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Healthy foundations for confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness

I’ve always believed that confidence, self-esteem and assertiveness are the three magic ingredients for a happy life. They’re those things that really make you feel extra.

Anyone who has ever studied Psychology will be familiar with Abraham Maslow. Even those of you who haven’t will be familiar with the concepts he discussed, the basics of human needs. While his views are often seen as naive, and there are regular attempts by experts to debunk his views, TV adverts ram these concepts home when they say, “buy our products, they’ll keep you safe and warm, you’ll smell nicer, and you’ll have to beat the gender of your choice away with a big stick.” There’ll be no more rolling over in bed and just saying, “Nope.”

I’m with Mr Maslow on this, simplistic though it may all be.

We need to fulfill these core basic needs in order to feel happy and secure, to have a balanced level of self-esteem. We need to lay these foundations so that not only are we BFFs with ourselves, but we also begin to like ourselves.

Many people with low self-esteem put themselves last….do you? When we concentrate all of our efforts on other people in an effort to feel good about ourselves, this will fall flat. Have you ever heard that phrase, “if you don’t love yourself, you can’t expect other people to”? Well, sadly, this is true. If you keep telling people you’re not good enough for them, they’ll prove you right by leaving you to it.

Lavishing love and attention on others is wonderful; save some for yourself because the person you really need to convince that you are worthy is yourself. Everyone else knows how awesome you are, and they have been telling you this forever. So now, using the evidence you’ve been providing, really start to look at this and accept it, and don’t throw it back at them.

Just, for now, accept it. You’re ok, aren’t you?

Great.

Because you’re ok then, it’s time to start doing things for you, because you’re your own BFF, not just for other people. Acknowledge that you need to build on healthy foundations for your own well-being and for the happiness and confidence and balanced self-esteem that you deserve. OK, time to take note:

Basic human needs:

  • The need to give and receive attention
  • The need to look after your body.
  • The need for meaning, purpose and goals.
  • The need for a connection to something greater than ourselves
  • The need for creativity and stimulation
  • The need for intimacy and connection to others.
  • The need for a sense of control
  • The need for a sense of status and recognition from others.
  • The need for a sense of safety and security.

Oh, and of course, a decent wifi connection.

All of the above are not nice to have, or luxuries; they are essential to us as human beings, as much as the oxygen we breathe in, and totally worth the dollar.

One or two of these may be a little lacking at times, but if they are all absent, then life sucks.

Lack of self-esteem pushes our sense of being deserving and worthy out of the nearest open window, and so what happens to our basic human needs? They go, largely, unfulfilled. One way to change this is to become a step removed from how we feel, and look at our lives in a slightly more intellectual way, so that we can change our focus. 

One thing I know for sure about life is that we get that which we focus upon. So, if we concentrate all of our feeling onto “I never get what I want”, then guess what…. 

Instead, as a preliminary step, it’s good to think about something you want. Think about it, and don’t attach to it too much to begin with (otherwise the, “I never get….” Thoughts might kick in). What this allows is thoughts about something external to us, without us getting buried in our own feelings. Here’s the thing; when we have low self-esteem, we become self-absorbed, and there are times when all we can think about is us and how bad we feel. Then we get more bad shit (because it’s hard to get anything good) and we retreat further into our shells. See ya. Isolating myself now (and checking my phone and feeling bad because no one is messaging me).

Focus on something you would like that you know would make you feel good. Don’t go into the feelings, just decide on an action to take. It can be a really simple thing, a coffee in a nice coffee shop, a bath with no one knocking on the bathroom door to get in; whatever it is, indulge yourself, and then allow yourself to analyse  how you felt. Yes, I know that sounds daft. But the thing is, you’re allowing yourself to meet some of these needs, and you’re allowing self-care and to feel deserving. And it’s feckin amazing. Practice this. The stuff we practice gets repeated. You’re changing your life here.

The focus element of this is so important. Do you know why people raise their eyes skywards when they’re tutting at someone, or dismissing a daft statement? They’re raising themselves above the situation. We can rise above too. We can choose our focus.

  • What do you want to focus on?
  • What do you choose for your self-esteem?
  • Where do you want most of your thoughts to wander?
  • Do you want to think of pain, failure, not feeling worthwhile?
  • Do you want to feel successful and happy and powerful and extra af?

If we continue on the same path we’ve always taken, we will, as the saying goes, get what we’ve always got, and we will also continually hand over all our power to the people and things that have stood in our way (or seemed to) in the past. Here you go; I’m handing all of my wants and desires and needs and ambition over to someone who wouldn’t know what to do with them. No chance Janice, not in this lifetime.

No one but you gets to say what you’re worth; and you’re learning now exactly what that is. 

There are no rules written anywhere that say, outside the basic laws of the land and common decency, that you have to be obedient to others, or tug your forelock to anyone. This is your life, your choices, your decisions. No one else is living this but you. It’s time to get assertive. Yeah baby. Contact me and let’s do this thing.

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