This article is about building self-esteem and confidence in adults. This is the second article on improving ‘self-esteem’ series.
The first article has given below:
Joy’s phone is ringing. He checks it but doesn’t receive the call, why? Because he doesn’t want to deal with his father right now.
He is already tensed with his life, and moreover, his father will give a lengthy lecture on the responsibilities on his shoulders, why he is always careless, why he wants to leave his job, why he has such a big loan that is swallowing all his salary, why the credit card payment every month is so high and all the other nonsense that he cannot tolerate now.
Not at this hour.
“Why don’t you talk to your family?” His girlfriend, Disha, bellows at him.
“Not now Disha. I am getting late for the office.”
“They are worried about you… they want to talk to you. Is this how you respond to your parents?”
“Disha please, I am not in a mood. Don’t torture me.” Joy is shocked by his bark. He never screamed at his girlfriend before.
Disha starts crying and goes to her bedroom room, slamming the door.
It is her fault, let her cry for a minute. I cannot deal with her, either. Joy picks up his office bag and dashes out of the house.
He walks as quickly as he could because he was already late. While standing by the bus stop his phone rings again- It is Ayush, his best friend from whom he borrowed some money last month.
Probably, calling for his money back. Joy switches the phone off and gets on the bus.
Upon entering his office, his boss jumps at him, “Have you completed the project?”
Joy swallows a big lump of saliva before he could reply, “I was awake whole night, doing the pro-”
“Have you done the project or not?” His boss asks again, clearly annoyed.
“It is almost finished, just-”
“Damn it, Joy. Just yes or no?” Joy’s boss shouts at him in front of his colleagues. His cheeks and ears have gone red in embarrassment as everyone stared at him.
“No” he replies in a weak voice, heads down, and he feels the corner of his eyes getting stabbed by his tears.
“I want it complete by today.” his boss orders him and leaves for his cabin.
Joy, on the other hand, walks secretly to his chamber as if he is invisible and sank in his chair.
He sometimes wishes he were invisible; there would be no one to bother him anymore.
The truth is, last night, he was heavily drunk and was cursing his life and others because of the poor decisions he took for his career and love life.
His father wanted him to become a well-established engineer, but the good thing is, his father never pressurized him for this. After realizing what his father wants, he tried several times to clear the entrance exams for the prominent engineering colleges; he failed every time.
He cares for his parents; he loves them, and they love him too. They fulfilled his every wish and took care of every need.
When he fails to succeed in his father’s dream, he joins an MNC for a scheduling Job, with a reasonable stipend.
His father was on the seventh cloud that day. Joy always smiles when he thinks of that day.
The problem was, he wanted to write stories instead of making schedules for the employees.
But, how could he be sure that this is what he wants in life? What if he fails in writing? What if he is never able to earn anything by changing his career?
This is too risky, and besides, there were times when he could write every day, every night; still, he didn’t do it for some reason, he just cannot sit in front of the computer and start working on his unfinished novel.
Joy concludes that this is because he is unhappy and he is living his father’s life, not his own.
Good things happen when he finds Disha. She understands him at a deeper level, and soon she became his living partner with whom he can share his pain and feelings.
But, if someone asks him, is he happy with her?
Joy’s reply will be, of course, she is my support. Without her, I will be lost and miserable, and I am really, really happy with her…
That someone will ask again, “Are you convincing yourself or me?”
Joy will look at that someone for a moment and leave his presence as soon as possible. He cannot deal with this someone too. Why the hell are people torturing me always?
He cries out, but only in his head, not out loud.
Before discussing Joy’s problem and his solutions, let’s talk about conscious living. Building self-esteem and confidence in adults takes conscious living.
What I mean consciousness is not becoming conscious about your presence in this world but the fundamental meaning of becoming aware of reality.
“Thousands of choices we make between thinking and non-thinking, being responsible toward reality, or evading it, we establish a sense of the kind of person we are. Consciously, we rarely remember these choices. But deep in our psyche, they added up and the sum of that experience we call self-esteem. Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with our-self.” – Nathaniel Branden.
Awareness of Reality:
Reality is there unaffected by your decision to face it or avoid it, unaffected by our emotions toward it, and unaffected by our conviction regarding it.
Our responsibility towards reality can be inward and outward.
The inward responsibility is our emotions, wants, needs, etc. and the outward reality is the situation we are in.
I may sit on my study table to write this article, but after writing 100 words, I may feel like taking a nap or eating something before I finish my task. If I am not responsible for my consciousness, then I will go with my impulses without questioning why I stopped my writing just after 100 words.
“Living consciously is living responsibly towards reality”- The six pillars of self-esteem
The reality may be ugly, Perhaps we hate what we see or know, but it is the fact that it is. We can’t deny or run away from it, and that will not alter the facts.
Facts are facts, and the more we become conscious of the facts of reality, the better our self-esteem will rise.
For building self-esteem and confidence in adults we need to be aware of the facts of reality.
I have a loan of 10 lakh rupees, and my EMIs are soaring towards the sky. I have two ways, through which I can settle this down.
1. I can go to my parents from whom I can borrow the loan amount because in the past I always borrowed from them.
I know they will not refuse, maybe I will lose some respect in my own eyes because I am begging for help and I am incapable of meeting my own needs in my prime time.
I am not a kid anymore, and I should certainly be responsible for my life. But, the debt amount is bending my will to be independent.
My subconscious brain is giving all the good reasons for which I should take the money from my parents:
-I can pay them back.
-I am their son, and if they don’t help me, who will.
-I cannot take this pressure anymore. After all, my life is half gone. Why I will suffer if I can make my life easier just by some smart decision.
While my subconscious gives me every reason to take that money from my parents, there is a little voice inside my head, that says, No, don’t do it.
This will severely affect your self-esteem. What about your dignity? What about your self-respect?
2. The second path is facing reality:
Okay, I have screwed it up, and I am responsible for this. I can talk to the bank and come into an understanding of the loan settlement. I know I am going to face a lot of tantrums, threats from the lenders, etc.
This is the path where I can lose a lot, my credit score, my house, my properties, etc. but this is also the path where I will gain a lot more than I can expect.
This is the path that will increase respect for myself, build integrity, my dignity, and overall this is where I will develop my self-esteem.
The above example is a big example of confronting realities. We are living in a world where we don’t want to face other small realities like:
– Taking the phone calls from our parents.
– Meeting friends or someone who makes us uncomfortable because they have reached new heights in their life and we are still a nobody.
– Not paying attention to the present situation where our focus is demanded.
In simple words, we avoid reality consciously or unconsciously that makes us uncomfortable.
For building self-esteem and confidence in adults we need to be responsible for our reality.
An active mind thinks. The most significant gift to humankind and the strongest survival mechanics in this modern world is our ability to think.
An active mind utilizes its power for further inquiry of him or herself.
When we face challenges in life, we have a tendency to avoid because it takes energy to utilize our brain.
I have been going to the gym for the last two weeks, and today is my leg day, but I don’t feel like working.
Instead of being conscious of why I don’t feel like working or why I am avoiding the gym today, I decided to order a pizza from the dominos and take a rest on the comfortable sofa.
We take thousands of decisions every day, from what we are going to eat to whom we are going to marry. Unfortunately, most of our decisions are taken by our subconscious brain, which is nothing but the collection of good and bad past events.
The problem with our generations is that we run our life on impulses. We run our lives on feelings.
Building self-esteem and confidence in adults need an active mind. Reach out for the relevant facts rather than withdrawing from them. Go after ‘Why’ and keep looking until you find the answer.
We have a brain that can think, use it.
Unconscious interpretation is common in today’s world.
– He didn’t call me for a long time. Of course, he forgot me.
– They didn’t help us in our bad times, stay away from them without consciously knowing the reason why.
– He forgets my birthday; obviously, he doesn’t love me.
– He is not good at studies, because he doesn’t study hard.
– I am not good at anything, because I am unsuccessful at everything.
– I doubt my abilities because there is no proof of my talent or everyone says so.
These above interpretations are your emotions, not facts. If you are conscious of yourself, you will realize there is a big gap between facts and emotions.
Everything is not true what we see and believe about others and ourselves.
For building self-esteem and confidence in adults we need to understand the difference between emotions and facts.
One of the biggest problems with our generation is the attitude that we don’t want to learn further; we have a deep belief that we know everything.
First, of all, nobody knows everything, and unless and until we dare to open your mind and learn further, there is a negligible chance that we are going to succeed in our life.
A personal example:
The day before yesterday, I contacted one of my friends, who is interested in entrepreneurship. I suggested a few courses in Udemy and books regarding entrepreneurship.
The response was: I already know everything about entrepreneurship, the only thing I am missing is funds.
I didn’t argue with him.
The reply he gave me comes from his unconscious self.
Learning never ends until you die.
“Living consciously implies that my first loyalty is to truth, not to making myself right” A quote from the same book The six pillars of self-esteem.
– Are you aware of your feelings? What are you feeling at this particular moment?
– Am I making decisions based on my impulses?
– Do I know what I am doing when I feel good about myself and what I am doing when I don’t?
– Do I know in which direction I am proceeding in my life?
– Do I know what kind of life I am living? Is my life choices my own decisions or I am living someone else’s life?
Building self-esteem and confidence in adults need these fundamental questions that one should ask.
Moreover, you should ask whenever you make a decision, like checking your phone, checking Instagram or Facebook, or watching youtube videos mindlessly.
We are creatures of habits and to break a bad habit we first have to be conscious of our bad habits.
Most of the time, we are not aware of our bad habits.
One of my biggest problems with me was self-discipline. I never did my school homework on time, never finished my college project before the very last moments.
I was never regular to tuitions, never regular in the gyms, never regular with my diets; in fact, my whole life, I never kept my clothes in their proper places after wearing them.
I endeavour in many projects, like starting a partnership company with a friend that went measurably wrong after a year because of my indiscipline, starting Keto diet, which I couldn’t continue despite getting tremendous results.
I want to be a novelist, and trust me, I am writing the same novel from the last four years.
I stopped myself from playing games only to rejoin it after two months.
I did everything to make myself successful and earn a decent living, but every time I failed.
When I started living consciously, the first thing I did was reading self-help books. I have a tremendous interest in human psychology, so I began reading books on self-esteem.
One evening, I was contemplating why I am a failure in everything, and why I always self-sabotage my progress every time.
Suddenly, from nowhere, an answer pops up in my brain that just hit me like a rock. From that day, every day, I am becoming more and more disciplined in my life, and I am not sure where this is going to lead me.
You can say, it is those rare moments in a person’s life that changes his whole course of action.
The answer was: Self-concept.
I was aware of self-concept. It is the belief of your subconscious mind about yourself that your conscious mind may agree or may not. Most of the time, you are unconscious about your own self-concept.
Because of my past life failures and wrong parenting, (A topic I will discuss in later articles), I developed a self-concept that I am born to be a loser.
But my conscious mind rejects this notion. No, it says, I am not a loser, and I can win if I work hard.
So, I plan and work every day.
The funny thing about the subconscious brain is that it tries every possible way to protect its beliefs—our subconscious beliefs are what we repeat every time.
So, for protecting its beliefs it makes me miss a day from my planned work. I don’t feel like doing my work today, I feel like playing games today, I feel like watching something that gives me quick gratification. Anything that sabotages my progress.
If I write half a page of my novel, I go for my mobile and start surfing cat videos mindlessly.
If I am conscious about what I am doing, I go back to work again.
If this kind of distraction doesn’t work, my subconscious brain plays other games with me. It creates self-doubt that I can never be successful at what I am doing because there are too many competitions.
I am just wasting my time here.
If this doesn’t work too, my subconscious will create stress and worry for no good reasons. I don’t have money to pay my rent, what if I get corona, What if something terrible happens, etc.
As if these problems were not there before.
These kinds of resistance can only go away by moving forward, and this is what I am doing now.
No one can stop you from succeeding once your conscious and subconscious brain agrees simultaneously.
Now, whenever I don’t feel like working, I work more because this resistance will not last forever.
While taking decisions, especially small ones, just be conscious of why you are making this decision.
Is it genuine, or just a game of your mind.
Building self-esteem and confidence in adults requires self-awareness and courage to face reality.
Once you start facing reality, rather than hiding from it, you will advance significantly in your life because as in the words of Jim Rohn, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.”
Joy can take his call and talk to his father, share his emotions and inner feelings.
He can tell his girlfriend that he is not happy with this relationship. He can face the wrath of banks for not able to pay the debts.
He can admit that he is responsible for not completing the project and not point fingers on others saying he couldn’t do it because of this or them.
He can talk to his best friend and come to an understanding for the borrowed money, after all, he is his best friend, not an organisation.
Once he confronts his problems and accepts the outcome from it, he may lose a lot or everything, but he will find peace and happiness within him. He will discover self-respect and self-worth within him.
A self-respected and a self-worthy person cannot remain unsuccessful for long.