I want to elaborate on the topic of building self esteem and overcoming insecurity. What do we do when our life is controlled by insecurity to the point where our self-esteem is reduced, and we feel inhibited when tackling our fears?
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My inspiration for this article is a video webinar series that I signed up for called The Art of Extraordinary Confidence Summit, hosted by Dr. Aziz Gazipura of SocialConfidenceCenter.com. In the video series, he interviews different confidence gurus and people who have overcome their own insecurities.
The first speaker in the video series was Sean Stephenson, a therapist, and self-help guru whose life purpose is to rid the world of insecurity. Sean is unique as he has a condition known as osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease”, which means that his bones are susceptible to breaking easily. Despite being 37 years old, he is only 4 feet tall, and he is confined to a wheelchair because of his condition. Because of his appearance, you can imagine how that affected his self-esteem, and how others viewed what he was capable of. After building self esteem for himself, he is now on a mission to help others do the same.
I wanted to share some key takeaways that I learned from hearing him speak. It really impacted me, and I learned some new perspectives on self-esteem that I’ve never heard before. I will also share some examples of my own struggles with self-esteem, in hopes of inspiring you to overcome your own insecurities.
DON’T ELIMINATE SELF-DOUBT, ELIMINATE THE FEELING IT CAUSES
The first thing Sean talked about was that you can never really eliminate self-doubt fully. By trying to do so, you will only suffer. What you CAN do is eliminate the propagation of feeling like you aren’t enough. You can control the actual EMOTION that comes with feeling bad about yourself.
Different forms of insecurities appear in life. At one point, you could be scared of public speaking. Then when you get enough repetition, you will become confident doing it. However, that doesn’t mean that other things won’t scare you. Maybe you are about to propose to your future wife. That is a new experience and there is a fear of uncertainty and potential rejection that will surface. Insecurity will keep appearing in your life. The IMPORTANT thing for building self esteem, though, is to know how to cope with it. Sean talks about using mindfulness as a tool to help you see that your mind is on your side. Knowing how to be with your emotions, and see your insecurity for what it is.
EMPOWER YOURSELF AND ACCEPT FEAR
I also found it interesting how that Sean has something called a “When Life Works” list. It is a collection of empowering activities that he does which help him be in his best confident state, instead of letting doubts and insecurities drag him down. Some of the things on his list include: hydrating (drinks lots of water), spending time with his spouse, and journaling. Each day, he does 4 things off his list. As for myself, I do a lot of things off his list, but I don’t have a formal list to focus on when insecurity comes up, which can be valuable.
I want to emphasize further that self-doubt cannot completely disappear. Fear cannot completely diminish from your life. It will always appear, and the key is to come to peace with it when building self esteem. Look at it as nothing more than something you are feeling in your body. Author and speaker Joyce Meyer says,
“When you need to make a decision, don’t let your emotions vote”
When you refuse to let emotions like fear decide what you do, that is when you regain control of them. If you practice mindfulness, you will get better at noticing when emotions are affecting you and respond to it in a healthy way.
TAKE THE FOCUS OFF YOURSELF AND PUT IT ON OTHERS
Another awesome tip is that you feel the most INFERIOR when you’re thinking about yourself, but you feel the BEST when you’re thinking about others. I think this is really important because oftentimes, humans are focused on how THEY feel, how they are performing in everyday life, and how they are perceived by others. However, by taking the focus off of YOU, you are distracting yourself from your insecurities, and you are having an impact on others at the same time.
You also want to stop focusing on “being great” and start focusing on servicing others. Let’s say you spend your whole life trying to be really good at something. You will feel really good about yourself, but what happens when you die? When you die, you stop being great, because you no longer exist. But, when you instead focus on servicing others, now you are trying to create a long-term impact, a legacy that will see its impact even after you die.
That is exactly why I run my blog and YouTube channel. I don’t necessarily want to become the “greatest at making videos”. There is a purpose behind every video and blog post I make. At the moment I am writing this, hardly anyone is even looking at my content. But I am doing it so that I can run a business that helps other people. I want to leverage my experiences in life so that I can inspire people in their lives. Finding your purpose in life is the key to taking the focus off of yourself and putting it on servicing others. This consists of two things: looking at what you have struggled with or what holds meaning to you in life, and figuring out how you can help people who are impacted by that.
BE MOTIVATED BY HAPPINESS, NOT INSECURITY
You want happiness to be your driving force in life when building self esteem. Sean says it is a lot better to let happiness motivate you than the insecurity about how you feel. If pain and insecurity are all that motivate you, it will burn you out in the long run. You are not really feeling positive emotions, you are always operating out of a negative state, which will impact the way that you show yourself. For example, if I am happy while recording a YouTube video, I will exude positivity and my viewers will feel that. But if I am in a bad mood while recording, I won’t impact my viewers in a positive way.
OPINIONS MAKE US UNHAPPY, NOT FACTS
Finally, understand that OPINIONS are what make us unhappy, not FACTS. For example, let’s say I failed my math test with a mark of 40 percent. If I were to say, “I failed my math test”, that is a fact, it is a true statement. But if I were to say, “I failed my math test which means I am stupid, I can’t be successful in life, nobody values me, and no one will hire me”, that is an opinion. It is important to differentiate between facts and opinions, and know that your mind skews the way you see things.
I will give another example that I have faced with my insecurities around people. Let’s say I come up with an awesome joke or story to tell my coworkers, but they don’t laugh or look as enthusiastic as I expected them to. If I were to create an opinion, I would say, “Man, they aren’t even responding to me. They must not like me. They probably don’t think I am funny or entertaining. I bet they don’t even want to hang out with me”. This is an exaggeration of the fact, which is that they did not laugh. Let’s say the real reason was that they were tired and didn’t feel like engaging in conversation. I would’ve gotten it completely wrong.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU FOR BUILDING SELF ESTEEM
In summary, I took away some awesome new concepts from this interview. I think they can help your frame of mind when building self esteem. My challenge to YOU is to go to the COMMENTS section below and write 3 things that you can do to EMPOWER YOU if you were to create your own “When Life Works” list. I want you to have an action plan to help put you in a positive state and increase your self-esteem. It could be drinking lots of water, it could be reading a self-help book, it could be hanging out with your family. Leave a comment and I will engage with you guys.
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