Having anxiety can result in all sorts of habits. As we know, habits are the result of doing something over and over again. How many of those habits are bad habits? How much have we subconsciously practiced those habits for them to become permanent?
According to research from constantcontact.com, a huge 85% of us have low self esteem or low confidence. (The above is not an affiliate link, it is simply for your info). Our negative self-talk contributes massively to low self esteem or low confidence.
Lets dive deeper...
I had this habit of not believing in myself. I'd talk myself out of ideas that I had when actually, if someone else had presented me with the same idea and asked my opinion, chances are I'd have been impressed at their creativity and innovation! So why wasn't I as impressed by myself? Habitual self doubt is the reason. I had put so much practice and energy into the wrong side of my ideas. Anxiety played a massive role in my lack of self belief too. So much so that I would let my mind wonder straight into the 'safe hands' of anxiety.
But what if I had've practiced self belief? Where would I be now? How would my life have turned out? This is another example of habitual thinking. The 'what if' mindset. A mindset that I practiced without knowing it. A mindset that became second nature to me because I created permanence. The brain is a creature of habit. If you tell your brain something enough, it will start to believe it. It then becomes difficult to reverse because we have to implement the practice again in order to change our beliefs. I said difficult, not impossible.
The fact that we create habits out of practice is proof that the mind and the brain respond well to what you are telling it. It becomes unconscious. We do things out of memory. Take walking for instance. When we are children, we are taught to walk by our parents. Its not something that comes naturally to us until we are taught. And when we have it down to a T, the brain becomes accustomed and takes it for granted - "hey, yeah, I can do that without even thinking about it!"
Riding a bike is much the same. Its something we learn and something the brain doesn't forget easily - "Oh yes! I remember how to do this.." and off you go peddling like you're a track cyclist in the Olympics! And we are so pleased with ourselves that we haven't forgotten what we thought we'd.. forgotten!
So why do we choose to be so fucking hard on ourselves? Why do we teach ourselves that we aren't good enough? That we aren't confident, pretty, smart or slim enough to be acceptable in society? We've already proved that our minds are so powerful and yet we still instil these damaging restrictive thoughts in there like a door wedge - driving them in with brute force!
Every thing we do, everything we say to ourselves and to others, every opinion we have and every action we take is the result of the lessons we are taught or that we teach ourselves. We have practiced who we are for our whole lives and sometimes it's just not who we want to be or who we are meant to be. But there is hope! Oh yes, baby! Yes there is!!
As I mentioned before, there is a way to relearn and to put into practice new lessons. And we can teach ourselves with the powers that we have. Not talking some out there super power - nope. Just what we tell ourselves on the daily! What we think about ourselves and our capabilities. What limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. It can all be undone and redone. Like a botched wallpaper job (sorry, it's the only metaphor I could think of!), it can be stripped back to bare plaster and replaced with a nice, new, pretty identity! You see we all have the same bare bones. And although we all have different personalities, different issues, different views and opinions, we all have the same ability to practice what we tell ourselves.
That practice makes for a permanent view of oneself until we start a new practice to replace the old one. So, here are some simple practices that I've probably mentioned before somewhere in this blog, but it doesn't hurt to remind you again
Replace "I'm sorry I'm late" with "Thanks for waiting!" This gives the impression that you know you are late and actually you are sorry but it takes the attention away from that and offers gratitude to the person who was waiting.
Replace "I can't do it" with "How can I do it?" This opens the mind to finding a solution rather than making the mind believe that it can't be done and that's that!
Replace "I'm not pretty enough" with "I am unique. I have beautiful eyes, a great bone structure, clear skin.." or whatever it is you appreciate about your lovely face. This creates more confidence and boosts self-esteem instead of creating comparison anxiety.
Replace "I'm so disorganised" with "How can I organise myself more?" Again, firing up the cogs and coming up with a solution so that you can become an extension of Marie Kondo or a graduate of Munkensmåt (A Norwegian method of decluttering that was I introduced to whilst watching an episode of Brooklynn Nine-Nine!)
Replace "People won't like me" with "I am an interesting person with a lot to offer". This creates more confidence when striking up conversation with new people.
So, you can see how making these small conscious changes can actually have a huge impact in terms of how you see yourself. And when you start to believe them, with practice, you become more confident. There will always be doubts in our minds because that's who we are as humans. We're a cautious bunch! But living our best lives starts within.
I spoke to a guy on the phone about an endeavour that I have and I told him that my main worry was confidence. (I recently wrote a post about How To Do It Anyway and I really need to read it again. Mainly because it's true and also because they are my own words!) Anyway, said guy on the phone gave me the clarification I needed to hear - his advice was the same as my own!! We can't both be wrong, eh?
Lastly, please do not listen to the doubters, the haters or anyone who has zero faith in your abilities. What you tell yourself matters. What negativity others tell you, doesn't.
Practice makes permanence folks! Practice. Makes. Permanence.
Love as always