My guide to boosting your confidence
Updated: Oct 15, 2019
Confidence is a popular topic, and for good reason because we all want to achieve it. Confidence stems from feelings of self-belief, self-value and acceptance. Quite often, our brain naturally sends signals that lower our confidence because that's human nature, right? Sadly, we're tempted to actually shy away from a compliment and not appreciate what we're good at. But confidence is a wonderful thing, it doesn't have to be cockiness, it's simply accepting that you're worthy and you're capable of anything.
We all have moments of insecurity, no matter how confident we may come across. In some situations I can be confident, chatty, a badass but in others, I'm very anxious, nervous and quiet. When I have those moments, this is the guide I stand by to pick myself up...
Don't be afraid to acknowledge what you're good at
Seriously, being good at something is not a bad thing! You're totally allowed to have self-belief and not be ashamed of that. In whatever profession you're in, it's your job to be good at what you do. I am personally attracted to self-belief, whether in a partner, a friend, a colleague whatever - I admire it. Why the hell do we dull down our achievements and success?! They're called achievements for a reason! This is your reminder that you are allowed to acknowledge your success and strengths.
Know your worth
If you have a good idea at work or you really want to tell someone you fancy them but you're scared to share it - think, what is truly the worst thing that could happen? Because I guarantee it won't matter in a day, a week or a year from now. The best way to face fear is to simply do it. Then you'll realise that there was nothing to fear all along, and you'll feel so proud of yourself. I like to count to 3 if I'm nervous and just blurt out what I want to say or do. I often feel uncomfortable and intimidated in new situations so recently I've been trying to just get on with things. I've tried to stop overthinking everything, hold my head high and just act like I'm unfazed because I am really bad for shying away in the corner. I know I'm kind, I work hard, I'm ambitious, I'm passionate and sympathetic - I don't need someone to validate who I am or make me feel worthy. Confidence really comes down to owning who you are and accepting it, both your faults and qualities. A big thing I want you to take away from this, is knowing that even your weaknesses are not bad things and they don't take away any of your worth - there is a chance to improve them and turn them into strengths by not being ashamed and having the strength and determination to try.
Don't depend on your appearance
I don't know about you guys, but I lacked a lot of confidence when it came to my appearance. I say 'lacked' but I still do now, just less intensely. When I was growing up I was so desperate to feel beautiful. I wore makeup every day and touched it up in between lessons, I straightened my hair because I didn't like the ringlets and I starved myself. But I've learnt that confidence truly comes from within. The makeup, my body, my hair, my skin, none of it shaped who I am and none of it led to my success, happiness and well-being. Your day will go on exactly the same no matter what you look like. I thought that the skinnier I was, the more beautiful, successful and confident I would become. Instead, it made me hide away. You might be thinking right now, 'but I feel more confident when I'm wearing makeup' and I get it, I wear makeup too. It makes me feel a bit more put together and prettier. But ask yourself, do you NEED it to make yourself more confident? If the answer is yes, I would highly recommend having no makeup days and investing in self-care to appreciate your natural self and appreciate who you are!
Let go of other people's opinions
A big reason I used to wear makeup and starve myself stemmed from my desire to impress people. I wanted people to think I was beautiful. Lots of us exaggerate or hide parts of ourself to please other people and I'm telling you now, stop. Being yourself is a GIFT. As cliche as it sounds, it is your life. Wear the wacky pattered trousers, speak up if you don't agree with an opinion, wear your pjs all day long, have your own beliefs - just be true to your soul. You don't need anyone to validate you. You are whole. When you stop caring about what people think, your life becomes so much fuller and free. Just feel that weight drift away and watch sunshine replace it. Confidence springs from self-acceptance and not needing someone to validate what you do or how you feel.
Remind yourself of what you have already achieved
Sometimes, the only boost we need is to reflect. I bet you've achieved SO much emotionally, spiritually, academically, and just generally in day-to-day life we have little victories. Beating anorexia, graduating, having a long distance relationship and generally growing as a person are all things I'm proud of and when I look back to baby Emmanuelle, I'm proud of where I am now. This often gives me the courage and the boost to carrying on growing my confidence.
What is your motivation?
Our dreams have the power to drive us to do great things. Knowing I want to be a writer gives me the motivation to try harder and be confident in what I write and share. I share a lot of personal topics which sometimes makes me feel slightly nervous and lacking in confidence, but my dream is to help people feel good about themselves and maximise their happiness so I'm not going to let it hold me back. What is your ambition, dream and goals in life? Use that to help you along your way now and channel that confidence to get you to where you want to be.
Control your mind
Our mind is programmed to speak negatively about ourselves. It's so easy to let those negative thoughts dominate us and give into them but you can train your mind to dismiss them. Positive affirmations and talking to yourself aloud by giving a little pep talk can do wonders. Try to surround yourself with positivity and goodness, both online in what content you consume and who you follow etc and in reality, - who your friends are, your habits, how you talk to yourself and others and your daily routines. When you catch yourself thinking negatively, it's about catching that moment and being aware of it and starting to challenge it. Forgive yourself, apologise and say something kind to yourself instead. Basically, it comes down to being mindful! Which means being aware of your attitude and behaviours and setting goals to challenge them. A popular thing I hear is that you should talk to yourself how you would talk to your friend and it's so damn true! If you don't love and appreciate yourself how can you expect others to? Love comes from within and only you have the power to love yourself.
Stop comparing yourself
Easier said than done, I know. Similarly to my last point, it's about being mindful of the behaviours that lead to comparison. For me, I identified that comparison was triggered by looking at other people's body's and wishing they were my own and also, people's success. I love my blog, I love writing and I desperately want to build a career from it and so jealousy and comparison most definitely stemmed from watching people gain what I desired. In retaliation to those negative thoughts I cleansed my Instagram and went through my following list to get rid of anyone that made me feel negative about myself. Don't be afraid to cut that cord. You don't owe those people anything, put yourself first. But when it came to being jealous of people's success that was a different situation because I felt like that was a real ugly trait in myself so rather than just unfollowing them, I tried to congratulate them instead, learn from them and share happiness with them. We're all in the same boat after all, just trying to chase happiness and excellence so we might as well help each other out.
I feel like I've gone slightly off topic there, but what I'm essentially saying is that you should identify what is leading to comparing yourself and try to combat that. The emotional baggage that comes with comparison is inevitably, inadequacy and a lot of sighing and perhaps a few tears - why put yourself through that when you have the power to reject it? You are your own individual and yesterday's you is the only person you should be in competition with. You will never have someone else's body, someone's attitude, someone's brain or what they have etc and that is actually quite beautiful when you think about it. There are billions of people on this earth but there is only one of you, so you should celebrate that each day and honour it.
Work out what the source of your low self-confidence is
Get to know yourself. Knowing yourself means understanding how you work, your strengths and weaknesses, your reactions and your emotions etc! It means being confident in your strengths and not being afraid to admit your weaknesses and work on them. This will really help you understand who you are and help you improve the part of you that you want to. Once you have identified the source of your low-confidence or what things particularly trigger it, then you can start to combat it. If you're insecure in your appearance, your abilities at work, talking to people, public speaking, communicating in a relationship, being in new situations etc - whatever it is triggering your low self-confidence you can now set goals and new practices to improve your confidence. For me, I would write down how I feel and try to understand what it is specifically making me feel anxious or insecure and then work out how to fight it. The things that trigger me are my body and my abilities. I get extremely anxious in new situations and automatically think I'm just going to suck. I try to combat those things by speaking to myself kindly, remembering that my appearance makes no difference to the world whatsoever, reflecting on my accomplishments already and remembering the previous things I was anxious about that have now blossomed for me. Only you know what is causing your low-confidence but you have the power to change whatever it is.
Essentially, confidence to me is, self-acceptance, self-belief and self-worth. These three things can work harmoniously to create a happier, healthier and more confident version of you. Do not be afraid to admit when you're wrong or when you're pretty damn fab! Appreciate who you are every single day and be thankful for your existence and that you were made exactly how you are.
"What if I fall?" Oh, my darling, what if you fly?