I’ve been traveling a long bumpy road. Struggling to become a person who can stand up for myself. To become myself. I thought my low self-esteem was to blame for how the steep the climb felt that I’ve been attempting. I worked and worked and felt like I wasn’t gaining a lot of ground to become visible.
Then, earlier this year, I stumbled upon a book in one of my ‘go to the library and peruse the shelves for something to spur me on’ modes. The book is called Creating Your Best Life by Caroline Adams Miller, MAPP and Dr. Michael B. Frisch. I was inspired by many many subjects within. The Flow article I wrote was one. And I experienced a HUGE AHA when I discovered the concept known as self-efficacy, the ability to believe if you’ve done it before, you’ll be able to do it again. That has been my missing puzzle piece.
Self-efficacy incorporates the quality of resilience. The person who has this sees challenges as opportunities instead of scary threats. In having faith in one’s abilities, you know that when you reach the other side, you’ll have applied your skills and knowledge and you’ll have proven, like always, that you could do it.
A gentleman by the name of Albert Bandura, through his research at Stanford University, developed the self-efficacy theory and revolutionized a method for developing one’s achievement of it.
These are the ways that we can build our self-efficacy.
Role Models – Have people in your day-to-day life that show how and what needs to be done to reach a goal.
Cheerleaders – You increase your own belief in your skills by cultivating relationships with people who are supportive and believe in you. Their belief in you can get you to reach goals you would not otherwise risk. And non-relatives even more so because they don’t “have to” like you or believe in you. They just do because you’re you.
Managing stress appropriately – Low self-efficacy allows bad moods and physical pains to stand in the way of making goals or progress. Proper management of stress and it’s symptoms leads to an allowance for other circumstances and achievements to happen.
Having mastery experience – When we are allowed to put a check in our ‘Win’ column, this success spurs us to strive for more. And we redefine ourselves by the sum of our accomplishments.
Let me tell you about my experience so you can understand the hope that this concept has brought to me. My past consisted of being isolated without role models or cheerleaders. I kept myself locked in a scary dark box. My stress level way quite high and I smoked and drank to manage my stress and anything good that happened in my life was met with apprehension. Even if I accomplished something, a piece of writing or a collage, I soon forgot the triumph. Nothing stuck and I slipped back down the low self-esteem slope.
When I finally began to blog and to connect with the outside world, I began to see myself as someone with more. More talent, more to like, more possibilities, and I began to crack the door for more self-efficacy. Recently, I can see how all the successful projects and creative endeavors have given me a surplus sense of “I can do that as well as the other”. And I want to find more to challenge myself with and see what I can come up with next. I no longer feel sad for the waste of my potential. I’m actively enjoying the gifts I have. Taking challenges and now making challenges for myself. And reaping the benefits of success and kudos. I know what I put myself to will not suck. And this is a mighty fine place to be.