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Which Habits Make You More Confident? Lessons in Life Podcast

Your mindset is very important. 'Failing' at anything is no problem. It's when we give up, or refuse to try when things haven't worked for us, that we need to worry. We would not achieve much in the end with such a negative and defeatist mindset. This podcast gives three key habits that maintain your confidence. IF YOU FOUND THIS EPISODE USEFUL….SUBSCRIBE to Lessons in Life podcast on Anchor for more topics that could be of value to your situation or dilemma. For example:  The Real Causes of Low Self-Esteem What Can I Do to Boost My Self-Confidence? The Most Powerful Combination That Blocks Your Goals What is Happiness and How Do We Find It? Follow Elaine on Twitter @ESiheraESC for new podcast alerts. #podcast #habits #confidence #wellbeingcafe #elainesihera #lessonsinlife #routine #mindset
  1. Which Habits Make You More Confident?
  2. Will My Ex Be Annoyed if I Contact Him After Breaking-Up?
  3. How Can I Be Bolder & Stronger Without Being ‘Pushy’?
  4. How Do I Work Up The Courage To Ask Someone Out?
  5. How to Avoid Overthinking About a New Date

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WHy Television Shows Gradually Lose Their Appeal

The Crown photo by Ollie Upton/Ollie UptonNetflix – © Netflix 2020, Inc

Not too long ago all the rage was Game of Thrones (HBO) about nine families battling each other for power. You couldn’t get enough if it, with many people even binge-watching episodes. Now the current favourites are The Crown (Netflix), a series of fact mixed with fiction about the British royal family, which has gained even more popularity with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, and House of The Dragon (HBO) – a civil war prequel to Thrones.  No doubt, they too will pass, to be replaced by something regarded as even more exciting and suiting the moment.

Yet, no matter how good the programme, it is inevitable that the best television shows will lose their appeal soon enough for four main reasons:

First, it is difficult for producers and programme makers to sustain the originality and quality of a production due to a natural loss in creativity with prolonged demands. One can think up only so much material around a new theme. Soon, the programme becomes repetitive and lacking in new ideas. That is why so many good programmes do no survive more than two or three series because of the natural law of diminishing returns when too many storylines have to be found.

Paddy Considine and Nova Foueillis-Mosé in House of the Dragon (2022) -Credit IMDb

Second, every TV programme reflects the culture, nuances, ethics, beliefs and social protocol of the time. TV shows largely reflect how people think and behave, what they value and what they prioritise. For example, right now, music reality shows like the X-Factor are the rage. In a few years’ time, something else will take their place when the public gets tired of them. As our values change, and what we seek to entertain us also changes, those programmes will lose their appeal. So, as society changes, so will the programmes on TV, if they are not to appear old fashioned and outdated. They have to move with us and our development. They have to truly reflect our interests for us to want to watch them.

Third is due to natural human evolution. As we evolve, the programmes that were very appealing when we were younger cease to be appealing as we get older because maturity brings a desire for different experiences to match our new state. I used to watch the very popular Australian soap opera, Neighbours, for years when it first came to Britain. It resonated with me as a younger person and reflected life in an escapist way. Then suddenly I stopped watching it ten years ago, without knowing why and haven’t watched it since. Yet it has been updated to reflect current audiences, too, but I simply outgrew it, and it’s no longer there.

Finally, nothing lasts forever. For television to retain its appeal, it has to be innovative, fresh, creative and relevant. If any of those elements are missing, audiences won’t be impressed. No matter how great the programme, it will attract attention just for so long because, in time, it would cease to innovative, cease to be fresh and, above all, cease to be relevant to changing culture and public demands.

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Do People Really Change?

Photo by SOULSANA

The boxer, Mohammed Ali, once said: “A person who behaves at 50 years old, exactly as he did at 20, would have lost 30 years of his life!” He was trying to illustrate that we have to change to progress our lives, both physically and mentally. But how we deal with change is probably what your question refers to: whether we tend to accept it naturally, or resist it. Hence there are basically two kinds of change: the voluntary change that operates internally, and controls our choices, and the involuntary one that is external to us, affecting our action and lifestyle eventually, regardless of our resistance to it.

Voluntary changes tend to be subtle, and are often accepted because they reflect the choices we make. They are seldom dramatic, because we value security in life, being predictable in our actions, and feeling safe in our choices. Where we have the power to change, it will be gradual according to the benefits we perceive we will get from it, and the extent to which we believe our lives will alter because of it. We tend to feel more in charge of such changes which we can control to suit ourselves.

Involuntary changes are quite different. They are the ones that happen whether we like it or not, like the development of technology etc. If we do not feel comfortable with such changes we will resist them as much as possible, but as those changes tend to be inevitable, we have to accept them in the end, even if we only accept certain aspects of them. In the meantime we will find fault with the change, noticing only the perceived negatives to justify our resistance to it, until it’s success elsewhere through social acceptance makes us look foolish and we gradually acquiesce.

We are all capable of change, if we really want it. But it won’t come without great effort because change is the thing we fear most. We genuinely believe we lose the old us, like favourite suits we have grown accustomed to, or lose the old ways of doing things, which make us feel comfortable. But, fear of losing our old selves is groundless. Only thoughts and actions change, not people (personalities tend to be permanent), and each of us has power over what we think and do. We do change, yes, but only in small, imperceptible shifts which then amount to a whole new experience when viewed over a longer period of time – rather like still frames on a film which become animated when they are run together.

Altogether, we naturally change over time, but as we get older, we tend to become more conservative, afraid of any change that we think might make us feel insecure and anxious, which then makes us appear rigid and set in our ways. However, the bottom line is that we will always change, no matter the innovation, the personal readiness depending mainly on the perceived cost or benefit involved.

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Today’s Thought: The Power of Sensitivity to Others

Sensitivity is such a powerful concept because it can make such a difference to anither person’s experience. When we care we are sensitive to the desires and concerns of those who matter to us, in particular, and of strangers in our world who might feel lost and at sea. We care how they feel; we give them our best and they would do all that in return, too. Mutual giving and respect make up reciprocity which is the greatest source of happiness between a couple.

Thinking for our partners, being sensitive to their moods and being empathetic to their anxieties all help to make a relationship truly pleasurable. When we are thoughtful we value the things that matter to our dates/partners; we give them space to develop their unique selves; we accept them completely as they are without conditions and allow them to be human without judging or criticising them. When we are sensitive to, and thoughtful about, others we give them room to breathe, we value them daily and celebrate their presence. Thoughtfulness allows couples to treat one another as special and to put each other first at every opportunity.

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Problem Point: How Can I Be Happy With Myself?

Photo by Kayla Koss

Basically, many of us are unhappy with ourselves because of a futile wish to be ‘perfect’. We mustn’t have a blemish, the wrong shape in anything, be thought of as different. But achieving such perfection is not only useless, but impossible, especally as each of us is perfect as we are. that’s what makes us unique: BOTH our strengths and perceived weaknesses.

So how can you be happier with you? mainly by not comparing yourself to others, not focusing on what you THINK you lack, or trying to be perfect.

You are not happy with yourself perhaps because of how you have been treated since childhood. If you have not had the affirmation, reinforcement and value you seek from those you care about, you start believing that something is wrong with you and you have to act in a certain way to win their approval, instead of accepting who you are. Furthermore, if the relationships you have had as an adult have not reinforced you either, or you have been disappointed in love, that would confirm the low self esteem you have, and make you feel inadequate. It is very hard to be happy with yourself at such times, especially when you see others who seem happier than you, and you feel so imperfect.

When we are unhappy with ourselves, that projects on to others, too. We become unhappy with them as well because we cannot give away what you haven’t got. You have no self-love, so you cannot genuinely love and appreciate anyone else, either, which makes you appear self-focused, selfish and uncaring, because you are seldom likely to appreciate anything or anyone in your life enough. You are always striving for something else to feel good. Yet you cannot be happy unless you start with self-appreciation.

Time to start valuing who you are: your faculties, your blessings, and the people who care for you. These three key tips should be useful:

  • Start allowing your weaknesses by focusing on your strengths and building those up.
  • Stop beating yourself up every time you have a disappointment or things don’t go as expected, and view setbacks as a natural part of your learning, growth and development.
  • Stop focusing on what you might not have and appreciate what you do, and others might be able to appreciate you, too.

The tragedy of not being happy with yourself is that your constant discontent will make others you associate with uneasy around you. No one will ever satisfy you either, because, quite simply, no one can love what you reject, or treat you better than you treat yourself!

Perhaps my book, The New Theory of Confidence, might be of some value?

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The Fitness Booster: Do You Tend to Make Poor Choices? See NEW Motivational Tips!

Do you tend to feel shy, afraid, and anxious? Sometimes life can feel overwhelming, especially when you have disappointments, or things are not going as expected.

• Do you dislike your reflection when you look in the mirror?

• Always finding fault with yourself, with what you say, and your actions?

• Is there something you would love to do but feel afraid of doing it, because you fear failure and messing it up, which is more overwhelming than the possible gains?

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS WEEK’S TOPICS

If you don’t feel confident about yourself, achieving your dreams or having great relationships, and could do with a boost in your self-esteem, The Fitness Booster Newsletter is just for you! It complements this blog, and covers a wide range of mental health and emotional health issues, giving useful tips on what to say in tricky circumstances and how to execute routine actions in a confident, winning way.

SUBSCRIBE FREE TODAY on Substack for regular posts and podcasts on improving your self-assurance and feeling more worthy and competent in your activities.

PREMIUM: How Successful Could You Be? The 7 Attributes of The Highest Achievers

Photo by Guille Álvarez

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Success is clearly one of the values we most cherish: in essence, to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves, in order to make something of our lives we can be proud of; something that we can look back on with joy and satisfaction, and even bequeath to the world as our own individual contribution. But what really makes a successful person in whatever strand of life one chooses? What makes such a person different from one who has had problems in achieving their desires? What is the key to turning those desires into reality?

If we study the lives of many millionaires, and those whose dreams have materialised to their satisfaction, certain qualities stand out above others. It seems there are seven key attributes that are important for real success, and they occur in the following order:

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Where Is The REAL World?

Photo by Saketh Garuda

How often have you heard the statement, “Welcome to the Real World” or “Get real!”, especially from someone trying to change your view of life?

No matter how well intended to shock, or to show you ‘reality’, there is no such thing as the ‘real world’. The world will always remain how YOU see it, no matter how it is seen by others, until you choose to change it. If you take away all the bricks and mortar which clearly represents our tangible, physical world, there is no other ‘real world’ for us to see. The reason for that is very simple. The only world we have exists inside our head and is determined by our emotions. Nowhere else. We alone make the world we live in, which explains why we each react differently to that world. That is two people will seldom  ever see the same world or experience the same reality. There is a key reason for this and it is called PERCEPTION. What we perceive, we are.

Our individual world comes out of our cultural, gender, race, class, religious and social experience unique to us. If you were raised, for example, as an Amish girl in America, devoid of material things, and you never ever experienced the outside world in any form, your world – what you perceive it to be – will be vastly different from another girl who grew up in Manhattan in the midst of all the latest innovations and technology. That Amish girl, who was used to a life based on hand=me-down simplicity would find it hard to believe that such a technological world exists until it is physically proven to her.

Again, if you grew up under the shadow of Big Ben in London, UK where guns are banned and people cannot use guns to defend themselves, you will actually feel strange, even vulnerable, if you are from America, where guns are allowed and having to live in London without a gun to ‘protect’ you.

Different Beliefs
Thirdly, if you are religious and believe in God, your ‘real world’ would be quite different from that of someone who does not believe in God and cannot be convinced of such. They cannot see what you see unless they genuinely wish to, and change their beliefs to match it. Whatever we are brought up to experience, to value and to cherish, becomes the essential core of the world that we see, which is why it is so difficult to change the hearts and minds of religious fundamentalists, racists, sexists and other fanatics who genuinely believe they are right to impose their version of ‘the truth’, because they have not been exposed to the ‘world’ or ‘truth’ of others.

Our individual perceptions of what the world should be owes nothing to a generalised reality we all share. In fact, we share nothing with anyone else except our humanity. Everything else about us is learned or as Nature intended. All the social and cultural clothing we wear define our world, which is what makes agreement, negotiation or even having a relationship with someone so difficult to do. We are all operating in different worlds which shape our perception, ones that are difficult for others to access.

The bottom line is that you cannot make someone else see your point of view if they have never experienced it before, unless they wish to open their minds and learn more, because it would be alien to them. What you are saying would have no meaning and therefore be irrelevant to their needs.

Next time you are tempted to tell someone “Get Real” or “Welcome to the real world”, meaning yours, just remember that they might look at your ‘real world’ but they cannot enter it. To do so would mean giving up what they value and cherish to accommodate what you cherish. In effect, they would be leaving their own heads to go inside of yours and that is near impossible. They already have a ‘real’ world for themselves, whether we like it or not .. and it’s mainly theirs!

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Do You Believe In Marriage Or A Live-In Relationship? 

Photo by Hà Nguyễn

Personally, I think the answer to this question depends on one’s culture and perspective. If you’re from a culture where marriage is seen as very important, and an essential part of family life (for example, in countries where joining two families is less for romance and more for pooling resources or building a dynasty), you would not be able to avoid getting married, otherwise a lot of people would be upset about it. You might even be excluded and rejected going against the norm. But in the 21st century, especially in developed Western countries like the UK and America, where more people are remaining single or living in relationships, it seems that an increasing number of people don’t care about marrying anymore, preferring to live together, and these relationships have both advantages and disadvantages.

For a variety of reasons, more people are forsaking marriages, perhaps because of a lack of commitment, or for the freedom it gives to break apart at any time without worrying about the high cost of divorce. In the UK living together has risen to over 13% over the past decade (23% in the U.S), while marriage has declined. It is not such a stigma anymore to live together, or to have children out of wedlock, so many people – especially younger couples – now please themselves in the kind of home they have. Whatever the reason, it seems to be the trend of the future. But it’s not marriage that causes problems between couples, it’s the possessive attitude and expectations around marriage that surface after the vows are taken.

Personally, I was married for nearly 30 years and enjoyed it to a great degree. I liked the emotional security it gave, the sharing and companionship, and the feeling of belonging without having to keep wondering where the relationship is heading. I have also enjoyed my freedom since leaving the marriage and would probably not get married again, all things considered. But, a part of me believes that when we love someone, unless we are not prepared to show that commitment, whether for one day or 10 years, we should be married, otherwise what is that love really about?

Right now I like my lifestyle as, being a writer, I enjoy solitude to think, so my partner and I choose to live apart, while sharing every possible moment together. It’s not ideal, but the love seems to grow stronger despite eight years shared already. I do not need a marriage certificate to show me that I love my current partner, or vice versa, neither do I need to be married to appreciate the relationship. But if I my partner wanted to get married, I would certainly consider it, because it would be lovely to pledge myself to someone I wanted in my life, for however long it lasts. A marriage also allows friends and family to share in that joyous occasion by declaring our love publicly, and we are all here for each other, not simply to live in a selfish way.

Above all, the public pledge together gives a very strong message about how we feel for each other and the commitment we have. So I think being married would certainly give the edge for me, though I appreciate that the choice of being married or not rests with each individual.

So which one do you prefer?

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Why Some People Hesitate, ‘Fail’, Or Get Stuck in a Rut

Image by yogesh more

BOOK EXCERPT

Just before the first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, having watched an episode of the latest series of the popular BBC cult drama, Death in Paradise, my partner and I decided we wanted to watch some more. It was a strange decision because I had watched a few episodes when the drama first began a few years before and was not too impressed by its overt nod to colonialism. Any reminder of that oppressive period in any 21st century entertainment was not entirely welcomed.

However, the most recent series seemed better produced in numerous ways, and perhaps with the world beginning to reel from a growing pandemic, the key elements of the programme came in handy at this time: like its humour, escapism, apt multicultural cast, cheerful colourful atmosphere, great setting, police inspectors with their varied emotional issues, and the dastardly convoluted and entertaining plots that only the genius inspectors could solve! We both got hooked on this simple, formulaic programme and decided to watch every one of the 66 episodes from then on.

Halfway through Series 6, the very shy and reticent bachelor, Inspector Humphrey Goodman (played by Kris Marshall), met the lovely Martha who bowled him over. For me, as a relationship guru, it was so simple: boy meets girl, they explore possibilities, and get on with it to see what’s possible! But what followed was excruciating to watch as Humphrey’s bumbling, fearful actions threatened to make a mess of it all! The couple clearly loved each other but were afraid to admit their feelings openly, in case the other person did not reciprocate. His attempts at expressing how he felt to her were repeatedly sabotaged by his own fears, which made me want to tear my hair out in exasperation!

But his situation confirmed a Eureka! moment I had already experienced some time back when I realised why some people succeed at whatever they were trying to do, and others repeatedly hit setbacks. Humphrey Goodman was shy, yes, but that was not the key reason for his frustrating actions. The cause of his shyness, like other shy people in real life, could actually be put into a formula to demonstrate why he was shy – a simple formula that revealed the root of all successes and ‘failures’. So, while I was watching that couple in their painful attempts to meaningfully engage each other, my unique and almost fool proof formula for success gradually came to life!

However, before using The Winning Formula for Your Success! to help you appreciate Humphrey Goodman’s dilemma, let’s look at the whole concept of ‘success’ in more detail.

Problem Point: How Can I Make Things Right So That Everyone Wins?

Image by Sven Lachmann

Question: I asked a friend and her son to come on vacation with me. The problem is that one minute she wants to go and I had better not change it, and the next minute she can’t go and is scared to leave the boyfriend for a couple days. Or I want to leave one day and she wants to leave another. The way she talks to me sometimes and the way she just acts around me just makes me mad. Did I do the right thing inviting her?

A. Your friend sounds terribly insecure. If she cannot leave her boyfriend for a few days she will lose him soon by being too clingy and fearful. It sounds as though you have been very patient, but you also need to act in a certain way which won’t make people take advantage of you. Once you invite someone to accompany you, and you have changed the details for them once or twice, that’s enough. You cannot continue to change every minute, otherwise your friend will just keep changing because of her own fears and lack of respect for the consequences for you.

Some time ago, I had a similar situation. i wanted to go to Holland for a week and asked my best friend to accompany me and she agreed. However, she changed her mind at the last minute when I couldn’t really cancel the holiday plans. I took a deep breath, masked my fear of going alone, and found the courage to go ahead, regardless. i had the most awesome time in Ostend, finding my way around, meeting new acquaintances who were keen to show me places, and had some photos to remind me of a truly enjoyable trip.

The best thing to do is to arrange a date to suit you, invite your friend and stick to the date. If she cannot go, fine. You go off and enjoy yourself because you are bound to meet people like you. If you live in fear of going off on your own, your friend will always mess you about and you will never go on your holiday. Absence makes the heart grow fonder so your friend should go away with you and allow her boyfriend to actually miss her sometimes.

You can NEVER please everyone and make them happy because everyone has different needs. You can only please yourself, and those who like what you are doing will also be happy, too. Perhaps you have been trying to please her too much because you really want her friendship, and she is taking advantage of that, which can only lead to disappointment all round.

Stop changing your dates and start making your arrangements. Your friend will then see that you mean business and will either go with you or hang back. If she doesn’t go, it’s her loss. But don’t let her spoil it for you anymore.

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Feeling Neglected, Though Part Of A Family

Image by Amarpreet Singh

One of the biggest causes of breakdowns in relationships is simple neglect of a partner once children appear on the scene. No attention, no affection and, worst of all, no sex, as spouses become lost in the routine and minutiae of child rearing, forgetting how those children came about in the first place! This unwitting form of rejection, especially in the early years of marriage, is perpetuated in many homes and often sets the seal for trouble ahead.

New additions to families have the knack of grabbing all the attention. Daily, many mums (in particular) strive to accommodate this sudden, pervasive and persistent demand on their time, often in an unnecessarily guarded and protective manner, that gradually excludes their partners and spouses. Invariably, it is men who lose out at this time. Some do not take such exclusion lightly, often feeling jealous of the new rival, but not quite sure how to react in these sensitive and uncharted waters. 

When the demands of the child constantly interfere with the normal togetherness and intimacy the couple enjoys, it is difficult to maintain a positive, romantic or even sympathetic perspective. Inexperienced, anxious mothers are primarily concerned about their new and vulnerable charges, while excluded fathers are reduced to the role of helpless bystanders, often withdrawing emotionally from the situation while constantly fretting on the quiet. It won’t be long before they look elsewhere for comfort and affirmation, judging by the disproportionate number of divorces in the UK which involve young children under 11 years old (68% of all UK divorces in 2017 – 30% with children under 5!).

Two individuals trying to live harmoniously together is no easy feat and sometimes we unwittingly set a train of action into motion, blissfully unaware of the consequences until it flattens us to a pulp. Like this routine-looking scene in my local park one Sunday that masked many anxieties. Running noisily around a park bench was an animated group of children, with a male and female guardian in their thirties. Three very lively youngsters buzzed around the woman, competing with one another for her attention. Seemingly concerned, she sat very still, holding on tightly to the youngest child, cradling his head against her warm body as if she could not bear to let him go. With her head bowed in a sort of reverie, she seemed oblivious to the merrymaking and intermittent noise around her, and was equally oblivious to someone else standing in front of her.

Image by Vladimir Buynevich

Signs of Frustration
A man of similar age, rather windswept and miserable, looked down at her longingly. Sporadically, he looked away at the people around him and back to his companion in a cycle of futile expectation. Her lack of response unnerved him. He seemed trapped by the situation, in which he was expected to give attention to children wrapped up in their own game while feeling decidedly excluded himself. Perhaps he was her lover, or her husband. Either way, these simple signs of frustration pointed to a relationship heading for trouble.

The haunting look in his eyes as he tried to appear nonchalant, when he clearly wanted her attention, and perhaps a cuddle too, was not difficult to see. He scoured the park for similar situations; for the reassurance that as a man he was in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. But the reassurance was not forthcoming and the look of bewilderment on his face betrayed not only a desperate kind of wonder at what he could do next, but also his increasingly obvious feeling of being unwanted and on the periphery. The young toddler might have required attention at that precise moment, but the woman was so focused entirely on his needs, everything else appeared to be in suspended animation. That scene has been indelibly etched on my mind ever since.

With children in tow, this couple is likely to be married. And, with this type of relationship providing the most up-to-date statistics on living together, it is easy to see the downward trends in the length of marriages once children are on the scene. Love is universal in its effects and emotions are always predictable be they personal, individual, peculiar or particular. Any two committed people sharing the same space can expect a repeat of what happens to many other couples, especially with new additions to the family. The advent of children, even as a welcome third party, could spell doom for most couple’s relationships unless they are strong, knowledgeable and mature enough to deal with the new situation sensibly. Often this is not the case, as no one has prior training for such sensitive times. The results can then, sadly, be seen in the courts.

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Today’s Thought: Showing True Respect

It is natural to fear difference until we become familiar with it as we are wired to protect our own. That is why RESPECT starts with the self. If we care about ourselves, we tend not to be so fearful of others because it increases our natural empathy. However, we cannot really respect what we don’t understand, especially if it seems to go against our own values and culture. Hence why there is so much suspicion, mistrust and conflict where there is ignorance and lack of exposure to difference.

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