1. Become aware of your needs. The first step is to accept yourself. Remember, the unconscious part of your brain really knows you. When you force yourself to act differently, it will show. If your life is unduly boring—or if you feel put upon or neglected—admit it and do something about it, rather than just saying, “This is the pits.”

  2. Let your needs be known. Assert yourself and clearly present your feelings without attacking others. This will avoid allowing negative feelings to build up and get expressed in some negative way either internally (stress) or externally (inappropriate behavior).

  3. Demonstrate behavior that reflects high self-esteem. This can be accomplished via body language and attitude. If you look alert and interested, and follow with a cheerful smile, others will recognize the good feelings you have about yourself.

  4. Work to improve yourself by:

    Learning by reading, enrolling in academic or self-improvement classes, or working with others.
    Challenges every few months do something new that seems interesting or fun.
    Physical health and appearance improve your nutrition; get adequate rest; engage in regular exercise.
    Spirit spend time with optimistic people; follow a spiritual program; work on projecting a positive attitude.

  5. Stop negative value judgments about yourself and others. Become aware of how much energy goes into “judging” others versus finding “unique strengths” in others to admire and relate to.

  6. Allow and plan for successes. Emphasize what you do well. Build on the strengths you have, and value that part of you. Remember that all successful people have regular failures but do not allow themselves to be defeated by them.

  7. Think positively. Think about your good qualities. Give yourself credit. Keep a “What I Like About Myself” journal.

  8. Learn to escape when appropriate. It is good to meet problems head on, but occasional side-stepping may be desirable. People often set unrealistically high standards and become frustrated when they are not achieved. Learn to add variety to your life by planning some interesting (not especially expensive) activities. Don’t wait for someone else to make your life interesting.

  9. Find ways to help others. Refocus your attention on the needs of others. Identify ways you can give to others (i.e., volunteering for a community project, getting involved in a church program, finding a person in need of companionship, etc.). Above all, show interest in others during normal conversations.

  10. Be willing to seek help when required. When you have problems, find people with whom you can share them. If problems seem overwhelming, it is appropriate to seek professional help. Professional help is particularly indicated if the intensity of the feelings does not go away after sharing them with friends or family, or if feelings of worthlessness or low self-esteem persist.

Ultimately, maintaining your self-confidence is the ingredient required to plan for the future.

Taking action is the key.

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