The 5th Habit for INNER Confidence is to cultivate and practice the skills that will help you manage your Ego vs Soul inner battle, and build confidence and resilience through repeated practice.
The three key skills that cultivate happiness and peace of mind are so simple and easy to practice. You can start today. You need no extra qualifications, because they are human charactoristics that you were born with. Your job now is to actively cultivate them by continuous and conscious daily practice.
The three skills that we need to practice are:
1. A daily gratitude practice
2. A daily mindfulness and self-awareness practice
3. An attitude of kindness and self-compassion
As with all things you will have a different reaction to each of these. And how you react will depend in part on what point in the perfectionist spectrum you sit on. Perfectionists are naturally bad in all these three areas. It’s not that we can’t excel in these skills, we often do in some areas in our lives, but our general make-up and attitude to life is one of dealing with threat and danger. This means we naturally focus on the negative so we can ‘repair’ it before anyone else notices it, and judge us negatively.
So while these three skills are simple they are not easy for perfectionists, procrastinators, people pleasers and other control freaks like us.
We are so caught up in our heads and hooked into our Ego Voice that we don’t notice that we are mindlessly, automatically, sleepwalking through our lives doing the same thing everyday – pushing ourselves and beating ourselves up. It’s like pushing a rock up a hill. We don’t stop to listen to ourselves, to notice what’s going on around us, because our mind is too busy interpreting the past (was I OK? Does that mean I’m ok?) micro-managing the present and immediate future and dreaming about all the great things that will happen when we finally ‘Sort Ourselves Out’. And we are our own worst critics, so are never kind to ourselves. My mantra while I was growing up and for much of my adult life was: No one else is going to kick me up the backside to get better/be successful so I’d better do it myself. I was constantly giving myself a hard time, never stopped to appreciate the moment or even the big things in my life (3 fabulous children and a loving husband would be a source of joy and gratitude for most people…) Some perfectionists are critical of others too – and I suppose I was hard on my children about their behaviour because that was what I judged myself on.
So while these skills are becoming more popular in the western world at the moment, many perfectionists still view them as flaky, lazy, indulgent habits that aren’t for them.
Why would I pause and feel grateful when I’ve still got so much more to strive for? Why would I be kind to myself when I’m such a failure and useless at everything? Why would I waste time meditating or writing a journal when I’ve always got so much to do?
So this week ask yourself these questions to get you started on your road to resilience:
What am I grateful for today?
How could I integrate a gratitude practice into my life?
How do I talk to myself? Could I be kinder to myself? Would I talk to a friend like that?
When could I give myself 5 minutes to sit still and notice the sounds around me, or my breathing, or how my body feels?