This was first published on KSL.com
My son really lacks self-confidence and is scared of everything. He has so much self-doubt I worry about him the rest of his life. What can I do as a parent to correct this and help him gain confidence and believe in himself more?
I am so glad you asked this question because self-confidence is the most precious gift you can give your children. It is also the most important thing you must work on in yourself. A person’s self-worth drastically affects the quality of their marriage, their career and their general happiness in life.
So, the first thing you must do to help your children is check your own self-esteem. Are you plagued by self-doubt? Do you compare yourself to others or talk out loud about how dumb you are, or express fears about being inadequate? If you do, you must stop. The most powerful way to instill confidence in your children is by example, and you can’t give what you don’t have.
If you struggle with fear around not being good enough yourself, I strongly recommend you to get some professional help with it. Working with a counselor or coach who knows how to change the way you value yourself will make a huge difference for your whole family.
You must also teach your family that life is a classroom (a place of learning and growing), not a test where your value is constantly on the line. You are “good enough” as you are right now, even though you are imperfect and struggling, because your value is not based in your performance, appearance, property or anything else. Your value comes from the fact that you are a one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable human soul made of love, for love and by love. No matter what life lessons you are currently experiencing, you have the same infinite value as everyone else and always will.
Make these ideas something you talk about often in your family.
When you embrace these principles and start living them, your children will follow your lead. Here are a couple other suggestions for raising confident kids:
You can do this.
This was first published on KSL.com
I am reading your book Choosing Clarity and love it. It has really helped me to change how I feel about myself, but my biggest struggle is the relationship with my boss. Most days I feel that he doesn’t care about me at all and thinks I’m no good, in spite of the fact that I’m good at what I do. I have asked for some positive feedback, but all I get is negative. There is no rapport or "how are you" or anything like that. I don't know what else I can do, other than avoid interacting with my supervisor and/or find another job. I don’t want to leave this job, but this person will never approve of me or treat me the way I deserve. I think I will always feel worthless here. Is there anything else can I do?
Yes, you have more control here than you think. Even when you cannot change another person or the situation, you can always change YOU and your perspective, which can completely change how you feel about it.
In this article I'm going to teach you a new technique for doing this.
You must first understand that everything you experience today is filtered through your past experiences. They have created a perspective that works like a filter and distorts or even creates what you think you see. There is no reality. Everything you see and feel is just perception. You cannot see your life outside of it.
But you can change your narrative and create a new perspective. As the wise Marcus Aurelius said, “Life itself is but what you deem it.”
You have the ability to create or drastically change the story you are telling yourself, which will change how you feel. But to do this you will also have to step back and own the emotions you are bringing to the situation, but blaming your boss for.
The late and great Wayne Dyer used to demonstrate this by bringing an orange on stage. He would ask the audience if he squeezed the orange would apple juice come out? Grape juice? Of course not, orange juice would come out because that is what is inside an orange. Squeezing doesn’t produce the juice though. It just brings out whatever is already inside it.
You are very much like that orange. When life squeezes you (through difficult situations or challenges) what comes out?
Does self-pity, overwhelming hopelessness, insecurity, anger, fear, pride, jealousy come out? If these things show up when you feel stressed, insulted or mistreated you must understand the situation isn’t creating these emotions. The situation is just squeezing you and what is already inside you is coming out.
This means you already had issues with these emotions and you owned this problem before this person showed up.
Take a minute and think about how you subconsciously react when mistreated or stressed. What emotions do you experience? Is there a pattern here? Is this an emotion or a narrative you have experienced again and again in your life, though the specific situation is different?
You may have unresolved emotions in your past that created this issue and it’s now a sore (easy to trigger) spot with you. This means you are automatically quick to feel this way. I would guess from your question that you have some insecurity issues and fears of not being good enough (that you’ve probably carried with you for a long time). You may have fears around being disliked or not approved of. Your boss is triggering these in you, but he is not creating them.
It is very important you do not blame your boss (or anyone else in your life) for making you feel anything. No one can make you experience a feeling without your participation in creating it. If you didn't already have a weakness or tendency for that emotion or experience, his behavior wouldn't create it.
I believe because life is a classroom the universe is constantly providing teachers for you, who squeeze you so you can see what you have inside and need to work on. This interesting experience with your boss is giving you a chance for you to grow and become stronger, smarter and more in control of yourself and your perspective. Your boss is in your life to serve your growth.
I would encourage you to use this situation to overcome some of your subconscious insecurities and fears. Here is one way to do that:
Sit down with some paper and write out your current story about your horrible situation at work. Pour out all your anger, insecurity and fear. Let yourself vent and have a pity party about it.
Then, get a fresh piece of paper and write a different (healthier and more accurate) story or perspective about your situation. Use principles of truth to guide this, like the fact that your value is infinite and unchangeable, which means it isn’t tied to your boss’s feedback. Write about how this experience is just a lesson to help you grow. Write about how other people’s bad behavior towards you has more to do with their fears about themselves than it does about you.
Write a new attitude of compassion and love towards your boss and decide to see him as a great person with the same value as you, who is just struggling. Write a new attitude about how you are succeeding at work because you always do your best and create more value than required. Write a positive, powerful, optimistic perspective and make this your new mindset.
Then, read it daily or record it on your phone and listen to it throughout the day. Use the power of conscious choice to override your old story. You may even want to burn the paper with the old story on it and let it go. It was only a perspective option.
You are writing your life story (either consciously or unconsciously) with every thought you think. It is time to start controlling the story and living the life you want to experience. You can change the narrative and change how you feel completely. You can also apply this technique to any situation.
You really can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a popular life coach, speaker and mental health at work expert.
This was first published on ksl.com
In your last article you said, "Build your spouse up and tell him constantly how amazing and wonderful he is. Never make him feel he disappoints you on any level. The more admired, respected, appreciated and wanted you make him feel, the more he will love and adore you. This kind of loving behavior is what will create real happiness, connection and great intimacy." I do this with my wife, the problem is she has very low self-esteem/depression, mostly due to severe health issues/chronic pain, and sometimes it backfires. When I try to point out her good, she rejects it and it actually makes her feel worse, because she doesn't see herself that way. I have even found times when I'm struggling that affirmations feel more like "mocking" because I don't see myself that way. I agree with the idea of positive reinforcement, and we practice it, but there are times when it can do more harm than good and has to be handled "delicately." I would just like to hear your opinion on this.
There are times we all feel so deeply inadequate that validation doesn’t work. There are also people who have deep emotional wounds and insecurities that are an ingrained part of their belief systems. For these people (and most of us) we must go deeper to change self-esteem. We must change the core belief that creates low self-esteem to begin with.
This technique is part of my breakthrough coaching process, but it is something you can do with your family at home too. Get the family together and explain how everything we see and believe is based on perspective and that our perspective then determines how we feel. Here is an example:
Imagine being on a boat in a storm in the dark. The waves are tossing the boat right and left and you are scared for your life. You hold on tight and pray you won’t capsize. It’s scary and tense. Then the captain comes back and asks how you are. You explain it’s too dangerous and ask him to turn back.
The captain just laughs and says not to worry. This is normal. They travel through waves this size every day and the boat will be fine. You will arrive at your destination safely. He tells you to enjoy the experience because all is well. There is nothing to fear. Now, you can start to see the experience as fun, like a ride at the amusement park. You laugh as the boat is tossed and you are no longer afraid.
You are still on the same boat, in the same storm with the same size waves. A few minutes ago you were scared to death and now you are fine. The only thing that changed was your perspective. A perspective change can completely change the way you feel.
So, let’s change your perspective about you and your value as a person.
We start by helping you understand your current perspective on your value, where it comes from and what it’s based on. Your current fears about your value come from one core belief that affects how you see yourself and other people every minute of your life. It is a belief you have accepted as fact (even though it is only an idea or perspective). This core belief is that human value is changeable.
You believe human value changes all the time. This means you can perform well, lose weight or make more money and literally increase your value as a person. You can also fail, lose a game, lose your job, have a bad hair day or have people who don’t like you and lose value as a person.
This would also mean that some people are better than other people, and this damaging idea is responsible for most of the problems on the planet. We are always seeing ourselves as better or more important than groups of other people, which leads us into conflict, discrimination and hate.
This idea that human value changes also creates a fear in all of us — that we might not be good enough. It is because we believe that human value is changeable that we are insecure and feel inadequate so much of the time.
If you want to help your spouse and children feel better about themselves and have more confidence, you must help them change this core belief. You must help them shift their perspective and start seeing human value as infinite and absolute — and unchangeable.
We have the option of seeing life as a classroom, not a test, and you can’t fail if there is no test. If there is no test, your value isn’t in question at all. This means your value stays the same no matter what mistakes you make. You can always just erase and try again. These mistakes are lessons to teach you things, but they don’t affect your value.
Right now, because you think your value can change and must be earned, you base your value on your appearance, performance, property and the opinions of others. The world has taught you to see people who do well in these areas as better than those who don’t. But again, this is just perspective.
You could instead decide to see human value as based on our nature and our uniqueness as one-of-a-kind, irreplaceable souls. If our value is based on our uniqueness, then we all have the same value, because we are all unique.
Teach your family that human value is the same all the time. Teach them that we are on this planet to learn and grow (and we have a lot more learning and improving to do) but our intrinsic worth is not tied to that progress.
Teach them their intrinsic worth is there and the same, all the time, no matter what. Start talking about this perspective being true every day and in every situation. When your kids see a homeless person, point out that they have the same value we do. When your child loses a game, point out that it isn't fun, but at least it doesn’t affect their value. When your spouse makes a mistake, remind him or her that it’s just a lesson and you both still have the same value. Make this idea something that is reinforced daily.
If you can change the principle belief that creates feelings of inadequacy, you can lessen the problem. This belief is deeply ingrained though, so it’s going to take lots of work, repetition and discussion to internalize it — but you can do it. I help individuals, organizations and groups change this and other core beliefs every day, and it can be done. You can change your thinking and change your life.
The author Chuck Palahniuk wrote, “The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it's only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think, the way they see themselves, the way they see the world, you can change the way people live their lives. That's the only lasting thing you can create.”
Instead of just validating your spouse, help your family create a new belief about human value. See all people as good enough all the time. Convince them that their value is never in question. This will work and last. Help your wife to understand that appearance has nothing to do with her value. I wrote a parable about this one a few months agoyou might want to read.
This always seem impossible the first time someone hears it (because their old beliefs are so ingrained), but I promise if you work at this, you can do it. If she still struggles with self-worth or grasping this change, I highly recommend working with a Claritypoint certified facilitator, who can give you more tools to internalize the new belief.
You can do this.
This was first published on ksl.com
I struggle knowing how to best motivate my husband to exercise. I find him attractive, but I'm concerned for his future health and I admit I also want to be attracted physically to him as we grow older. He has been willing to work out occasionally throughout our marriage, he even trained for and ran a marathon, but his body doesn't seem to change a whole lot. I've encouraged him to try different workouts and push himself, but he just gets mad at me for saying anything. I wish he would catch fire with diet and exercise, just because he wants me to be more attracted to him. Your advice would be very appreciated. I know I’m probably shallow and need to change myself, but is there anyway to motivate someone else to change too?
There are a couple ways you can motivate your spouse to lose weight, but before you try them, you must first step back and look at the story you are telling yourself about his weight. There is definitely a lesson here for you.
(Whenever something about someone else is bugging you, it's a sign you have some changing to do too.)
It sounds like you have created a story that says “I will only be happy if my spouse loses weight,” meaning you will be unhappy if he doesn’t. You have created a story, which attaches your happiness to an outcome. This is a problem.
One of the most powerful things Buddha said is, “It is your resistance to what is that causes your suffering.” This means when you wish things were different than they are, you are creating optional misery that doesn’t have to be there.
This is truth because everything you experience is nothing more than perspective. No situation means anything (nor has any power to affect how you feel in any way) until you give it that power. Reality is objective. It is what it is and it means nothing and does nothing.
Your husband has genes that make him a larger person. That is the objective reality.
This situation cannot make you unhappy now or in the future. It’s the story you have created around the situation that determines how you feel. You’ve created a story that says you can only be attracted to a thinner person and if your spouse doesn’t work out and get thinner you won’t be attracted and therefore happy, but that isn’t necessarily true.
Whether you are happy or unhappy (in any moment) is a matter of choice and focus in that moment. It has little to do with your situation. We know this because in every single moment of your life you will have reasons to be unhappy and reasons to be happy. You will have things you don’t like and you will have things you are grateful for. There will be people who have it worse than you and others who have it better. These conditions will always exist in every moment. It is the nature of life.
The question is, what story are you telling yourself right now? Are you telling yourself a victim story about how bad you have it? Are you telling yourself a fear story about how bad the future might be? Are you telling yourself a shame story about how inadequate you are?
You will be a lot happier if you live in the objective present, stop creating misery stories and focus on what is right in your life. Stop worrying about how you are going to feel about your husband in the future. Choose to feel good about your life right now. Look at all the things that are right in your life and marriage, and focus on those. Create a story about how wonderful it is to be married to a person who has your spouse’s good qualities. Fill out the Nature of Life worksheet on my website, it will help you focus on what’s right instead of what’s wrong.
If you are still struggling with control over your mindset, I strongly encourage you to find a coach or counselor who can help you.
If you want to have a better marriage and better intimacy, I can tell you exactly how to create that right now. Build your spouse up and tell him constantly how amazing and wonderful he is. Never make him feel he disappoints you on any level. The more admired, respected, appreciated and wanted you make him feel, the more he will love and adore you. This kind of loving behavior is what will create real happiness, connection and great intimacy — much more than weight loss will.
If you are really worried about your spouse's health and you feel you must talk to him about his weight, make sure it is a love-motivated conversation, not a fear-motivated one. If you approach him because you are afraid you aren’t going to be attracted to him when he’s older, that’s fear. Fear is selfishness (it’s about you) and your spouse will feel this and will immediately feel the need to protect himself. Fear breeds fear and selfishness. You can't approach your spouse from this place and expect a good outcome.
If you approach him because you want him to be healthy, strong and happy, and you are coming from nothing but love, he will feel this and the conversation will go better. Spend a lot of time validating him and telling him how wonderful he is first, though. These kinds of conversations trigger anyone’s deepest fear — the fear of failure that they might not be good enough. They will need a great deal of validation to go with your advice.
Follow the Mutually Validating Conversations Worksheet on my website to have this conversations in a validating way. Do more asking questions and listening than talking. Find out what he wants, what his fears and concerns are and what kind of support he wants. No matter what he says, don’t let your fears come into this. You have nothing to fear. Ask how you could support him to get healthier so you can have an amazing life together. Be his support and cheerleader, not his critic or coach.
Then, make sure if he tries to make changes you mention everything he is doing right and give him lots of positive encouragement along the way. Especially compliment who he is, his dedication and strength — not just what he looks like.
Most importantly, choose to be happy and grateful for what’s right in your life in every moment. It is the real secret to happiness.
You can do this.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.