Many of you know my personal story from having read my best-selling book “Man Shoes”. For those of you who don’t – the early years of my life were spent bouncing from one foster home to the next, settling in with Jim and Edwina Watson who were an elderly retired couple living on a farm in the northern parts of Alberta, Canada. For some reason Jim and Edwina decided I was their retirement project.
The Watson’s could see my self-destructive tendencies on full display daily over the early years. Mr. Watson finally took me and put his hands on my face to hold my eyes in his gaze and said “Tommy, you don’t think you are worth living – you don’t like yourself– and until you like yourself you will NEVER do great things in your life. The more you like yourself, the more people will like you, and the more good you will do in the world. You have to like yourself – before you can be successful in life!”
In essence what he was saying was My Choice + My Action = My Life! If I choose to doubt myself, dislike myself, hate myself, my life will reflect those choices. If I choose to like myself, my life will reflect those choices.
It’s not as simple as just flipping a switch from dislike to like! It’s a journey and it’s going to take some help along the way in to get you past your insecurities and into the future of liking and eventually loving yourself!
Here are some strategies I’ve used and refined over the years to help me to get past self-doubt.
1. Choose one negative thought you have about yourself and write down the positive opposite that counteracts that belief. For example, you may often think, “I make so many mistakes.” In this case, you would write an affirmation like, “I am capable of not making mistakes when I take the time to analyze the decisions I am making.”
2. Make your affirmations short so they’re easier for you to remember. Even statements as short as four or five words can be powerful.
3. Start your affirmations with “I” or “My.” Because you’re making a statement about yourself, it’s most effective if it starts with you.
4. Write your affirmations in the present tense. For example, “I easily see my own worth and value” is superior to “I will easily see my own worth and value.” It’s also better not to put a time frame on your affirmation, because doing so limits when what you desire can happen.
5. Don’t begin your affirmations with “I want” or “I need, rather, write your affirmations as an expression of being grateful for already having and being what you want.
6. Make sure all your affirmations are positive statements. Don’t include words like “don’t,” “won’t,” “am not,” “can’t,” “not,” “doesn’t,” or “am stopping.” Instead of “I’m eliminating my miserable thoughts,” create an affirmation such as, “I’m happy being who I am.”
7. Add emotion to your affirmations by inserting, “I am [emotion] about . . .” or “I feel [emotion].” For example, you could say, “I am excited about being able to express what I think.”
8. Create affirmations that will work. If you don’t believe your statement, you’ll take timid actions and be hesitant. If you write an affirmation that is truly difficult for you to believe, write another one that starts with, “I am open to…” or “I am willing to believe I could…”.
As you close out another year in your life, my hope for many of you is that you end this year by deciding to put an end to your self-doubt.