"Did you ever feel like an alien who somehow became stranded on a planet called Earth where nothing seemed to make any sense?" A quote from "Ming The Merciless"
Recovering from civilization can be brutal but neccessary if we are to become truly free from it's influence. Kick the civilization habit here!
Self confidence is a key element of success. Self esteem is a key element of self confidence. Both of these are either directly or indirectly dependent on how we perceive ourselves. So, how we perceive ourselves is a critical area of concern if we are having problems with achieving success in any area of our lives. But what is self confidence, and what is self esteem, and for that matter, what is self image? Who painted that image and when? Can we paint a new self portrait? One that is more effective, friendly and better serves our happiness and positive growth?
It is so easy for us to miss the true area of focus regarding problems in view of the fact that everywhere we look, the world is so obsessed with addressing symptoms rather than the fundamental causes. I'm not quite sure why this is, but I suspect that fear has something to do with it. It is much easier to deceive ourselves into believing that we are actually doing something about things by focusing our efforts on treating the symptoms, which only result in short term solutions, than it is to dig down into the can of worms of the basic causes of those symptoms which will require much more honesty than we are generally ready to face.
Self confidence is just that, confidence in ourselves, or more specifically, our ability to perform in a successful manner, or achieving intended results. Self confidence begins to develop when we are children and we try to do something that we perceived that one or both parents wanted us to do, or even something that we wanted to accomplish. How these activities go will determine how we feel about ourselves, and much of how we perceive these events going, will depend on how our parents react and respond to our efforts and performance.
If a child is blessed with knowledgeable and aware parents who realize that the activity is not as important as the development of the child's self image, a child will take away lessons in patience and determination, two essential ingredients of a successful mindset. With the wrong parents the child may take away the perception that he or she is a failure, doesn't deserve success, is incompetent and even isn't loved because they couldn't perform in a way to meet unreasonable parental expectations and rather than support the child's efforts with patience and encouragement, they respond with criticism, judgment and disappointment, which will affect the child's perception of their self worth.
Self esteem is like the sum total of our perception of our value or worth. In a material world that sense of worth may very likely be based on our ability to manipulate concepts and physical objects rather than realize that our worth is a birthright that comes standard equipment with life. But this has long been forgotten in favor of our obsession with the material version of reality and the instant gratification of having more "things" and "stuff" and our worth is determined by how much stuff we have or don't have.
So it is easy for us in our early years to get the idea that we are of little value or worth and when we perceive ourselves in negative ways, we are not likely to develop self confidence because we will always doubt ourselves. Also, this negative self image influences the formation of our belief system and once we believe we are of little worth, we will spend the rest of our lives reinforcing those beliefs by proving that our beliefs concerning ourselves are right.
This all sounds gloomy but there is hope. If you just look at the actual truths here, you will see the light of that hope. What we allowed to become part of us we can change. We have the power to be the masters of our own lives. Since our beliefs are built from our perceptions of what is true, we can reexamine those so called truths and reevaluate them now with our more mature mind and much more experience. When we were children, we were not yet fully developed and so we were vulnerable to outside influences, many of which were immature and ignorant themselves. Not to mention the fact that we are born into a world that is basically dysfunctional to begin with.
But now we are able to arm ourselves with knowledge based on experiences and we can reverse engineer ourselves and become the artist that paints our own self image. Only this time we can decide what is really true and what is horse crap and we can rebuild ourselves from the truth and replace old beliefs with new more accurate ones built from love, compassion and understanding rather than the strange opinions of those who themselves may have grown up in an environment of ignorance and who unknowingly pass on the legacy of that ignorance.
There are personal development tools out there designed to help us reverse engineer our image of ourselves in order to discover just what needs changing and what might only need a little tweaking so that we can finally get back to something that resembles our natural selves, able to let go and live in harmony with the rhythm of life and find peace, happiness and success at last.
There is a great free e-book that explores self confidence and NLP hypnosis here.