Recently, I was putting together a confidence building course. I was struggling to work out what I wanted to include, and how to put the whole programme together. I ended up questioning whether or not I was actually up for the job! My self-talk was about why I thought anyone would want to hear what I had to say and what did I know about helping people build their confidence? Was I ever getting in my way!
Old habits – The default, under pressure
I realised that I was putting myself under pressure, and because of that, I had reverted to old habits. It was as if I had old software running, with outdated programmes. They were creaky and outdated, but I was still trying to run them in my operating system today. (Because I was working in a situation that called for confidence, that’s what I was hitting in my ‘software glitch’; I was crushing my own confidence with my negative patterns of inner dialogue.
We learned our self-talk and habitual behaviour when we were small
- “You silly thing, you always lose your car keys. You should put them back in your handbag when you get home!”
- “I never finish on time at work so I can go to the gym in the evening”
- “I ought to have saved more of my money instead of booking a holiday – that was a selfish thing to do!”
- “I should take the kids to the park, even though I have a pounding headache”.
Change the software: Learn some new habits
- Stay motivated
- Cut out judgements of our self-worth
- Stop comparisons of ourselves to others
- Separate the deed from the “do-er”
- Feel more encouraged
- Build our resilience
- Reduce feelings of anxiety
- Cut down on feelings of shame and inadequacy
- Describe what you are doing, (instead of how)
- Notice what is working and going well (no matter how small)
- Keep talk specific to what is happening now (instead of using “always” and “never” statements)
- Instead of “should” and “ought” substitute “I choose to…” or “I would like to…” or ”perhaps I could…”
- Instead of “x makes me feel angry/sad/annoyed”, etc., “I feel angry when this happens”
- Notice when ‘old’ programming sets in and change to new patterns of speech, to boost your confidence