Amongst the many effects of sexual abuse, lack of confidence, low self esteem, and low self belief amongst male survivors is immense.
These are the most common myths heard about lack of confidence:
1) "You have to be born with it." WRONG ! Self confidence is a set of skills that can be learned, just like learning to drive or play a game.
2) "If you've had your confidence destroyed, it's gone for good." WRONG ! It may take a greater leap of faith to start building it back up, but once you're there you'll be much hardier than you were before and less likely to have your confidence shaken again.
3) "I'll know I'm confident when I can be sure I'll succeed at something new".
WRONG ! How can you know you'll succeed when you've never done something before?
Heros are not born to be heros. To be a hero, you have to do brave things, then you become brave, so take a dep breath, be brave, do something brave and be your own hero!
Confidence is much more about tolerating uncertainty: being cool with not knowing what is going to happen, and it's important that you look at these and see if you have been thinking along any of these lines.
Great self confidence can be learned, and you can learn it, building self esteem and confidence involves making certain changes, which takes time and energy.
IMPROVING ENERGY LEVELS
To achieve this, ensure that you have a nourishing diet, sleep well, take regular exercise, meditate regularly, make time to do things that you enjoy spend time with people you love. More importantly, develop a structure and routine so that these aspects are built into your daily life. For example schedule time during the day to relax, meditate, take a walk etc.
Building self esteem and confidence is dependent on breaking old habits and developing new productive ones. A key habit that needs to be shattered is the habit of negative thinking. These thoughts are so interwoven into the fabric of your mind that you assume that they are normal and changeable - but they are not! Learning how to acknowledge and deal with your inner critic is an extremely effective way of starting to boost your self esteem.
STOP THE BLAME GAME!
Stop judging yourself and other people in your life for what has happened to you in the past. Playing the Blame Game serves no one, least of all yourself. People did what they thought was best at the time, the same way you did. Learn to forgive yourself and others for past mistakes. Harbouring old grudges takes up a lot of time and energy you could be using in more productive ways.
Learn to reconcile, resolve and accept what happened in the past and know that it has made you a much stronger person. Acknowledge your fears and find out what's behind them. Many of them are likely to be groundless, but it is the thinking, attitudes and beliefs that cause much of the inappropriate fear. Fear is often a disguise for your lack of belief in yourself and your judgements.
WAYS TO BUILD SELF ESTEEM/CONFIDENCE
First off, commit to making changes and it will make a difference to your self esteem.
The lack of self worth stems from the belief that having being abused you are to blame in some way, maybe because you failed to speak, maybe you spoke out, but was disbelieved, or maybe you blame yourself for not telling and that someone else was also abused, because you "failed" to speak.
Self confidence is based on how well or not we have done in previous situations, and base our personal values on how successful we are in different situations and demand that we give a perfect performance in all we do, so struggle to live up to our perfections, and in doing so, we lower our values of ourselves.
We often lose sight of the fact that we can value ourselves in spite of making mistakes. While it is only natural to care about performing as well as we can, it is also important to learn to feel good about ourselves just for who we are, mistakes and all.
As children, we had self confidence without even questioning it. We were valued for just being people, for just being in this world. The value that other people placed on us and that which we placed on ourselves had very little to do with how well we did or how well we performed.
As adults we often believe we must continually justify our place in the world, that we have to somehow prove to other people that we are worthy of their esteem and through their eyes we can, therefore, prove to ourselves that we are really valuable.
Often we spend excessive amounts of time doing that and we lose sight of the basic fact that we are usually all right just as we are, in spite of the fact that we are not perfect.
Something that can help you is to make a list of the things that you like about yourself. By doing so, you will see likable qualities about you that if often taken for granted. Treating yourself to something nice will also increase your feeling of confidence
One thing you can do is to make a list of the things that you do well and then do one of these things on the list everyday. It has been shown that although this method of increasing our self confidence sounds simple, it is often very effective.
Start of by seeing that you have taken the biggest step so far, in looking for support and answers and that alone took some confidence, it wasn't that hard to do was it?
Look at what skills that you can begin to develop, and perhaps start to: Assertiveness skills, saying yes/no. maintaining your self-respect, feeling secure in knowing the real you......
What is the scene you see yourself in, when trying to be confident with others?
What specific situations cause you to withdraw into yourself, and therefore bringing back those old memories of previously held ill-feelings and resentment that you never said this, that, etc......?
What do you see as the next item on the agenda, that you need to work upon?
Do you feel safe in doing what you are doing, can you face crowds without shrinking away (anxiety/panic attacks)
Are you able to cope with the stresses and strains that come at you on a daily basis?
If not, what can you do to get over them, when can you do something that you can see has real results?