Hello, friends! I am extremely excited for this next installment in my “How To” series: How to Be Confident.
I have thought about this post probably more than any other post I’ve published here on this blog. Confidence and self-esteem, especially in women and girls, is a topic that is extremely important to me. I find it profoundly sad that I could probably walk up to any women or girl on the street, ask her what she dislikes about herself, and she would be able to roll a list of attributes off the top of her head without even thinking about it. I wish the same would be true if I asked what she does like about herself, but I have a feeling that would take more thought. And that has to change.
Here’s the short and short of it:
1. DO NOT LISTEN TO THAT NEGATIVE VOICE IN THE BACK OF YOUR HEAD! This is by far the most important step to gaining and maintaining confidence. You cannot let that little voice in the back of your head win – you know the one that puts you down, discourages you, and tells you that can’t or won’t succeed; stop listening! That voice is wrong, it is destructive, and it is holding you back. I had a dream recently that I was walking down a hallway and sitting in a chair was another version of me; it was that voice in my head personified, looking mean and nasty. Well, in my dream, I walked by that negative version of myself, looked right at it, and said, “Nope. Not today.” It was one of the best dreams I have ever had! And, more importantly, I have been doing just that, ignoring that voice in my head, telling it to just shut up and go away already. The best part is that it’s working. That teeny, tiny, stupid little voice is getting quieter and quieter, because the less I listen to it, the more I realize that I can accomplish so much more without it.
2. Never give up. I know how easy it is to become discouraged, to take a knock and feel defeated, but don’t give in. Get back up on that horse and try again because maybe you just need a second chance, or the third time will be the charm, or the twentieth time, or the fortieth! I fall into the trap of pessimism all the time, but then I keep pushing forward anyway. I’ve noticed that sometimes I tend towards a sort of emotional inertia – once I start feeling down, I continue to feel down – so, I’ve come up with a few ways to help get myself out of that negativity rut so that I can be productive and not give up! The answer is simple: do something positive, something to counteract those disapproving thoughts. Put on music and dance or sing, or both! Go for a walk, a jog, ride a bike, do something to clear the head. Write down whatever it is that is frustrating and try to find a way through it. Talk to someone, vent those feelings, and move on. Do something productive or creative that will absorb and divert attention to something positive. There are a million ways to combat negativity, make a list of things you like to do and keep it handy in case you need a pick me up or motivation to help you get back on that horse!
3. Don’t compare yourself to others. This is one of the oldest clichés in the book, but life is not a race, nor a competition. It doesn’t matter that “The Jones” have a big house and fancy cars, they probably have a huge mortgage and those cars guzzle gas, but that’s beside the point… What matters is your own happiness. Success is whatever you decide it is, and your self-worth should not be dependent on, or comparable to, anyone else’s. It is normal to strive for more, to want to do more, be more and have more, but not at the cost of acceptance, of accepting who you are, where you are and what you already have. It is certainly okay to admire others, but rather than looking at someone else and wishing to be just like them or have what they have, don’t forget that you are your own person and that you have merit and potential all your own.
4. Everyone struggles with confidence. Even the most glamorous, well put together and seemingly confident person you know has insecurities; it’s normal. The big difference is that person doesn’t let those fears or doubts get in their way or rule their life. Realizing that you are not the only one who struggles with self-esteem or confidence can help you feel less isolated; we are all battling our own inner-critic. In fact, talk to someone, a friend, a relative, anyone you feel comfortable talking with, and I’m sure they’ll admit to their own insecurities, as well. If you feel your confidence starting to crumble, just pause, take a breath, and remind yourself that any setback you face is temporary, even your own misgivings. Don’t let the negativity overwhelm you, you are stronger than you realize!
5. Love yourself. No, really, love yourself wholly and completely and don’t apologize for it, because you deserve to be loved and by who better than yourself? It’s not narcissism; I’m not suggesting you spend hours in front of the mirror everyday admiring your own reflection. I’m saying take a break, take a breath, and just let yourself be. We spend so much time striving to be better, which is great, or beating ourselves up for not being good enough, which is bad, but either way it can be exhausting, and sometimes, we just need to celebrate exactly where we are and who we are in this moment. All of your successes and failures, all of your past experiences and future ambitions, make you who you are, so appreciate that and love yourself a little today, and every day.
How do you give yourself a good kick in the butt when you’re struggling with confidence? Are there any tricks you’ve learned to help you overcome your insecurities?? I’d love to hear what you think!
As always, thanks for reading :), Kristi
*images either created by myself or found on Pinterest (with links to pins)