SETTING HEALTHY EMOTIONAL BOUNDARIES

What Are Emotional Boundaries?

Emotional boundaries are internal barriers that allow us to separate our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions from others. Setting healthy emotional boundaries is important because without them, we tend to allow the “stuff” that other people may be dealing with, cross over into our own lives.

For example, our imaginary friend, Julie, is a person with poor emotional boundaries. She allows the relationship struggles of a co-worker to completely control her thoughts and keep her up at night worrying. Although the relationship problems are not her own, Julie is fixated on and worried about her co-worker. She finds herself greatly impacted. She has trouble separating her emotions from those of her co-worker’s.

A person with strong emotional boundaries might be confused by how affected Julie is. After all, Julie can be empathetic and compassionate toward her co-worker without taking on her co-worker’s troubles.

For people without established emotional boundaries, there is a very blurred line between where their inner identity and emotions end and the identities and emotions of others begin.

What Causes Poor Emotional Boundaries?

Poor emotional boundaries often go back to childhood. If a person was raised in a household with parents who had a distorted sense of boundaries, they are likely to experience the same as adults.

Parents with poor emotional boundaries have difficulty separating their internal world from that of their child’s. They want their child to be just like them, with the same likes and dislikes, values, thoughts and feelings.

If a child in this situation thinks or behaves differently from how their parents believe they should, the child is likely to experience rejection from those they most seek approval.

Carrying this fear of rejection into adulthood is often what leads to poor emotional boundaries.

What Do Healthy Emotional Boundaries Look Like? 

Setting healthy emotional boundaries is crucial to having a healthy sense of self. People with unhealthy emotional boundaries often make decisions based upon what is in the best interest of others. Those with healthy emotional boundaries, while exploring how their decision will impact others, consider what’s in their own best interest. They don’t fear rejection for their decision. Some view this as selfish. Experts in psychology view this as healthy.

Let’s go back to the example of Julie with poor emotional boundaries worrying about her co-worker’s relationship problems. In this situation, Julie is allowing her co-worker’s struggles to invade her own internal mental and emotional space.

By setting a healthy emotional boundary, Julie can maintain her inner balance without sacrificing her sense of compassion for her co-worker. Julie, with healthy emotional boundaries, can say to herself “I can empathize with my co-worker’s problems for a moment. I’m here for her if she needs me. But, her struggles are not my responsibility.”

How Can You Develop Healthy Emotional Boundaries? 

The most important thing in developing healthy emotional boundaries is to get in touch with your inner thoughts and emotions. In order to set healthy boundaries, you must first know who you are and what you value. An easy way to figure this out is to journal about your thoughts, feelings, and stance about important aspects of your life. Ask yourself, “What are my top 10 values in life? What are my genuine likes and dislikes when it comes to ________________?”

Also, you may find it helpful to meet with a trained counselor or therapist to discuss setting healthy emotional boundaries. Either way, the goal is to understand who you are as an individual, without being heavily influenced by external forces.

Once you have a greater understanding of your own inner workings, you’ll be better able to tell when your own emotional boundaries are being crossed and take action to avert the intrusion.

THREE STEPS TO EMOTIONAL FREEDOM

Step 1: Identify Your Negative Legacy Emotions

Life can be difficult to maneuver when struggling with emotions that hold us back from joy and happiness. Many people live with so much guilt, shame or anxiety that they become like fish that have been swimming in polluted water since escaping their eggs. A poor fish may have no idea that it is living under abnormal environmental conditions. Yet, it will feel the equivalent of fish joyfulness when it finally experiences fresh, clean water. This will be the same for you. There are three steps one can take to gain emotional freedom and move forward with confidence.

If your life seems constricted, boring or meaningless, your primitive emotions are probably zapping your vitality. To test this possibility, try imagining doing something different, and monitor your feelings for negative emotions. Imagine indulging yourself in a somewhat selfish fashion. Imagine sharing your opinion with friends, or taking a small risk to add excitement to your life.

When you try to imagine something new and daring, do you experience guilt, shame, anxiety or some combination? Practice identifying your negative emotions, and you will take your first step toward emotional freedom and a better life for you and the people whose lives you touch.

Step 2: Reject Any Compliance With These Emotions

Do you want to redecorate your home, build furniture, play music, draw or paint? Do you want to go to the theater or travel? Do you want to start a small business or volunteer to help others? Pursue a career you will love? Get a degree? Find a person with whom to share your life? Improve your marriage or your relationships with your children? Make a difference in the world? If you have failed to act on these desires, your demoralizing, negative legacy emotions are probably stopping you. They probably kick in whenever you consider or imagine asserting yourself toward fulfilling your wishes or dreams.

Instead of obediently complying with or caving in to these painful emotions, recognize and name them like enemies you plan to confront and overcome: “You are guilt! You are shame! You are anxiety! You are chronic anger or numbness!”

Take the second step toward emotional freedom by rejecting your painful, self-defeating emotions. Tell your negative emotions, “I will not be paralyzed by you. I will not let you misdirect me. I refuse to be controlled or compelled by you.”

Guilt, shame and anxiety behave like unwanted houseguests who repeatedly come back until we start saying no to them. They are emotional bullies who feel entitled to intimidate us. They push us harder and harder and take over our lives.
We need to remind ourselves that our most painful emotions have nothing to do with reality, with who we really are or with how we should act. Instead of consulting your negative legacy emotions, ask yourself what you want to do when you succeed in rejecting them. Then, begin to make decisions based on reason, mature ethics and love.

Our wretched feelings toward our lives and ourselves do not make us better people. Instead, they build anger and resentment and can drive some of our worst behaviors. They can blind us to our real misdeeds and make us unable to work toward becoming better people. Even if you believe that other people need these emotional inhibitions to make them behave, you can decide that you do not need them because you can use your emotional freedom to become more rational, ethical and loving.

Step 3: Triumph Over and Transcend These Emotions

The third step toward emotional freedom requires fulfilling your potential to become a source of love. For several decades now, this has been my working definition of love: Love is joyful awareness.

When your awareness of someone or something brings you happiness or joy, you are probably experiencing love. It can be your dog or cat, a person or place, nature, creativity, your chosen ideals or your concept of a higher power. If your awareness of this aspect of life makes you feel wonderfully glad to be alive, then you are experiencing love. This is what flowers, sunny days, starlit nights, streams and lakes, pets, music and art, marvelous ideas and higher purposes have in common: They can inspire us with joyful awareness, or love.

This is a simple, straightforward concept—that love is joyful awareness. It contrasts sharply with all the disappointing, self-defeating unhappy feelings and experiences in our lives.

Take a moment and imagine this for yourself: no more guilt, no more anxiety, no more shame, no more chronic anger and no more emotional numbness—or, at least, a lot less than you currently endure. Now, imagine filling your mind, heart and spirit with more love than you ever dreamed of. Imagine feeling joyful in the presence of others and of life itself. Imagine being happy.

These three steps to emotional freedom can change your life forever: Learn to identify guilt, shame and anxiety; learn to reject them; and, learn to fill yourself with love for other people, life in its many aspects and your greater purposes. Keep in mind that love is joyful awareness. If you are thinking about something or someone, and it makes you feel miserable, then it is probably not love. If you think about something or someone, and you light up inside with joy or happiness, that is almost definitely love.

You may have had so many negative experiences surrounding “love” that just thinking about it makes you succumb to painful emotions. Love may have initially attracted you to someone, and then it didn’t go well. This may have happened many times, leading you to feel frustrated and angry, as well as numb. Reexamine what happened, and you will find the problem was not with love. Your relationships were held back, distorted or corrupted by negative legacy emotions affecting you and your partners. How does this apply when one partner feels more love than the other, or when the two partners have differing views of what the relationship should be? Often, people suffer in relationships from feeling unloved or from irresolvable conflicts. Although rational compromises are made, one or both partners may feel disappointed, frustrated or bereaved. What matters is how each partner handles his or her inevitable painful feelings. If guilt, shame and anxiety, or chronic anger and numbing, complicate their responses, they will become bogged down with increasing feelings of helplessness. If these negative legacy emotions can be held off and helplessness rejected, then effective decision-making and emotional recovery are enhanced rather than impeded. Love motivates us to nurture, respect and protect whomever and whatever we love, from a special person to our spiritual relationship with life.

Steps to Change Dysfunctional Living

Are you tired of living a dysfunctional and unhappy life? Are you aware that you have the power to change that? First, we must acknowledge that it is dysfunctional. Then, we need to take action to make positive changes. Here are steps to change your dysfunctional living:

1. Acknowledge that we are responsible for creating our own emotional problems.

2. Accept that we have the ability to change disturbances significantly.

3. Recognize and distinguish emotional problems from irrational beliefs.

4. Clearly perceive these beliefs.

5. See the value of disputing self-defeating beliefs.

6. Accept that we must work hard in emotional and behavioral ways to counteract irrational beliefs and dysfunctional feelings and behaviors. Nobody is truly happy living a dysfunctional life. The good new is….we can change that!

Irrational Ideas

Examples:       I must have love or approval from all significant people in my life.

                        I must perform important tasks completely and perfectly.

                        If I don’t get what I want, it’s terrible and I can’t stand it.

Are You Thinking of Changing Careers?

Are you thinking of changing careers? With the pandemic affecting a multitude of jobs, more people are considering that idea. Are you one of those? Do you need guidance to help you along?

I see clients all the time who are unhappy at work and wish to pursue other avenues. However, they don’t know how to get from where they currently are to where they want to go. They can clarify for me, bits and pieces of what they would love to do, but then, they get stuck. Are you in a similar position right now in your life?  Would you love to change professions but feel a bit hesitant to the process of where to begin? So many people hear other people talk about ‘life purpose’, but they have no idea what their purpose is or how to reveal it. They think their purpose needs to be something extraordinary and unique. I try to simplify things so that they begin with small steps and move forward at a pace that is not overwhelming or daunting. After discussing one’s past and highlighting what brings them joy and fulfillment now in their life, a purpose will organically reveal itself over time. Individuals sometimes focus so much energy on possible future scenarios that they can’t take the first steps needed to create their dream. If you constantly worry about something that needs to be accomplished in the distance, you will slow yourself down from even beginning the journey. Let’s say, for example, you want to start your own business. If all you think about is how you are going to get enough help to manage the holiday orders, you are passing up many other tasks that need to be addressed first. Start at the beginning and work your way up. This week I want to help clarify some career options that might be fun for you to explore.

1. Review life story

    This is your chance to review your life and pick out the highlights. Go as far back as you can and write down what stands out, as far as positive memories. Is there a similar theme? Do several memories include standing up in front of people? Do many highlights include when you traveled to other parts of the world? Maybe every time you were around children, you felt alive and full of energy. These highlights in your life stand out for a reason. Take a good look at what you wrote down.

2. What do you hate?

    A tactic many career coaches use to help clients determine a possible new profession is to have them describe in detail what they hate about their current profession. You need to be extremely specific here, if you can. Do you dislike the never-ending hours and week-end hours you have to work? Do you hate sitting in a cubicle typing numbers when you are a creative person? Do you dread office politics? List everything you dislike about your current position, and then, list the exact opposite for every dislike. If you hate sitting in a cubicle, the exact opposite job would allow you freedom and travel.

3. What do you value?

    Are you still thinking of changing careers? If you are going to explore new possibilities, it is important you go about it the right way. Don’t pursue a profession that is not in alignment with what you value. I guarantee, you will be miserable years down the road, if you do. For example, let’s say you value family time. Then, let’s say you interview for a position that requires a lot of travel and evening hours. It may seem like the perfect job, and at the beginning, it may feel that way. However, spending a lot of time away from your family, something you value more than anything else, will wear on you over time. This job will not seem so fantastic down the road. Know what you value and then pursue professions that honor these values.

DECLUTTER YOUR LIFE TO GAIN SELF-CONFIDENCE

It is important to declutter your life to gain self-confidence. A lot of people carry around with them a lot of “baggage” or “clutter” in their minds. They are holding onto things they say they should do but don’t, people they are not speaking with but want to, all the ‘shoulds’ and ‘coulds’ in life. All of this emotional clutter negatively influences your confidence and self-esteem. It is important to analyze your life from time to time, answer a series of questions, in order to get back on track. Give yourself a “life tune-up.” We all need it in order to stay true to our priorities and values in life. Are you currently happy with your life and the direction it is taking? Are there things you have been putting off that would make your life more peaceful and meaningful? Why is there hesitancy? What are you fearful of? Remember each one of you has the power and potential to live an extraordinary life. It is just a matter of being committed and consistent with the process of always evolving and growing. Take some time this week to declutter your life to gain self-confidence, answer some questions and then decide the steps you need to take to move forward.

1. What are you putting up with?

    Make a list of ten things you are putting up with at home. Make a list of ten things you are putting up with at work. Make a list of ten things you are putting up with in any other area of your life. Now start to pencil in the action steps to tackle these items. When, how and what do you need to do to cross these off?

2. Unfinished matters

    Make a list of things that are unresolved or unfinished in your life. This includes people. Who do you need to touch base with in order to bring some healing or closure? Forgiveness is the first step to healing. Life is far too short, so just do it.  List the coulds, woulds, and shoulds in your life. Release all of these, unless you are committed to making it a ‘must.’

3. What are your standards?

    What are your personal standards? What do you want to live your life by? List your top 5 standards, such as integrity, honesty, joy or tapping into your creativity. What are the standards you want to uphold yourself to? List five people you admire the most in your life and the standards they have. What standards of theirs would you like to live your life according to? Get to work.

Reprioritize and Declutter Your Life

1. Fears and unknowns

    What is going on in your life right now? Are you fearful financially? Is your job secure? Are you focusing on the near future and the uncertainty with that, or are you confident in what your future holds? Just the act of being more aware is a great first step. The next step is to reprioritize and declutter your life.

2. Opportunity

    Is there an opportunity in your life right now to make some positive changes? The first necessary change would be to reprioritize and declutter your life. If life has dealt you a difficult hand right now, is there a way to find the silver lining? Can you look past your immediate fears and see if there is an opportunity for growth?

3. Create a new vision

    Sometimes when life throws a curveball our way, we need to redesign a new vision for what we thought our life would be like. Just because a career, relationship, or project did not work out the way you envisioned it, it doesn’t mean something extraordinary is not right around the corner. Never stop dreaming or creating new goals based on what life provides for you at that moment.

Replace Resolutions to Make Lasting Change By Using Afformations

January is the perfect time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Often, this comes when making New Year’s resolutions, or a commitment to yourself to let go of unhealthy habits and create new, healthier ones. The problem with resolutions is that most people fail at following through. This can perpetuate feelings of inadequacy, decrease self-confidence, and be a detriment to mental health. Therefore, it is essential to replace resolutions to make lasting change.

A study done by the fitness app, Strava, showed that most people will ditch their resolutions completely by January 19th (also referred to as “Quitters Day”). If you want to build lasting habits that can increase your overall health and happiness, resolutions might not be the way to go. Instead, replace resolutions to make lasting change by using positive afformations.

That’s right – afformations. More than likely, you have heard of positive affirmations. Yet, you might not be familiar with the concept of positive afformations. An afformation is similar in sentiment to an affirmation. But, instead of repeating a statement to yourself, you’re posing a question to invoke further thought. The idea behind this is that the subconscious mind is more receptive to questions than statements. Asking yourself an empowering question changes your beliefs by forcing your brain to search for the positive, not the negative.

As many have found, it is all too easy to disagree with your own affirmations. For example, you can say, “I look great today,” each morning in the mirror. But, if you don’t truly love the way you look, it probably won’t yield positive results. You’ll simply follow the affirmation with, “Actually, no, I don’t look great today.”

When using positive afformations, you get to dig deeper and focus not on what’s wrong with you and what you lack, but what’s right with you and what you have.

There are 3 simple steps to using positive afformations to reframe your thoughts from negative to positive:

  • Step 1: State an affirmation (I look great today)
  • Step 2: Ask yourself how or why this affirmation is true. Why do I look great today?
  • Step 3: Answer the question. I look great today because I’m having a good hair day and my necklace is beautiful.

Notice in the answer, I didn’t mention that my pants are snug, or that my shoes are scuffed. I focused only on the positive evidence to support my affirmation.

Here are 5 examples of afformations you can try this year to shift to more positive thinking. 

Example Affirmation: People enjoy talking to me.
Example Afformation: Why do people enjoy talking to me?
Example Answer: People enjoy talking to me because I am a good listener. I make them laugh, and I have interesting things to say.

Example Affirmation: I deserve happiness.
Example Afformation: Why do I deserve happiness?
Example Answer: I deserve happiness because I am a caring human being with good intentions.

Example Affirmation: I am successful.
Example Afformation: How am I successful?
Example Answer: I am successful because I work hard. I pay attention. I am capable. I am committed to success.

Example Affirmation: I am resilient.
Example Afformation: How am I resilient?
Example Answer: I adapt in the face of adversity. I am strong. I can make it through anything.

Example Affirmation: I am true to myself.
Example Afformation: How am I true to myself?
Example Answer: I stand up for what I believe in. I set healthy boundaries. I value my happiness.

Of course, your answers will vary. The more in-depth, detailed, and positively you answer your own afformation, the better your results. Try one of these each day. And, really consider your answers to the questions. These answers come from your positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Repeating positive afformations can help to shift your beliefs and allow you to see your true value.

While these tips can help many people, they may not help everyone. If you struggle to switch your thoughts from negative to positive, consider making an appointment for a free consultation to see if therapy could be right for you. Simply contact me so I can learn more about your goals. Then, I can explain to you how I can help you reach them.

How to Stay Calm in the Presence of Stress and Chaos

1. Notice what you’re noticing.

When we’re in the middle of a stressful situation, it can be tempting to let ourselves be swallowed up by the sense of overwhelm.

But, there’s a powerful question to consider that will help you bring yourself back to center. Are you focusing your attention to the obstacles and problems in your life, or are you noticing the blessings and opportunities? 

Here’s the truth: If you focus on your problems and how much pain and stress they are causing you, your negative feelings will only grow.

So, the first step I recommend you do in any stressful situation is to take a deep breath. Notice that you’re breathing. Feel the air flowing through your nostrils, going down into your belly, then rising back out of your body.

Next, notice that you can notice. Notice that you have that faculty, just like you have hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling and tasting faculties.

Notice the tip of your nose, your right index finger, your left kneecap, the bottom of your right foot, the tips of all ten toes, your cheeks, your chin, the top of your head.

You have a choice at this very moment – you can choose what to notice. Notice that you’re alive. Notice that you can choose to pay attention to the positive things in your life, or you can choose to keep thinking about your problems.

Use this practice to bring your awareness back to yourself and your body, and take a moment to let your mind rest. Become present again by focusing on the simple sensations that let you know you’re alive.

2.  Ask yourself, “What good could come from this situation?”

Every challenge has within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit. 

But, before you can experience these benefits, you need to find that seed, nourish it, and let it bloom in your mind.

When we’re in the middle of seemingly adverse situations, this can be easier said than done. Still, I encourage you to try this practice. Looking for the possible good in any situation opens you to receiving the greatest secret gifts from the universe!

The key to seeing the possible good when you’re facing challenges is to stay open and curious. This is how opportunities present themselves to you.

Ask yourself, “What gift could there be for me inside of this challenge?”

Then, stay open and write the answers that come to you. Write anything you could think of. All possibilities are valid! Let the infinite intelligence support you in your journey with something even better that you could have imagined.

remaining calm in chaos woman

3. Ground yourself with the Rectangular Breathing Exercise.

When we are feeling overwhelmed or anxious, we can actually feel physical symptoms – rapid heartbeat, sweating and even shortness of breath. This state is called “fight or flight,” and when you’re in it, you may feel panicky and unsure how to move to a state of calm and relief.

A really helpful tool in this situation is the Rectangular Breathing Exercise. Changing our breathing can very quickly change our energetic state, helping us to find calm in a stressful circumstance.

The technique receives its name because it consists of four steps, breaking down each breath into two long periods and two short periods.

The first step is to breathe in through your nose for a count of eight seconds (this could be considered the long side of the rectangle). Pause for a count of four seconds (this would be the short side of the rectangle). Next, breathe out for a count of eight and pause for a count of four.

Do this for five minutes whenever you feel anxious and upset. While you repeat this breathing pattern, you will feel your physiology change.

The Rectangular Breathing Exercise is used to move your physiology from “fight or flight”  (sympathetic nervous system), to “rest and digest” or parasympathetic nervous system.

This way, you will use the power of your breathing to regain a peaceful state.

Believing in Yourself is Crucial for Success

Believe in Yourself!

Reshaping how you see yourself and believing in yourself is crucial for success! We, humans, have a tendency to focus on believing what others say about us instead of believing who we really are. That is how we were programmed, based on our childhood experiences. But, we are not defined by how others see us! And, continuing to believe what others say can hold us back from succeeding in life.

I remember working with one client who was extremely self-sabotaging. She was so unaware of her beauty, inside and out. She was highly-intelligent, beautiful, active, fit, funny, and warm. Yet, she did not recognize any of these qualities. Once she began believing in herself, everything in her life changed for the better! She succeeded at all the things she attempted. This is evidence that believing in yourself is crucial for success. Sometimes we are so off the mark when it comes to how we feel in comparison to how others see us. Most of you wouldn’t treat your worst enemy in the same manner that you treat yourself. Cut yourself some slack and be kinder and gentler.

Are you fairly confident and secure in your own shoes? Do you believe in your abilities and what you have to offer? Or, do you constantly question who you are as a person?  We all have our past, including the experiences that shaped who we are today. If people in your life made hurtful comments over and over, then over time you probably started believing it.  How do you reshape how you see yourself? Are you tired of being overly critical of yourself and your abilities? There is no better time than the present to start believing who you are and what you contribute to those around you. You need to see yourself in a different light and try to replace the negative self-talk with more positive and uplifting dialogue. Make a commitment to yourself to criticize less and accept yourself more.

ACTION STEPS:

1. List your achievements and successes

Make a list of all your achievements. What are you most proud of? Instead of focusing on what you don’t do well, focus on what you have done well. I know that everyone has achieved things in their lives that they should be proud of. Look at this list when feelings of self-doubt begin to arise.

2. Small steps to success

Instead of embarking on large goals that might be difficult to achieve, break them down into smaller tasks. Have a list of smaller goals that you can achieve and feel proud of. By achieving goals you, slowly build up your self-confidence and begin to rely on yourself. Instead of focusing on the 30 pounds you’d love to lose, celebrate two pounds at a time with a pat on your back.

3. Get rid of negative self-talk    

Every time you think negatively about yourself or others, you lower your standards. It is not a very attractive quality to be around someone who is always down on themselves. Start being more aware of your critical voice and replace that voice with positive dialogue. Create an affirmation to “plug” in every time that all-too-familiar voice begins playing in your head.

5 Signs of Emotional Abuse

1.  Does someone degrade you, or put you down in front of others as a result of their own low self-esteem? Do they negate how you feel, or humiliate you?

2.  Is someone controlling your life by belittling you? Are you depending on someone else to make your decisions, because you feel you can’t think for yourself and you go to them?

3.  Someone is accusing and blaming you – they never apologize and blame all their problems on others, however, they expect you to apologize for something you didn’t do.

4.  Neglect – Is someone giving you the cold shoulder or silent treatment? Or not meeting your needs? They withhold affection or attention from you, and moreover, they don’t do what they say they will do.

5.  Enmeshment or codependence –someone makes choices for you or overshares information about their sexual relationship with your father, and as a result, overshares information that is completely violating the boundaries that you’ve set up. And, they do not take into consideration what you want or need.

All of these are signs of emotional abuse, but this does not define who you are!

BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE

Are you fairly confident in your own shoes? When do you feel your best? When do you feel the most insecure? Even the most confident individuals go through periods of self-doubt. I am pretty secure in who I am and what I believe, but there are plenty of days where everything seems to go against me and the voice of fear pops up. As long as this feeling is few and far between, it doesn’t affect me all that much. Are there areas of your life where you are a bit insecure? It is very natural to feel confident in certain areas and lack confidence in other areas. That means there is room for growth! Remember, nobody is perfect, so don’t beat yourself up over your flaws. There are many things you can do to improve and boost your confidence. Just like you need to weight train in order to build your muscles, you need to take part in daily activities to boost your confidence. The people you associate with play an important role in your self-confidence. If the people you surround yourself with are constantly criticizing you or your abilities, of course, you are going to harbor feelings of self-doubt. Be extremely picky in who you allow into your life! Just remember that self-confidence is a learned response over time. You put yourself in situations that will ultimately boost your confidence level. Here are some tips to get you started this week:

1. Set and achieve goals

Setting and then achieving goals will boost your confidence. Most people, however, set unrealistic goals that are difficult to achieve. When you continue to fail in your goals, then, of course, your confidence plummets. For now, write down some realistic goals and the steps needed to achieve them. Crossing off even one step at a time will boost your confidence.

2. Participate in activities you enjoy

By participating in activities you enjoy, you are focusing on your strengths and passions. Highlighting your strengths instead of your weaknesses adds up over time. Commit to taking some time each and every day to do something you enjoy. This seems fairly simple, but most people don’t prioritize and set aside this time.

3. List past successes

Make a list of all your past achievements and success stories. It is amazing that we spend so much time and energy focusing on what we have done wrong, instead of remembering all we did right. Make this list and then read it when feelings of self-doubt begin to invade your mind. Keep this list handy and pat yourself on the back when you need a little boost.