External or internal negative talk erodes confidence

What is it that can make us feel not so confident?  According to our students it can be many things including name calling.  Think about if you are called ‘shorty’ you become aware of being shorter than others and it may begin to bother you.  Someone makes fun of your nose saying it is so big – and that begins to bother you.  The list goes on and on.   Name calling – tall, short, skinny, fat, big ears, glasses, hearing aids….any one can find anything to make fun of.  It is that kind of external conversation that can deflate the confidence of an individual.

When students are asked if they would ever call their friend a name or would they point out something physical about them?  The answer is always “Of course not, that would be mean, not a good friend and so on”.  

How many of us though will look in the mirror and find something about ourselves that we do not like?  It may be something physical, as in what we look like, or it may be something about our personality.  We look in the mirror and discredit ourselves or our ability to accomplish a goal or an activity.  It is easy then to give up and stop liking ourselves, because we are doing to ourselves the very thing that we said we would never do to a friend.  Our confidence will take a nose dive and we are doing this to ourselves.

The next time you catch yourself being negative, putting yourself down or telling yourself that you can’t or don’t know how to do something – ask yourself, Given this situation with a friend, would I talk to them that way or would I encourage them to keep moving forward, to appreciate who they are or stop making fun of your physical attributes.  Find that answer and then practice that same kind of positive & upbuilding talk to yourself so that your confidence can grow or remain at a high level.

How to gain confidence from failure

We must try to remember that failure and the suffering that follows can be a wonderful gift to our children. We have to believe and have faith that they can handle it without falling apart. The bottom line is that we need to have confidence in our children and their capabilities of greatness maybe even in areas that surprise us.
Children are born with self-confidence. They will maintain this confidence as long as we as parents and teachers do not bring up their failures and mistakes. We would never have thought to have said to our one year old, “You failed at walking again!” It is not fair to the child to not allow them the room to have internal dialogue and to explore what really happened and how they can do better next time.
What does this have to do with martial arts? In our martial arts training not everything is going to come easy. We are not going to be perfect the first time we try something. In fact we may fail many times before we get it right. So many times when we are teaching jumping rope, a child will struggle for a very long time and then all of a sudden it comes together for them. I love it when I ask them, “How did you do it?” and they just blurt out “I Practiced”. Practice has a way of building confidence. Not just the repetition over and over, but rather the careful study in practice of what is working and what is not and then making the adjustments.
If we allow our children the opportunity to practice this way the lessons they will learn will be life long ones.

Honesty with ourselves and others

The end of the month has come and so we are completing our discussion with our students on honesty. One of the concepts we spoke about was the practice of being “two faced”. Most of our 7/8 year olds had not heard that term before and did not really understand the practice of saying or being one thing to one person and something different with another.
The older students were very aware of this happening within their peer groups and many have been affected by this personally. It is such a lesson for us young or older. Honesty with our selves and being who we are with everyone is so important to our health and welfare.
Being a person that others can trust to be who we are to everyone is a key ingredient to being a good friend. It is also the way that we can keep ourselves liking ourselves, which is a boost to our self esteem and confidence. Our true friends and supporters (like mom and dad) will honor our opinions and decisions, and be kind to us, treating us in a way that is true to who we are. Our responsibility is to be who we are to everyone, and not one thing to one person and another to others.