Old compliments can give a boost to your confidence


September 18, 1994|By Niki Scott | Niki Scott,Universal Press Syndicate

The job you wanted went to someone else. You've gained 10 pounds, and your clothes don't fit. Your best friend hasn't called in ages, and today all your co-workers went out to lunch and didn't bother to invite you.

In short, you feel about as successful and attractive as an armadillo.

No matter how self-confident and filled with self-esteem we usually are, we're all prey to occasional self-confidence slumps. The trick is to pull out of these before they become self-fulfilling. Here are 10 steps that really do help:

* Save thank-you notes, letters and cards that made you feel warm and fuzzy. Re-read them each time you need a reminder that others see you as a worthwhile person.

* Save copies of any complimentary memos, notes or letters you receive from bosses, clients, customers and professional organizations, plus any positive letters in your personnel file. Read them when you need to.

* Write down all the nice things people have said to you during the past year . . . about your work, your family, your house, clothes, interests, personality, character.

If you can't think of any, make some up that friends probably said and you forgot.

* Force yourself to write down at least three things you've done well lately -- not perfectly, but well.

* Pretend you're writing about someone else and list at least three things you honestly (and perhaps secretly) like about yourself.

* Ask yourself what you could do to help yourself feel better about yourself. Sign up for a course? Volunteer at a homeless shelter? Call a friend you've been neglecting? Treat yourself to an all-day make-over? Take an exercise class?

* Now pick up the phone and arrange to take at least two of these feel-better-right-now steps. Don't wait. When we're down in the dumps, procrastination and inertia are our greatest enemies.

* Ask yourself if you're paying too much attention to a few negative voices in your life. Are there people who habitually belittle you or put you down? If so, vow to stay away from them.

* If this self-confidence slump has lasted longer than a month, or you notice that you're experiencing more frequent ones, consider consulting a professional counselor.

* Get back in touch with the child inside of you. One way to do this is to sit quietly and picture yourself at the age of 3, 4, 6, 8 -- whatever age feels right -- then imagine yourself putting your arm around this child and telling her what she needs to hear to feel better.

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