Guest Blogger: Eniola Olaosebikan
Life is a journey, so is our self-confidence. It is a process that kicks off the moment we recognize the difference between right and wrong; and also the moment we become aware enough to compare our lives with that of others. It is termed a process because of its progressive nature. As a result, for every new phase of our lives, we will need an increase in confidence.
Our inability to build up confidence per time results into low self-esteem; all because we insist on using the confidence of a previous phase to handle a brand new, and at that- higher phase. This in a way can be likened to a teenager insisting on sleeping on his cot, despite his grown age. To dig deeper into self-confidence as a journey rather than just a phase in our lives or something we possess once and for all, it will be good to start with knowing what self-confidence is.
Self-confidence refers to the way we view or see ourselves. It is what we see to be the reflection of us when we look or think about ourselves: It is our inner self reflected back to our outer self.It is something we must learn and adapt to basically on our own.
In as much as factors and people may sometimes contribute to it, the bulk of the work lies on us. That is why it is called self-confidence and not people-confidence. It has to come from a place on the inside.
If self-confidence is our basic duty to carry out, how then do we generate it?
1. Spending time with God
How beautiful is it when the maker of a thing tells the product about itself? Wonderful, isn’t it? Who else can tell it better than the maker itself; the one who foresaw it, saw how good it would be and decided to create it based on the goodness formed in his heart?
The strongest form of confidence is the one we gain from the Lord- either through His Word spoken to us or the one written to us. Spending time with God as a Christian is necessary for a healthy self-worth and a great inner strength.
Spending time with God is like an exchange. God gives us more of Himself even as He takes away (through processes) our inadequacies. The more time we spend with God, the more we get to know and discover ourselves. God exposes who we are to us (both who we are at the moment, and versions of who we were originally created to be) when we spend time in His Presence. Spending time with Him aligns us to His intent for us upon creation.
A look at the life of David, spending time with God gave him the inner strength to defeat all that needed to be defeated in his lifetime. It gave him the strength to kill bears and lions with his bare hands, and also imparted in him the knowledge to slay a man like Goliath who was not only higher than him in height, but also in battlefield experiences. Come to think of it, David was only a little boy when he defeated Goliath, how did He come about such confidence and boldness even as a little child? It was sure through spending time with God and God revealing who He really is to him on the inside, a factor that reflected not only in the way he saw himself but also the way he saw situations and related to people. His brothers, even the king at the time- Saul tried to dissuade him, but because of what He knew about God and himself, he knew he was well able and it was never about his stature or age. Self-confidence gained through spending time with God will make us defeat giants within and without.
Our self-confidence is never about what people think of us, but what we think of ourselves and the eyes through which we see ourselves. When we see ourselves through God’s eyes, we see ourselves right.
2. Spending time with ourselves
Spending time with ourselves enables us to know ourselves in possible details and the areas in which we need help/change. It helps us pay utmost attention to ourselves. Spending time with ourselves places the focus on us for better reasons; we are able to decipher who we really are away from the crowd.
When we spend time alone, we gain insights into the opinions we have of ourselves; such opinions we can easily divide into good or bad and therefore decide the ones which stays and the ones which goes.
Quite a number of people know nothing about themselves, and so, talk cheaply about themselves because they’ve not taken enough time to think about themselves and mirror who they truly are.
They simply absorb other people’s opinions (both negative and positive) about them without internally challenging them to see if that is really who they are.
Spending time with ourselves is simply paying attention to ourselves, especially our inner yearnings, opinions, desires and needs per time. It enables us to be sensitive to ourselves and our needs.
Spending time with ourselves also makes us know what soothes us and what doesn’t. It makes us fight our battles in our own skin and not someone else’. This can be seen in the life of David when Saul- the king offered him his armor. David was able to reject the armor because he knew himself duly and what he could work in.
In the end, knowing ourselves will save us from a lot of pain, shame and abuse.
3. Cultivating a reading culture
Reading opens us up and adds wisdom to us provided the right books are read. It widens our views about life. Reading makes us grow in areas we should grow and as a result, prevents us from making mistakes that would have been made. With reading, we really don’t have to get to our old age before we begin to ooze out wisdom and act based on it.
Reading is a seed sown that grows up as a giant tree- a tree of wisdom. It literarily places a ladder at our feet; making us see wider and better. It gives us a better view of life- a much wider view and it sharpens our knowledge of good and bad. It also helps us to efficiently separate needs from wants without comparing our lives to others to determine what is needful.
Reading takes us through time and brings us wisdom. It deposits into our present the wisdom we would have gained in our old age through experience. It gives us an edge of time and the opportunity to maximize it. Besides, knowledge is the vehicle through which we travel through time to gain wisdom. Reading great books provides such experience.
4. Developing our skills.
There’s such confidence that comes out of knowing one’s value. When we know who we are and what we as individuals can offer, we will not be easily threatened (if at all we will be) by other people- especially their successes. The better we get at our skill, the more confident we become. Honing our skills and using them right contributes to our self-worth in the long run.
Conclusively, to see ourselves right, we have to be committed to the life we live. We have to be intentional to live our lives the way God intended and expects. We don’t have to be perfect to live in confidence, we only have to be receptive to God’s Word and committed to spending time with Him; and also pay attention to ourselves (especially our innermost self), and cultivate a learning culture such that will give us needed wisdom per time and help hone our skills to such level where only the best version of ourselves stares at us in front of the mirror per time. We also have to know that self-confidence is a continuous journey, never a phase. Just like our apps and gadgets, we have to keep updating it per time lest it goes out of ‘fashion’ and we find ourselves lacking in confidence once again. Different level of confidence is needed for different phases, and as a matter of fact, the higher the phase, the higher the confidence needed and required. So, it’ll be helpful to see ourselves as a constant work in progress and be willing to do all we can to become a finished work.
P.S: Only death makes us a finished work, so, till we die, we keep striving to keep ourselves upgraded!
2017 Copyrighted Eniola Olaosebikan used with Permission for Kingdom Gals Series