidence starts with ‘acceptance’ and this is something we’re not taught to do.  No one teaches us the benefits of accepting ourselves and no one helps to understand how we even begin to do this.

Acceptance is about accepting you for you and recognising your best bits and worst bits, or should we say your idiosyncrasies as some might say (a word we love in our family)!  Sometimes we try to conform to be like others because we think we should be more like them and less like us but, by doing that you’re not staying true to yourself, your beliefs and your values.

Values and beliefs are two of the most important factors that are responsible for your ‘make up’ as a human being and once you become clear about what both of those are then you can start to understand you and what you stand for much more.  Many people are blessed to just know what it is they stand for and are so confident in them as a person and their capabilities and it’s great to see.  People are usually drawn to people like this as they feel comfortable being them and when this happens it makes everyone else feel comfortable around them too.  Do you know someone like this?  Are you drawn to that particular person because they’re happy being them?  It’s great to see isn’t it and it’s great to spend time with people like that but, when you suffer with your confidence issues you often come away thinking, ‘I wish I was like that! I wish I was that confident and didn’t think about what people thought about me!’ Does that resonate with you?

Those people are confident because they know who they are and what they stand for and to be able to do this you have to understand the areas I’ve just mentioned and once you’ve done this you’ll be more accepting of both you (most important part) and others.  

Society tells us we have to be a certain way, we should all aspire for the same things, we should live in a world filled with materialistic things and should aspire for success but, why should we and who defines what success and happiness is?!  In the work I do I encourage people to embrace individuality and nonconformity and ask my clients to explore what it is they believe in and what it is they want to achieve in their life.  That’s the key, it’s their life!

Having worked with a number of clients I’ve seen a clear link between those who struggle with confidence and self esteem issues.  They tend to place a huge emphasis on the way both other people and the world views them, they want everyone to like them and they’ll go out of their way to please everyone even if it’s not reciprocated and this can cause all sorts of other issues in the future too.  They can sometimes worry about things that don’t exist (or not yet anyway) and they’ll worry about them anyway and what might happen.  They’ll often over analyse things and this can create a cycle of thoughts which lead to negative emotions leading to actions that are based on the fear of not conforming and this in itself is not a healthy perspective.   

Everyone is made up in a completely different way both physically, emotionally and mentally and that’s the real beauty of authenticity.  There are no norms, no restrictions, no barriers in life, just the ones we invent – you get what you put in and you get to live a life you choose but, to do this you need to first accept yourself.  

Accepting you for you means you accept that everyone will not like you and that’s okay as long you know you’re accepting of others too.  This means encouraging others and supporting those around you to help them achieve what it is they desire in their life and accepting that if they take a different path to you that that’s okay as it’s the right path for them.  We’re all made differently and we all our different thoughts and feelings about the way we choose to live our life and that’s fine.  So next time you judge someone else for doing something differently, challenge these thoughts and know that that’s the right decision for them.  Then take it one step further and when you want to make a decision, feel confident it’s the right decision for you and just take that leap of faith and know that it’ll all work out in the end but, most of all remember no one is judging you!

Many of us worry about pleasing others so we do things we often don’t want to do and we go to the social gatherings we really didn’t want to go to but, once you start truly thinking about what it is you want to do you start taking positive action.  This means doing the things you really want to do rather than doing the things you think you ‘ought to do’  there’s a difference!

Some of us worry about what others think of us, I know I used to and that can really affect you and the way you think.  There are some people who will make you feel less of an individual if you start making different choices to the choices they would have chosen and as a result of that make you feel ‘different’ in a bad way.  Have you ever encountered that?  Do you have a friend, a colleague or a family member who always seems to judge you no matter what?  Why do you think that is?

It can sometimes be down to their lack of self awareness and they might not know they’re doing it and how it’s affecting you or it could be that they intentionally want you to feel less of a person because you don’t fit with their ideals or norms.  Once you’re aware of this it can be so liberating and once you stop other people’s views and opinions controlling the way you think and feel about yourself you can finally start moving forward with your life and start living life consciously and proactively.  

Accepting yourself is loving yourself the way you are, so if you’re a little different embrace it!  You only get one life you don’t want to spend it chasing someone else’s dream or trying to be like someone else – just be you!  Your friends and family love you the way you are so practice gratitude for the things you already have in your life and for those who don’t accept you, understand that’s their problem because you can never control other people’s thoughts and views anyway.  Once you understand that you’ll be a much more happier person. 

So if your quirky, geeky, creative, arty, nerdy, an introvert or an extrovert or anything else then embrace it. Be different and stand out after all God made us that way, why would you want to be anyone else other than you?!