Tag Archives: self esteem

The Role of Eye Contact in Effective Communication

The ability to make eye contact in a comfortable manner is one of the most important parts of nonverbal communication – in regards to business and personal relationships, it can also be one of the hardest to master.

Eye Contact for Effective Communication

The Role of Eye Contact in Effective Communication

Most of us either make too much eye contact which comes off as “stalker stare” or not enough, which comes off as nervousness and dishonesty.

It might seem as if being comfortable and confident – neither extroverted nor introverted – would be the key to achieving the perfect balance.  achieving just the right amount of eye contact can be so challenging – with extroverts making too much eye contact and introverts not making enough, but that is not always the case.

Personality Types and Eye Contact

But, achieving just the right amount of eye contact can be so challenging because, for some people, nervousness in interpersonal relationships shows whether intended or not. extroverts often making too much eye contact and introverts generally not making enough, but that is not always the case.

Nervousness can impact both extroverts and introverts – with extroverts often making too much eye contact and introverts generally not making enough, but that is not always the case.

My Own Experience Improving Eye Contact

Using myself as an example, in the past, I tended to be extremely introverted. If talking with one or two people I was fine, but in a social setting, I was the one enjoying listening to others talk. Rarely would I ever press to shift the focus to myself, and when I did try to speak, my nervousness left my eyes darting around, then, my darting eyes would shift over to stalker stare, affixed on the friendliest looking person in the group.

With practice, I was able to improve my ability to make eye contact, and I want you to know that if I can do that, so can you. So here are a few tips that can help you improve your ability to make effective eye contact – some are from my experience and others are from the sources linked.

Tips for Improving Eye Contact

  • Practice in front of a mirror. If you can’t look your reflection in the eye and talk to yourself, you probably also can’t look anyone else in the eye long enough to have a conversation.
  • Record yourself. Make a recording of yourself reading a short speech or talking about something that interests you.
    • This gives you a great way to analyze how the way you make eye contact because you can see what works and practice recording over and over until your eye contact looks natural in the recording.
  • Match your partner’s eye contact style. According to the website, Improve Your Social Skills, a good way to achieve just the right balance in making eye contact is to make eye contact when the person you are speaking to looks at you and look away when they do.
    • (I love this advice, though I am picturing two “stalker starers” making way too much eye contact or two people who struggle to make eye contact not looking at each other at all.)
  • Mimic a good conversationalist. Study how much someone you admire as a conversationalist makes eye contact, then practice making about the same style and length of eye contact they do.
  • Boost your self-esteem. While a damaged self-esteem is not the only thing that can make your ability to make eye contact go wrong, boosting your confidence and self-esteem can only help when you want to improve it.
    • Set yourself up for small successes by planning and doing things you know you are good at, and write some simple positive affirmations about your good traits.
  • Write down things that make you feel gratitude. Just like becoming more confident, experiencing gratitude can only help as you work to improve the way you communicate.
  • Identify with people you talk to. Look for things you find positive or admirable in a person you don’t especially like but have to deal with anyway.
    • This one is hard, but even the biggest jerk around will typically have at least one or two positive traits you can focus on, so you can relax and make proper eye contact when they talk to you.
    • Finding something good and human in someone who tends to make you feel intimidated makes it easier to adjust your gaze to an appropriate length.
  • Count the seconds. If you feel as if maybe you are making too much eye contact, count the seconds. If you go over three or four seconds when talking to someone other than a romantic interest – a mutual romantic interest – then look away from a moment – or at least blink.

Eye contact can be a tricky part of effective communication, but it is possible to practice improve at this form of non-verbal communication, and making the effort can be important as you work to rewrite your life story.

Self-Compassion: You Owe it to Yourself

Most people intuitively understand compassion when it comes to others who are suffering, but self-compassion is generally harder to grasp.

The Opposite of Self-Compassion
The Opposite of Self-Compassion

Self-Compassion: You Owe it to Yourself

When you see someone who is suffering or struggling and your heart reaches out to them, whether you act or not, you feel a tug of discomfort (whether you reach out to help them or not is another part of the complexity of compassion) and you sympathize or feel their pain, that is compassion.

When you yourself are struggling, your first reaction might be to turn to self-deprecating humor or to think how stupid you are. That is the opposite of self-compassion.

What Is Self-Compassion?

Self-compassion is when you recognize that you are human and not perfect, and you quit judging yourself for it. It’s when you give yourself a break.

There are three elements to being self-compassionate, mindfulness, an awareness of your common humanity, and self-kindness.

How Treating Yourself With Compassion Affects Your Life

Putting aside the self-judgement and recognizing that everyone has problems, everyone makes mistakes, and no one – no one – is perfect, lets you begin being kind to yourself.

If you bump your head, for example, and you call yourself a dummy for it, you are literally telling yourself that you are dumb – for something almost everyone does from time to time.

Judging yourself harshly, even when you use humor, it’s still negative, keeps you in an emotionally beaten state, and learning to respond to your humanity with kindness lets you recognize your worth and it lets you open the door to a healthier, happier life.

How to Treat Yourself With Compassion

If you catch yourself in the act of negative self-talk, stop – just stop – mid-sentence. Then, tell yourself the exact opposite of the negative thing you started to say. (Say it out loud if you are in a place you are comfortable doing that.)

Think of something you would absolutely love to have someone do for you – then stop waiting on someone else and tell yourself you are worth it and do it for yourself. This doesn’t have to be expensive – it can be as simple as giving yourself a foot massage after a hard day.

Write some simple affirmations about your self-worth and self-esteem and list some things you do well – and read them to yourself several times a day – out loud when possible.

Surround yourself with positivity as best you can. Read books that inspire you, visit websites like this one to find positive messages, and try to find positive people to include in your life – but don’t sweat it if you can’t find any – because you can learn to be a self-compassionate person with or without anyone else, and you are worth the effort.

Can Visualization Really Help With Weight Loss?

While there is a lot more to weight loss than just visualization, visualization is a tool you can use to help you stay focused on your goals as you build healthy eating and fitness routines into your daily life.

Visualization and Weight Loss

Visualization and Weight Loss

“Changing the way you approach weight loss can help you be successful. Set goals and focus on lifestyle changes like being physically active instead of focusing on just weight loss itself.” – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight can tell you how hard it can be; the challenge is that you still have to eat and you still have to deal with the same emotions and stressors that caused the weight gain in the first place.

I can’t even guess how many times I have latched on to one or two components of the weight loss process, like reducing calories or exercising a certain period of time, only to see initial success followed by disappointment – and I’m not alone – the $650.9 billion per year weight loss industry wouldn’t exist if I were the only person dealing with weight issues.

Visualization Helps You Change the Way You Think

One thing you can add to the mix to help you lose weight and gain a healthier lifestyle is visualization because it puts the unlimited power of your subconscious brain behind your weight loss efforts.

Alone, visualization won’t melt the pounds off your body, but it can help you build the confidence and self-esteem needed to make a physical change, and it can help you maintain your ongoing focus as you take the steps necessary for weight loss.

Weight Loss Visualization Tips

This is the easiest way to get started, but it costs a few dollars, and for many people the easy way is not always the most effective way – (you have to ‘know’ yourself) – you can buy or download weight loss meditation and visualization CDs or download them from the Internet, then listen to them several times throughout the day as you  relax or as a complementary part of meditation.

Another way that takes a bit more effort is to write your own affirmations about weight loss, total fitness, and your health, then memorize them and add them to your meditation time, or if you don’t meditate, repeat them when you wake up, mid-day, and just before you go to sleep.

Visualization alone won’t change your body, but adding it to a healthy eating and exercise plan as part of a healthy lifestyle can help get you where you want to be.

Empower Yourself: How to Stop Thinking Like a Victim

Have you ever doubted yourself, or felt like happiness and being treated well are things for other people to enjoy?

Victimization: Victory Over the Victim Mentality (Hope for the Heart) Have you ever thought things would finally be okay in your life if some external thing were different, or if someone else would only… ?

Many people don’t process this type of thinking as feeling or thinking like a victim, but that is exactly what it is, and it’s a cycle you can break by recognizing it and tackling it head on.

Victimization or Self-Victimization?

Victimization often begins in childhood, through abuse or bullying, where the child’s self-esteem becomes compromised.

This leads to an adulthood where the childhood victim begins to victimize himself or herself with constant affirmations of not being good enough or of deserving bad treatment.

The cycle of self-victimization then repeats over and over until it is recognized and new, positive affirmations of self-worth are instilled in the mind of the (past) victim.

How to Stop Thinking Like a Victim

“A strong, successful man * is not the victim of his environment. He creates favorable conditions. His own inherent force and energy compel things to turn out as he desires.”  – Orison Swett Marden

No one could, or should, ever deny the validity of a pattern of self-victimization that began when someone treated you horribly, but it’s up to you, as an adult, to break the pattern and stop the cycle of victimization by choosing to stop the negative self-talk that is holding you down.

Empower Yourself

  • Become aware of negative self-talk: This type of self-talk includes anything that is a put-down to yourself, including seemingly innocent self-deprecating humor.
    • You can’t stop doing it if you aren’t even aware you are putting yourself in a negative pattern.
  • Examine the truth behind negative self-talk: Things like, “I can’t do anything right” or “I always screw everything up” are rarely factual, because no one does everything wrong.
    • Though those statements develop as affirmations over time and they do eventually emerge as personal truths – but they can be changed.
  • Don’t let anyone else plant negative statements in your mind: It’s really common for people lacking in confidence to surround themselves with narcissistic people who maintain the imbalance in a relationship with a victim.
    • If you can’t physically leave the person, then, at least refute the negative things they say inside your mind, and replace their words with your own, positive truths.
  • Write down some simple positive affirmations about things you do:  Whether it’s making a great dish of pasta or being kind to animals, write down some good things about yourself and look at it several times a day, and read your positive self-talk affirmations aloud at least once a day.
    • If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, then stop right there and review your positive affirmations.

If you are really struggling with self-esteem issues or are in a dire situation, and you need more than a bit of motivation from an article, it’s okay – and wise – to seek professional help to begin a new, healthy lifestyle. The information presented here is to help you find the motivation to start feeling empowered, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional help if it’s needed.

Note: I would like to add ‘or woman’ to the above quote – where I added the * – for the purpose of this article – since Orison Swett Marden was a turn-of-the-century writer – when most everything was presented in masculine terms.

By Laure Justice

Are You Ready to Be Happy?

Life can be tough – it can kick the breath out of you and leave you feeling sick and tired of your present situation and ready for a change – and making a change begins with a state of readiness.

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”                     – Dalai Lama

If you want to make positive changes in your life, you have to be ready, and only you can decide when the time is right.

Are You Ready to Be Happy?

Unleash the Power Within
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If you were to walk up to almost any unhappy person (if they were willing to talk, that is) and ask if they are ready to be happy, they would, of course, say yes, though they might follow the reply with a negative comment, such as – as if that could ever happen.

Very few people truly desire unhappiness, but people can get caught in cycles that recreate the same set of unhappy circumstances over and over, and it takes a lot to break out of one of those unhappy cycles.

What’s Holding You Back?

Feeling trapped, as if external forces are determining one’s happiness levels, is one thing that holds many people back, and blaming external forces gives an easy answer to a hard question, but not necessarily an accurate answer.

Self-improvement begins with being truly ready to take responsibility, to take control of your own life, and make things like low self-esteem, money problems, feeling lost and alone, exhaustion, weight problems, unhappy relationships, or lack of education a part of your past so you can live the life you want.

How to Be Happy With Your Life

When you are ready to move ahead with personal growth and make a change in how happy you are, there are several techniques you can try to see what works for you.

  • Get rid of the things that complicate and clutter your life.
  • Make time for peace and relaxation.
  • Take command of your situation and release negativity that comes from feeling powerless.
  • Don’ focus on blame, focus instead on what to do next to fix the situation.
  • Own your feelings. Somethings in life are just sad or infuriating, or hurtful – pretending everything is okay is fake and falseness holds you back in life.
  • Stop focusing on whether you are happy or not – focus instead on your goals, the steps you need to take to achieve them, and making sure you take those needed steps.

Taking care of your own needs and releasing past unhappiness is a form of self-compassion and positivity that can help you move ahead with personal growth.

The Power You Gain From Showing Compassion to Others

It’s easy to think of kindness and compassion as something you give away – that takes from you – but the opposite is true because showing compassion can help you increase your personal power and confidence levels.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

The Link Between Kindness and Empowerment

50 Mindful Steps to Self-Esteem
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When you show compassion to someone else, it begins to bolster your self-esteem and helps you grow your personal power.

Helping someone else broadens your perspective and lets you see that, no matter what your circumstances are, you still have the power to make someone else’s day, or even their life, brighter.

In addition to extending compassion outwards, though, you can also practice self-compassion — by giving yourself a break and by seeing your good qualities instead of focusing on things you perceive as bad.

But… How Can I Help Anyone?

If you are wondering how you could possibly help anyone, for example if you are in a bad situation yourself, the help and compassion you offer don’t have to be big and drastically life-changing for the other person in order to make a positive impact on your (and their) life.

In most situations, we all have to work out our own big and life-changing struggles on our own anyway – if we want to make lasting changes in our lives – that is.

The kindness and compassion you offer can be as simple as a smile that lets another human being know they have been seen and valued, holding a door for someone carrying a heavy load, or buying someone who looks cold a small cup of coffee.

What Does Compassion Mean?

Compassion is described as a sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others.

I would add to that definition of compassion that compassion is the inner force that awakens a feeling of empathy in us and that it is the catalyst that can spur us to engage in acts of kindness.

When you are feeling down, when you have a low self-esteem, when you feel like failure is washing over you — you are focusing on yourself and the things you feel are wrong or sad or pitiful about your life – and that kind of thinking is a trap that benefits no one.

Let the compassion you feel as you look at the people around increase your self-esteem and you lead you to a better place by acting on impulses to help others.

Your Destiny is Shaped by Your Confidence

Self-esteem and confidence goes hand in hand. People with high self-confidence are always living and achieving more than people who are always doubting themselves.

Your Destiny is Shaped by Your Confidence

The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt
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High self esteem and confidence are virtues that can be enhanced in individuals at any age.  The most easiest and effective way to build confidence and self esteem is self love. Nothing beats self love. No matter what your current circumstance is, you need to love yourself for who you are. If you have a good image of yourself in your own eyes, you will always be in control of your actions. You will trust your judgement and will always feel good about your life.

To love yourself, you first need to release all the negative notions or beliefs you may have about your personality. You need to start doing things you are uncomfortable with. You need to take more control of your life.  The potential in a person is nothing without self esteem or confidence.  Your talent needs the support of your confidence to shine on any platform. People are always bound to react in a defensive mode, when the chips are down, but how they emerge from that given situation depends entirely upon the level of their confidence. So be confident and live your life to the full.

Author Profile:
Albert Camus is a well-established blogger, who has written several blogs on how to how to change your life. He believes that the fate of an individual is not dependent on his/her luck or talent but on his/her confidence and how he/she uses it. He also conducts routine workshops to improve confidence & self esteem.

Article Source: Your Destiny is Shaped by Your Confidence

Develop a Healthy Self Image to Avoid the Pain of Depression and Loneliness

Your self image creates the way you look at and measure not only yourself, but also your role as a friend, spouse, parent, employee, and every other role you have in this life.

A Bad Self Image Puts Healthy Relationships at Risk

If your self image is negative – if you lack self love and self respect – it puts you at risk of ending up unhappy and lonely – no matter how many people are around you or love you.

Your self image is how you see yourself and your role in this life – and it can be incredibly hard to change if you have a negative sense of self because it is our natural reaction to (generally external) events that happen in our lives.

The Self Esteem Workbook: Create a Healthy Self Image
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No one else can develop a more positive sense of self esteem for you, it requires determination and effort on your part, but it is worth the effort.

When you begin to increase self confidence, it feels like a window is opening inside of you, letting in sunshine and positivity.

(It’s not a real window – obviously – it’s just an emotional sense of well-being.)

A poor self image doesn’t blossom into full fledged self confidence overnight – and it is unlikely to happen in a big, life changing “zap.”

Your self image most likely didn’t get damaged from a single tiny incident, so it takes more than a single tiny incident to restore.

Depression Is Only One of the Dangers of Poor Self Esteem

According to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center, there are several consequences of poor self-esteem:

  • Depression
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Problems developing friendships
  • Problem in romantic relationships
  • Impaired academic performance
  • Poor performance at work
  • Heightened vulnerability to chemical dependency

Avoiding the pain of these situations can give you a pretty powerful reason to want to increase your level of self respect, but knowing you need a healthy self image doesn’t tell you how to build confidence so you can get one.

Luckily, there are tools to help you recognize unhealthy patterns and to improve your self confidence.

Tools for Developing a Healthy Self Image

Mastering a Healthy Self Image: The Guidebook to Real Happiness and Enormous Success
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You can use positive self talk, journaling, and visualization to help yourself from within, in addition to asking for help from others, to help increase your willpower and to keep you focused on building a better self image.

  • Positive self talk: Give yourself a break! Instead of saying negative, self-deprecating things about yourself, like, “I’m such a clutz,” or “I’m so stupid.”
    • Focus on the things you do well – and make a point to say something about your positive aspects, at least inside your mind, and never speak the negative.
    • If you catch yourself thinking or saying negative things about yourself, make a conscious decision to stop.
  • Journaling: Use the same approach to daily journaling that was mentioned above, but instead of speaking the positive words about yourself, write them – even if it’s only one positive sentence every day.
    • If you’re really depressed and down on yourself, to where you can’t think of one positive thing to say, you can seek help from a loved one or a professional, or find some positive self image quotes and write them in your journal.
  • Visualization: Visualization is a powerful tool in building a positive self image, or anything you want out of life.
    • You can use the positive things you write in your journal as the basis for visualization, or use a guided meditation, or plan out your own self guided visualization to increase your self confidence.
  • External help: While asking for help can be the hardest thing to do when you’re self image is damaged, it is a powerful tool if you feel able to ask for help – and there is always help available if you reach out for it.
    • Help can come in the form of a loved one who helps you see the good in yourself, or a professional counselor.

There are so many reasons to take action and avoid the risk of depression and loneliness that comes from having a damaged self image, but the real and best reason is that you will feel better if you build a healthy sense of self and increase your self confidence.

 

Building Self Confidence When Everything Is Against You

Pretty much everyone has something that makes them feel a little bit, or a lot, quivery and weak in the core of their being – some thing they’re afraid others will judge them harshly for – or make fun of them for – or that they feel is missing in themselves that makes them put themselves through a sense of loss and pain.

What Is Self Confidence?

Self Confidence: How to Develop Self Confidence
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Self confidence is being aware of and believing in yourself, your innate powers, and your abilities, both inborn and learned.

It is also not being afraid to speak up when you know the answer, or to ask a question when there’s something you don’t understand.

It’s knowing that no matter what anyone else thinks, or you might imagine they think, it’s irrelevant in comparison to your own knowledge of your self worth.

Finally, it is feeling okay about yourself – and if you have that, the world feels pretty great.

If you don’t have it, it’s time for you take some steps so you can, because it’s a game changer, in a good way, and THAT, is the whole reason for this site.

Building Self Confidence

Don’t expect self confidence to blossom like a rose overnight – (though I hope it will for you.)

For most people, especially if starting with a damaged self-esteem, it takes a series of successes to wake up a positive self image.

However, just like a house or a multi-million-dollar corporation isn’t built overnight, a great sense of self isn’t built overnight.

How to Build Confidence

Make a list of things that are positive about yourself and your life. If you’re really bummed and struggling, make a fake list. There’s nothing wrong with a fake it till you make it approach, especially when it comes to putting positive thoughts in your subconscious mind.

That’s why I suggest writing it down, in list form. You have to think it in order to write it, then you see your hands writing the words.

Then, put your positivity list where you can read it several times a day, especially when you first get up in the morning and right before bed, but the more times you read it each day, the better it’ll work.

How to Be More Confident

Self Confidence: How To Overcome Shyness, Worry And Boost Your Self-Esteem (Self Confidence, Self Esteem, How To Be Confident, How To Overcome Insecurity, How To Overcome Shyness)
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If you’re really struggling to boost your self esteem and self confidence, go out of your way to help someone else – whether it’s with something big or small, just do what you can, it has the same effect on your psyche regardless of what it is.

The act of helping someone else creates an almost unbelievably positive feeling, so make sure you add it to your list so you can recall the deed and the feeling at any time by simply reviewing your list.

This works because if you are helping someone else, then you aren’t thinking about anything that’s bad in your life.

Two Great Self Confidence Quotes

“Nothing builds self esteem and self confidence like accomplishment.”

-Thomas Carlisle

“The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.”

-William Jennings Bryan