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How to Build Confidence From Scratch

How to Build Confidence From Scratch

Michael Edwards, better known as Eddie “The Eagle” is a British skier whom no one believed in before he made it to the Olympics.

Eddie was slightly overweight, extremely far sighted (he wore thick glasses) and trained in second hand equipment. At times he even stayed in a Finnish mental hospital because he couldn’t afford genuine accommodation. Many people came to doubt his ability as a skier.  If he didn’t have confidence in himself, he could never have endured all this, and never would have made it to the Olympics; which he did, and became internationally loved as a figurehead and emblem of the Olympic spirit.

When I think about all the great people like Eddie, who achieved greatness through their confidence, I wonder where it came from. I don’t think confidence came naturally to them. It didn’t come naturally to me.

If confidence doesn’t come naturally, where is it from?

When I was a small child, before attending school I remember my friends and I seemed almost limitless in confidence.  We lived fearlessly. Though all our lives were open to us, we never looked forward and worried. We had not collected any regrets.  I remember nobody seemed more confident than anyone else, nobody carried themselves as superior.

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All this changed at school. In school, competition is entrenched. It didn’t matter what we did or studied, whether we studied English, Art, P.E, some naturally stuck out, scored better and were rewarded for it. Our conduct at school even separated us. This in turn seemed to affect self confidence.

I was never a straight-a student. My grades were good but not great. I was never one of the kids rewarded for some high grade or performance, and never had their levels of self esteem.

Confidence for me came later.

In high school, I discovered my passion for technology. I loved writing code (I still do) and each successful program I wrote, each line of effective code was rewarding to me in a way I never felt before. Each time something didn’t work, or when I came across a difficult bug to overcome, I was presented with an exciting challenge. I received no praise in school for it, no accolades, but that didn’t matter. I was doing what I loved, and every time after solving a difficult coding problem, my confidence grew.

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Here I discovered something that changed my entire outlook on confidence and ability.  Self confidence can never be found outside.  It is something that only comes from you.  No matter how much you look, or where you look, no matter how much praise you do or don’t get, you will never find confidence unless it comes from within.

Confidence came from working though difficulties, making myself work on challenging pieces. It didn’t seem to matter if I succeeded or failed (but I’ve long known that even if you fail a hundred times, you will succeed if you are able to keep trying). I only needed to keep pushing myself and confidence grew as a result.

Confidence comes when challenges are overcome

When struggles are overcome, it feels good, and there’s a great deal of satisfaction. From this satisfaction comes confidence.

Perhaps you have an unhealthy lifestyle and losing weight, doing exercises and going on diets are the difficult things for you.  Perhaps, you are shy. Delivering a talk in front of a large audience will then be something difficult to you. Or perhaps you are a perfectionist, then embracing mistakes will be the most difficult thing for you.

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No matter what it might be, you probably felt proud, strong, and sure in your abilities once you overcame that obstacle.  That is the true feeling of confidence earned through effort and experience.

Confidence grows from doubt and criticism

There will be setbacks and disappointments. There will be failures because many breakthroughs require trial and error.  There will be criticisms because everyone is far from perfect at the very beginning.

When I first started Lifehack, it took a long time to gain readers. It took me a while to get 100 visitors. This was difficult for me because I had great ambitions for this site, and for a time it seemed doomed to fail. I received plenty of criticism.  Some thought that the world didn’t need another advice site, others thought there was something wrong with the idea itself. It was hard for me not to listen to them and agree.

But in the end, I believed in my dream and persisted.  I tweaked the layout, reconsidered how the articles would be structured and written. Made the site more user friendly. The team grew with the hiring of some extremely dynamic and talented people.  With each determined effort, the site grew in popularity, and a few years later we have now influenced millions.

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Pushing out of my comfort zone and getting past the most difficult challenges were the greatest factors in growing my confidence.

Pushing yourself through is tough, I’m not denying that.  They wouldn’t be called “challenges” if it were otherwise. But there is a quote by Churchill that I think about whenever I am faced with new ones, a quote that I feel related to everything I’ve written about above:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going”

Some people avoid challenges.  Perhaps they may have failed at something one too many times, perhaps they’ve been told that they lack something needed to succeed. Instead they rely on stability, coasting through life.  This can be fine for them, but ultimately its restrictive.  They will never grow in confidence, and their fear of failure will become so powerful that will give up before seeing success.

The key to self confidence is to face every challenge head on.  With every challenge you face and overcome, your confidence will grow to face the next.  Welcome the challenges that come, don’t avoid them.  They are all opportunities in disguise to feed your growth.

Featured photo credit: Eddie the Eagle via foxmovies.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on November 22, 2019

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a type of psychological acupressure that anyone can practice on themselves. In fact, practicing on yourself is the preferred method, as this technique is not something done by others, in a way that a massage would be, for example.

By tapping specific pressure points on the body, it is believed that negative energies causing pain (whether physical or emotional) are disrupted, and therefore balance is restored to the physical and emotional body.[1]

The Origin of the Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT has close ties to acupuncture, in that it physically touches on specific points on the body, believed to hold epicenters of energy. With acupuncture, these points are picked with acupuncture needles to alleviate pain, tension, and combat illness. Over the years, however, researchers and healers alike have realized that tapping on these pressure points of the body offers similar results to that of acupuncture.

One such psychologist, Roger Callahan, used the idea to treat one of his patients who was deathly afraid of water. Through the course of her many treatments, all of which proved ineffective, Callahan almost accidentally stumbled into the tapping technique when his patient complained about feeling anxious in her stomach at the thought of water. He asked her to tap underneath her eye, knowing that this location had a direct connection to the acupuncture meridian in her stomach.

Unknown to him, he was building the idea that tapping could ease his patient’s anxiety. That’s exactly what happened – after tapping under her eye, the patient experienced a sudden release of stomach sensation, almost immediately.

To make matters even more surprising, the patient’s fear vanished so quickly and profoundly, that she was able to run to the nearest swimming pool and stand on its edge without the deathly anxiety that used to plague her.[2]

Eventually, Callahan coined the tapping technique as Thought Field Therapy (TFT), where the client would tap specific points while thinking of the problem or anxiety they were struggling with.

Many years later, a student of Callahan’s would take this notion, and add to it elements that we see and use in Emotional Freedom Technique today. Gary Craig, a former student of Callahan’s, added to his teacher’s already widely-used TFT tool. By asking clients to tap on specific points in sequence, and repeat a phrase out loud while tapping each one, he essentially became the developer of EFT; but not without years of foundational work laid down by his predecessors.

How Does the Emotional Freedom Technique Work?

The energy centers of the body can best be thought of as meridian points. These are like energy channels connecting the highways of the body, and therefore connecting us to our sensations – which can often be rooted in physical pain and emotional fear. When these negative sensations come up, they disrupt the balance of the body, and we feel off in some way.

By lightly tapping each of these meridian points in sequence, and repeating how we feel and what we’re struggling with, out loud, we cut the chain of negative reactions and sensations from continuing to plague us.

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Whatever we’re dealing with – whether it’s a bad memory, a struggling relationship, a moment of intense fear – we can use tapping to concentrate on accepting and resolving the negative emotion, so that we can allow the body to restore itself to order and balance. [3]

The video below offers an overview of the tapping points, and their significance in the EFT technique.

How to Find the Right Points

It is generally advisable to tap with one hand (it doesn’t matter which), and specifically with your index and middle fingers together.

Tap solidly for approximately 5-7 taps, but not so hard that you hurt or injure yourself. You want to feel the pressure on the meridian points as you tap; this will come naturally with practice.

The following tapping points are done in sequence every time, and are repeated until the tapping session is over (generally until you start to feel better). [4]

Top of the Head

The first point is on the top of your head, tapping the crown of the head. This can be done with either hand, depending on your preference.[5]

    Eyebrows

    Then, move into tapping the very beginning of your eyebrow, where it’s closer to the nose. Again, this can be done with either hand.[6]

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      Side of the Eye

      Move over to the side of your eye (whichever one), and tap on the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.

        Under the Eye

        Then, move under the same eye and tap the bone directly underneath.

          Under the Nose

          Move down slightly to the area between the bottom of your nose and your upper lip, and tap solidly there.

            Chin

            Then, move down to the area between the bottom of your lower lip and the bony part of your chin, and tap solidly there.

              Collar Bone

              From your chin, move down to the U-shaped notch directly below the throat (generally where a man would fix his tie); move over to the collarbone and slightly below, where it’s not on the bone itself. Tap this area solidly with either hand.

              Under the Arm

              From your collarbone, reach down under the arm and solidly tap the area even with the nipple. For women, this is the middle of the bra strap.[7]

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                The Outside of the Hand

                Lastly, tap the outside of the hand, slightly below the pinky finger, on the cushion of the side of the hand.[8]

                  What To Say While You Tap

                  Once you know where and how to tap, it’s time to tune into what you’re struggling with.

                  Bring to mind an issue or an emotion that you’re dealing with, and tune into how this feels, and what it is. The more attuned you are to it, versus simply trying to push it away, the more it can rise to the surface to be processed and worked through with the help of EFT.

                  The typical EFT phrase template is:

                  Even though I have this _______, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

                  By filling in the blank as to whatever you’re struggling with, repeat this phrase as you tap onto each meridian point.

                  The benefit of saying this phrase is to not only release it from your physical and energetic body by saying it loud, but also by accepting the problem you’re with.

                  For many of us, denial and dismissal of problems and struggles leads to the festering of that problem, until we’re sick and diseased with trying to keep it all in. What EFT does is give that problem an outlet and a recognition, reminding us that we are not defined by our struggles. In the face of them, we still accept ourselves as we are.

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                  Some examples of phrases that you may use are:

                  • Even though I am scared of this test, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am scared to be judged, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am angry at her, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I feel this pain in my body, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

                  How long you tap is entirely up to you. For some, 10-15 minutes is an average amount of time spent tapping. Doing it when you wake up first thing in the morning can help you set the tone of the day, and enter your tasks at hand with a little more space and ease. However, when you tap is still generally up to you.

                  When you’re done, simply sit in stillness and notice how you feel – both physically, emotionally, and energetically. You will likely start to notice a bit more rest and relaxation, as well as disconnect from the problem or struggle that you’ve been dealing with.

                  This is the energetic shift of the energy in the meridian points, and the true magic behind the EFT technique. Come back to it in practice whenever you need it.

                  Final Thoughts

                  The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, is an alternative and holistic method by which to tap onto meridian points of the body, to restore balance in the wake of negative emotions or physical pain.

                  By giving your problems a voice and an outlet, and by tapping while speaking, you’re cutting off the negative chain of reactions in the body, and bringing yourself back to homeostasis – all with the simple power of a finger tap.

                  Long rooted in the history and power of acupuncture and Eastern medicine, EFT is a tool free to use by anyone, with healing effects proven to be simple and profound.

                  More Calming Techniques

                  Featured photo credit: Noah Silliman via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Healthline: What is EFT Tapping?
                  [2] Thriving Now: History of Tapping (Including EFT)
                  [3] The Tapping Solution Foundation: What is Tapping and How Does it Work?
                  [4] EFT: Basic Steps to your Emotional Freedom
                  [5] Body Wisdom Nutrition: What are the EFT Tapping points?
                  [6] Harper’s Bazaar: A beginner’s guide to Tapping, a self-help tool to help manage anxiety
                  [7] Hopes Holistic Health: Emotional Freedom Techniques
                  [8] Beth Tuttle: EFT Tapping Points

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