Low self-confidence – a major problem among the younger generation. Even KMAG had conducted a survey asking its followers to anonymously tell what is their biggest weakness and most of the respondents were mentioning lack of confidence being their biggest weakness.
Self confidence in simple term is the feeling of trust in one’s own abilities, qualities and
judgement. It is a state of being certain in your own skills and abilities. It means you accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well, and have a positive view of yourself. You set realistic
expectations and goals, communicate assertively, and can handle criticism well.
On the other hand, low self-confidence might make you feel full of self-doubt, be passive
or submissive, or have difficulty trusting others. You may feel inferior, unloved, or be
sensitive to criticism.
Feeling confident in yourself might depend on the situation. For instance, you can feel
very confident in some areas, such as academics, but lack confidence in others, like
relationships. Self-confidence is said to be heavily based on a person’s past experience. If you had good experiences, you are more likely to have high self-confidence, and if you had some negative experiences than it is likely to have contributed to the lack of self-confidence in you.
Where does lack of self-confidence come from?
From a Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) point of view – it comes from one main
limiting belief “I am not good enough”. This belief comes from your own negative experiences, repetitive suggestions from your own thoughts or others or constant comparison with others.
Let’s take a closer look into this.
It starts right from your childhood. Most people who lack self-confidence had way too high
expectations from their parents, teachers and other significant people around them. If
your performance was not to their desired standard and they were extremely critical of
you, you might have lost your confidence as a result. And you carry that behavior into
For instance, you were most likely not the most brilliant student in your class and your
parents or teachers were quite critical of you for the performance. You were not good enough in their eyes. This culture of having too much expectations from children, right from a very young age is a contributing factor to the lack of self confidence in our youths.
Comparison is what kills your confidence. It is so natural and common to compare yourself
to others, but as you probably are aware, it often makes you unhappy. It feeds your ego
the lack and separation, even if you have enough and should be happy with what you
have. Whether you are comparing yourself to someone else you think is better than you or someone else makes a judgmental comment to you based on the comparison, either way,
it has a massive impact on your self-confidence when you feel that you are inferior.
As a kid, you compared yourself to the kid who always came first in the class and was the
favorite student of the teachers and you asked yourself “Why can’t I have that kind of
So, what can you do to increase your self-confidence?
Stop comparing yourself with others
The only person you need to compare yourself with is your old self, no one else.
You see, everyone has their own journey in life. You cannot walk someone else’s
journey and they cannot walk yours. So acknowledge and accept who you are and
where you are in your life.
So, the first step to overcome comparison is to become aware of your habit. Once you
realize you’re comparing yourself with others, give yourself a break. Don’t berate
yourself or feel bad — just acknowledge that it is just a thought, and gently change
focus. Focus on counting your blessings. Think what you do have, what you are already
blessed with. Express your gratitude to those things that you already have.
Change your focus
What we focus on expands. It has a huge impact on your personality. Your self-confidence is low because of the negative emotions you have associated with self. Changing your focus to the positive side can provide a boost in your self-confidence.
Make a list of your strengths and achievements so far. Paste this list in a place where
you can see it every single day, preferably in a place that you see it early in the
morning. And refer back to it every single day. When you start your day with positive energy that drives self-belief, you shift your perspective and treat your mistakes as passing events in your life that teach you something new.
Set an intention for the day and plan ahead
The best way of gaining control of your day is by planning out your day and starting it the way you want to. We feel good when we feel like things are under our control. And this has everything to do with your confidence! Start your day with an intention. Tell yourself how you want to feel today. Do it first thing in the morning, after a shower or during
meditation. Visualize how you want this day to unfold. When you prepare yourself in
advance for the day, you act from a responsive state instead of reactive state
throughout the day. The day is in your control and not the other way round. It is important that you keep your intention alive in mind throughout the day. It really causes a massive difference in your state of being and ultimately your self-confidence.
Hang the monster – the inner critic
The voice inside your head, the inner critic can become a harsh demon if unleashed. At
times, this little voice can be helpful in keeping you motivated towards your goals. But
if that voice gets more negative than positive, then it can be more harmful than
helpful. Negative self-talk is that inner dialogue you have with yourself that limits your ability to believe in yourself and reach your highest potential. It is any thought that
diminishes you and your ability to make positive changes in your life. In order to keep these thoughts in check, first you need to become aware of it. Observe your thoughts when you are being self-critical. Then, remind yourself that these thoughts and feelings are not necessarily true. Neutralize the negative thoughts by changing the language you use and use positive words instead of negative words that empower you. When you have empowering thoughts, your self-confidence returns.
Face the fear and do it anyway
Fear is another major factor for diminished self-confidence. In order to get on top of
it, you must face it and take the action. There is no other way around this. When you
try new things, you open up to new experiences, you grow and your confidence
increases. The positive feeling of accomplishment and progress you make proves your
inner critic wrong. You also realize that the voice that said – “You are not good
enough” was in fact wrong. This change in your perspective provides a massive boost in
your self-confidence as you start trusting in your abilities again!
So, do that one thing that you have always wanted to do but were scared to take
action, one step at a time, to build that confidence.
Let go off perfectionism
Perfection does not exist! We all know that intellectually, but emotionally we seem to
feel bad when we don’t reach perfection. You aren’t perfect and you never will be. If
you look at it in a different way, that imperfection is what makes you who you are,
you are unique and special in your own way. So learn to embrace your flaws and be
kind to yourself. Forgive yourself for making mistakes or not knowing things. Remind
yourself that you have the ability to improve in what you aren’t good at and learn
what you don’t know.
Learn to embrace enough
“I am enough/ I have enough”
If you always chase material things, you will never have enough. You will always want
more. That’s an endless cycle, and chasing material things like that will never lead to
happiness. No matter how much money you have in your bank account, no matter how
many houses you own, no matter how many fancy cars you acquire … it still won’t be
enough for you. Instead of constantly chasing these things, focus on what really makes
you happy from inside. Go inwards. Learn to realize that you are enough and what you
have is already enough.
That’s it. There is actually more to it if you low confidence issue is much deeper and complex, but in generally what I wrote above should be enough to guide you through in overcoming your low confidence issue.
You are awesome. Keep rocking.
About the writer:
Reshma Baral is a life coach who specialises in helping people build their self-confidence
and excel in their careers. Originally from Nepal, she currently resides in Australia. She is
a Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming & Hypnotherapy and knows how
people’s beliefs and values shape their lives.
Besides that, she is also a Chartered Accountant and works full time in that capacity.
Dear suicidal minds
If you are suicidal, for sure your life is going through hell. Unpleasant memories, messed up present, and dark future must be bombarding your minds, questioning your purpose of living, drowning you into a blackhole of despair, emptiness and anxiety, that you feel yourself worthless, hopeless, and helpless, and only door you see to peace is in death, and you can’t wait for the death to come to you, so your mind is compelling you to get to the death on your own.
Or, maybe nothing as such. Maybe you don’t have as such unpleasant past, nor messed up present or dark future, but somewhere you feel yourself worthless. Purpose of life does not hold any meaning to you anymore. You feel like being a loser or useless that hurts your dignity and ego. You are tired of your near ones complaining about you not being right; or you are tired of trying to fit into the expectation of people around you. Or, you are tired of seeing failures and you don’t want to try anymore. You feel like you are done with your life and you just want to give up. Suicide seems the perfect door to exist. Or, maybe you have some other reasons. Whatsoever, all the reasons boil down to one thing, and that is, you want to escape quietly.
Whatever may the reason be, you are suicidal, quietly and secretly ,that no one knows yet. I am not here to tell you “suicide is not the solution.” You already know that. I know you are not looking for solution. You are looking for an end. So, it does not matter to you. Also, I am not here to tell you, “talk to me” because I also know you believe talk can only give you a short-term relief, but as soon as the talk is over, you are back to your blackhole with never-ending tunnel to darkness. So, I am not here to ask you to talk to me. You don’t need to. Instead, I will talk to you. Just listen to me through these words.
You know, today I was watching this documentary on human history. It showed how 70 thousands years ago humans escaped from Africa to survive. Some died on the way, and few finally made it to Arabian peninsula. From there, they expanded slowly to Asia to Australia, and to Europe, to America. It was amazing to learn learn how they learned agriculture, and how they learned domestication; how the religions and rituals were born, and how they learned to make tools to survive. It was also fascinating to learn how they learned to tempt river and tempt nature to make the earth their home. Those people were our ancestors. In these 70 thousand years, trillion lives had been born and died, resulting the modern world as we know. In this journey of human history, earthquake, flood, famine, war, plague, disease, accidents have killed billions, just like that. Many had died meaninglessly. Many had died unfairly. But world moved on.
What we can learn from our history is that our life actually holds no meaning in broader sense. It gets the meaning only when we assign to it, looking at lives of those who survived.
The other day, I had gone to a funeral of a relative who had died from cancer. I had seen him struggling for a year, bed-bound. Until his last breath, his existence was valued but the moment he died, he became history. Everyone gathered for funeral but soon dispersed as if he never existed. I was thinking, whether I kill myself, or I be killed by accident, or grow old to die naturally, I am going to die anyway. My life will mean nothing as soon as I am gone. That’s life in true sense.
With all that, what I am trying to say is that we mean nothing to this world as soon as we are gone. What matters to the world is the people that are breathing and living. Look at Yama Buddha. He was Yama Buddha until he was alive. As soon as he is gone, he is just a memory, a story. Everything stopped then and there. But people moved on.
So if you want to kill yourself, you can do that for sure. One meaningless death which will be forgotten by almost everyone anyway. In another 50 years, those who knew you will be gone as well. For the generation thereafter, you never existed. It’s a zero sum game. Does any one remember the people who crossed read sea and made it to Arabian Peninsula? No body. Does anyone remember the millions of armies who had died in world war II? No body. Moment a person dies, his/her chapter is closed. It will be same in your case if you die today.
What we can learn from our history is that life actually holds no meaning in broader perspective. It gets the meaning only when we assign to it, looking at life of those who survived.
But think this way. If you die today, you are not going to see next PM of this country or US president. You are not going to see new invention, new technology, new galactic event, new bigger moon happening after 1000 years. You not gonna see next war, next chaos, next celebration. There are full of surprises waiting and you gonna miss all of them. By you dying now, world is not going to miss anything. It’s you who gonna miss lot of things.
I understand your life is hard now, but hey think about those humans escaping from Africa through Sahara desert. Think about the humans that had to survive in ice age. Think about those people from world war. Think about Japanese living in Hiroshima then. I can give you 1000s of stories of struggles and pains. You are not the only one with problem. World is always full of problems. Problem has always been there, problem will be always there because that’s the nature’s way to segregate strong from weak. It’s about going through the problem, facing it, growing through it, and still breathing and moving on. That’s what took we humans from Africa to all over the world.
So I say, you can choose to be a human who chooses to jump off a cliff to end a life instead of walking 1000 miles in search of foods and waters or you can choose to be the human who would take the heat, take the burn, take the flashes and wounds but does not give up.
See, world today is quite messed up, in sense it is so defined. “You should be like this and be like that.” List of do’s and don’ts. Obsessed to build an Utopian world that never existed before nor will ever exist. And poor you, somehow are programmed to think that by not fitting into people’s definition, your life will be waste and useless. That’s bullcrap, my friend. Don’t buy them. Buddha would not have become Buddha if he was sold on people’s opinion. I can name 1000s of people who didn’t buy that crap.
If you read between lines, problem lies in our self constructed idea of how a human should be, as a child, as a sibling, as a spouse, as a citizen, that some people take literally and feel like unfit, manifesting their suicidal thought further.
There is a saying in Nepali, “marnu bhanda bolaunu jaati” which literally means better be crazy than be dead. So, if you are to choose between ending your life or be crazy, be crazy enough to become egoless, be crazy enough to travel the world, be crazy enough to look for world fighting and surviving, try new invention and discoveries, be crazy enough to leave your parents, loved ones, and everything and detach from the world if they are cause of your sorrow; be crazy enough to pursue your true hobbies and passions. Be crazy and still survive to see the world unfolding right in front of you.
When you close your eyes, everything will stop then and there for you. World is not missing anything here, but you are missing everything. So whenever your mind tells you to die, tell your mind to shut up. Remind yourself “I will die forever, but not gonna live forever, so let me see the world as it unfolds.”
Everything else is secondary.
How to deal with Corona-induced crisis
Lockdown 2.0 begins today in Kathmandu. Back to the life where everything is uncertain. “Hello, anxiety my friend, please kick in.“
Most of the times, it’s the second blow that hits you hard, makes you bite the dust to never get up; the hope and optimism, that you were standing on and keeping you strong goes off in second blow.
Lockdown 2.0 seems like going to be the second blow for many. Many will probably give up now.
Pre-lockdown, most of us had our plan all set for life. Entrepreneurs had their business idea ready to execute or ready for pitching to investor. He could see his future and was excited to reach there. Students had their education goal set; would do this, would do that. Lovebirds had their plan, artists had their plan, everyone had some or other plans. If no plan, at least had a hope. And then, BOOM! Corona happened followed by lockdown 1.0 and now lockdown 2.0.
You for sure have heard many times people saying “life is not easy.” That’s true, because it has never been easy for any generation. Think of World War time. It lasted from 1939 to 1945. Time travel to the era and imagine the life of Japanese, that of Germany, Polish, British; imagine the American society with all their men in battleground, with children and wife back home. Imagine the hardship that generation from then had to bear. Despite the hardship, some people didn’t give up. They decided to marry anyway, they decided to carry on their study anyway, they decided to still be hopeful about future and make children. These people made some babies in 1950s, who would be known as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
You don’t need to go that far. Maoist insurgency in Nepal that lasted from 1996 to 2006 was enough to understand human world. It was not an easy time. Businesses, opportunities, prospects, lifestyles, education, everything was compromised. A depressing period with looming uncertainties, chaos, pessimism, yet some people didn’t give up, and we are the result of those people who didn’t give up. Because they still sent us school despite the uncertain future, because they still run their business despite the negative growth, because they still took a job despite low salary, some of us could become doctor, engineer, lawyer, entrepreneur or manager.
The point is
ups and downs are part of life. Just like that, ups and downs are part of human world, economy, environment. Maybe, it’s nature’s way to correct, to tame, to balance to maintain the ecosystem, and in such ups and downs, filtration happens, distribution happens, filtering out weak and unfit. Maybe.
Whatever, the truth is we are passing through lows, where our economy will be down, job market will crash, earning will be uncertain; this is not the time where everyone can dream to be billionaire, plan exotic vacation, live that Hollywood-like lifestyle — not even the time that you can get your favorite bike, go for a road trip or hang out with your favorite people in your favorite cafe. You even have to think twice to upgrade your mobile phone. To squeeze your life further, you may be assigned an extra responsibility of taking care of your parents and home, as they don’t get rent income anymore.
Think as worse as you could and that probably gonna be your reality. That’s the phase our generation is passing through. Hope is a beautiful thing, but same time, it’s equally important to be prepared for worst, without which we will not be able to handle the harsh reality and that’s when we give up, we make extreme decision, we push ourselves into the blackhole of depressive state; we mess up in personal relationship, we can’t think right, don’t think straight, and all the terrible things happen, ending up becoming a loser.
Winners are those who survive this difficult time, and still keep doing what’s needed to be done regardless of uncertainties and difficulties.
If you are a student, don’t wait for the perfect time and situation to study with bang. If you are an entrepreneur, don’t wait for that “happening market” “booming economy” to kickstart. If you are a couple, don’t wait for “will have baby when everything is smooth” days. If you are lovebirds, don’t make corona an excuse to be together.
Like how decade-long war was a new normal, like how decade-long maoist insurgency was a new normal, like how 80% unemployment was new normal, like how food crisis was new normal, Covid-induced uncertainties and crisis seem to be new normal. Learn to live with it and still keep doing what you need to do, what you enjoy doing, what you want to do before you die. Don’t overthink about situation that you don’t have a control over.
Remember, the time you are living in right now is part of your time. Months or years wasted waiting for right time is only the months and years wasted from your account and not that of others.
Every time you feel down, think about history and how people then managed to survive.
The Grey Zone, where the sh%t happens
A perspective to give a broader view on the avoidable mistake.
Though it applies in both genders, let me put it in a male tone.
Every guy has three types of girls in life:
Type I: She likes him, is romantically interested in him.
Type II: She likes him for a specific thing, for example, likes him because he is quite intelligent, likes him for his writing or signing, likes him for his leadership skill, but that like is not “romantically interested.” She adores him, admires him for specific traits or skills or his profile.
Type III: She does not like him at all. She may talk as a gesture of being nice when around, but she is least interested on him or his profile or work.
When you meet the Type I girl, you can know instantly that she is interested in you. She gives that deep looks, throws a special aura to you, her body language, her tone everything seems very clear to you that she is up to you romantically. She finds a way to talk to you, she plans to get to you. She is so obvious.
When you meet the Type III girl, you as well can tell instantly that she does not give a damn about you. She too is quite obvious and you know she is not the one to chase or invest your time and energy on.
But the Type II girl often confuses you. She as well gives that deep looks, loves to listen to you, smiles for you, throws the aura of comfort and acceptance, which feels so much like as if you being liked by her and is interested in you. However, deep inside, you know something is missing, because you are biologically capable to know the romantic signal and it’s missing in this type. But, you are too clouded in confusion that you want to push yourself to far just to end up in the real shit.
Most guys mess up with Type II because he misjudged her closeness with romantic interest and pushed himself too far to ruin everything.
We all are biologically capable to know the type. All we need is a critical mind to avoid the cognitive bias. Wise thing to do is, assume nothing and instead talk to clear any doubt or curiosity.
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