Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Confidence with a capital C

I'm going out on a limb here and totally exposing myself. The Taharas Hamishpacha Office contacted me about moderating a session on women's health at the upcoming Shluchos Convention. This is a great opportunity for me to make a difference in the lives of women that I really care about. Yet, I'm feeling somewhat intimidated.

Why am I intimidated? To begin with, I (little me) will be speaking to a room full of professional speakers. Who am I kidding? I'm not a professional speaker. I can get up there and share great information, but that's not 'speaking'.  Why am I really intimidated? Maybe I'm not as confident as I think I am. Could it be? Am I lacking self confidence?

Lacking confidence can stem from a number of different things.
In this post, I will address some of them. The most probable cause of lacking confidence is fear. We are unable to feel confident when we are afraid. When we are afraid, we feel vulnerable - not a good feeling. To mask the feeling of vulnerability, we tend to turn to anger. Anger allows us to feel in control as opposed to fear which makes us feel helpless. When we are angry, we are not being honest with ourselves. We are not being true to our feelings. We are not dealing with the issues at hand, we are focusing instead on superficial scapegoats. Both fear and anger get in the way of self confidence.

Blame is another one that gets in the way of self confidence. This is generally a combination of blaming a current situation and finding excuses from your past. When we are confident, we do not allow inconveniences (the car broke down)or stories from our sorry history(I was abused) to prevent us from accomplishing our goals. We rise above these situations and keep going.

Confidence is not what allows us to keep going. It's letting go of the fear, the anger and the blame that allows us to be confident.

Self fulfilling prophecies are negative beliefs that predict unhappy outcomes. These also hamper our self confidence. We convince ourselves that nothing good can from a situation, that we have tried everything out there, that nothing works for us. We allow ourselves the luxury of believing that we are a lost case. Why am I calling this a luxury? I'm calling it a luxury because it allows us to stop trying. To submit to the negative. To give up. Although living with a negative situation is far from a luxury, not feeling the need to resolve it can be rather luxurious.

Just as self fulfilling prophecies tend to come true, so too can positive thoughts and affirmations. Believing in ourselves and our abilities, taking pride in our accomplishments and recognizing our strengths are all useful tools in boosting our self confidence.

It can help to draw up a list of our positive qualities. Doing this allows us to see ourselves in a positive light. When we feel badly about ourselves we can draw on our good list and hopefully convert those feelings into good ones.

So why am I nervous about speaking? Maybe I'm afraid of making a mistake. I could be worried that I'll forget the good words. Perhaps I'm concerned that I won't meet the expectations of others, or even worse, my own. If I allow myself to recognize these feelings, I stand a much better chance at a successful speaking engagement. It is fine to make a mistake, and I do frequently lose my words. Somehow I am still able to communicate my thoughts.

So what's the worst thing that can happen? A therapist I once worked with gave me these tools for overwhelming situations. Break it down into tiny parts. Picture the worst case scenario for each individual part. When I break it down like that, I tend to realize that the worst thing I am imagining is usually something I can live with.

For those of you that will be here, I am scheduled to moderate the session given by Dr. Haskell on Friday, February 5 at 12:00 in Oholei Torah. 3rd floor, Conference Room 1.

A brief description of his presentation:
In this fast-paced and demanding world woman are often over-extended, spread thin with the caring and helping of others. This can lead to degrees of exhaustion, lowered productivity, and the development of symptoms and health conditions.

In this presentation Dr. Haskell discusses the most important nutrients and dietary habits which support peak performance and the prevention of illness. From a global perspective Dr. Haskell presents the most common health conditions women are faced with along with several simple yet very effective solutions.

What am I doing there? I'll be introducing him and sharing just a little bit. ...All this fuss about nothing.

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