imconfident

I sincerely believe that it is far more beneficial and far less costly to help a child build confidence than it is to fix an adult who has little or none.

Do you have a perfectionist complex?

Do you feel that you will never measure up and are always comparing yourself to others?

Do you feel that you never do anything well or can never please anyone or yourself?

Are you always driven by the expectations of others?

Are you often frustrated or feel like a failure?

Have you ever stopped to wonder where these feelings come from?  We form our opinions of others and ourselves mainly from the environment that we grow up in.  This is reinforced by the people we surround ourselves with and how much we immerse ourselves in the media.  Perhaps you grew up in a home where criticism was the norm and whatever you did was never good enough.  When you cleaned your room and it wasn’t perfect, were you praised for what you did or criticized for what you didn’t do?  When you brought home a report card with 5 B’s and 1 D, were you praised for doing a good job and encouraged to beat that D or were you just criticized for getting a D?  When you brought home friends to enjoy some fun times, did your family welcome them and talk nicely about them when they left or did they pick out all their bad points and tell you that you didn’t choose your friends very well?

Growing up and living in an environment of criticism and negativity will have profound effects on how you live your life.  Feeling that you never do anything right and thinking that all your choices are bad ones, will create a need to find perfection.  Everything you do will be geared to pleasing someone else.  The result is feeling like a failure because you can never measure up to anyone else’s expectations.  The world continually promotes perfection and the need to succeed.  We should always do our best but we can never be perfect in a world that is far from perfect.

We need to understand that we all have strengths and weaknesses and not be critical of our imperfections and flaws.  We ALL are imperfect and we ALL have weaknesses.  We just can’t be the ‘super’ person that everyone expects us to be.  Even the expectations we put on ourselves are way too high and can never be reached.  Accepting ourselves for who we really are is important.  We all have unique value and worth.   Discover your own amazing abilities, strengths and personality traits.  Make a list and review them often to remind yourself what an awesome person you are!

 

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Who do you think you are?

Do you know who you are?  Many of us go through life trying to live up to someone else’s expectations.   We put on masks and build walls, pretending that we are somebody else.  We don’t want people to see us as we really are because we are afraid they won’t like us or respect us.

As a child, we are taught how to behave in different situations.  We are told how to dress, how to act, how to talk.  We are told what we should do and shouldn’t do.  This helps us learn but if we aren’t encouraged to be an individual and supported in our uniqueness, we can forget who we really are.  We have to develop our own personality and not live our lives according to the expectations of someone else.

Our parents can expect us to follow a certain path in life but this may not be what we want to do.  Our friends can expect that we engage in certain behaviours that we know will cause harm.  Our teachers or co-workers can expect us to accomplish things that we are not capable of doing.   The media can try to convince us to do things that we are not comfortable with.  If we start believing that our worth is found in doing what other people expect, we can soon lose our unique identity.

We need to let go of who we think we should be and start becoming who we really are.  Stop living up to other people’s expectations and live up to your own expectations.  What do you expect of yourself?  What do you want to accomplish in life?  What do you want other people to remember you for?

Think about what makes you a valuable person.  What are your abilities?  What are your positive characteristics?  What are you good at doing?  How do you interact with other people?  We are all unique and special in our own way.  Use what you have learned and work on becoming the best person you can be.

So, who do you think you are?  Let go of what you are not and hold on to what you really are!  Be authentic!  Be honest! Be real!

 

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Self-fulfilling prophecies

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a positive or negative expectation about people, circumstances or events that causes itself to become true because a person believes it will come true.  We can literally cause some things to come true just because we believe it.  Self-fulfilling prophecies are often false and can influence people in a negative way.

If a self-fulfilling prophecy is a positive expectation, it can help us reach our goals.  However, if it is a negative expectation, it can stop us from reaching our goals.

For example, a child is struggling in school and his goal is to become a doctor someday.   His parents want him to reach his goals so they encourage him and tell him to study hard.  They are very supportive and make sure he gets all the help he needs to improve his grades.   They proudly tell everyone that someday their son will be a doctor.  Their child will try to make this prediction come true because he believes it about himself.  His self-fulfilling prophecy of achieving his potential may possibly come true.

Now, let’s look at the same situation in a different way.  The same child is struggling in school and his goal is to become a doctor.  His parents never went to college and they don’t believe their son has the capability of becoming a doctor.   They tell him that he is too stupid to become a doctor and they continually discourage him.  They tell people that their son thinks he will become a doctor and then laugh about it.  Their child will likely try to make this prediction come true because he believes that he won’t be successful.  He will probably get a minimum wage paid job and be frustrated with his life, thus fulfilling his self-fulfilling prophecy of being a loser.

Self-fulfilling prophecies can be self-defeating if we are expecting something bad to happen.  If we believe we can’t do something, we won’t even try even if we do have the capability.  If we believe that everyone is going to hurt us, we will allow them to hurt us even if they don’t intend to.  If we believe we are clumsy, stupid or useless we will fulfill this prophecy and respond to people and situations with the wrong perspective.  We may very well be capable of achieving something great, but if we are told that we are a failure, we might not even try.

Have you ever gone for a job interview and already told yourself that you won’t get the job?  Have you ever gone to a party and already told yourself that nobody will talk to you?  Have you ever written a test and already told yourself that you wouldn’t get a good grade?   Have you ever woken up and just knew it was going to be a bad day?  You are probably fulfilling someone’s false prophecy about you.

Parents and other adults often say things that will dampen our enthusiasm or stop us from doing what we enjoy doing with negative words.  We have to build confidence in ourselves and not allow others to influence us in a negative way.  We should never allow the expectations of others to defeat us in any way.

I saw an instance a few weeks ago that could result in a negative self-fulfilling prophecy.   A young child was playing a game with plastic bowling pins and balls.  He was throwing the ball and also throwing the pins, which is quite normal for his age.  There was nothing bad about what he was doing, just a very active boy learning how use his arms.   However, his grandmother started telling him that he was going to be a bully.  I immediately wondered where she got that idea because he was playing alone and to be a bully you have to engaged with another person.  Now, I might have re-directed his energy and showed him how to use the pins properly, but I certainly wouldn’t have called him a bully.   If this expectation of her grandson is continually reinforced, the child may very well become a bully because he will believe that it is what is expected of him.  We should never label a child with a negative label.

Are you fulfilling the expectations of others?  Are you helping create someone else’s self-fulfilling prophecy?  Make sure it is a positive one!

 

 

 

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