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How to build more Confidence

Confidence building is a great way to help you feel better about yourself. I’m here to show you that you can become a better you with a few simple and effective techniques.

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How to be confident

When the feeling of nervousness creeps in, people tend to speed up whatever it is they’re doing that makes them feel anxious.  My advice is simple: slow down, meditate, and consciously slow down your actions to your breathing.  Expect success from what you’re doing, and tell yourself that the only way out is to go through.

You have to encounter experiences that forces you to learn, so take the risk.  Remember, failure is inevitable, and it doesn’t always matter when it happens.  All you can do is get back up, and try again. Improve your posture, smile, make eye contact, and have an approachable body language – you may not feel confident on the inside, but you’ll look it on the outside.

Improve your confidence

Do you ever get that feeling of wanting to slink away or get that feeling that you were more like someone else? Everyone struggles with confidence, and it’s nothing to be ashamed about.  The more you think and act confident, the more natural it will become.  Look at it as more of a process and not a single achievement.  

Sometimes, a simple boost of self-confidence can help you feel a lot better about yourself.  With a few simple tips and tricks, you’re sure to feel the benefits.

• Recognise your talents and list them
• Get out of your head and be in the present
• Talk to strangers, don’t over-apologise
• Accept compliments gracefully
• Help others, they will come to you for positivity
• Drop those who bring you down

Linking thinking with confidence

Give yourself a big hug, tell yourself you are alright and that you can be wonderful.  Tell yourself: 

• The people who look beautiful are the same as you, the difference is they tell themselves they look good, and that shines through.   
• The people who say the most profound witty things are the same as you, they are letting go and being who they are. 
• The people who appear confident and relaxed are no different, they push themselves through fearful situations and tell themselves they can make it.  
• The people who are successful are the same as you, they tell themselves go ahead and develop your gifts and talents, set goals.  
• We are all the same as the people on TV.   It's what we tell ourselves that makes the difference.  

The algorithm for happiness

People spend a large amount of their life stressing over what never happens and will often lie awake feeling anxious.  They may argue, criticise, and shout about what isn’t happening while holding onto hope that their due to feel true happiness soon.

Happiness is what happens now! You’re alive right now, and now is all you have.  Happiness is something that many people only ever feel when life is going their way.  It is something that is equal to or greater than the difference between the way you view the events of your life minus your expectations about how life should be.  Instead of waiting for happiness to come, know that your default state should be happiness.

Once Maslow’s basic needs are met: to be fed, clothed, and cared for, we should be happy.  Much of our understanding of what happiness is and where to find it is distorted.  We think happiness is at the end of some high-achieving rainbow, that we have to strive to earn it. 

The algorithm for happiness says there are 6 grand illusions - thought, self, knowledge, time, control, and fear – that affect our happiness.  It also states that there’s 7 blind spots - filters, assumptions, memories, predictions, labels, emotions, and exaggerations that delude our judgements of life and the distorted picture makes us unhappy.  What’s more, there’s 5 ultimate truths that are the key to enduring happiness – now, change, love, death, and design.

Our brains produce 3 types of thoughts to make sense of the world – insightful thoughts, experiential thoughts, and narrative.  The first two problem solve and perform tasks, but we allow our brain to produce endless chatter with the third, which keeps us stuck in useless stress and suffering.  This may lead to blocking out the simple happiness of now! Confusing voices inside can block decision making and project starting through its endless loop.  The voice often goes unnoticed as we fail to notice what we fail to notice. 

Linking thinking with allowing your inner voice to speak

When you’re holding back from something, you may start to act differently.  It may be that you’re not going to speak to someone who is cute as you’re keeping your heart closed rather than risking possible pain or rejection.  It all comes down to pride! People tend to put up their defences rather than expose their vulnerable side in the fear that they’re going to be taken advantage of.  Why not take that chance instead of just thinking what if?

Do you have difficulties expressing what you’d really like to say? How many people can you really open up with? Do you ever admit to crying in bed, dread socialising, or do you say “I’m fine” even though you feel not quite good enough? Sometimes it’s easier to tell yourself to be strong and admit no wrong, and that keeping yourself independent will save you from vulnerability and danger.  However, telling yourself this can’t get rid of the feeling that you long for a confidant, a close friend, or warm company to share with.

In most cases, people feel a desire to discuss the bothersome boyfriend or boss, to unload the night dreads, to placate the inner chat that fuels the worry, the indecision, the embarrassing panics, doubts, and loneliness.  Releasing pent-up stress actually has health benefits.  Learning to express your truth can boost confidence and self-image.  Being able to open up to people can improve friendships and build social groups.  If you don’t speak your mind, how will people know what you are thinking? When you require help speaking up and voicing your inner truth, turn to me for help.

Change the now by healing painful memories

Untangle negative thoughts and live in freedom with my help.  You may have formed ideas about how relationships work, which keeps your past behaviour alive in the present.  Do you fear rejection or commitment? Do you isolate yourself or push people away? Do you distrust or need control? If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to find your middle path.  Don’t leak your emotions all over the place, and don’t stuff them down either!

If you define yourself by your past, you are living a fraction of your life.  Life presents a passing array of experiences, thoughts, emotions, symptoms that are all in you but they are not you.  Life is all about being aware of who you are.  And by letting go of the past and not letting it define you, you’re able to find peace.

Your present experience in the now is keeping the past alive.  The past is what you are aware of now, memories are the thoughts you relive in the present.  Therefore, the way out of your suffering is in the present.  So, change your perspective by focusing on something different.  You may have an emotional reaction to thoughts and feel justified with your anger, this keeps it alive.  It doesn’t serve you to hold onto these thoughts, they delay your freedom to experience other emotions now.  Neutralise the story so it loses its power and the thoughts are no longer a dark cloud over you.  Hold onto the idea that peace, freedom, sanity is possible.

What you focus on will grow

If you cultivate anger, sadness, revenge, then this is what will become your reality.  Think differently and contemplate no longer defining yourself by your past! The ball is truly in your court – your happiness is your responsibility.

Do you have a familiar feeling of being a victim? If so, you’ll find that the mindset is passive, unempowering, and leaves you waiting for words, actions, and events that you can’t control.  Instead of being stuck in the past, lose interest in your stories of victimhood and perhaps notice the physical symptoms – tension, burning, and grinding – that you never noticed before.

Now are you suffering? No - you are simply being aware of and experiencing symptoms.  Your mind is clear, and this is what freedom from the past looks like.  Pay no attention to the story, experience the symptoms coming and going! You are clear, undisturbed in the here and now.

Beliefs can get in the way

You may hold onto beliefs of what needs to happen for you to let go.  These are simply more thoughts that keep you distracted from living your life now.  Possibly, you may feel justified in staying stuck with your painful memories.  You may see it as someone else’s responsibility to make you feel happy.

Life begins now, in this moment, it’s present, here, and now.  You can always begin again.  Don’t feed limiting thoughts.  Proceed to discover the real you.  The biggest part of you is still here and still whole.

The pros and cons of epilepsy

Usually, I never stop to think about my epilepsy, it hangs out at the back of my mind.   I find acceptance of the affliction the best medication and then get on with life.  Being asked to write an article about epilepsy, however, has made me stop to make sense of the pros and cons of my disability.  So here come the tears to blur my vision.  Please forgive any overtones of anger, they are not intended.   

Let’s start with the pros:

• I am inspired by some of the mighty great’s (quoted below) who also lived with this condition, so I push myself a little further than I might otherwise.  
• “All that is really worth the doing is what we do for others.”  - Lewis Carroll
• I experience the kindness of strangers, usually I don’t have the opportunity to thank them.  So, a big thank you to the lovely people out there who have helped me on my journey.  
• “Epilepsy has taught me we are not in control of ourselves.”  - Neil Young
• Adversity can bring with it a new challenge, helping us explore new perspectives and opportunities.  Epilepsy helped me forge a new career in counselling and a new interest in life, which is beekeeping, when I had to give up my teaching career and the adventures of climbing.  
• “I am not an adventurer by choice but by faith.”   - Vincent Van Gough

Some of the perceived difficulties of life for a person with epilepsy:

• A person with epilepsy could easily injure themselves by hitting their head, walk under a car, cause injury to others, bite their tongue, die, go insane…and more.  

• “It is happiness to wonder, it is happiness to dream.”  - Edgar Allen Poe
• “Courage is not having the strength to go on, it is going on when you do not have the strength.” - Theodore Roosevelt
Some of the actual difficulties of having epilepsy:
• Other people’s perceptions and discrimination.  Discrimination exists at every level.  Before my epilepsy kicked in, I worked in schools and nurseries.  However, equal opportunity laws didn’t protect me once my epileptic condition was brought to the head’s attention.  
• “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” - Charles Dickens
• Unemployment is not much fun, especially after training for years to follow ones chosen career.  There is a link between unemployment and poverty, depression, and isolation.
• “5% of a randomly selected group is likely to have an episode of clinical depression.  If you take 100 patients from a general practitioner’s office, roughly 10% will have had an episode of clinical depression.  If you consider 100 patients with epilepsy, 33% have, or will have an episode of clinical depression.” - George Tesar, MD
• Socialising can be challenging, especially when others are concerned with their public image.  I have a strong memory of being at a party and a neighbour telling my son to “take your mum home” (epileptics have no feelings of course) when I had an ‘absence’.  Read between the lines: epileptics are an embarrassment, and not much fun to have around.
• “Despite everything, no one can dictate who you are to other people.” - Prince
• People (even our nearest and dearest) have extra leverage when tempers rise and “are you alright?” really means “you are not alright mentally”.  
• “When anyone tells me I can’t do anything … I’m just not listening anymore.” - Flo Jo
• “To anyone who has a dream I say follow that dream.  You are never too old.  It is never too late.” - Susan Boyle
• Even medics find it OK to relieve their stresses on ‘mental’ patients.  I have been shocked by the lack of empathy by some in this profession when I:
1) Overheard my paediatrician tell a nurse angrily “why is she having a baby, she’s epileptic!”
2) When I was chastised by my GP for daring to complain that my prescription wasn’t ready. 
3) When a chemist reprimand me for forgetting to renew my prescription (once in 2 decades). 
4) When my own GP told me I’m lucky and that if I was born a few years earlier, I’d be in an institution. 

I would like the general public to realise:

• Living with epilepsy is, by nature, living dangerously - as the risk (of another seizure) cannot always be fully managed by medication.  Apart from this risk, people with epilepsy live a ‘normal’ life.  People with epilepsy work, think, and even have sex.  We want to fully live our life.  
• I liken epilepsy to diabetes, which also has a risk of seizures.  Diabetes somehow seems a more respectable illness to live with, having diabetes is not seen as a ‘mental’ condition, despite it also causing seizures.  And I would like to be awarded the same kudos.
• Epilepsy is a neurological, not an intellectual, condition.
• People with epilepsy are mostly open to talk about it (unless they are hiding it from their employer).  I consider myself fortunate as I work among considerate people who don’t judge me, they are all counsellors like myself.  The big paradox is, in a centre for talking therapy, nobody ever talks about it.

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