If you’ve read any other posts from this blog, you know I believe anyone can cultivate any trait they desire. You may not believe it just yet, but you were born with the characteristics of integrity, persistence, a positive outlook, a thankful spirit, self-confidence, and many more. You didn’t miss the boat if you had a crappy childhood or made bad decisions in the past. You don’t have a character flaw or some defect in your brain. You can cultivate characteristics you desire to be successful in any endeavor you choose. All you must realize is that you don’t need to DO anything to earn these traits. You possess them already, they are just waiting to be acknowledged.
Success can be defined in many ways. To some, it’s a great paying job, to others its completion of a creative endeavor, to someone else it may be getting healthy or overcoming a setback. For me, overcoming binge eating was a huge hurdle. And I’ve had days, in the past, where getting out of bed meant I had a successful day. But whatever you call success, we all have some common characteristics that make it happen. It could be hard work, determination, persistence, confidence or desire. It could be changing a process or creating a daily habit.
Whatever you think it requires to be successful, there is one underlying belief which is the foundation for any positive trait you desire. This is a knowledge that you are valuable. And I’m not talking about a value that comes from prior successes and accolades from others. I’m talking about a belief in the core of your being that you are okay, that no matter what happens, you have everything you need to do what you want to do.
You may say, “How can I believe I’m valuable if I feel so unworthy?” or “I feel like I have a hole inside that can’t be filled with anything.” Well, here’s the revelation- just because you don’t feel worthy or significant doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy or significant. Your feelings don’t reflect your value. They only reflect the thoughts and beliefs you have learned during your experience of life. And no action on your part, good or bad, will change your inherent value. You are a valuable human being whether you believe and feel it, or not.
We all start out with confidence as kids, but life happens, and we end up second guessing ourselves. I remember, in seventh grade, being chosen to represent my school in an oratory contest. I had a month to practice and knew I could win. I was so excited, I ran home that Friday afternoon and read the speech to my mom. She promptly told me I would have stage fright. I know she didn’t mean to quench my enthusiasm, she just meant to warn me that it would be different up on the stage. But that word ‘stage fright’ stayed with me. By Monday morning, I had convinced myself that I couldn’t possibly get up in front of hundreds of people because I would have stage fright. So, when I got to school, I found myself explaining to the nuns why I couldn’t do this. They quickly dismissed me and found someone else to represent the school. I was heartbroken and ashamed.
I wouldn’t say this event was the cause for my struggles throughout life, but it was one of a myriad of events that made me question my value. I found myself thriving on the encouragement and positive feedback from others. The problem is, when you look for the approval of others, you end up doing things you think they want you to do and not what you were really meant to do. It took a long time to realize my confidence had to come from inside me, that it was a direct reflection of my inherent value. All I had to do was see it.
Applying this to my eating disorders, I came to terms that my exterior body was just a fraction of the totality of me. And my complete persona is different than anyone else on this earth. I don’t have to fit into anyone else’s idea of beauty or goodness to be a valuable person. I don’t have to eat what everyone else thinks I should eat. I just need to eat what I think I want and need and go from there. Sometimes I eat too much or too little or the wrong things, but I am confident that my body and I will get it right in the long run and I keep chugging away each day. And whatever happens, I remember this…..I am a child of God. I don’t have to do anything to earn the grace that God offers me. All I have to do is reach out and accept it.
For more information on how to start the binge free process click here
“Confidence may not be what you think it is. It may not be the self-assurance that you have talent or that everything is going to work out, it may just be the willingness to take a first step and see what happens.” MD