Category Archives: Self Esteem Tips

The Love and Connection Daily Practice

For a long time I’ve been fascinated by people who effortlessly mix with new people, make great conversation and still manage to relax and enjoy the moment. If only we could all do this! Well, the good news is that we can be better, much better at connecting with people, we can be more comfortable expressing ourselves and we can make a great impression on other people once we become more accepting of ourselves and others.

It all comes down to taking charge of how you feel and think when you are socializing. If you feel happy, relaxed and positive then it’s much easier to talk freely and confidently without self doubt tripping you up. And that’s why I designed the Love and Connection Daily Practice, to give you a simple way to make steady progress in how you manage your emotional state while also allowing you to become more comfortable being yourself when you connect with other people. And yes, if you take a few minutes daily to follow this simple daily practice you’ll get better and better at connecting with people.

One word of warning. This daily practice goes deeper than a set of tried and tested conversation starters, it goes to the heart of what makes for great conversation skills, it’s the source that ignite friendships and relationships with the authentic energy that gets people talking and enjoying time together. Still, these fundamentals are not exotic, they’re not mysterious and they’re not complicated. For these reasons many people will miss the value of the daily practice. The magic is in practicing for a few minutes a day and enjoying the sure but steady progress that results in how you feel about yourself and others. It’s similar to how people might react when they see a movie star with the perfect body, they admire the end result but they don’t really want to see the simple fundamentals of daily exercise and diet that produced the magical results.

Be brave, take a few minutes a day for the next seven days to test this for yourself and you’ll notice you start to feel happier, more socially confident and more connected to the people in your life. And you may even notice that you’re happy before you interact and that you’re interacting to share that joy with others – that’s when the magic happens. It means you’ve started to acquire the warm glow that popular people take for granted, that attractive quality that draws people to you.

Let’s get started and discover the four elements of the Love and Connection Daily Practice.

1. Kindness

The first element of the daily practice is to perform one act of kindness for a stranger. This can be as simple as helping someone by opening a door, letting a busy mom with kids go before you at the checkout or smiling at a stressed out waitress and asking her how she is. It doesn’t matter how small or seemingly insignificant the gesture is. That’s not the point of this exercise, the point is to be on the look out to help just one person each day. And do it to give not to get. It doesn’t matter if the person you help ignores you or fails to even thank you. The reward comes in feeling you are connected to everyone you meet in your day and the knowledge that you can reach out and interact with anyone you choose to connect with.

When this becomes a daily habit you’ll notice you are like a superhero always on the look out to make a difference and you’ll also be amazed to see how many little opportunities pop up each day where you can make a difference for someone, you’ll ultimately stop seeing strangers as distant and removed but as people you’ve just not connected with yet. You’ll also gradually shift from being passive to being more proactive when you meet people, the mall will be a place where you can meet and talk to anyone, the city streets can become meeting places and anywhere you are an opportunity could present itself to show kindness for a stranger.

I guarantee you one thing. If you’ll help just one stranger a day with an act of kindness you’ll be happier and feel more connected to everyone. You’ll also notice that many people are craving for a smile, the chance to talk to someone or just to know that someone cares enough to notice them. When that realization hits you it becomes obvious that almost everyone else is just like you, stuck in that passive attitude of waiting for someone else to make the first move.

(Obviously only approach strangers in safe environments)

2. Gratitude

The second trait to develop is an attitude of gratitude. And specifically, gratitude for the people in your life. You already have people who care about you, want the best for you and appreciate you just for being yourself. Unfortunately we all seem to get caught up in fixating on what’s not working, who’s let us down and what annoys us about the people closest to us. This then becomes a festering mess of negativity that pollutes our relationships and friendships while making us reluctant to get to know more people – why take on even more aggravation?

To counteract that negative outlook we will work the gratitude muscle, we’ll choose to be grateful for ten people in our life. This is very simple, ask yourself – who am I grateful for? Count out ten people. And it’s ok to have some or even all the same people on your list each day. And even better, you don’t need a good reason or a carefully thought out justification to include someone. Any reason is acceptable. Did someone at work help you to get your project completed on time? Are you grateful you have a brother? Did your neighbor give you a birthday card? You can see what I mean, any reason will do, and in some cases, you may even be grateful someone is in your life without even needing a reason.

This is so simple that many people will miss the whole point of this exercise. It’s only when you take a minute each day to consider ten people you are grateful for that you’ll see what this can do for you. You’ll feel closer to the people in your life and open to meeting more great people. In fact, anytime you want to put a little spring in your step, you can take a moment to ask yourself: who am I grateful for?

3. Love Yourself

This is a key element of the daily practice. The more you love and accept yourself the less you will need the approval and endorsement of those around you and when this happens you will be more relaxed, more present for others and less fearful about sharing your thoughts and feelings. The more you love yourself the more you will allow your true self to shine, you’ll be more expressive and your unique authentic personality will attract people to you.

For these reasons it’s very important to give ourselves love and approval and I recommend you take a moment each day to ask yourself: what do I love about myself? Keep going until you come up with ten responses and don’t worry about having ten profound reasons, any reason you love yourself is a good reason. You might find by doing this each day that many of the same reasons pop up and that’s fine too. What’s important is to train yourself to notice that you do care about yourself and to day by day love yourself a little more.

Here are some examples of what you can love about yourself:

– Hair

– Eyes

– Healthy body

– Enthusiasm for life

– Smile

– Positive outlook

– Willingness to support friends

– Commitment to ongoing self improvement

– Can do attitude

– Sense of justice

When you do love yourself more and more you’ll notice that people respond to you differently, it’s as if there is an energetic glow about you that makes people keen to get to know you better. Even if they can’t put a finger on it people will find you more attractive for some reason, they’ll take you more seriously and treat you better. You’ll also tend to associate more with other people who value themselves, when you love yourself more you won’t tolerate poor treatment from negative people, you’ll gravitate to happier people like yourself. Your happier self will now repel the difficult people who you endured in the past and draw happy, positive people to you.

Sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Yes, it is simple and it works so well because there is a multiplier effect when you practice each element of the daily practice. Test it yourself and you’ll see how powerful it can be maintaining a simple daily practice that causes you to feel great and connected to other people.

4. Forgiveness

Forgiveness is another essential quality to pay attention to because if we don’t old resentments and suppressed anger will over time create a wall between us and other people. Previous disappointments, failures and rejections can cause us to fear getting to know people and before we know it everyone is a potential source of pain, trouble and problems. Clearly, that’s a very poor formula for being at your best when you talk to people.

Like the other elements of the daily practice this only takes a minute or so each day. Simply ask yourself: who can I forgive today? Then, run through ten people you choose to forgive, for your benefit not theirs. There is no need to go into a lengthy analysis and a slow, difficult selection of who to forgive and why, simply pick ten, any ten, and run through them quickly. Your brain has all the memories stored away so, for example, if you decide to forgive Lisa, you know and your unconscious knows why, don’t bother diving into the repressed negative feelings from the past.

Do bear in mind that forgiveness is a selfish act, you forgive for your sake and being forgiving has nothing to do with helping or harming anyone else, it’s a gift you give yourself so you can be happier and more positive going forward and less cautious about meeting new people. The more you put the past behind you the less baggage and distortion you’ll bring to the present so you’ll be better able to see people as they are instead of cynically viewing people as potential problems if you don’t keep them at arms length.

After a few days of practicing forgiveness for a minute or so a day you’ll notice how much lighter and freer you feel as you forgive people who’ve wronged you in the past, this letting go is a great feeling. At this stage if you choose you can forgive people in the moment. Let’s say you get poor customer service instead of getting annoyed maybe you’ll choose to take a moment to silently forgive the person. Ironically, your resulting calmness makes you more effective at dealing with the situation since a calm mind produces better solutions than an angry one. When you live like this you’ll be a master of forgiveness and someone who quickly turns every annoying interaction into an opportunity to forgive and feel better in a matter of moments while still resolving issues that need to be dealt with.

And best of all, forgiveness allows the possibility of connecting with more agreeable people because you never shut down out of resentment and overwhelm after talking to difficult people. You are in charge of how you feel and how you interact so you can simply move on and meet friendlier people who appreciate and respect you.

Conclusion

In this post we’ve looked at four key elements which when developed together will make a dramatic difference to your ability to let your personality shine while also enabling you to connect much more easily with others. Kindness, gratitude, loving yourself and forgiveness provide the solid foundation you need to truly be at peace with yourself and others. A few minutes a day will make the world of difference if you follow this simple daily practice. Why? Because in time this practice cultivates new habits that form the basis of how you live and interact all day long.

I have an easy challenge for you. Practice the daily practice for the next 7 days. Take a few minutes a day and simply notice what happens. It might surprise you that something so simple once applied can make such a big difference in your acceptance of yourself and others and in your growing ability to enjoy talking and connecting with the people in your day to day life.

Then, if you continue with the daily practice, after a few weeks this new outlook will become habitual, it’ll becomes the new normal for you. If someone is rude, you silently forgive them in the moment and let it go while still asserting yourself when it’s necessary. If you notice that someone needs a helping hand you step up to commit an act of kindness, if you feel beaten up by the difficulties of the day you pause and notice who you are grateful for and immediately you start to feel lighter and more at peace. If you feel lonely or in need of a good chat you reflect on what you love about yourself, you start to feel happier and you feel that warmth that can fuel a good connection with whoever you choose to reach out to.

The momentum that builds from a few key daily actions is truly impressive. It’s the brick upon brick progress that creates magnificent skyscrapers, it’s the one word after another momentum that writes literary classics and it’s the note by note to record songs that are loved by millions. A simple daily practice can transform your ability to connect with people, all you need to do is perform the simple daily actions and let momentum take care of the rest.

For your convenience here is a summary of the daily practice.

Love and Connection Daily Practice:

1. Perform one act of kindness for a stranger.

2. Who am I grateful for? List 10 people.

3. What do I love about myself? List 10 traits.

4. Who can I forgive today? List 10 people.

What Else Can You Do to Connect with People?

You can get my popular free communication confidence report. It shows you…

– How to start a great conversation with anyone you meet

– The best way to deal with awkward people and take the sting out of rejection

– How to exude a confidence & inner strength that makes people eager to listen to you

– A sure-fire way top keep any conversation moving along without deadly silences

– How to win the approval, admiration and deep appreciation of anyone you talk to

You can get this $27 value text and mp3 audio report at no cost today at my site:

http://www.howtotalkwithconfidence.com/report.htm

 

Love-Driven Communication – Wanting to Be Liked

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The Craving for Approval

It’s no secret that deep down inside, everyone wants to be liked, befriended, beloved, appreciated, popular – whatever you want to call it. Everyone enjoys having friends and acquaintances who genuinely care about you. That’s a perfectly normal desire, but it’s truly amazing how many folks set out to obtain that goal by “looking for friends in all the wrong places” or by putting into action plans which are often self-destructive. This chapter addresses the whys and wherefores of being liked on your own healthy terms.

Many children learn at a tender age all to well to become a “people pleaser”. That label and behavior remains with many individuals throughout their entire life. It’s a lonely choice to make, and trust me, it is a choice. One of the main problems with being willing to do anything to be accepted and please everyone else is that much of the time, you do or say things contrary to what you’d really prefer. When you do everything short of bending over backward to get on someone’s good side, it eventually will come back to haunt you. Years and years of following this self-sabotaging and destructive habit leads to toxic feelings such as resentment (of self and others, most of the time), losing all self-respect, and getting a reputation for being a “pushover” which many people are, unfortunately, all to willing to use to their own advantage. Due to any or all of these elements, being a constant people pleaser manifests in the almost inevitable result of cultivating weak or even poor relationships and practically no self esteem.

When you constantly seek outside approval and are willing to do nearly anything to obtain it, you’ll find yourself feeling empty and invalidated. In other words, you’re questing after a prize that will never bring you a complete sense of satisfaction. Knowing who you are and valuing what you have to offer as a friend, family member, employee, neighbor or colleague is much healthier. This is not to say that you should never compromise your own agenda to be of service to someone else. I’m merely suggesting that you use your best discernment as to when and how often to do that. If you have no energy left for yourself and your own agenda, then you’ll always feel drained and under-appreciated. Knowing how to draw healthy boundaries and firmly say “no” when that’s what you most want to do is an excellent skill to cultivate.

Just think about it. You’ve undoubtedly known someone who could be categorized as a sycophant; in other words, a person who is always willing to be the “yes” person even when they’d rather say “no,” or who doles out flattery and insincere compliments in a desperate bid to be liked and accepted. Carrying on conversations with people who have taken on such a choice is at best stressful, challenging and exhausting. If you fall into the habit of cow-towing to everyone else’s needs and wants, you begin to lose sight of your true identity and personality, and may well totally forget how great it feels to be your genuine self. Being a people please naturally places you in the role of follower, never the leader. Others see you as “spineless” and weak, one who is easily manipulated. So the addictive people pleaser never has an authentic sense of being liked simply for themselves.

People pleasers walk on eggshells around others for fear of being excluded from activities, groups, or someone’s circle of friends. They live in constant fear of rejection and begin to feel invisible, in time. The destruction of self-confidence in one’s abilities is another natural out-picturing in the life of a people pleaser. This goes hand in hand with a nagging continuous fear of failure. I’m sure you are beginning to get the picture, but let’s take a look at some examples of how others tend to perceive the perpetual people pleasure.

EXAMPLE: Penny is an attractive woman who has a kind heart and a great sense of humor. Ever since she was a little girl, her mother reinforced the thought to her that, “Being attractive and funny is not enough in this world. You need to be willing to sacrifice your wants and desires for those of others to feel useful and make friends.” Even though this was first drummed into her head at the impressionable age of 5, today at age 35, Penny still relinquishes her own needs and desires in favor of those around her.

People in her circle of influence like Penny, but from a distance. They can often be heard saying things behind her back to one another such as, “I don’t understand why Penny volunteers for all the grunt work on every committee, but thank God she does! I certainly didn’t want to do all that hard work!” followed by gales of laughter. Or perhaps, “Gee, Penny really has a lot going for her, but she seems oblivious to it. She’s obviously intelligent enough to be a leader, but if she’s content to always buckle under and follow, I guess that’s her fate.”

You can begin to get more of a grip on how and why people often develop only a surface level, polite or even worse, tolerant type of connection with someone like Penny. She is known as such an easily manipulated “soft touch” that people see no reason to truly get to know or admire any strong traits her people pleasing ways keep well hidden. Therefore those in Penny’s circle because of her own willingness to give, give, give all the time almost have no choice other than to limit their ability to like and accept her. If she can learn to like, and eventually love and respect herself and stand up for what she really wants to do instead of always giving her power away to others, she can step up and either attract new like-minded friends, or perhaps even gain a newfound respect and regard from those in her former circle. However it’s up to Penny – no one can make these changes….except Penny. It’s a shift that must begin from within.

The Only Way to Go is Up!

If you are a people pleaser, or care about someone who is, it’s time to recognize that behavior only serves to dig a deep emotional hole that no amount of success can ever cover, let alone fill. Not until the pattern is broken when healthy self-respecting boundaries and self-love are put into practice will this issue be on the way to resolution.

When people pleasers do achieve any modicum of success, others probably perceive its because they got their accolade, award or recognition out of pity or a sense of obligation, rather than because of their talents and abilities. Others automatically categorize “serial people pleasers” as “brown-nosers” who will do virtually anything to be accepted. Respect is nowhere to be seen in that equation.

Remember when I wrote in the beginning of this chapter that being a people pleaser is a choice? I meant it, and it’s true. It is not a sentence that has been thrust upon you or anyone else. You’re the only one who creates a sense of imprisonment to that behavior. By exercising your free will choice, standing up for yourself and clearly expressing your opinions and preferences, you can begin to climb out of the hole dug by years of people pleasing. Some more great news is that you can do this in a non-confrontational manner. Take baby steps and notice how good it feels to honestly voice your true feelings. Here are some possible scenarios – maybe you can adapt some of them to fit your own particular situation(s):

Example 1: Several group members are sitting around having coffee, taking a break from decorating a rental hall for an upcoming event for their organization. Bruce, a natural leader, suggests, “Hey, I have a great idea! Let’s all go grab a bite to eat and relax – we’ve earned it!”
Joyce frowns slightly, and says, “That’s sounds like fun, but who’s going to finish the decorating? After all, our event is tomorrow night.”

Everyone in the group automatically turns their head to look at Stanley, their resident people pleaser, who usually buckles under peer pressure in his desperate attempts to be accepted. However Stanley recently read this book, and has become empowered enough to try a new tactic. He coolly smiles while under the gaze of the group at large, and quietly says, “How about this? If we all pitch in and give it our best effort for the next 30 minutes, we can be done, and still have time to go out for dinner. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to get a good night’s sleep and be well rested for the fundraiser tomorrow.”

The group is stunned, but when they see that he’s serious, they agree, and everyone pitches in, completing the decorating, going on to have an enjoyable communal meal and some fun socializing. To top it off, they are all beginning to realize that Stanley looks a bit taller or something – his newfound confidence is very attractive. After all, he didn’t get defensive as he sometimes did in the past, suffering in the role of a victim or martyr – he simply offered a plausible solution which made all of them feel good about doing their part. “Maybe Stanley should chair our next fundraiser,” is heard upon the lips of more than one of his fellow committee members.

The scenario given is ideal, to be sure. It may not work out that perfectly in Stanley’s real world. The most important point for him and everyone else to take note of is that he has at long last taken a stand and refused to succumb to peer pressure; refusing to quietly dissolve into his old non-self-respecting role of people pleaser extraordinaire. Baby steps, but powerful ones.

Example 2: Sarah is a college student who maintains a 5.0 GPA. She’s attractive, but doesn’t know just how stunning she is, because Sarah has lived her life in the shadow of being a people pleaser above all else. Her roommate Debbie went to high school with Sarah. Debbie is promiscuous and generally popular with male and female students, typically Sarah stays in her dorm room studying while everyone else parties. Not only that, Debbie often cajoles Sarah into doing her term papers and other homework with lame promises of introducing her to a “really cool guy” at some undetermined time in the nonexistent future. This has gone on and been repeated often, and deep inside, Sarah has begun to hate Debbie, but she’s afraid to speak up and put the bullying and false promises behind her.

Should Sarah: A) write a really rotten paper for Debbie’s next assignment and let her risk failing the course? B) Short-sheet Debbie’s bed and claim she has no idea what happened? Or C) Calmly insist that Debbie sit down so they can have a serious talk, where she lets her know clearly that she’s never going to cover for her again, letting the chips fall where they may. Perhaps even telling Debbie she’s already made plans to get a new roommate?

Well, that’s definitely a no-brainer. C is the best choice, of course. Many people pleasers might secretly dream of getting revenge on those who have taken advantage of them, but when they take a serious look at the facts, that they themselves are the ones who have agreed to keep people pleasing, no one else held a gun to their head to force them into it – then that’s where a new sense of power begins to dawn. Remember again, taking a stand for yourself can be done in a calm, confident manner which will take you out of the victim category, and put you in the much more empowered “driver’s seat” of your life. Ready, set, go!

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.