Would you like to build your self-confidence and self-esteem? Are you worried it might not be possible because you've had such a long history of put-downs, failures, and negative self-concept? If so, read on because this article will show you why it's never too late to increase your self esteem and you can to take the symptoms of low self-esteem and turn them into the self-confidence you've always wanted.

Some people seem to believe that self-confidence and self-esteem are the result of the positive messages we hear from others, as well as ourselves. It's as though self-esteem is a balloon that you can inflate with praise, approval, and admiration.

We believe self-confidence and self-esteem are created through confidence in our ability to take care of ourselves and the knowledge that we can accomplish what we set out to do.

It's our guess that many years of "less than enjoyable experiences" are what make us doubt that it's possible to increase our self-esteem and boost our self-confidence. In our experience, transforming a long-standing history of a lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem requires a commitment to three specific practices.

These practices are:

1. Replacing Limiting Beliefs

2. Taking Charge of Where We Focus Our Attention

3. Setting Goals and Achieving Them


1. Replacing Limiting Beliefs

Does your inner critic sound anything like this?

• I'm not good enough to get the things I want.

• My needs don't seem to matter to other people.

• It seems like there's something wrong with me.

• I can't depend on anyone, I have to do everything myself.

• I'm powerless (weak, unsafe, helpless).

• I can't take care of myself in challenging situations.

• I'm a worthless human being

Some people say that a belief is simply a thought repeated over and over again. Some of the beliefs we adopt can become a major hurdle to raising our self-confidence.

We've all adopted some limiting beliefs along the way that have prevented us from investing the time and energy it takes to develop confidence in our skills. Without this, it's difficult to experience the success we need in order to produce the self-esteem that we desire.

We have created a video that shows how we adopt these limiting beliefs. You can view it on our web site.

The first step toward increased self-confidence is transforming any limiting belief that may prevent you from developing new skills or honing the skills you have already.

Here's a simple practice that can get you started down this path:

The "Out with the Old, In with the New" Practice

First: Cultivate Your Awareness

Start by being aware of how you feel; scan your body and use any feelings of discomfort or unexpected panic as a warning bell. When you feel uncomfortable in any way, stop and take a moment to identify any judgmental thoughts in your head. As soon as you can get to a pen and paper, write down the negative thoughts while you're still able to remember them clearly. Be sure to write down the exact thoughts, as though that little voice in your head was dictating to you.

Second: Translate Your Negative Thoughts

Once you identify the uncomfortable, judgmental thoughts, it's time to figure out the values that are buried within these judgments. It's important that you start translating these thoughts into the truth of what's important to you.

For example, "I'm not good enough to get the things I want" might be translated into the important values of accomplishment, effectiveness, or even a deep desire to contribute. Now try saying to yourself, "I deeply value accomplishment." Can you feel the difference?

Third: Do Something About It

After you are clear about what's most important to you, identify at least two actions you can take that will support what you value in your life. This technique takes practice, but mastering it creates a magnificent sense of freedom.


2. Where You Focus Your Attention

When you've had a long history of put-downs, failures, and rejection, you tend to spend a fair amount of your time remembering, recounting, and regretting what happened in your past. An equal amount of time is spent worrying about, watching out for, and guarding against this happening in your future as well. This has you focusing your attention on what you don't want.

What's the problem with this? What you focus your attention on grows.

You may be surprised, but we don't suggest that you stop focusing your attention on these things. And we don't suggest that you stop doing this because it's IMPOSSIBLE to stop doing anything! That's right, you can't STOP doing anything--you can only START doing something else instead.

We suggest you start identifying the things you like or enjoy about yourself and make a list. Then make a list of everything you enjoy doing and a separate list of everything that is truly important to you.

From now on, every time you think about an unpleasant experience from the past, or if you find yourself mentally repeating one of your limiting beliefs, translate the judgmental thoughts as we described in the previous section, and do one or more of the following:

• Pull out your list and spend some time focusing your attention on something you like about yourself.
• Look at your list of what you enjoy doing and spend some time doing something on the list.
• Look at your list of what's truly important to you and identify one action you can take that will support having more of that in your life.

What you focus your attention on grows. Consistently focusing your attention on what you do want is the surest way to have more of it in your life.


3. Setting Goals and Achieving Them

The shortest path to building your self-confidence is experiencing the desired outcome that your actions produce, which, in turn, builds your self-esteem. Here's a simple process for proving the truth of this to yourself.

First: Pick a Goal

Start by picking one small thing you'd like to accomplish; get out a piece of paper and write it down. Did we say it should be small and easy to accomplish?

Second: Know Why It's Important

Underneath your goal, write down briefly why you want it to happen, what you'll get from it, or why it's important to you. Do not skip this step. If you can't answer these questions--pick a different goal!

Third: Do Something about It

List at least three actions you can take to accomplish this goal and commit to a deadline for completing these actions. Finally, create reminders about these actions.

Fourth: Create Accountability

Call someone that you know and trust and read them your goal, as well as why this goal is important to you, what actions you're going to take, and when you're going to take them. Then, ask them to check back with you periodically to see if you've taken them.

Fifth: Rinse and Repeat, and Repeat, and ...

Do this over and over again. The more successful experiences you have, the better you'll feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the bigger the goals you can create. The idea is to create wins for yourself, so pick things in the beginning that you know you can accomplish.

Again, everything we've offered here takes commitment to practice. The idea is to start choosing what you think about and where you focus your attention; thereby creating opportunities to experience more success in your life and, in doing so, build more confidence in yourself. Take on these practices and you will be unable to avoid having greater self-esteem.

Author's Bio: 

Discover more about how you can create the self-esteem and confidence you want, improve your relationships, and learn more personal growth and self-help techniques, sign up for our free, thought-provoking and motivational Weekly Action Tips eMail series at:FocusedAttention.com.

Or visit our blog today by going to: NewAgeSelfHelp.com.