Building Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem: A Guide for People with Lived Experience of Disability

Building Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Building self-confidence and self-esteem can be a challenging journey, however it’s worth embarking on, because these are important for you to live the life of your choosing. At VIVA Mutual, we believe in empowering our community to foster a positive self-image and cultivating feelings of wellbeing. Here’s a comprehensive guide with a week’s worth of positive mantras (this is a statement to repeat to yourself, over and over until it becomes a habit, see below) and activities to help boost your self-esteem and confidence.

Understanding “Mantras”

In our blog today, we’re using the term to mean a “phrase you repeat to yourself until you believe it”. 

However, mantras have been used in meditation practice for centuries and here’s a brief explanation of the traditional meaning:

In understanding how mantra works, it can be helpful to look at its translation. The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words—manas (mind) and tra (tool). Mantra literally means “a tool for the mind,” and was designed to help practitioners access a higher power and their true natures. “Mantra is a sound vibration through which we mindfully focus our thoughts, our feelings, and our highest intention,” says music artist Girish” [source]

Understanding Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Self-confidence is the belief in your abilities and decisions, while self-esteem is how you perceive your worth and value. Both are essential for living a fulfilling life. Low self-esteem can lead to negative self-talk, lack of motivation, and a feeling of inadequacy. On the other hand, healthy self-esteem can enhance your resilience, improve relationships, and increase your overall happiness, supporting you to live the life of your choosing.

Day 1: Embrace Your Uniqueness

Mantra: “I am unique, and my uniqueness is my strength.”

Activity: Write down five things that make you unique. These could be your talents, personality traits, or experiences. Celebrate these qualities and remind yourself that they make you who you are. Share these with a trusted friend or family member and ask them to share what they find unique about you.

Day 2: Set Small, Achievable Goals

Mantra: “I am capable of achieving my goals, no matter how small.”

Activity: Set a small, achievable goal for the day. It could be something as simple as organising a part of your room, completing a short exercise routine, or learning a new recipe. Celebrate your achievement at the end of the day. Setting and achieving small goals can boost your confidence and give you a sense of accomplishment.

Day 3: Practice Self-Compassion

Mantra: “I am kind to myself and acknowledge my efforts.”

Activity: Spend 10 minutes practising mindfulness or meditation. Focus on being present and kind to yourself. Reflect on a recent challenge you faced and acknowledge the effort you put into overcoming it, regardless of the outcome. Write a letter of compassion to yourself, acknowledging your strengths and efforts.

Day 4: Connect with Others

Mantra: “I am valued and appreciated by those around me.”

Activity: Reach out to someone and have a meaningful conversation. Share your thoughts and listen to theirs. Building connections can provide emotional support and remind you that you are valued. If possible, plan a small activity or outing together, such as a trip to a café or a virtual/phone coffee chat.

Day 5: Focus on Positive Self-Talk

Mantra: “I speak to myself with kindness and positivity.”

Activity: Pay attention to your inner dialogue throughout the day. Whenever you catch yourself thinking negatively, consciously replace the thought with a positive one. For example, change “I can’t do this” to “I will give this my best shot.” Create a list of positive affirmations and read them out loud to yourself.

Day 6: Celebrate Your Achievements

Mantra: “I am proud of what I have achieved and will continue to grow.”

Activity: Reflect on your achievements, big and small, over the past week, month, or year. Create a visual board with pictures, notes, and reminders of these accomplishments. Share your board with someone you trust and discuss the journey and effort behind each achievement. This exercise helps reinforce a positive self-image.

Day 7: Engage in a Creative Activity

Mantra: “I am creative and my creativity brings me joy.”

Activity: Engage in a creative activity that you enjoy, such as drawing, painting, writing, or crafting. Allow yourself to express your emotions and thoughts through your chosen medium. Creativity can be therapeutic and a powerful way to boost your self-esteem. Share your creation with someone who appreciates your work and encourage them to share their creativity with you.

Supporting Others in Building Self-Confidence

If you’re a friend, family member or supporter of someone with low confidence, your encouragement, and understanding can make a significant difference. Here are a few tips to help:

– Be Encouraging: Offer genuine praise and encouragement. Highlight their strengths and achievements.

– Be Patient: Building self-confidence takes time. Be patient and provide consistent support.

– Be Involved: Participate in activities together and show interest in their goals and interests.

– Be a Good Listener: Listen to their concerns and validate their feelings. Offer constructive feedback when needed (and requested).

Reach Out for Support

Building self-confidence and self-esteem is a continuous journey, but with patience, practice, and support, it’s entirely achievable. Remember that every step forward, no matter how small, is a step towards a more confident and self-assured you. Stay safe, stay warm, and reach out if you require support.

VIVA Mutual’s Support Centre team is always available to share our expertise and experience for the benefit of Support Coordinators, NDIS participants and those who support them. Many of us live with disabilities ourselves and/or have family members with NDIS Plans too, so we know what we’re talking about. 

For a confidential chat with one of VIVA Mutual’s understanding and supportive folks, please call 08 8877 8000 or email us via admin@vivamutual.org

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