Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Here’s How Negative Energy Destroys Confidence

I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence but it comes from within. It is there all the time. Negative  environments  where  people  are  harsh  or even  abusive  to  one  another  are  toxic.  No  one  tries to lift you or anyone else out of the pain, and no one can find emotional or even physical comfort—that will lower  your  self-worth  and  perhaps  even  your  will  to live.

This  isn’t  about  having  the  occasional  bad  day or  moment.  It’s  about  living  and/or  working  in  an environment  that  brings  or  puts  you  down.  When someone is constantly telling you that you’re not good enough, eventually, if you stay around a while, you will start to believe it.

Only two creatures on the planet, if you continually tell them they are bad, will take it in and believe it: dogs and humans. We have all seen dogs whose spirits have been broken. They walk around with their tails between their  legs  and  their  heads  down.  They  get  startled  or scared  very  easily,  and  can  react  with  fear  aggression (barking  or  growling  when  they  are  frightened).  The poor  things  never  seem  to  feel  safe  and  secure.  

They have lost their wag, and it’s sad to see.

People  tend  to  react  in  similar  ways  when  they are  living  with  someone  who  puts  them  down  on  a regular  basis  or  they  are  working  for  a  company  that manages by intimidation. There is very little joy to be found  here,  and  one’s  sense  of  self-confidence  can  be easily shattered. Most people in such places are unable to find the strength they need to battle the forces that are attacking them because they have simply run out of energy.

The  trick  here  is  to  step  back  far  enough  to  get some  perspective,  and,  if  the  circumstances  I  just described truly exist, and counseling hasn’t worked or is refused, the best move may be to just leave. I know that’s  drastic,  but  staying  in  a  negative  environment or  relationship  because  you  are  afraid  to  leave  is  also known as “battered person’s syndrome,” such as when abused  women  continue  to  go  back  to  the  home  of their abusers. They do it because the devil they know is  better  than  the  one  they  don’t  (as  they  mistakenly think). They are returning to what is familiar.
Confidence cannot exist within an aura of meanness.

To find yourself and rebuild what has been taken from you,  leaving  a  bad  environment  may  be  the  answer. This  requires  a  type  of  inner  strength  that  some  find in  desperate  moments—the  strength  that  helps  you believe in yourself and to know that you do not deserve to  be  treated  badly,  no  matter  what  another  person says.

You have finally had enough, and you reach down to the depths of your soul and pull up whatever shreds of self-respect you can find. The feeling may only last for a few hours, but use that time to pack or write your resignation, because you will never be able to flourish where  negativity  and  horrific  behavior  are  allowed  to run rampant.

Once most people get out of a negative environment or  relationship,  one  of  the  first  things  they  do  is castigate  themselves  by  saying,  “Why  did  it  take  me so long?” But that thought is totally self-defeating. It took  as  long  as  it  took;  do  not  waste  any  more  time feeling beat up.

At this point you may actually be used to it and not even see that you are doing it to yourself. As soon as you are aware you’ve changed the behavior, all you have to do next is whatever is in front of you. Leave the past, and the old behaviors, behind. Accept that you had the strength to change your life. It’s okay to feel good about yourself.

Always Have A Plan B

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance. Because many things don’t go as well as we would like them to, it’s a great idea to have a “Plan B.” Having fallback plans can’t help but make you feel better about the  outcome  of  any  situation,  and  it  is  a  common denominator among very self-confident people.

Anyone  who  has  had  more  than  one  failure  in her  life  can  tell  you  that  having  another  path  to  take probably saved her bacon a time or two. I’m a big one for  contingency  plans.  If  you  are  an  entrepreneur,  in the  arts  or  media,  or  you  have  all  your  eggs  in  one basket, a Plan B is essential.

Knowing that if you lose the farm you have a condo you can go to makes you feel safer in the world. I know a number of people who have motor homes, and one of the reasons they do is, as they jokingly say, it’s their “in case” home. During the last big earthquake here in Los  Angeles,  many  people  who  had  them  were  very grateful—and those of us who didn’t were envious.

With the world economy in turmoil, creating some kind of additional income stream is also a good idea. The jeweler who is also a great designer or builder, the computer  geek  who  can  also  teach  school,  or  the  PR person  who  is  a  closet  novelist  can  all  find  a  way  to thrive even if their current position disappears.

Backup  plans  don’t  have  to  be  new  ideas—I continue  to  use  aspects  of  everything  I’ve  ever  done. My days on stage playing guitar have made me a better public speaker, which makes me a good radio host. The energy  I  put  into  songs  and  poems  has  helped  them become columns and books.
The years I spent running my  own  business  give  me  the  insight  to  help  others streamline theirs. 

And all of my experiences have made me  a  confident  and  successful  therapist.  Every  talent and  ability  you  have  can  be  built  upon  and  also  used again.  Not  that  I’d  ever  again  want  to  be  on  a  tour bus with six smelly guys for eight weeks, but if I had to I could still put food on the table by humming and strumming.

There’s  another  potential  upside  here:  Sometimes your  original  plan  and  your  backup  can  work  at  the same time. I still counsel, consult, write, and speak to groups all over the world. In years when the speaking business  got  very  slow  (such  as  after  9/11  and  then the  financial  crisis),  I  spent  more  time  writing  and counseling.

When  there  was  a  lull  between  books, I  put  more  energy  into  my  radio  show  and  business consulting, and did pro-bono events. Having multiple options gives you the sense that, if any one thing went away, you’d have other gigs that would more than fill the gap.

So get a little creative. Look at your past accomplishments and your current talents. A Plan B is only an idea away. By the way, this Plan B thing works in life, but not in relationships. Having a backup mate is only going to erode your current relationship and cause heartache for everyone involved. Enough said.


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