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August 15, 2014

How To Have Self-Confidence in a Relationship

# 1. Integrity first

Dr. Katherine Kelly

Focusing on your integrity rather than your self-esteem will greatly improve your overall confidence in relationships as well as help you build much stronger bonds. Integrity comes from having a firm sense of who you are, what you believe, and what you stand for regardless of any familial or societal expectations which may have been placed upon you. Self-esteem is much more fragile as women tend to compare themselves to the outside world, then change accordingly in order to fit in. Because the world around us is constantly changing, self-esteem is a moving target, leaving women feeling as if they never measure up.

A women’s need to “fit” with their partner can also draw them away from their integrity, which can greatly weaken rather than strengthen the bonds we want to create. Women constantly lose themselves as they try to make their partners happy instead of remaining true to themselves. The further a woman gets away from her truth—her integrity—, the less she can remain confident in who she is. The less confident she is, the more it will negatively impact the relationship. As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle.

Ask yourself—1) “In what ways am I failing to be true to myself within my relationship?”, 2) “How is this affecting my confidence?”, 3) “How is my confidence affecting my relationship?”

The key to every good relationship is the ability of both parties to remain in their full integrity as they build their bonds.

Dr. Katherine Kelly, www.drkatherinetkelly.com

# 2. Choose Gratitude

Jeannie Dougherty

Being grateful is a huge part of having confidence. When you feel like you have nothing, your confidence is weak because you don’t feel valuable in any way. But when you feel like you have everything—which comes from being grateful—then your confidence strengthens because you’ll feel extremely valuable.

We often make our relationship status the defining factor of our self-worth. If we’re in a good relationship, we feel happy and confident; if we’re not in a relationship—or if we’re in a bad one—we make it mean that we’re not good enough.

Seeing yourself as “less” causes you to no longer enjoy the things you do have in your life. Practicing gratitude brings you back to the present so you can take a look at the bigger picture of your life. When you do that, you start to see how full your life really is.

You have so much going for you and so much to be grateful for. You really do have it all. You just have to see it that way.

Once you start to see it that way, your confidence will improve.

Gratitude can look like:

a. Dancing to show gratitude that your body still moves

b. Buying a total stranger or someone in need a cup of coffee

c. Saying “thank you” as often as you can throughout the day

d. Starting a gratitude and desire list–look at which list is longer and see if you can add even more to your gratitude list

Jeannie Dougherty, www.jeanniedougherty.com

# 3. Be mindful of your self-talk

Kristen Brown

In my opinion, the #1 cause of low self-esteem is our negative self-talk. The key to improving self-esteem in order to get out into the dating world with confidence is to work on empowering yourself first and that starts with your internal dialogue. If you are confident with who you are, then you will automatically show up in the dating world as a hot commodity rather than a doormat. Here are 4 steps to get you started!

Step 1- Become mindful of the words you are saying to and about yourself. You must first recognize the issue in order to heal it.

Step 2- Make a commitment to yourself to change this pattern and get started immediately!

Step 3- Take each negative thought you discover and re-frame it into something positive. (This may seem daunting at first as you begin to notice how many negative thoughts you actually do think, however, they will wane in time.)

Negative thought: I am fat/skinny and no one will want me.

Reframe: I am beautiful just as I am and there is a perfect mate for me.

Step 4- Believe it! In the beginning, you might feel as though you are lying to yourself, but as you continue this practice, you will not only begin to believe in your worth, but you will OWN IT!

Sisters, please remember… there is only ONE YOU and you are uniquely beautiful and talented as no other on this planet!

Kristen Brown, www.sweetempowerment.com

# 4. Override your inner negative voice with positive self-messages

Bobbi Jankovich

Do you have a little voice deep inside that regularly reminds you that you’re not _______ (fill in the blank) enough? Smart, funny, beautiful, talented, deserving, etc. Some of us are able to override that voice with positive self-messages. Others are overwhelmed by the negative messages to varying degrees of “stuckness” that affect our ability to be resilient to life stressors and to create and accept successes in life.

Negative internal messages often stem from earlier life experiences—anything from abuse to neglect, to the inability to meet the expectations of caregivers. Social messages may also affect self-esteem, including extensive peer pressure, systemic rejection, or lack of acceptance. Other sources include trauma, loss, illness, and physical impediments.

There are endless sources for low self-esteem. These internal messages become the foundation for our core beliefs about ourselves.

The power of these messages depends on how and when they were formed, and more importantly, how those early events were processed. If you were surrounded by healthy influences that helped you to challenge negative messages, you were more likely to overcome and succeed despite them.

Self-esteem is malleable. It’s never too late to challenge the negative voice, but you must be patient. These messages have been influencing your beliefs about yourself for a very long time.

So start slowly and be gentle:

1. Notice the negative self-talk without judging it.

2. As you are able to identify negative messages, make note of them. Watch for a pattern. Are they focused around one particular quality, or are they more universally critical?

3. Pick one recurring negative thought. Notice it when it occurs, then challenge it. Is this thought about myself true? Would my friends and loved ones agree that this is true?

4. Finally, replace it with a positive message. What is true about me? If you find yourself struggling with this, have a friend help you. Friends are far more generous to us than we are to ourselves. Use this new thought as a mantra whenever the original negative thought appears. Repeat it silently 10 times allowing the positive message to get at least as much mental airtime as the negative message.

Bobbi Jankovich, www.bobbijankovich.com

# 5. Get comfortable being uncomfortable

Shelby Riley

In order to build your confidence, I suggest you let yourself be brave and self-aware in uncomfortable situations. We tend to feel uncomfortable, maybe in the midst of conflict, or at a job interview, and assign meaning to these feelings. We make a giant leap and say to ourselves, “I feel afraid…therefore I am not strong, not smart, no good.” I suggest you allow yourself to be present in the moment and say this instead: “I feel afraid. Hmmm…does it make sense that I feel afraid?

Do a lot of people feel afraid in similar circumstances? How can I manage this uncomfortable moment so I can get through this?” Having some patience and compassion for yourself will allow you to sit tight in the face of fear and make some new connections: “I handled myself well.” “I was uncomfortable but I managed to finish.” “I’m kinda bad-ass.” Challenge yourself physically, mentally, socially, spiritually. Allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and not make negative assumptions about yourself and you will soon be re-writing the story of who you are.

Shelby Riley, www.shelbyrileymft.com

# 6. Become aware of yourself and what you love about yourself

Traina Jackson-Clarke

You are not alone. Women are more likely than men to suffer from low self-esteem. The difference however is that men plow through the low self-esteem by taking chances and adjusting their behavior to appear confident and strong. Men are less likely to buy into the parameters of low self-esteem or let it get in their way of doing and creating relationships. There is a way for you to take a little bit of that same behavior and remove the inhibitions that keep you from seeking and having relationships too.

The first step is become aware of yourself and what you love about yourself. Appreciate that love by nurturing you and understanding your needs. Once you accept “you” then it will start to become easier to approach someone because you have taken the time to know, accept and love “you”. If you can’t show that you love yourself, then you can’t really love someone else. The love you have for yourself will satisfy that never ending fear we all have that you are losing love or won’t be loved. The final way you can increase your self-esteem is to know that you are “good enough” for anyone with whom you seek to have a love relationship.

Traina Jackson-Clarke, www.progressiveawarenessmh.com

# 7. To begin, focus on the area of your life in which you feel the most confident

Devorah Steinberg

It is very powerful to make the effort to improve your confidence and self-esteem. Doing so can make a very significant impact on every aspect of your life, particularly in romantic relationships, in which it affects not only who you choose as a partner, but how strong and healthy that relationship can be. To begin, focus on the area of your life in which you feel the most confident. Recall an experience you have had recently and the ways in which you were confident and how it felt. Pay close attention to the sensations you had in your body, and where you felt them. Now recall the thoughts and beliefs you had about yourself in that situation and link those thoughts together with your body awareness.

Next, imagine a situation in which you would like to be more confident. Is there anything from the first scenario which you can imprint upon the second? Imagine yourself with the same or similar body sensations and beliefs from the situation in which you were confident, and bring them to your awareness in respect to the less confident situation. You can improve your confidence by bringing these two experiences together in your body and mind, and repeating this exercise frequently, speaking, writing and reading the positive beliefs for repetition. This is particularly powerful when anticipating a situation in which you feel challenged in your confidence.

Devorah Steinberg, www.genesisintegrativetherapy.com

# 8. Corners of mouth turned up

Dr. Elayne S Daniels

When you think of confidence, what comes to mind? Women often respond by saying they think of loving themselves, feeling proud of who they are, and interacting with ease with others. These aspects of confidence are totally attainable for all of us! Really!
As a yoga teacher and psychologist, I teach techniques that integrate the mind and body. One of my favorite suggestions for confidence building that integrates the science of neurobiology and the psychology of mind seems too simple to be useful. But, clinical research and anecdotal reports support its use.

The strategy does not cost a penny. It does not involve will power, dieting, or white knuckling. It is…..envelope please……smiling!

How does smiling improve confidence?

There is a complicated neurobiological explanation, as well as a more reader friendly explanation. Let’s go with the latter. The physical act of smiling, whether contrived or genuine, relays information to the brain that “I am happy”. The neural circuits are the same whether the smile is genuine or generated. Ever notice that smiling can be contagious?

When we see other people smile, we tend to smile as well. The net effect of smiling and being smiled back at fuels the ‘feel good’ mechanism of smiling. If we add to the smile a fond memory, the biochemical changes in our brain are that much greater and our smile may last a bit longer.

Smiling is an aspect of body language that speaks loudly and favorably. Try to make smiling a habit, reminding yourself to turn the corners of your mouth upwards toward the sun!

Dr. Elayne S Daniels, www.drelaynedaniels.com

# 9. Feeling accomplished is a huge self esteem booster

Randi Hennigan

To build self worth, find some things you could enjoy and feel accomplished in completing. The accomplishments can start with simple daily or weekly routines and/or longer term goals you set for yourself, such as waking up in time for coffee and a little reading in the morning, joining a book club or a gardening club, going for a walk, setting a lunch date with a friend particular days of the month, signing up for a class you’re curious about, training for a race, learning a new hobby, or planning a date or future trip with your partner where you take the lead on the ideas and decisions. Break the monotony and give yourself something to be interested in, something to look forward to, and something to complete!

Also, try to limit the “shoulds” you tell yourself. A respected colleague once explained it in a way I thought was funny and clever, he said, “When you start letting ‘shoulds’ take over, you just end up ‘shoulding’ all over yourself”. So, take it easy on yourself. Your self esteem building process doesn’t have to be perfect or immediate. Self-esteem is something we all work on and is best evaluated by its forward momentum, not by its perfection.

To determine where to start, complete this exercise: Suppose you had the self esteem you were really content with. Picture this in detail. What would you notice you were doing differently? What would your partner notice you were doing differently? What would be the very first thing you and your partner would notice when you had higher self esteem? Be very detailed. Write these details down and use them to build your road map for getting started. Taking that list, picture just one thing you would do differently in the next week that would be helpful in building toward the self esteem you would be more content with and accomplish that 1 thing. Repeat this process for the following week(s) until it gains its own natural momentum.

This is a time for independence and taking time to identifying more about yourself. You get a chance to be selfish in a healthy way. Enjoy it!

Randi Hennigan, www.randihennigan.com

# 10. Learn to love yourself first

Dr. Angela Clack

This may sound cliché’ but it really is true “Learn to Love Yourself first.” Many women have heard this before but never like this. “Learn to Love Yourself from the Inside Out”. Meaning, fix your heart, soul and mind and the physical will follow. Women understand that men are visual and are attracted to what they can see before they spend time getting to know you. We may dress up the outside with cosmetics and sexy clothing but feel very intimidated and small, lacking in confidence in our intimacy with our partners.

If we do not like who we are or we spend time with our partners putting ourselves down and expressing negativity, we create the conflict for our partner to either join in on the pity party or totally be turned off.

Keys to change in improving self-confidence:

1. Identify what you are dissatisfied with and make a commitment to do something about it. If I don’t like that muffin top, then I need to work out and change my diet.

2. Create and rehearse daily positive affirmations to build up your self-worth.

3. Read good books about improving one’s image and avoid comparing yourself to others whom you perceive “look better “than you do.

4. Believe in yourself. If you don’t believe your confident, no one else will. Confidence is sexy. It can create a loving and passionate relationship between you and your partner.

Dr. Angela Clack, www.clackassociates.com

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