Last updated on October 22nd, 2019 at 01:41 pm
“Why Oprah?” you may ask because Oprah offers me hope. Her success is inspiring. She defies stereotypes, and her programs aren’t filled with feuding dysfunction. Oprah is an intelligent, compassionate, confident woman.
I’d love to be more like her.
But how do you find the self-confidence like Oprah embodies to succeed in life and achieve your big dreams too?
Through this process of working hard to be a renowned Plein air artist, I have learned that I have a slight self-confidence problem. I now understand that I have been creating my self-limiting situations. Examples include procrastination when the outcome will be in my favor; not saying yes right away when a great opportunity appears; and periodically giving up on work that improves and challenges my painting skills, which all but guarantee failure as an artist.
Confidence is a personal trait that still needs work.
Instead of starting my next painting, I decided to take some time to research what the Internet has to say about building one’s self-confidence. One of the first websites I first discovered was a Wikihow article titled, “How to Build Self-Confidence.” If only being more confident in yourself is that easy, right?
WikiHow offers these 9 steps to confidence:
1. Recognize your insecurities and embrace them.
2. Don’t view yourself as inferior to others. Don’t compare your dream journey to someone else’s.
3. Talk about confidence with friends and loved ones.
4. Remember that no one in this world is perfect.
5. Identify and celebrate your successes.
6. Be thankful for what you have.
7. Be Positive about what you want to happen in your life.
8. Accept compliments gracefully by saying, “thank you.”
9. Each time you look in the mirror at yourself–smile.
One exercise that research has proven helps build confidence is getting to know and challenge the critical inner voice that prevents you from taking positive risks to improve your life. Lisa Firestone Ph.D., Director of Research and Education at Glendon Association whose studies resulted in the development of the Firestone Assessment of Self-Destructive Thoughts (FAST) says,
Challenge your critical inner voice. It’s essential when you write down your voices not to let your self-hating or self-shaming thoughts take over. Respond to these statements from a realistic and compassionate perspective. Write down a more caring and honest response to each of your critical inner voice attacks. This time, use ‘I’ statements. ‘I am a worthy person with many fun-loving qualities. I have a lot to offer.’ As you do this exercise, be diligent in shutting out any rebuttals your inner critic tries to sneak in. Commit to keep writing about yourself with respect and regard you would have for a friend.” (Source: Psychology Today)
Best-selling author, speaker, and psychologist, Barbara Markway Ph.D. writes that studies have shown your genetic makeup can also affect the amount of certain confidence-boosting chemicals your brain can access.
So sometimes your self-confidence level can be determined by your genetic make-up.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness, and oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” can both be inhibited by individual genetic variations. Somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of the personality traits linked to confidence may be inherited. (Source Psychology Today)
And Kathleen DesMaisons, PhD, the best-selling author of The Sugar Addict’s Total Recovery Program and president of Radiant Recovery, a treatment program for alcoholism, drug dependency, depression, and compulsive behavior has noted in her research on serotonin and behavior that some people, especially children of alcoholics, are born with lower levels of beta-endorphin, the natural painkiller, making us more vulnerable to both physical and emotional pain.
Kathleen has documented that raising levels of serotonin boosts mood and one’s overall sense of well-being. People who follow her program swear by its mood-enhancing and confidence-building results.
You can increase serotonin naturally by eating a healthy diet, taking recommended vitamins, and eating a potato three hours after your last meal (a meal that includes protein) about thirty minutes before bed. You can read more about Kathleen’s seven steps to free you from sugar addiction and transport you to feelings of well-being here.
Others have had success combining confidence-building activities with emotional healing techniques like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), meditation, and self-confidence hypnosis recordings as a great way to boost your self-esteem.
In researching this topic I now can see that I have some confidence-boosting work to do, but I can say that writing about self-confidence has helped me be aware of the fact that I can challenge my negative assumptions about who I am in this world, as a women, a wife, a mother, a friend, and an artist. And, there are definitive steps I can take to boost my self-confidence!
I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah
Wendy Brayton is a Sonoma County native and a Plein air oil painter who is often seen along Sonoma County wine country roads painting the rural landscapes in front of her. She has a degree in sculpture from Sonoma State University and a Masters Degree in Fine Art from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. When Wendy is not teaching art to elementary and middle school students or painting in her art studio, she competes in Plein air competitions throughout California. Her work can be seen at www.braytonart.com.
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