PER ASPERA AD ASTRA: 5 Surefire Ways to Boost Self-confidence

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By Xenia B. Estrella

People just get used to routine.  Throughout life though, in order to reach success of any sort, routines need to change every now and then, whether by will or necessity.  

“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities!  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.” – Norman Vincent Peale

If your daily routine keeps you from building enough confidence within yourself so you can serve others well, then you have to come out of your shell.  It’s not about wanting it; it’s about having to do it because you’re alive and you want to actually live out your life to the fullest.  No man can expect to succeed without having to relate with anyone.   It may be a daunting thought to anybody who doesn’t feel comfortable relating to others, but you have to do it, sometime.  Now is the time!  Don’t worry.  

  1. Find the inspiration to be your own best friend, not your worst critic… most of the time.

There is no need to worry about being the best of the best. Just do your best, then keep on learning. Take a new course; join a group in your community. Find a way to be of service to others by being of service to yourself, first.  Encouraging yourself to learn and move forward instead of drilling your inadequacies into your head, will surely spark enough good vibes and grit within you.

While I was working on getting a degree taking a correspondence course, I was so conscious about what other people thought about students who didn’t attend a physical university.  So, I made sure I was ravaging books every week. I was pushing myself to study well, exercise, and prepare for my future where I knew I would need to converse with people. I took note of unfamiliar words from these writings in order to expand my vocabulary, too.  By the time I finished my degree, I knew I wasn’t perfect but I gathered a higher level of confidence that I appreciated meeting people outside my circle of friends.  I felt quite good about myself.

Everyone has good and bad days; days when those “feeling like a monk”, moments creep up on you and you just want to be alone.  That’s ok.  Those days can be spent in contemplation, and maybe  reading up on books that will inspire you.  Take down notes.  Take on a craft, too.  

Think about it.  Other than of course, facing their problems at some point, people who get sad need to find productive things to do in order to keep their minds off themselves, their frustrations, their sadness.  Productivity to the 17 year old me who didn’t do much but study and exercise meant doing well while in my “isolation” state.  So, developing my skills on my own was necessary.  I took a correspondence course when home-schooling wasn’t taken seriously, yet, in my country.  I sincerely felt I wanted to make sure that studying from home certainly didn’t mean less discipline and skill.

  1. The smallest things matter, but don’t sweat the small stuff.

So, you see yourself as anti-social. 

Call me a geek, but finding a new word from a book or magazine excites me until now.  While in “seclusion”, during my teens (of course it wasn’t that bad), I looked forward to Repertory Philippines season tickets everytime, while I did my school work at home.  I appreciated every activity I did with the people around me — my family, friends, colleagues. I knew from the very beginning that every bit of knowledge I added to that stockpile in my brain could, in one way or another, help me build a better future for myself.

On the other hand, I didn’t sweat the small stuff.  I did not dare find time to pity myself. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.  

So I was paralyzed. I practically couldn’t function alone in the beginning. Not even on my bed to turn to my side! And when i started to walk, I was very slow. My muscles were still very weak and I couldn’t run.  I still can’t run now! Well, i can, but I’d be tripping after a few steps, for sure, if I did! So I don’t.  I never let the small stuff bug me because there are always bigger blessings to cover up every annoying inadequacy. Seeing those blessings despite all the obstacles make situations worthwhile.

  1. I talk to myself, but not totally (just a little bit!), like a crazy person.

I said in the beginning that I was my own best friend.  Take it literally.  I talked to myself, too!  Every time I felt the need for support, I told myself I could do it.  I was my own “tiny voice in my head”, who pushed me to move forward; to take a small step, one bit at a time.

  1. What people thought about me became none of my business.

You know those kinds of looks.  People passing by who stare and give you head-to-toe looks as if to say, “What a waste”, or “Eewww”.  I don’t bother with those people.  Their ignorance is not my problem.  I focus on my well-being, not their insecurities.

  1. Keep in mind that we are all the same.  We are all just people.

Well, duuh.  Just stop with the buts (but she’s prettier, she’s more successful, but she can do anything), 

“Do not compare yourself with others, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” (excerpt from Desiderata) You are also prettier, you are more successful, and you can do anything, too.

And stop with the, “if only” (if only I were stronger, if only I’d be given the opportunity, if only somebody could help me).  

You can be stronger, you can find opportunities all around you, and believe that people are inherently good.  Somebody will always be out there to give a helping hand.  Hey, reach out to this community.  I’m very sure you’ll find helping hands.

Your destiny depends on the choices you make each day.  Right now, you have to grab instances that you know will allow you to keep your chin up despite anything.  Love yourself.  Small steps, but you gotta take them.

As the cliché goes, “If it has to be, it’s all up to me”.