Finding Your Confidence

We’ve all hit a low point or experienced a time when we’ve asked ourselves, “What’s wrong with me?” Not getting a call back for an interview, flubbing on a first date, or discovering your favorite pair of jeans are too tight. Eek! These are all the things that can challenge your self-esteem and cause you to lose your confidence. But, I’m here to tell you how to find it again. So get out your flashlight and take notes. Here are 10 tips on how to find your confidence again.

Photo Credit: Arionne Nettles www.arionnealyssa.com
Photo Credit: Arionne Nettles www.arionnealyssa.com

1 .Recognize your strengths and build on them. It’s great to know what you’re not so good at or where you’re lacking, but knowing your strengths is a game changer. Why? Because you can focus on them and build on them.

2. Know that you are unique and your life has a purpose. Oftentimes we lose our confidence when we compare our lives to others. But most of the time we’re comparing our reality to other someone  else’s highlights. Don’t do it! Comparison is the killer of joy. That’s why you’ve got to know that you are uniquely made and serve an awesome purpose here on this Earth. Only you can be you and no one else. Celebrate yourself!

3. Use positive self-talk and positive visualization. Talk yourself up. Speak positively and envision a positive outcome. Studies show you’re more likely to perform better when you visualize success. Write down a few positive affirmations and the moment you feel a negative thought coming on, repeat it to yourself out loud. It might feel strange, but it works. Say it until you believe it and after a while you WILL.

4. Set a goal and celebrate meeting it. Set small goals and reward yourself for completing them. Celebrate your accomplishment, as well as your commitment to yourself.

5. Practice gratitude. When you’re thankful for what you have there’s no room to complain about what you’re missing. Consider all of the things you’re grateful for and if you need a reminder jot down a list of 3 things on the spot.

6. Eliminate negative thoughts. It’s easy to let negative thoughts take over, and once that happens you risk spiraling out of control. Eliminate negative thoughts as soon as they arise. You can do that by replacing each negative thought with a positive one.

7. Improve your body image and body language. Most times when we look good we feel good, and vice versa. If you don’t like something about yourself do what you can to improve it. Want to feel more physically fit? Then plan to exercise. Want to feel more confident when meeting new people? Then work on your posture and eye contact. These are little things that we can do immediately feel better about ourselves.

8. Change how you view failure. Instead of viewing failure as a tragic loss, try viewing it as a valuable lesson. By simply changing your feelings about it, you can change the impact of the outcome. It’s okay to fail as long as you’re learning and trying. No harm in that.

9. Increase your competence and knowledge base. Challenge yourself by learning something new or trying something new. Expand your mind and your experiences. This will encourage growth and you might discover a new interest or new talent.

10. Practice one or more of these tips daily. Building confidence takes work and it has to be done consistently. It’s like maintaining good hygiene; you’ve got to practice it every day in order for it to be effective.

Finding Your Confidence Right Size 2

Karli Butler is an activist, optimist, and survivor showing the world there’s a beautiful life after drama, trauma, and scars one post at a time. Follow her journey at www.burnedbeauty.com. Some of her favorite sources of confidence inspiration are Simple Reminders, Beliefnet, @alex_elle on Instagram, and Brene Brown.

This post can also be found at Halfstack Magazine Online.

The Moment I Gave Up

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When I need a reminder . . .
Some of the worst days, but the most growth. God was thrusting greatness upon me and I was so busy judging the package I couldn’t see the gift. In this very moment, I was scared as hell because someone just tried to kill me. The police were snapping photos and asking me a million questions. I couldn’t sleep because the nightmares were too disturbing. And the pain, I couldn’t describe it with words if I wanted to. No amount of medication was helping me, so I just laid there lifeless, sick and full of anxiety. At this point (right here in this photo), I literally gave up. My appetite disappeared and I stopped eating, so they forced a feeding tube up my nose and down my throat. The doctors told my family to encourage me to eat. I remember them saying, “Come on, Kar. You gotta eat.” And I would turn my head and drift off. My left eye wouldn’t close, so I literally slept with one eye open. When the depression would get the best of me I would break down and cry. I would wail from my soul, “Why God!?! Whyyyyy? Why me?” I would try to convince myself that had Nicole shot me I would’ve been better off. I actually cursed myself out in my head. “Why didn’t you let her shoot you? It was only a 22. You could’ve survived that bullet.” And while crying my nurses would surround me and tell me that everything would be alright. They tried to say it with confidence, but I could see the sadness in their eyes. In these moments I felt useless, helpless, weak, and ugly. Funny because just days before I felt strong, independent, loved, beautiful, and successful. You see how all of that changed like (💫) that? Look at God, though. He was telling me that I didn’t know what strength, beauty, love, and success were. So, I threw all of those notions and ideas into the fire. And I BURNED them! And while praying, reflecting, and rebuilding, I was able to create new, healthier ideas of those things. And like the Phoenix, I emerged from that fire, that darkness, that torment, that pain a better version of myself. I am so, so thankful and I STILL wouldn’t change a thing. #WhenYouHaveAnAnointingOnYourLife #NeverGiveUp #StayFaithful #ItGetsGreaterLater
#burnedbeauty #ButGod #blessed  #TestimonyTuesday #burnsurvivor #acidburnsurvivor #highlyfavored

He Called Me Whaaaat?

Bride of ChuckieWhen I was a child my mother advised me to retort, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!” anytime another child called me out of my name.  It worked for me back then mostly because I was young and I didn’t take what was being said too seriously, but in 2007 this phrase took on a whole new meaning for me. It’d been almost seven months since I’d been burned and my physical scars were still healing. I was still emotionally fragile and rebuilding my self-confidence, but I wanted to enjoy my life. My cousin convinced me that I should get out of the house and go to the club with him that evening. He was right. I needed to get out and be a normal, social person again. So, I went. I was scared to death of what could go wrong  . . . awkward stares, invasive questions, or even worse someone just being mean. I feared the worst, but I was proud of myself. I got dressed, put on some lipstick and danced the night away. My cousin was very protective of me considering it was a new experience, but I had a great time. Everything that I imagined could go wrong, didn’t, and as the end of the night neared I was ready do my victory dance. It was a successful night out on the town with no d-r-a-m-a . . . so I thought. As we headed to our cars to go home the night took a turn for the worst. I parked about two blocks away from the rest of the group, so the plan was for them to pull around and meet me. As I walked quickly ahead leaving the comfort of my friends, a truck pulled beside me. A man who appeared to be drunk leaned out of the passenger side window losing his footing as he tried to stand up. “Ayyy baby. Why you walkin’ so fast?!” he slurred in a deep, raspy voice. My steps got shorter and faster synching with my escalating heart beat. I looked straight ahead trying to ignore him and pretending not to hear him at the same time. “Ayyyy Ma! You hear me talkin’ to you. Ugh! What happened to your face, though?” I kept it moving. I could feel a fire burning inside me, rising slowly from my chest to my shoulders, and stopping at my ear lobes. I’m generally slow to anger, but this felt more like pain. Why? I huffed under my breath. I had already pulled out my phone to call my cousin, but I stopped myself from dialing because I knew what that could lead to. He was going to pull around soon anyway. The drunk man pushed himself further out of the window and continue talking at me, and I kept trotting trying to dodge his words like a fighter jet trying to dodge an enemy’s bullets. And suddenly I stopped. “Please leave me alone. I’m not interested in answering any of your questions, okay. Good night.” I said it as calmly and sternly as I could without going off. By now the car stopped in the middle of the street and for a moment there was silence. He twisted his face in confusion and shouted, “Fuck you! That’s why you look like the Bride of Chuckie!” Chuckie! Chuckieeee! Chuckieee! It echoed. He said it so loudly that everyone on the street turned around to stare at us.          Pause. The truck sped off like a rambunctious child eager to get away after getting the last lick. And that’s how I felt. Like he slapped me and ran. [Time stopped.] In fact, I’m pretty sure the earth stood still. I watched the tail lights of the car fade into the distance secretly wishing they’d perish in a fiery crash. Of course I feel badly about that now, but in that moment I was so hurt and so angry that all I could think about was vengeance. My head dropped as my heart sunk like a pebble in a shallow pond. All of my faith in humanity dissipated. “Is that what I really look like? Is that who I am now? What did I say to deserve that?” I started talking to myself, repeating what he said under my breath and responding as if he were still there. “NO, f&*k you!” I said as I pointed my finger at an imaginary person. I fought back my tears swallowing them as they welled up in my throat.  My cousin and his friends pulled up right as I got to my car and they could see that I was visibly shaken. “What’s wrong? What happened?” They riddled me with questions, but I didn’t have any answers. “Nothing,” I said calmly. ” You know, just someone said something ignorant. It’s no big deal.” But it was a big deal. They pressed me to tell them who it was and which way they went, but my head was somewhere else. I just wanted to go home. It felt like the longest ride ever. I blasted the music and got lost in the lyrics. Why didn’t I respond as my mother instructed, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”         (They weren’t supposed to hurt me.)        (I wasn’t supposed to let them hurt me.)        (They’re just words.)        I repeated it over and over again trying to convince myself more and more each time that it was true. “Words will never hurt me.” But it was a bunch of bullshit. I get the point of the saying and it is useful at times, but in all reality WORDS can and do hurt. And that one derogatory term “Bride of Chuckie” stung me like a pissed off bee. He didn’t know me. He didn’t know what I’d been through. And it was just plain mean. The beauty in all of this is that I can laugh about it now. Does it bring up some old feelings? YES. But does it impact me the same way it did that night? NO.  I don’t let words or names have so much power over me today, but when it happened I was in a very fragile and vulnerable space in my life. Someone literally stole my identity with acid and I had to make sense of my life and purpose all over again. I also feared that’s exactly how people saw me  . . . not as Karli, but as the Bride of Chuckie. Not so much anymore, though. It turns out that he was more hurt and vulnerable than I was because we all know that “hurt people hurt people.” I used to be ashamed of how I reacted because I’m so much bigger than that hate and anger now, but it was a good learning opportunity. People are sometimes cruel for what seems to be no reason, but there’s always an underlying reason. It’s really a reflection of their own pain and what they’re experiencing, so try not to take it personally. I’m still sticking to what God says about me. So, today I challenge you to speak love, peace, and kindness. The next time you come across someone who is living with a burn injury or anyone who just looks  different from you take a moment to make eye contact and smile. You never know what someone else is going through. And remember that words can and do hurt just like sticks and stones, but they also have the power to heal. Choose kindness.