Have the confidence to be your best

Scott Hay – Qualified Youth Coach

Scott Hay

Scott Hay

From my experience of supporting young people, one of the most frequent questions I’m asked is, “how do I increase my confidence and feel better about myself?”. There are so many pressures placed upon young people that at times it can all become too much – pressure to perform well educationally ; challenging friendships ; comparing yourself with others – it’s not easy! Before you know it, unless you’re able to feel calm under pressure and even thrive on it and feel good about yourself, your confidence can plummet!

The good news is that you’re far from alone and there are some key steps you can take that will help you to deal with these pressures and live a happier and more confident life.

Step 1. Create empowering beliefs

Now we all have that little voice in our heads, you know, the one that constantly talks to us. Sometimes it can be positive chatter, other times it can be negative. If the stream of conversation is mostly negative and you consistently focus on it, you will start to believe it. Not just believe it, but believe it with conviction. However, the reality is that whatever that voice is saying is simply a story. It’s a story that you can listen to and believe or, alternatively you can simply let it float by. Even better, you can consider what the opposite would be and focus on that instead.

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Step 2. Surround yourself with positive influences

You may well have one or more people in your life who are very negative. Often they struggle to see anything positive in the world and possibly you specifically. It’s important not to bear any grudges as that will simply make you feel even worse. What is important is that you don’t accept negative comments as they will start to feed your own negative voice, which will have a knock on impact on your confidence and self-esteem. This can be done either by saying to the individual that you do not accept their negative comments or simply saying that in your own mind. The opposite can be said of positive people and comments. By being around people who are positive and supportive, your positivity will automatically increase. They say that positivity is infectious so I would encourage you to spend your time with like-minded and like-hearted people. Also, allow compliments in without trying to deflect them with a ‘thanks, but…’. Leave out the ‘but’ and simply say thanks!

Step 3. Appreciate yourself

It’s so common during teenage years to compare yourself to others. This can involve comparing intelligence, looks, sports, popularity…you name it! However, these comparisons can create misunderstanding. You assume that someone getting high marks in school has obtained them effortlessly but how do you know? They may have studied far harder than you? That subject might just be their greatest strength whilst you have strengths in other areas? It’s important you don’t make assumptions and draw false conclusions by creating stories in your head – that ‘little voice’ again! It’s important to remember that everyone develops in different ways, has different strengths and qualities. That’s what makes us all unique after all. Focus on the things and people that will bring out your own abilities and strengths.

By following the steps outlined above and making them habitual, I am sure you will start to feel more confident and increase your self-esteem.

Scott Hay is a fully qualified youth coach. If you’d like to pick up this discussion with Scott, please join him on Facebook http://facebook.com/scotthayconsulting , Twitter @shayconsulting or LinkedIn uk.linkedin.com/in/scotthayconsulting/

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A Commonwealth of equals?

Joshua McCormick MSYP. Justice Convener of the Scottish Youth Parliament discusses what Scotland’s 2014 message to the International Community should be.

Humanity, Equality & Destiny is the motto of the Commonwealth games.

Joshua McCormick MSYP

Joshua McCormick MSYP

In 1891 Reverend Astley Cooper suggested a pan-Britannic/ pan-Anglican contest and festival every four years with the aim of increasing goodwill and understanding in the British Empire: the spark of life given to the newly born idea of the Commonwealth Games. However, the Reverend would not find his idea truly implemented until 1930 when eleven nations took part in the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Canada. The Commonwealth Games have changed and evolved over the decades, becoming inclusive to woman in 1950 and people with disabilities in 1962.

Glasgow has been very much in the spotlight as the Commonwealth Games arrived in the city. The eyes of the world fixed on Scotland watching, waiting, and anticipating greatness. With expectations becoming greater and greater as the opening ceremony approached, questions were being asked, will Glasgow deliver not only a great games but a better future for the country, and what will Scotland’s message to the international community be?

The Scottish Youth Parliament’s Justice Committee recognise the changing landscape of the country with the construction of new sporting facilities, more affordable sporting activities for young people, and a greater equality and inclusiveness being shown to disadvantaged groups in respect to sporting opportunities.

However, in recent years, disadvantaged groups across the Commonwealth have seen an exponential increase in violations towards their human rights and a complete disregard to recognise those rights by many of the member nations. Furthermore, many minority groups within Commonwealth countries have continually seen freedom of speech and expression repealed, in many cases promoting further discrimination, greater violence, and in extreme cases, the death of vulnerable individuals.

It is important to recognise the Commonwealth is not the only place where human rights violations occur, and it is a misconception to believe all human rights violations within the Commonwealth occur in African nations; many violations come from outdated and highly discriminative colonial British Laws. These laws may not still exist within our legal framework, but still remain within our society and passively perpetuate human rights violations.

With the eyes of the world fixed on Glasgow, the Games must be used to begin a constructive dialogue between nations- a dialogue which aims to fundamentally recognise and promote comprehensive protection for all individuals’ and their human rights.

The Commonwealth Games has given Glasgow the opportunity to create a legacy wider reaching and with a greater impact than anyone could imagine. It’s time for Glasgow and Scotland to take the first step and begin a dialogue of fundamental recognition and protection of human rights.

Joshua McCormick MSYP 

Justice Convener