Developing Self Confidence and a Good Self Image - The Toastmaster Remedy
Little bit about Toastmasters International below.
The two ways we develop faith in our ability
We develop self confidence and a good self image in two ways: the feedback we regard as positive which we get from others and, secondly, our willingness to risk having our egos bruised. The first generally entails direct or indirect praise. We hear or see written words saying or inferring that we did something well. These, in fact any positive reactions from others, cause us to experience pleasant feelings. We savour these feelings. We relish them. Consequently our emotions are affected. The feelings register first in our consciousness, then our subconscious minds, causing our confidence to permanently improve just that little bit. The second way is by taking actions we’ve so far been afraid to take. Not surprisingly the courage to perform these actions quite often results in our receiving even more positive feedback which, in turn, encourages us to take further brave steps. Thus begins our rise to self assurance.
We have little control over how other people see us
We have little control over the way people see us. They decide that. Try as we might, their high opinion of us cannot gained by an appeal, or by any other method other than our taking some action which raises their opinion of us. So it behooves us, if we really do wish to gain in confidence and foster a good opinion of ourselves and have other praise us, to actually do things. Thinking about them helps only insofar that it actually spurs us on to decide to act. But act, we must.
Acclammation, praise as well as very practical tips on how to improve, that's Toastmasters
There are all types of courage
We can, of course, do foolhardy things in the hope that people will notice us and give us positive feedback. We might publicize our very hazardous mountain climb. We might try to drive a car at an excessive speed along a winding and dangerous highway. We might jump off a cliff and not open the parachute strapped to our backs until we’re dangerously close to the ground. These exploits might raise our self image as far as a certain type of courage is concerned. Some will admire us: some will think we’re fools. However, now we’ve overcome our very real fears of bodily injury and survived. It will therefore be easier if we ever have to undertake physically courageous exploits again.
How are we generally perceived, that's our concern
But how we’re evaluated by others in most of our interrelationships? How are we generally perceived? What of the fear of the self-talk that drove us to undertake these things in the first place? What of inferiority complex? The fear about how other people see us ‘most of the time.’ I’m talking of the trepidation aroused in us that we might not be a likeable person, an acceptable personality as far as others are concerned. “Am I adequate to the everyday demands liable to be placed on me by society? No, I’m too shy. Why do I remain silent when I know I ought to speak up? Am I as good as most? Am I as good a conversationalist? Am I as good a maker of friends as most? Do I see myself as adequate? Am I happy being the person I am?”
Two very distinguished Toastmasters whose friendship I treasure. I've known both for many years
A quick and sure way to higher self-esteem
The quickest way I can think of to raise a man or woman’s self-esteem in their own minds is for them to take the risk of Public Speaking. Even those of us who have a pretty good opinion of ourselves baulk when it comes to getting up and addressing an audience. And yet we won’t fall off a cliff, skid off a road into a tree at high speed, or fail to have that parachute open. Despite this, the fear of public speaking is as great as or greater than the physical activities mentioned above. It is one of humankind’s most common fears.
The remedy to public speaking failure: keep getting up to speak
So what is the worst thing that can happen to you if you don’t manage to get through your first presentation? Well, you could faint with fear. It has happened. But if statistical analysis was done, it would probably be found to happen to perhaps one person in a thousand. Okay, so you could be laughed at and jeered. Terrible! But any lasting hurt would be those you make yourself. The down side would be to dwell on such an outcome and thereby lower your self-esteem. The remedy? To get up and speak again at the earliest opportunity. And then to keep speaking at every opportunity. Mostly, though, your initial speech would be heard and you’d be admired for having had the guts to do it.
If you want to become confident, competent and complete, it's hard to go past Toastmasters
You will gain in confidence in ALL aspects of your life
But to get back to my statement that the easiest way to raise a person’s self esteem in their own mind is by public speaking. It is. Gradually increasing successes at being able to speak to a group of people, be the centre of attention, whilst you get your message across, can’t be beaten for self-image improvement. By the time you can speak even reasonable comfortably to a group of listeners your opinion of yourself has probably gone up way beyond what it was before you started. You’ll improve your confidence in all aspects of your life, not just in the speaking to audiences!
You will be encouraged, motivated and praised by the audience
Moreover, one’s introduction to this Speaking World does not have to be that painful. Sure, there will be some trepidation, some butterflies in the stomach at the start. But you won’t be laughed at. Rather, you will be encouraged, motivated by an audience that wants you to succeed and who are doing whatever they can to see you succeed. I am, of course, talking about Toastmasters International. Look it up on ‘The Web.’
Handing out awards for accomplishments is all part and parcel of Toastmasters
Millions of people have benefitted from Toastmasters
Toastmasters International has been helping people develop their self confidence and engendering a good self image since 1924. It is said that over 4,000,000 people have benefited by belonging to this organization. But to reiterate, and without going into a lot of detail, there is no better way to learn public speaking than to have the support of a group of members who have gone through, or are going through, the same anxieties and fears as you.
Membership - particularly if it is sustained - will bring dramtic changes for the better
Visit a Toastmaster club and you’ll witness beginners and those who’ve been in the club for some time. You will see the difference. The evidence is there. The club’s members will tell you what they went through and, yes, just about all of their stories will be the same. They were like you at the start. Fearful, frightened, even terrified. But the ‘felt the fear and did it anyway.’
So, if developing self confidence and a good self image looms large in your life contact your nearest Toastmaster Club. You won’t regret it And it will change your life for the better.
More on the writer
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