December 5th, 2013 | by Beth Barany
As a teacher and a writer, it saddens me to see so many children and adults that lack genuine self-confidence. That inner knowledge that you have the ability to conquer whatever comes your way and you are able to do more than survive, but thrive on your own merit.
People live their lives often with no idea how crippling and self-induced this pain is… the pain of self-doubt. It causes depression and negative thinking. It constricts a person’s imagination, knowledge, and experiences, as well as, creates a roadblock to one’s potential.
How does that happen? Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, and others have been quoted that we use only 10 percent of our brain. If we have so little confidence in ourselves, how much more do we suppress?
Being able to use our imagination creatively and think outside of the box in making decisions is a major part of living up to our potential whether we are writers or brain surgeons or any other profession. It creates self-confidence and our increases our ability to interact with the world around us.
Who contributes to this? As children, we are full of love for the world around us. Our natural curiosity is boundless. This is a beautiful and precious resource. But, somewhere along the way, the interaction we have with others, particularly the adults who are supposed to care for us, send us psychological messages whether intentional or not, that we are not worthy in some way.
One example of the powerful early messages kids receive from others that starts to erode our self-confidence is, when we start to color or draw. There is always someone who will tell us we are not doing it right. That we must use the color blue for boys and pink for girls. We must color between the lines. That clouds must be fluffy white and roses are always red with thorns attached. Dogs always have four legs and cats have two slanted eyes. We must conform in some way, instead of using our own imagination to decide. This kind of thinking stifles creativity, and destroys the thinking out-of-the-box stimulation which is food for our brains.
We internalize those negative messages and believe them. After all, our parents (and others) are gods to us, until we are older. By the time we grow up, we are filled and bombarded with negative messages and sometimes self-loathing or hate. Just look at how teens feel about their bodies, because they do not fit what the media tells us are perfect body images. Many become obsessed with food, fashion, workouts, tattoos/piercings, etc., to try to be ‘perfect’ in some way and to ‘fit’ in with our peers.
Self-confidence is not about the false self-esteem of being told we are good at the slightest thing or for some kind of trophy for accomplishing the tiniest goal in a team sport. True self-confidence is the result of accomplishing something meaningful. Instead, we are told to grow up and be serious, look for a job that will get us money, power, or fame.
Can this be changed or reversed? Yes. Our imagination and thinking may be suppressed or regressed, but it never goes away, but it is like a muscle, it needs to be used often. You need to protect that inner child with a fierceness. It is especially important as an artist and a writer.
Every time you think of yourself as being terrible at writing. Every time you doubt yourself as a writer. Every time you are rejected by others. Every time you have a daunting task ahead of you. Take those thoughts and turn them into positive affirmations instead. Do this often every day, until they become a part of you. Do this until you truly believe in them.
Remember who you are. You are a child of the infinite universe. You are complete as you are. You have everything you need inside of you. Develop your skills. Practice your art. Feed your imagination.
Remember that creative, curious, imaginative, confident inner-child you were born as, with a symbolic toy or child’s drawing and place it in your writing kit or at your desk to remind yourself of who you truly are.
You are capable of reaching whatever goal you set. You only need to imagine it, to dream it, plan it, believe in it, and then put it into action. Once you are in the habit of doing this, your confidence will soar. Build on it. Then you will realize, you always had it within you.
The world belongs to the curious. Think, create, and write with child-like abandon. You are a writer.
- 10 to 1: Empowering our kids (baileymikell.com)
- Wow! I Am More Confident Than I Thought (hypnosisvancouver.wordpress.com)
- A Creativity Lesson from Albert Einstein (artistsroad.wordpress.com)
Feeling stuck or need help with procrastination? Margaret’s blog, http://afterwriterdreams.com/, is a motivational content blog for writers. She is an author, educator, artist, guest radio speaker, and monthly guest blogger/columnist in N.C. She has taught for 38+ years and created over 25 blogs. She also writes articles and psychological thrillers.