Many aspects of your environment are out of your control; what you can control is your reaction and relationship to them. In other words, learn where the currents run, learn where the obstacles are, and learn to go with the flow or steer clear of the rapids.
Here are 5 actions you can take to either work with or avoid obstacles that tear down your self-confidence.
1. Learn to identify your skills and strengths. Don't fall prey to thinking that the solutions to your confidence issues are outside yourself. Understand that everyone has a talent, something that makes him or her unique and special. Know what yours is and learn to use it.
2. If you want to be a winner, learn to hang out with winners. If you find yourself surrounded by whiners, complainers, slackers, gossipers, backstabbers and patronizers, balance the time you absolutely MUST spend with them with equal or more time spent with positive, energetic, supportive, successful, and honest people.
3. Start practicing positive self-talk. What's that, you ask? It can be many things, such as allowing someone to compliment you by being grateful and accepting it gracefully. Believe that you truly deserve it. Positive self-talk can be replacing the negative tapes that run through your mind with positive ones. Do you find yourself thinking "I could never lose as much weight as she did", or, "I always try to think of something creative to offer in meetings but I never can", or, "I'll never be able to make friends as easily as he does"? You create your reality with your thoughts and words so choose them carefully.
4. Set realistic goals and take time to celebrate when you reach them. Don't set the bar too high or you'll be disappointed and lose motivation to try again. And even if you do fail, take the time to figure out what you did wrong and plan for success the next time.
5. Find your voice and use it. Finding your voice means saying what you need to say. It can be expressing unrequited love, asking the question everyone is afraid to ask, asking for help, asking someone to stop criticizing you, telling a joke, writing a letter to the editor, or placing a classified ad. Saying what you need to say isn't about getting what you want. Your question may not be answered, the criticism may continue, or no one may laugh at your joke.
Saying what you need to say may mean hearing yourself for the very first time. You can evaluate your own reaction and take your next step based on how having finally expressed yourself makes you feel. If you ask for the criticism to stop and it doesn't, you may feel empowered enough to leave the relationship or quit your job.
Finding your voice means being honest with yourself and portraying yourself honestly to others; it means engaging the human community in dialog, opening yourself up to hearing someone else say "me too! and it means honoring your truth. Speaking out can help someone else avoid your lack of self-confidence or pain, and it allows others to share it.
By following these 5 steps, you can find joy, peace and courage. In order to change your life, first you need to acknowledge what needs changing. Then and only then can you take your place in the world with confidence.