Coaches, friends, family can all sometimes bring us down.
Generally they are trying to help and well-intentioned, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes their criticisms can’t hurt.
It doesn’t mean that sometimes their critiques can’t make us feel more insecure.
However, we need to learn to take criticism…It is the only way we truly get stronger.
So how do you learn how to take criticism even when it isn’t said necessarily in the best way?
You learn to be CONFIDENT in your own abilities!
Easier said than done, right?
No you can’t wake up tomorrow and say, “Now I’m confident!”
But yes, you can change your level of confidence without doing more than changing the way you TALK TO YOURSELF.
You don’t have to hit some new goal to develop confidence.
You just have to decide to believe in yourself!
I think self talk is one of the most often ignored and neglected parts of our dealings with ourselves.
We get ourselves haircuts, doctors appointments…we schedule workouts and even plan out meals.
We think about how we are taking care of ourselves and all the things we need to do for ourselves to feel good and stay healthy – except about how we talk to ourselves.
We consider our words when we communicate with others. We compliment and encourage. We focus on the good things that other people do (or at least most people generally try to).
Yet we never really think about how we are TALKING TO OURSELVES. We never try to compliment and encourage. We never focus on the good things.
And positive self-talk is one of the most important things when it comes to developing self-confidence.
Developing a positive inner monologue doesn’t mean you have to wake up every morning and look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am wonderful. I am beautiful.” Heck, it doesn’t even mean learning to love your flaws.
It simply means learning to accept yourself and realize that, yes…you do have flaws. WE ALL DO.
It just means making little changes in how you talk to yourself and in giving yourself credit for all of the good things you do. It is like talking to a friend or loved one – you want to motivate them and have them focus on all of the wonderful things you see in them!
Here is what I’ve found has helped me and many of my clients develop a more positive inner monologue and quiet those doubts raised by outside criticism.
Tips to Develop Positive Self-Talk:
1. Before you go to compete, to do a presentation at work, or to do anything challenge, take a deep breath and say, “I can do this.” Think about all of the great things you’ve done and the hard work you’ve put in. DON’T think about the other things you COULD have done.
2. Give yourself credit for small victories. Too often we ignore small victories because we aren’t there at our long-term goal yet. But if you maintain your weight or lift 5 more pounds, even if you aren’t at your goal yet, celebrate that victory! Set short-term goals and track your progress to them. Take time to celebrate even the smallest victories. It will motivate you and build your confidence in yourself.
3. Take a deep breath and think when someone gives you criticism. Often criticism is meant to help us. You can’t let criticism bring you down. If it is constructive, take a second and figure out how to use it to help you become stronger. Criticism doesn’t mean you aren’t still wonderful! We all have flaws and sometimes it is good to discover them so we can make them stronger! Realize that someone is criticizing you because they probably already think you are wonderful and just want to help! Don’t instantly make criticism a negative! Think about how it will make you even better! Don’t focus on the fact that it is potentially a current flaw!
4. “A tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.” Sometimes criticism is given to try to bring you down. The other person is probably insecure and therefore lashing out. You can’t let every criticism bring you down. We have to recognize that criticism is just other people’s opinions and that they aren’t always right. There are some times where you have to just brush it off. And while brushing it off can be hard for some, if you want to be the tiger you have to. Maybe that means reminding yourself of all your great points or just recognizing where their criticisms are coming from!
5. Build on your strengths. Don’t be afraid to evaluate yourself. Take a second today and think about yourself. If your self-talk is pretty negative, you will find you start to list all the things that need improvement. And then you may even start working on them. But what about the positives? What do you like about yourself? What are your strengths? Haven’t considered those near as much, huh? We always focus on getting rid of our flaws to make ourselves better, but what about developing our strengths? While I do think it is important to spend time making our weakness stronger, I think there is also something to making our strengths even better. Spend some time developing your strengths! It will definitely lead to a little more confidence in yourself and you will spend some time speaking positively to yourself!
Developing positive self-talk is about changing your instant reaction of saying “I can’t” when a new challenge arises to “I can.” Even if maybe you fail, the point is you CAN try. You CAN put yourself out there. You CAN risk “failing.”
Success and self-confidence isn’t developed by WINNING. It is developed by putting yourself out there and risking failure and pushing yourself to work hard to take on new challenges.
I’ve failed more times than I can count. But I have pride in myself because I was willing to risk failure to try something new.
Confidence comes not from being the best or being perfect. It comes from the acceptance that failure, that flaws, are a part of us.
All we can do is our best and that is what matters!