I feel like it's a little ironic that I'm writing a blog about building self-esteem and confidence.
And that’s not because I have no or low self-confidence. Actually, quite the contrary. I honestly do believe that I and others can achieve anything we truly want to achieve. I honestly do believe that nothing is off limits. I honestly do believe that nothing is beyond our reach.
But my god, at times, it is so easy to forget all of that when we are going about our day-to-day life. It’s so easy to let fear and self-doubt completely consume our thoughts.
I don’t want to tell you to dress well, stand up straight, smile more, think happy thoughts and fake it till you make it as I think at times that advice can be unhelpful. Being more confident or having more self-esteem is not as simple as flicking a switch. There’s no quick and easy answer.
We’re talking about changing thoughts and beliefs that have been hardwired into our brains over a matter of years, if not decades. It takes hard work to improve our self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s our thoughts that create confidence, not just our results.
I know, I know, I know – it really feels like just getting positive results creates our confidence and self-esteem. We always think things like ‘I’ll have more self-confidence when I have a better body’, ‘I’ll have more self-confidence when I pass that test’, ‘I’ll have more self-confidence when I have a boyfriend’, ‘I’ll have more self-confidence when I get a job offer’.
And yes sometimes we do feel more confident after those things happen, but that’s not because those events made us more confident. It’s because we gave ourselves permission to feel confident after those events happened.
That is what Triple Care Farm provides its students… an opportunity and the permission to be selfish and put themselves first for those short twelve weeks that they are engaged in the program and often this is the first time in their lives that they have had the permission to do so.
It really is our thoughts that create our confidence because, quite often, achieving those things doesn’t lead to the self-confidence and self-esteem we had hoped for and expected. We’ve achieved what we wanted to achieve, but we’re still thinking the same thoughts as before, so we still don’t feel completely confident and worthy.
It is through the Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) group counselling that students start to challenge their inner dialog as they too often focus on past negative experiences that prevent them from moving forward or allowing themselves to begin to build that self-esteem and self-confidence. These groups allow the students to change their “self-talk”. For example, “have you ever found yourself repeatedly saying that you always handle a certain situation in a poor way or that you always fail in a particular area?” DBT changes that thought pattern and allows the person to identify perhaps that one time, that they didn’t stuff up or fail.
From nine years of working at the farm and just shy of fifteen years of working within the youth sector, I believe if we want more self-confidence, we have to work on our thoughts and not just on our exterior. It’s our thoughts that determine whether we feel confident. Through the group counselling and the positive encouragement and motivation provided by staff, volunteers and their peers and most importantly the opportunities provided by the Triple Care Farm program as a whole, gives its students an opportunity to simply… achieve change.
Triple Care Farm Education Trainer