How To Have The Confidence You've Always Wanted

woman and dog by lake

You are in many settings throughout your day, and whether you're at home, at work, at the gym, having a meal, engaged in personal time, interacting with your kids, partner, friends, or co-workers, your self-esteem affects 100% of how you appear in those situations and relationships.

Some of these instances might involve conflict, and how you feel (good or bad, happy or sad, respected or taken advantage of, abused or abusive—physically, mentally or emotionally) has everything to do with how you'll respond. This is your self-esteem.

Just one thing dictates how you consistently feel inside and the life you create outwardly. Does that sound way too simple? After all, every situation is different from another. How can something that causes you to get angry when you get cut off in traffic also determine what you order for lunch, how you parent, or what kind of employee or entrepreneur you are?

It sounds crazy but it's exactly what I've found to be true for all the women I've known and worked with in the past 30+ years, including myself. This is true for men, also. And that "one thing" is self-esteem.

Does that mean that your life will improve overall if you adjust this one thing effectively? Absolutely. And it works the opposite way, too. As your self-esteem gets dented and banged up, your life reflects those injuries via negative situations and less-than-empowering people entering your life.

So how does this mysterious, powerful force make such an impact? Well first, it's important to understand the three aspects that collectively comprise your self esteem: 

  1. Self-respect—what you think about yourself.
  2. Self-image—how you see yourself individually in relation to others and in the world
  3. Self-confidence—how you feel about yourself

Notice that we are working with mental, physical and emotional aspects of ourselves. You cannot raise your self-esteem simply by telling yourself you look great, feel great, or that you are great.

Self-esteem comes from within. It's an inside job. Have you ever had a friend you thought the world of but she didn't think nearly as much of herself, and kept getting into the same negative situations over and over? How hard was it to see her suffer when you knew she was more intelligent, talented and deserving than she realized? No matter what you said, she probably didn't feel any more worthy, although your comments might have made her feel outwardly better for a little while. Underneath, she was still feeling unworthy, which is a horrible feeling and painful to watch in someone you care about.

Low self-esteem is an epidemic among women. And I mean epidemic! It negatively affects us in parenting, business, relationships, and all areas of health, 24/7. The good news is that your perfect self-esteem is already there, waiting inside you. You don't have to go anywhere to get it or learn how to create it, you can simply uncover it.

Imagine yourself as a child with a beautiful big golden ball. It's bouncy and shiny and has a big smiley face on it. You're playing with it and laughing and feeling great and then all of a sudden, it bounces into the mud. Yuck. Where did the shine go? It doesn't bounce the same anymore. It's heavier now, kind of ugly and you can't even see the smiley face.

What can you do? Wash it off? Sure, but there is still a muddy film that remains. And the smile is a bit dimmer than before. It just doesn't feel the same. It's not as much fun to play with. This beautiful golden ball is still there and still smiling, only it has a layer of gunk on it that diminishes how it bounces and how it feels.

The ball is like the perfect self-esteem you were born with. Every cruel comment from a kid at school or unkind teasing from a sibling, every time you needed a hug but your mom or dad was too busy, every time you looked forward to something and were disappointed, each time you didn't do as well at something as you had hoped, those times a teacher or someone you trusted caused you to wonder if you were good enough or smart enough with their cutting words or actions—those experiences are the mud.

Each one puts layer upon layer of mud on your perfect self-esteem until, over time, you lose your shine, your bounce and your natural smile. Even rinsing yourself off now doesn't get all the residue off, even with a new success or the start of a wonderful new relationship. Deep down you don't feel happy like before, and insecurities overtake your confidence due to fear of more mud coming your way.

This happens because the subconscious mind absorbs everything we hear and feel as if it is the truth. When you, or someone else, says something bad about you, it automatically becomes part of how you think about yourself, see yourself and feel about yourself. In other words, those slights and stings become part of your self-esteem.

Visualize a muddy ball rolling through dirt. The dirt sticks to it and so do all of those comments, unkind jokes, and disappointments, making the mud that much thicker. And just because one (or even many) of those instances happened a long time ago does not mean they are forgotten or forgettable. In fact, those hurtful things often grow bigger and bigger over time without resolution, to the point of manifesting physical disease.

Energy work, including emotional release and emotional protection processes, are so important. My entire coaching program revolves around them. I have yet to see truly healthy self-esteem uncovered without emotional release and protection being part of the journey. I choose a few methods from the 14 processes I find most effective and customize a healing approach to my clients' needs and personality style.

If we don't release the past from the depths of our subconscious mind, we end up building our future on pain through our fears and false view of our self-worth based on all those trapped emotions from childhood and past experiences. Now that we know we have perfect self-esteem underneath the mud, when you hear about improving or raising self-esteem, simply visualize yourself using some superb, gentle cleanser to safely remove all the muddy residue and uncover that shine, bounciness and smile.

Raising Self-Esteem—Where Do I Start?

There is a specific order in which the three elements of self-esteem need to be addressed. You can't think more of yourself (self-respect) or see yourself in a better light (self-image) until you feel better about yourself (self-confidence), because feeling is what creates everything in your life (good or bad). It's physics.

This is the universal law of vibration and where the law of attraction comes from. Proven. Scientific. And if you're on a spiritual path, you know it's true and don't need science to prove it to you. Either way, we're on the same page when it comes to actively using the energy created by our emotions.

Self-confidence is the first element to adjust, dust off and shine up. The other two, self-image and self-respect, will improve at the same time, and after you gain more self-confidence you can fine-tune them to really rock your world.

Now that you know what self-esteem truly is and you can see its importance and power, start cleaning that mud off. We want to see your shiny, bouncy, smiling self again.

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Kelly Rudolph is a Certified Life Coach, Hypnotherapist and Founder of Are you tired of stress, lack of confidence and fear about your future? Kelly can help. Begin getting her free Life Strategies now.

This article was originally published at Positive Women Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.