Who You "Thnk" You Are Matters

In Fact, It Matters A Lot

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“What were you thinking!” shouts the angry parent as their child stands before them crestfallen. They had just discovered their child doing something foolish and now comes the third-degree interrogation.

“You weren’t thinking, right? Because if you were you wouldn’t have done something so stupid”

And so punishment is handed out and the child is sent to their room to “think” about what they did. And so there they sit trying to figure out what they were “thinking” but drawing a blank because they’re a kid and by definition, they often don’t think before they act.

Which begs the question; does thought proceed action? Are there some actions where thinking is not a prerequisite? It sure feels that way when we make a mistake or succumb to a “knee-jerk” reaction.

But it is a proven medical fact that thought proceeds all actions, even if these thoughts are unconscious.

For example, a solder on leave from the battlefield is walking down the street, he hears a car backfire and dives to the ground. Is he conscious of his thought at the time? No, he is reacting and his reactions are a logical consequence of the unconscious belief that he is in danger. Even though he is not aware of the thought it is still there. If you asked him he would say he did not choose to fall on his face in the middle of the sidewalk, still the thought of danger proceeded the action. Over time as he is exposed to the sounds of the city he will become more aware that no real danger exists and have a greater ability to choose so when he hears a similar sound he can ignore it.

Therefore our thoughts control our actions. Some thoughts promote health and cause us to act in a way that produces such emotions love, joy, and peace, and some thoughts produce anxiety, fear, and anger. Some thoughts propel us toward success and some are toxic and lead us toward failure and frustration. The challenge is these toxic thoughts often feel like they are a part of us – they become our dysfunctional normal. We are blind to them as they become the “operating system” that controls our everyday lives. Therefore it is critical that we make them visible so we can replace them with what will ultimately produce a more productive and happy life.

How do we know if our unconscious thoughts about ourselves are toxic? There are two ways:

  1. We experience toxic emotions – anxiety, phobia, depression, unreasonable fear and uncontrolled anger are examples of toxic emotions that are the result of toxic thoughts

  2. We experience repeated unwanted experiences – you have heard the old saying “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. When we continually experience failure in certain areas of our life it is a good indication that we have a toxic belief that is sabotaging our success.

A client once described to me a long series of failed relationships that she had experienced. At the end of her story of heartache and brokenness, I asked her this questions: “What do all those men in your life have in common?” She thought for a while and named a few of their worse attributes but then stopped and grew quiet. Finally, she said, “me”.

“Yes, that’s right” I responded, “so if you ever want to make a difference in your relationships you will need to make a difference in how you see yourself and how you understand healthy relationships”

Our actions and our emotions will lead us to our core beliefs as surely as a drug-sniffing dog leads its handler to a stash of illegal drugs. Follow the trail of toxic emotions and shattered dreams and they will lead to the doorstep of a toxic belief about ourselves and the world. The more you understand your core beliefs about yourself the more control you will have in the way you act. Your actions follow our thinking just as day follows night. And this is how we acquire our identity.

Our Identity is the sum total of our beliefs about ourselves that are confirmed and reinforced by our experience.

When believe something is true about ourselves, we act on that belief and that action then confirms and reinforces that belief. This becomes a powerful “feedback loop” that us gives us our identity.

Identity Feedback Loop

Identity Feedback Loop

So the question is what do you believe about yourself? Because that belief will ultimately determine your destiny.

Recently I met with a client who was struggling with what he called an addictive personality. He said he was susceptible to being addicted to pretty much everything, alcohol, drugs, extreme sports, gambling, he even said that he could be addicted to jeeps. So I went to the whiteboard and drew this illustration.

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I pointed to the middle circle and asked, who are you? He couldn’t answer that. So I explained that nature (and our psyche) abhors a vacuum. If we are unsure about our identity then we will fill it with whatever distracts us from the pain of living with that vacuum. The outer circles represent all the areas of our life and these too will be defined by the inner circle. So if we have labeled our self an addict then these other areas will be contorted to reflect that definition. The inner circle thinking will be expressed through the outer circles.

If you want to change your experience of life you must change the way you think about yourself.

So what beliefs should fill that inner circle? What is ultimately true of me? This depends on where you find your authority. If what you believe about yourself is solely a product of your own invention then you can pretty much make up any “truth” and put it in that inner circle. The problem with this method is we have no real assurance that what we are saying about ourselves is true and functional. In essence, we are making it up as we go along with no confidence that it will ultimately lead to a meaningful life. Another challenge is that many of us have been “programmed” with beliefs about ourselves that are decidedly dysfunctional and cause us a lot of pain. Separating ourselves from these toxic beliefs is very hard and made even more difficult if we don’t have an objective reference point to work from.

It is like the man said at the end of his life; “I have spent my whole life climbing the ladder of success only to find out it was leaning on the wrong building”.

An authoritative reference point is essential for developing an identity that will produce the best possible life. But what reference point should we choose? There are many religions and philosophies vying to become the prophet of truth to our generation but I propose that there is really only two at the present time that has risen to the top and is presently locked in mortal combat. This is the Judaeo Christian World View and the Humanistic/Autonomous World View. The latter worldview is grounded in Darwin’s theory and taught in our public schools and universities while the former worldview is the foundation for our nation and western culture. Let me briefly compare and contrast the two.

The Humanistic model is derived from Darwin’s theory and assigns value to an individual in proportion to their ability to adapt to their environment and successfully propagate. (Survival of the fittest) Success is measured by the ability to pass our DNA to another generation and therefore overcome rivals. If we lose this ability to adapt or help others adapt we decrease in value. There is no higher purpose or authority to which we can appeal and find our worth beyond the “law of the jungle”. Therefore, compassion, kindness, and empathy are not preferred traits unless they in some way serve to further the species and can be argued (and often is) a weakness that must be eliminated. (see Nietzsche) We ultimately are left to scratch and claw to the top of the value heap and hope we can remain there. But this is a tenuous philosophy because inevitably, someone stronger (and therefore with greater utilitarian value) comes up the other side to knock us off.

In contrast, the Judaeo Christian view is that worth is intrinsic to man because we were made in “God’s image” and therefore our value is independent of our utilitarian purpose. The smallest and weakest of us has as much value as the greatest and strongest. Our performance does not define our value, rather our performance is an expression of our value. If our performance ceases due to injury, mental incapacity, or any other circumstance it does not diminish our value one iota. Our country was founded on this premise – “All men are created equal”. It is the foundation of our jurist prudence and the cornerstone of our culture. Is it perfectly enforced? No. But it is the ideal with which we built a great and beautiful society. I believe it works because it is true, not it is true because it works. For there are times and places where the powerful seem to have greater value and societies have relegated groups of people to inferior status simply because they don’t conform to group norms or have the necessary qualifications for being a benefit to the community.

With what do I fill the inner circle?

If you accept the Judaeo Christian view of a human’s worth then that circle must be filled with truths that are derived from the revelation given to us by our Creator – the Bible. This is the only reliable and authoritative source for creating a true identity and it must supersede all other opinions, beliefs, feelings, thoughts or ideas. There are many “Christians” and “Jews” who give lip service to the Scriptures and choose to base their identities on other things such as money, power, public opinion, attractiveness, and a myriad of other qualities but all of these fail the most critical test. Do you still have value when they are gone? If you lose value when you grow old or become incapacitated then that is not a true foundation to derive your worth. If you cease to appreciate yourself if you become bankrupt then you have placed your worth in the wrong thing. Why is this important? Because of the first principle I referenced which is your actions will reflect your beliefs. If you think you think these external things are the basis for your worth then you will live in constant fear of losing them and desperately seek happiness in the pursuit of them. We were made for so much more! We were made to find our hope in the eternal unconditional love of God and experience ultimate security in the joy of being in a relationship with him. Every other pleasure pales in comparison with this great purpose.

There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator made known through Jesus Christ.
— Blaise Pascal


So who do you think you are … really?

It is a hard battle to secure your identity in absolute truth. Our present culture has sold out to relative truth evidenced by emotions carrying more weight than facts and opinions based simply on feelings. We have all been infected by these lies that want to mold us into thinking we are lesser than we were meant to be. Our culture tells us if we don’t have this, possess that or are following the latest popular craze then something is wrong with us. Many of us grew up in homes where appreciation was only given to us when certain performance standards were met – or in some cases never at all. Maybe you were in a relationship where you were loved only when you met the other person’s needs. All of these examples are insidious lies undermining the absolute truth that you are worthy of being loved for who you are, regardless of performance or conformity to a set of standards. When this truth is absorbed into the fabric of our soul it changes us from the inside out and endues us with a power that not only transforms our thinking but also our actions.

I have created some affirmations that you can use to begin bringing about change in the way you think about yourself. All these affirmations are biblically based with Scriptural references that you can look up. If they don’t “feel” right that’s okay. Often the last bastion of the lies in our life is our emotions. Don’t make truth conform to your feelings. Rather, make your feelings conform to the truth.


Click here to download a 30 day affirmation calendar

If there is anything we at Total Wellness Resource Center can do for you don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

How To Boost Your Self Confidence

Training Your Brain To Be More Confident is Possible

We are on a mission to help our clients become more self-aware, more confident, and find balance in their lives.  Although our clients come to us for a variety of reasons,  we find that over 85%  are dealing with challenges within clarity of identity,  self esteem,  and/or  self confidence.  In addition to recently publishing an eBook  (see below free offer) to you  understand and improve self confidence, we also want to share any quality articles or science based findings to help you with your journey.   

Today I read an excellent article written by Bruna Martinuzzi for American Express that  is worth sharing:   

JULY 30, 2018 To succeed in business today, whether as a leader, manager or business owner, knowing how to boost your self-confidence is paramount. A lack of confidence may prevent you from pursuing opportunities or taking risks to help you grow.

Confidence is a strong sense of self. When you have self-confidence, you signal to others that you believe in yourself and your ability to deliver results. As a leader, confidence enables you to lead powerfully. When you approach others with confidence, you increase your chances to engender trust and respect.

If you're looking to improve your self-confidence, it's important to note that this is not something you can achieve overnight. However, there are some actionable steps that you can take.

 Pursue excellence, not perfection.

The definition of perfectionism is "the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness." Pursuing perfection can lower your ability to boost your self-confidence because you would be judging yourself against impossible standards.

By contrast, consider pursuing excellence in everything you do. Aiming for excellence means setting and meeting the highest standards that are reachable. Knowing that what you're doing matches the highest standards boosts your self-confidence. Chasing perfection, on the other hand, lowers your confidence because it creates doubt and anxiety as you try to reach unrealistic standards.

Do you have a tendency toward perfectionism? Consider these three tips:

  • Create a list of the services you provide to internal or external customers.
  • Consider what's required to be outstanding in each of these services.
  • Now create a plan to tackle each of these areas in a way that surpasses ordinary standards.
  •  Invest in your competence.

The adage "fake it till you make it" can lead to feeling like a fake rather than feeling genuinely self-confident.

Instead, you can boost your self-confidence by focusing on increasing your competence in the central areas of your work. Become good at what you do. It's one of the most direct ways to boost your self-confidence.

Moreover, once you reach a certain level of competence, consider raising the bar on yourself. Raising the bar leads to continuous improvement over time.

How else can you invest in your competence?

  • Be honest with yourself about what you don't know. Create a personal competency framework and spend time increasing your knowledge or skill in the areas that need attention.
  • Research your area of expertise to learn new trends and new ways of doing things. The world is dynamic and changing. Falling behind can erode your confidence.
  • Sharpen the saw by attending some online courses which are now available in almost any subject.
  • Read as much as you can—not only in your area of expertise, but for general business knowledge as well. Even if you're very busy, you can subscribe to a book summary service to improve your professional skills and boost your self-confidence are just a few of the services available.

Learn from your own experience.

  • After a significant event, such as delivering a major presentation or doing a sales call with an important client, reflect on the experience.
  • Take a sheet of paper, label it "lessons learned" and capture everything you've gained from the event. For example:
  • What part of your performance went well? That's what you don't want to forget so that you can repeat it the next time.
  • What didn't go as well? What do you need to avoid doing the next time?
  • What do you need to do differently or better to take yourself to the next level?
  • What do you need to abandon altogether?
  • Not taking the time to reflect and capture the lessons may limit your ability to learn from your own experience. Self-confidence is a quality we gain above all from repeated successful experiences.

 Stop the self-harassment.

Self-harassment is when we persistently berate ourselves for any failures, whether real or perceived. Instead of severe self-criticism, consider practicing self-acceptance which can help boost your self-confidence. How can you do this?

  • Start by raising your self-awareness so that you can exercise self-control. Just how many times in a week do you belittle your efforts, blame yourself for events, or speak harshly to yourself? Self-criticism becomes habitual, and we hardly notice it. Catch yourself in the act. Self-awareness precedes self-management.
  • Develop an accurate assessment of who you are. What do you do well? What do you do not so well? Notwithstanding this knowledge, accept yourself unconditionally. To achieve this, set an intention to appreciate yourself for who you are.

  • Remind yourself that you're in control of your self-development. Work on ironing out any rough edges or doing whatever it takes to improve what needs to be improved.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Preparation is a key to boosting your self-confidence. When you're prepared, you tend to feel less pressure. Preparation gives you a feeling of being in control. It can give you a head start so that you can think and act your best.

Let's take the example of going to a meeting. Meetings are often events that can put a dent in self-confidence because you're observed and possibly judged by your lack of contribution.

To build your confidence in a meeting:

  • Never go into a meeting unprepared. Be prepared to contribute to the discussion even if you're not scheduled to speak.

  • Try to find out the meeting topics in advance, if possible. What are your ideas about the meeting topics?

  • Prepare a question or two that you might ask. Leaving a meeting with a feeling that you've contributed to the discussion can be a big confidence booster.

Beware of the comparison trap.

When you measure yourself against others, you may rob yourself of the confidence that comes from believing in your abilities. Cultivate an inner trust based on doing the right things for yourself, your staff and your business. If you look to the success of others, do it to learn rather than to measure yourself.

When it comes to comparing ourselves, self-comparison is essential. Are you better today than you were yesterday? Compare your progress with where you were when you started. By focusing on even small improvements that you've made in your skills and abilities from day to day, you may start to see your self-confidence surge.

Learn from the best to help boost your self-confidence.

  • Find out who are the best people in your line of business and study what they do. Think about them, read articles about them and watch their performances. Follow them on social media and research everything about them that you can.
  • What can you learn from these people that can help you reach the same level of success in your field? Once you've determined what they do, consider how you can even surpass them.

Even the most confident people can sometimes find themselves in situations where they doubt themselves. Everyone needs some tools in their toolkit to boost their self-confidence. Self-confidence is key to having the mental edge that helps you success.

Read original article at: American Express / Small Business

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Learn Why Eight-Five Percent of Us Struggle to be Happy

Research Shows that 85% of us are Living with the Effects of  Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Self-Confidence, Resulting in Frustration and Unfulfilled Potential.

What's the big deal about self-confidence?

Confidence is hard to define but easy to recognize. With it, you can take on the world; without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential
— Katty Kay and Claire Shipman - "The Confidence Code"

The observation by William James, that most people live in a restricted circle of potential,  holds no less true today than when he made it over a century ago. The reason that so many people never fulfill their potential is not a lack of intelligence, opportunity or resources, but a lack of belief in themselves. Or to put it another way, too little self-confidence.  Without it, you can do little, with it, you can do anything!

 But what is confidence, anyway?

Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for, but that’s not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.

For instance:

  • Your belief in your ability to speak in front of an audience
  • Your belief in your ability to learn a new skill set
  • Your belief in your ability to be a leader
  • Your belief in your ability to handle confrontation or manage conflict
  • Your belief in your ability to change career path, or start a new business
  • Your ability to exit an unhealthy relationship
  • Your ability to live a healthy lifestyle

It's been long established that the beliefs we hold – true or otherwise – direct our actions and shape our lives. The good news is that new research into neural plasticity reveals that we can literally rewire our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behavior at any age. Which means that no matter how timid or doubt-laden you’ve been up to now, building self-confidence is largely what psychologists call a volitional action. Or to use layman language: “By choice.” With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence, and with it, our capacity to build more of it!

Of course, confidence can wax and wane throughout our lives. It’s boosted when we experience a win or receive praise. It takes a hit when our efforts fall short of the mark, we’re criticized, rejected or simply feel a lack of external recognition. We’re only human after all. It’s therefore vital not to become overly reliant on external affirmation to prop up our self-worth but to take ownership for taking the worthwhile actions needed to sustain it. Which begs the question:

How do you build the confidence needed to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals, particularly when you don’t first succeed?

The following FREE eBook "How to Boost Your Self-Confidence" will help clarify several common roadblocks and help you on your journey to being more confident.

Do you want to keep informed on tips and articles on Self-Inprovement? Sign Up for our newsletter and receive your FREE book "How to Boost Your Self Confidence"  

 
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We are passionate about helping others become the person they were created to be.  Your feedback is always welcomed, simply send us a note at connect@totalwellnesscente.net and we will respond as soon as possible. 

 

Warmest,

The Total Wellness Team