While it is true that your confidence was especially vulnerable to external influences when you were a child, as you grow older, you can gain awareness and perspective on what those influences were and how they were received. When you begin to do this, you can choose which influences you will continue to allow to have an effect on your life. You don’t have to be helpless to what happened to you in the past.

Exercise

Write down the significant events of your life from birth until the present. Include such things as starting and ending school, moving to a different location, a sibling being born, turning points in your life, key people who influenced you, jobs you held, and relationships with those closest to you.

When you’re finished, write your answers to these questions:

• What repeating patterns do you see?
• What positive outcomes can you see in any negative events?
• What would you want to do again?
• What would you prefer to have avoided?
• What were the most important turning points?
• What in your life increased your self-confidence?
• What in your life decreased your self-confidence?
• What were the main events that affect who you are now?

Now review your answers and write a short summary of the factors and experiences that have shaped your self-confidence and how your self-confidence evolved over the course of your life.

Nurturing Your Inner Child

If you were ignored, punished or made to feel unworthy at a very young age, you probably got stuck at that age. A part of you remains that age until you recognize as an adult what happened and then begin to re-parent yourself. This means listening to the child in you, understanding what happened to you as a child, and then nurturing your inner child to heal the painful places.

What does a nurturing parent do?

• Cares about you very much

• Encourages you to express yourself

• Respects who you are

• Appreciates your skills and talents

• Loves you unconditionally,
• no matter what you do

• Praises you for your accomplishments,
• even if they’re not perfect

• Is always there for you

Think about ways you can do this nurturing for yourself. Don't get stuck with what happened in the past. You yourself can re-parent yourself, love yourself, and nurture yourself.

Use Affirmations to Change Your Self-Talk

One of the best ways to re-parent yourself is to use self-talk in a positive manner on an everyday basis. You can feed your mind and heart with positive affirmations. They can overcome your persistent negative self-talk and help promote a healthy, self-confident state of mind.

Affirmations work best when they are said in the present tense and state what you want, not what you don’t want. If you say them every day, they will support your success in becoming more self-confident. Using visualization, which is seeing yourself actually being the person you’re describing, as you’re speaking will add power to your affirmations.

Here are some suggestions. Feel free to create some of your own that are just right for you.

• I believe in myself.

• I deserve to be happy and successful.

• I act with confidence every day.

• I am flexible and can handle change in every aspect of my life.

• I love myself for who I am.

• I can make my own choices and decisions.

• I am relaxed in social situations and I can talk easily with others.

• I find it easy to work towards my goals.

• I am capable and strong.

• I have the power to change myself.

• It is enough to have done my best.

• I deserve to be loved.

• I have the courage to make my dreams come true.

• I can accept that I can’t please everyone.

• I know what I want, and I make it happen.

• I am free to live the life I choose.

• I like myself better every day.

• I give priority to my wishes and desires.

Saying and thinking positive affirmations over and over again will change your thought patterns, helping you think and believe uplifting, self-enhancing thoughts about yourself. You owe it to yourself to talk to yourself in this manner.

Author's Bio: 

Vivian Harte is the co-author of Self-Esteem for Dummies in the Dummies series. She has helped over 12,000 people learn and use assertiveness skills during the last 14 years. She teaches online classes on assertiveness, self-confidence, and teamwork. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology and a Masters degree in Public Administration. She taught college classes for many years in Tucson, Arizona. She has two grown children who are both successful. She lives in Tucson with her husband, three dogs and two cats.

She offers kits with articles, guided visualizations, and songs as well as online courses, group coaching and 1-on-1 coaching, and you can find out more about these at her website, self-esteem-for-me.com. Discover how to change your thoughts into positive and uplifting self-talk in her free kit Change Your Inner Critic into Your Best Friend.