Article by Martin Goodyer
Go find a mirror and take a good look. What do you see? If you find yourself remembering that once upon a time you lived with more confidence or felt better about yourself then than you do now, then you’ve probably had a ‘WTF just happened to me?’ moment. Likely as not it wasn’t a moment of pleasure, more like a painful slap of reality when you realised something wasn’t working for you, – but quite what it is, now that’s not clear. It can be quite confusing.
Time is a funny thing. It’s natural that as it passes, the unconscious questions that cause you to doubt yourself build and strengthen. Those tiny doubts get stronger and stronger until doubt about doubt becomes certainly. You become sure that you now know you can no longer do with confidence what you used to, or be the person you used to be. Weird, isn’t it? On the one hand, it makes sense, on the other it feels like it should be nonsense, but it’s not.
Here’s the thing, there’s no point trying to undo what’s been done. It’d be like trying to untangle tightly knotted string, the more you try and straighten it out the more tangled it gets. The knots and tangles can soon make even the most patient person feel like giving up. Know the feeling? If you do you’re not alone, not by a long chalk.
However, there is a way to force the knots to untangle themselves. You do it by finding new questions and ignoring the old ones. The more new and better questions you ask, the more new and better results you get. Then these too gather strength and your confidence will start to reflect your internal certainty; the more you know you know, the less you question yourself and hence the confident you become. Your self-esteem reflects your identity; the more your identity is strengthened, the less your personal significance is eroded. Sounds simple, eh? Hm… that depends on how sincere you are about growing your self-confidence and confidence.
The mirror self-appreciation exercise – be brave, your body won’t bite!
The best way to start and sustain them is to hear stories that you can relate to and help you generate your own new questions. That’s why ‘WTF Just Happened?‘ is a book full of stories that do precisely that. The more you read, the more questions you’ll ask, – you won’t be able to help it! However, there is a quick way to help yourself make a start building your confidence and self-esteem while you’re waiting for the book to arrive. It goes like this:
- Remember the most recent time you were proud of yourself, being sure to recall with clarity the fact that you didn’t need to be ‘perfect’ to feel that way. Make sure you see, hear and feel that event as clearly as the day it happened. Breathe like you were breathing then, say to yourself what you were saying then, and see yourself in your minds-eye as you were then. You’ll know you’ve got it right when you start to feel a surge of positive energy.
- This next bit is going to sound a little strange, but stick with me. Having recalled a good feeling and the positive internal questions it stimulated, it’d be a shame not to use them. So, here’s something that you can do that uses it to build on what you have, but first, – make sure you are alone and aren’t going to be disturbed. The last thing you want when you’re doing this is someone bursting in on you as it’d not be good for their confidence or yours. That’s because you need a full-length mirror and no clothes. Yup, you need to be able to look at yourself in the buff, starkers, devoid of any artificial protection. There’s nothing pervy about this, it’s a simple reality-check that’ll help you ask better questions about things you know you know, and that support who you ‘really’ are.
- Start at the top of your head and look at that part of your body and ask yourself what that part of your body does for you. The ask if it does it well, or well enough for you to do whatever you need to do. You then progress down your body so that every inch of you has been examined and questioned. So, you may get to your nose and ask, what does this thing sticking out of my face do for me? Your response might be that it senses smells that allow you to navigate the world better than you could without it, and that foods taste better because you can smell them. At each stage, you must then thank that bit of your body for doing what it does. Make sure you cover your whole body, even those bits you thought you didn’t like, and genuinely appreciate them for what they do. By the time you’ve covered the whole of your body you will know yourself better than ever, and be more certain of yourself than you were before.
Clearly, if you don’t do this exercise with sincerity and act authentically then you’ll turn this into a joke and it will achieve noting, but if you take it seriously you will learn something about yourself. Don’t be surprised if you have an emotional response, or if you find it difficult to do it all in one go. It’s natural, remember you’ve probably spent years asking stupid questions that erode your self-esteem and confidence, so it’s reasonable that fixing that may take more than just one hit in front of the mirror!
If you want to improve your confidence and self-esteem, then get used to asking yourself better questions. The more you ask, the better the results you’ll get, – and what better way of making a great start having an improved conversation with yourself than looking in the mirror!
‘WTF Just Happened?’ by Martin Goodyer, – how to make better decisions by asking yourself better questions, is now available from leading bookstores and on Amazon.