Would you like to see all that you wish for come to fruition? There's a secret weapon that will make it all happen - and it's you. Your ability to think positively and believe in yourself forms the cornerstone of success and enables you to live an inspired life. Here are five strategies to help you become your own champion.
1. Appreciate you
One way to develop a strong sense of contentment is to give yourself the gift of self-appreciation. Offer yourself the same respect and kindness you give to those you care deeply about. Treat yourself to favourite pastimes - great music, happy people, laughter.
2. Watch for negative self-talk
I've noticed that women, in particular, have a tendency to pick out, and pick on, the parts of themselves they like least. I can't tell you how many times I've heard women speak disparagingly about themselves: At the gym, a woman complains that she has a "jiggle butt." At my son's school, one woman tells another, "I am such a bad mom. I bought a cake for the cake walk (a fundraising initiative) instead of making it myself." Whether said as a joke or not, these self-deprecating words can be damaging when the negativity stems from a deeper sense of dissatisfaction with oneself. Oftentimes, negative comments tossed off in jest can come from a much more disapproving inner dialogue.
You may immediately relate to these examples and recognize this kind of behaviour as your own, or you might not even know that you have negative conversations with yourself. Take the mirror test to find out: The next time you see your reflection in a mirror, notice whether or not your first thought is a complimentary or a critical one. If it's critical (and for many of us, it is), it's time to stop running yourself down. Focus, instead, on what you like about yourself.
3. Focus on your attributes
Being happy in your own skin means getting comfortable with who you are, the way you look and what you want out of life. Instead of focusing on what you don't like about yourself, do your best to honour and appreciate what makes you unique. Your smile. Your sense of humour. Do you have wonderful hair or fabulous cheekbones? Now go further. What qualities define you as a person? What do you absolutely love about yourself? Is it your attitude? Resist the temptation to criticize yourself. This is a learned behaviour and it can be unlearned with intentional action.
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4. Don't apologize for your achievements
We have all achieved things in our lives, both big and small, personally and professionally. Often, though, negative self-talk will stop us from basking in the glow of our successes. You might find yourself saying, "Hey, that wasn't so great" or "I could have done it better" or "I didn't really deserve that." You have the power to shut down this negative self-talk by honouring and celebrating your achievements. When you give yourself permission to feel positive about your accomplishments and refuse to listen to that negative inner dialogue, you will feel pleased. Proudly share your wins, rather than apologize for them. You might even amaze yourself when triumphal words such as "I'm great at my job," "I am the best mother ever" or "I rock" roll off your tongue with hardly a thought. Watch how your confidence builds as you praise your wins.
5. Do the best you can
Your best is going to be different from situation to situation. It will change depending on how rested you feel, who is involved and where you might be. No matter what the circumstances, the most you can ask from yourself is to do your best. Then remember to acknowledge that what you've done is just that. Through this self-acknowledgment, you can be released from angst and regret, and possibly see the humorous side of things - a great contributor to your sense of well-being.
Take a few minutes now to discover how you feel about yourself. List all your attributes, skills, talents and accomplishments. Do not list anything that's negative. Post this list and put it in a place where you can see it every day - your bathroom mirror. Review this list. Champion yourself on a daily basis and experience how you can talk yourself into a more positive you. Remember when you are feeling self-content there is an added benefit: You are more likely to feel generous and supportive towards others and that is the ultimate reward.
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Lisa Martin, professional certified coach, is the author of Briefcase Moms: 10 Proven Practices to Balance Working Mothers' Lives. A working mother with 20 years of corporate and entrepreneurial experience, she is the founder and president of Briefcase MomsTM, an international coaching and personal development company with a mission to "make it easier for working mothers to live balanced and successful lives." She helps professional, executive and entrepreneurial women pursue their dreams without stress and guilt. Visit her website at: www.briefcasemoms.com.