Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Confident winning smiles :)












Winning Women


Is it running wild wondering what people are thinking about your outfit / weight / base concealed pimple, or is it taking in the surroundings and absorbing the 'vibe' in the room? What's your posture like? Are your shoulders slightly slumped with your chin dipped towards the floor a little (in light of the 'belief' that if you can't see them, they can't see you!) or are your shoulders back and your chin parallel to the floor, showing maximum body presence? How is your breathing? Are you unconsciously holding your breath - at best taking in very shallow gulps (the quiet ones - in case anyone hears you!) or is your breathing full, deep lung filling stuff?

As an eternal optimist I am hoping that you were able to say that you walk into a room with smiling eyes which acknowledge friendly glances, head up, shoulders back and breathing comfortably - all while enjoying your surroundings and not thinking for a second that anyone is judging you. Sadly, statistics shoot my optimism down some what. The numbers out there suggest that there is a mere 10 to 15% of people on this planet who exhibit the characteristics associated with high levels of confidence.

We lack self confidence for a number of reasons - our early experiences in life, the kinds of relationships we had with the important adults in our lives (parents, relatives, teachers) and the kinds of messages we received (verbal and non-verbal) which were either affirming and affectionate or destructive and critical. When we are young we see ourselves as mirrors of the people around us - for this reason parents with low self confidence end up raising kids with equally low self confidence.

If parents with low self confidence do in fact raise children who lack self confidence too, we need to break the cycle for ourselves. Self Confidence affects every aspect of our lives. It affects who we are friends with, our choice of career, our physical well being as well as our levels of success and happiness. Considering all this, let's start increasing our self confidence with the following 3 Winning Women's Secrets:

• HEAR WHAT YOU ARE SAYING TO YOURSELFThe way we speak to ourselves arises from the attitudes we have about ourselves, others and the world. If our attitude is negative we will have self-talk / thoughts that continually say things like: "I'm no good at that", "everybody else is better than I am" and "the world is a cruel place to be". We need to immediately start taking note of what we are saying to ourselves on an ongoing basis. We need to start thinking about what we are thinking about.

Another sad number research has unveiled is that we spend up to 95% of our head time in the negative self-talk zone. Positive self-talk gets a pathetic 5% air time. No wonder we battle with self confidence. If we keep telling ourselves the same things (demeaning, critical and judgemental things) we will come to believe them as true about ourselves. Similalry (and fortunately) if we keep telling ourselves wonderful, positive things - we will believe them too. There is no way on earth that a person can be negative and highly self confident. The 2 just don't live together in one body.

So let's really start taking note of the things we say to ourselves. Thereafter we need to analyse how true they are. If they are true and can be changed - let's change them. If they are true and can't be changed - let's dump them and replace them with more positive self-talk. If they are not true - then stop the thoughts immediately. If you visit one of these thoughts ever again - simply stop the thought process in mid stream - it can be done and is a wonderful thing to practice. By stopping our internal whining we will suddenly find that we are not so bad, other people are amazing individuals too and this planet is a wondrous place to live. Changing our thoughts will change our lives! • PLAN


A LIFESTYLE THAT WORKS FOR YOUHow we take care of OURSELVES is a dead give away as to what level of self confidence we have. If we find we are constantly partaking in activities such as: continuous rushing around, bad eating habits, dependence on caffeine / alcohol / pain killers, rarely saying "No" to demands made on us, taking no leisure time for ourselves, living in the future or the past, battling to accept compliments or even never asking for help - all mean we lack self confidence. All these activities are neglectful of ourselves and we are inadvertently saying we do not deserve: a calm lifestyle, wealth or increased health, help from others and many more confidence destroying beliefs.

By not changing our lifestyle we are ensuring our low self confidence. We need to push pause on the planet for about 30 minutes in our week in order to plan. A realistic, workable plan will change the way we live our lives. We too can arrive at appointments on time, having had a healthy lunch we packed the night before simply because we may have delegated a few of the tasks we would have previously ploughed our way through. We are more than worthy of a lifestyle that puts us back into the equation as number ONE, and not number 2 to the entire world and its demands. Let's start taking control of our lives, remembering if we don't have a plan for ourselves the rest of the world will make the plans for us.

• STOP PERSONALISINGThis is something we women do on a dangerous level. We tend to personalise things which should NEVER be personalised. We often battle to separate ourselves from others behaviours or words. We personalise another's behaviour or words as saying something about ourselves when in actual fact no matter what the other person says or does it IS NOT ABOUT US - IT IS ABOUT THEM.

We need to start recognising our tendency to personalise in order to curb this confidence destroying behaviour. A wonderful technique to start using when there is a verbal "attack" or someone's behaviour is having a negative impact is TO GO SEARCHING FOR THE "I". This is a technique which reinforces that what the other person is saying or doing is not about us, but about them. It works like this:When next someone throws a strong sentence at you that contains the word "you", as in: "You are so stupid" ask yourself the following question: "What is this saying about the person speaking to me?" The intention here is to return the person's statement back to them in the form of a question. This technique is used in order to get the person to replace the initial "you" with an "I". We are basically trying to get to the hidden message here - as there usually is one hidden in every strong sentence.So we would ask something along the lines of: "In what way do you think I am stupid?". The answer might very well come back in the form of a another "you" statement like "you just are", which means we have to calmly return the message: "But I am not clear on how you find me stupid". Eventually the "I" will emerge in the form of: "I never get consulted on decisions that are made". Aha, the message they were originally sending out had nothing to do with us - it was all about THEIR insecurity / frustration or bad hair day - NOT OURS. Try this one out, it stops one personalising things that just shouldn't be personalised.

Self confidence is not something that belongs to "someone" else and is not something you are either born with or without - it is a very valuable resource we all deserve and CAN have. Self confidence starts with a host of acknowledgements. We need to acknowledge our past and accept that we can't change the past, so therefore need to work with the present. The present is ours to mould and the past need have nothing to do with the present. If for example the world has always seen you as a shy, introvert who continually acts as everyone's doormat - that doesn't mean that has to continue. We need to acknowledge that we are the only ones who have the real power to change our confidence level - only we can make the decision to change, to practice the changes and to stop letting external issues affect our internal confidence. A decision to change, followed by the actions you have decided on will ensure greater self confidence and a happier more balanced life. So what if the people around us get a shock when we change things - they'll soon get used to the new and improved Confident us.

As parents we are our children's first educators, so we owe it to them to look after ourselves and work on our own confidence levels. Let's start with baby steps, but at least make one simple move every day towards greater self confidence. Let's challenge ourselves. Let's start walking into rooms slowly, shoulders back, making eye contact with the people who want to feast their eyes on another Confident Woman!

Roshni Mehta
Batho Pele Unit Champion
Occupational Health and Safety UnitCorporate Services & HR Cluster

4 Comments:

Blogger Jeevan said...

Intersting.

We need to acknowledge our past and accept that we can't change the past, so therefore need to work with the present. The present is ours to mould and the past need have nothing to do with the present. If for example the world has always seen you as a shy, introvert who continually acts as everyone's doormat - that doesn't mean that has to continue. We need to acknowledge that we are the only ones who have the real power to change our confidence level - only we can make the decision to change, to practice the changes and to stop letting external issues affect our internal confidence.

this one made me to think, i hope what every we do in our life, has come form our parents, if a parent teach their kids good thoughts they will come big in there life.

03:12  
Blogger mitr_bayarea said...

Smiley-

good one. Agree with you on a lot of thoughts- negativity and self-confidence never go hand in hand. Although, logically and theoritically it seems that the best way to uplift our self is to eradicate negative emotions, much harder to implement.

The fact that most women personalize stuff is so true and that it what leads women into conflicting emotions and turmoil.

15:05  
Blogger Ms.Congeniality said...

beautiful article..wonderful :-)

09:13  
Blogger smiley said...

jeevan, i learnt quite a bit from that email which was forwarded to me. To be more positive and be an example for the children :)

mitr, i would it is true for women and peoplelike me too :)

ms.congeniality, welcome to mysite and the article was actually an email forwarded, real world stuff :)

04:44  

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