Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Funk Soul Brother

London was ace. All my fears were unfounded. My friends were in great form, the sun was casting a yellow filter over a beautiful city, strangers were chatting to us, there was a smile on faces all around.

A city of 14+ million wasn't reeling, as I'd imagined I would have been, in the confusion following the bombings. Instead, there were people reaching out to one another. Previously I'd felt like a stranger bumbling around in a messy, disinterested, hard place. Last week I was embraced into one of the most culturally diverse cities in the western hemisphere.

Coming home to Dublin was hard. Discussing my city was painful, having to acknowledge the cruel reality of a city where attainment - property, cars, careers, beauty, prestige - is the currency of many conversations. I defended her strongly, I'd like to question why, but inwardly, I've really begun to have my doubts.

For so many years, I've sat in company, saying how important it is to love where you're from, because that is part of who you are. Maybe there is no perfection, maybe it is alright to buy into that old cliche of hating Ireland. Even yesterday, as I screamed my throat raw and watched Dublin, warrior-like, eventually struggle to beat Laois, I had my doubts about whether my city is really my home anymore.

The harsh reality of growing older is that your old ideals, beliefs, are easily challenged as life gradually blurs the colours into a mute grey. Would it be such a shock to my friends, if the defender of their home-town finally sold up shop and moved to Berlin? Would they even notice, as their lives are gradually subsumed into the blandness of deciding which Tesco Finest dinner to shove in the microwave after a tough day in the office. A reality which I have lived through for the past five years, as everyone else strode bravely across continents.

Now, finally, I begin to think that my painfully shy frame could worry itself out of worrying for long enough to leave for a while. I mention it to my friend, she who travelled further and for longer than anyone else, and am advised that selling my house wouldn't be a bright move. In terms of the attainment, I was the first onto the property ladder, the first to sell my freedom. Is this preemptive middle age, that is making me think it might be time for me to give it away, to run away from these constraints? After all, was it not I who talked first of broodiness, only to decide yesterday, after less than 24 hours with a 7 year old, that having children may be much further into the future for me than anyone else of my friends?

Imagine though, the adventure I could have, living in Berlin, finally learning passable German, drinking good beer, making new friends, seeing new places. Maybe time has been called for me in Dublin - this city doesn't need me and my idealistic, naive ideas. I'm outmoded in this city of nouveau riche values and consumer durables. I don't care enough about furniture, fast moving consumer goods, spiralling debt, bad public transport, grumpy angry faces.

If I stay here too long, then maybe I'll become numb, able only to browse myhome.ie and watch crap TV. The conversations are great, but it seems like an hourglass counting down until it's just the occasional christening or wedding ceremony, where everyone drinks themselves angry and noone has the energy to dance. Where the talk amongst the women will be of weightwatchers and soap operas.

I want to go somewhere where I can still feel my feet groove to the sound of good music. I want to look splendid in old age, my eyes wise from all the different voices I've listened to. I don't care if my tax is high if my neighbour can enjoy a beer with me. Maybe the thing is that I don't fit in here anymore, and Dublin isn't about to change, so maybe I don't have a choice, maybe I just have to get away.

Many people know the importance of self confidence and try to boost their own by using many different personal development models. Self confidence to most people is the ability to feel at ease in most situations but low self confidence in many areas may be due to a lack of self esteem. Low self esteem takes a more subtle form that low self confidence. So if you are tired of feeling not good enough, afraid of moving towards your desires and goals, feel that no matter what you do it is just never good enough, then your self esteem could do with a boost.

Every day we make decisions based on our level of self-esteem. We also exhibit that level of self esteem to those around us through our behaviour. 90% of all communication is non-verbal - it is not what you say but ho you say it that matters! Your body language, tonality and facial gestures can all tell a completely different story to your words. It is our behaviour which influences others and people react to us by reading our non-verbal communications. Have you ever met someone you just didn't like although on the surface they seemed polite and courteous, or you met someone who seemed to speak confidently yet you knew they were really frightened underneath and just displaying bravado?

Parental and peer influences play a major part in moulding our level of self-esteem when we are children and in our early years of adolescence. The opinions of the people closest to us and how they reacted to us as individuals or part of the group was a dominant factor in the processes involved in forming our self esteem.

As adults we tend to perpetuate these beliefs about ourselves and in the vast majority of cases they are ridiculously erroneous. It is time to re-evaluate our opinion of ourselves and come to some new conclusions about these old belief patterns.

Ask yourself some serious question:
Is your long-held view about yourself accurate? Do we respect the sources from which we derived these beliefs? Most of the negative feedback we bought into as we were growing up actually came from people we have little or no respect for and as adults we would probably laugh their comments away! Yet the damage to your self esteem was done when you were very young and you still carry it with you to this day.

Is it possible that even those people you respected, who influenced your self-worth, were wrong? Perhaps they had low self esteem also.

As adults we have the opportunity to reshape our self-esteem. Try to judge accurately the feedback you receive from people you respect. This process will allow you to deepen your understanding of yourself and expand your self-image. It will also show you were you actually need to change things about yourself and were you don't. Many people are striving to better themselves in areas where they are just fine or actually excelling and it is only because they have an inaccurate picture of themselves in their minds due to low self esteem!

Setting small goals and achieving them will greatly boost your self-esteem. Identify your real weakness and strengths and begin a training program to better your inter-personal or professional skills. This will support you in your future big life goals and boost your self-esteem and self confidence to high levels you didn't existed!

Learn to recognise what makes you feel good about yourself and do more of it. Everyone has certain things that they do which makes them feel worthwhile but people with low self esteem tend to belittle these feelings or ignore them.

Take inventory of all the things that you have already accomplished in your life no matter how small they may seem. Recognise that you have made achievements in your life and remember all the positive things that you have done for yourself and others. Take a note of your failures and don't make excuses like "I'm just not good enough" or "I just knew that would happen to me", analyse the situation and prepare yourself better for the next time. If someone else created success, regardless of the obstacles, then you are capable of doing the same! Remember everyone has different strengths and weakness so do not judge your own performance against that of another just use them as inspiration and know that what one human being has achieved so can another!

Surround yourself with people who respect you and want what is best for you - people who are honest about your strengths and will help you work through your weakness. Give the same level of support to them!

Avoid people who continually undermine you or make you feel small. These people are just displaying very low self esteem. As your own self esteem grows you will find that you are no longer intimidated by another's self confidence or success and you can actually be joyful for them! Do things you love to do and that make you happy. A truly happy person never has low self esteem they are too busy enjoying life! By getting busy living your life with passion and joy you will not be able to be self-consciousness.

If you find yourself feeling self-conscious in any situation focus on the fact that others can tell and many of them will be feeling the same. Be honest. People respond to someone better if they openly say "To tell you the truth I'm a bit nervous" rather than displaying bravo or fake confidence that they can see right through. Their reactions to you, will show your mind at a deep level, that there was actually nothing to be frightened of and everything is great. If someone reacts to this negatively they are just displaying low self esteem and very quickly you will find others noticing this! Really listen to people when they talk to you instead of running through all the negative things that could happen in your head or focusing on your lack of confidence. People respond to someone who is truly with them in the moment..

Breath deeply and slow down. Don't rush to do things.

Stop the negative talk! 'I'm no good at that' or "I couldn't possibly do that" are affirmations that support your lack of self esteem. Instead say "I have never done that before but I am willing to try" or "how best can I do that?". Which leads us to the last point - the quality of the questions you ask yourself s very important.
When you ask a question it almost always has a preposition in it. For example, "How did I mess that up?" presumes that something was messed up, a better way of phrasing the question would be "what way can I fix this quickly?", as this presumes you can and will fix it. Or "How am I ever going to reach my goal?" could be rephrased as "what way will lead me to my goal quicker" presumes that you are going to reach your goal! Get the picture? Change the quality of your questions and your results will change!

Practise these techniques and watch your self esteem rise day by day. hypnosis
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