In my experience, confidence is nothing you inherit or that your parents teach you, but more so a muscle that has to be exercised to grow, become and stay strong. That said, almost all children come to the world with a high level of confidence and little to no self-consciousness. Unfortunately, the fragile spirit of a child can be easily damaged by well-meaning or especially not so well-meaning parents. Growing up I was the opposite of confident. From my earliest childhood memories I remember being extremely self-conscious, highly insecure and deeply introverted, to the point of me spending a lot of time in my own head and thoughts. Knowing what I know now, my insecurities were the result of growing up with an emotionally abusive father and it took me almost 30 years to come to terms with things I was told about myself and for almost two decades long believed to be true. When in reality, they had nothing to do with me. I am sure some of you can relate. So after years of wondering why I had such a low opinion of myself when I had so many great things going for me, I realized that those difficult years were a crucial part of my journey to self-acceptance and becoming the confident woman that I am today. Every day. Even on bad days.
No matter what happens in our childhood, and I am aware that many have and had it way worse or way easier than me, the only thing that matters is how we play the hand we were dealt with and that we learn and grow from our hardships. For me that meant, in order to become a wholesome, happy human being, I had to recognize my completely warped self image. I had adopted the image my father had of me, and it could have kept me from believing I was worthy of many of the things in life that I now have, for example a loving family of my own. In order to break these toxic thought patterns I needed a strategy. Whatever the current situation you find yourself in is, if you want to change the way you think about it and about yourself in it, you need to put in work. Mental work. Here are some of the things that have helped me tremendously and that I practice each and every day:
Discipline your thoughts
This is extremely important. If you wanna become more confident, you need to stop telling yourself negative things about you. Being constantly bullied by your own brain is horribly exhausting and you need that energy to support your new self. Whenever there pops a negative thought in your head, no matter where it comes from, and no matter if it might be true or not, you fight that sucker until it has vanished. Thoughts like: ‘I am ugly/fat/not good enough’, that especially us women seem to use against ourselves on a daily basis, need to be completely cut out of our vocabulary. Disrespecting yourself mentally on a regular basis will lead to disrespecting yourself in real life sooner or later, on a small or larger scale, which leads me to the next point:
Be kind to yourself first
Especially moms that sacrifice a lot for their children need to hear this. In order to be kind to everyone around you and not lose yourself in the shuffle, you need to be kind to yourself first. That means listening to your basic needs and wants and doing things that make you feel like yourself. That might seem like a no brainer, however, I know many women, me included, that completely live for their children and feel guilt to do something that solely benefits themselves. For me, writing a blog and taking time to exercise make me a happier, more confident woman. You need to take as good care of your mental health as you do of your physical health, and that starts with telling yourself nice things about you – especially if you don’t hear it a lot from others. Complimenting yourself in your head might seem strange at first, and that leads me to trick number 3:
Fake it ’til you make it
This method works for so many scenarios in life and they all have to do with: confidence. The good news is, it is actually really easy. You don’t need to be the smartest, prettiest or richest person in the room, the only thing you need to be is the most confident, or at least appear so, even if you are fooling everyone and yourself, and you will succeed. Your brain does not care if you fake-think positive thoughts about your future success, it will adapt and learn. If you make it a habit to talk to yourself in a positive way, you and your brain will have no other chance than to eventually believe you, and so will everyone else.
If it scares you, do it
For the longest time I wasn’t aware of the fact that this was basically my life mantra. Every time a situation scared me, I threw myself into it head first. It became therapeutic for me and helped me to let go of former self-doubts and replace them with respect for my own bravery. While I was in it I never realized that pattern of mine, but in hindsight I can say that conquering your weaker self is an incredibly empowering tool that will give you priceless belief in yourself, your abilities, your self-confidence. You don’t need to quit your job, move across the ocean, swim with sharks or walk through fire, but you can start by thinking of yourself as completely fearless (fake it ’til you make it), and then tackle something every day that scares you. See what happens to your self-image.
Move and improve
Two things are crucial in the way I view myself: My physical health and my personal growth. If I feel sluggish and tired cause I had too much to drink, didn’t sleep enough and skipped a workout session or 3, it becomes very easy to fall back into negative thought patterns that we wanna avoid like the plague. It is absolutely crucial to move that body of yours, for no other reason than to feel that you are alive, to feel your heart beating, to break a sweat, to get out of breath, to feel your blood flowing. Your body does its very best to carry and support you through many, many years of use and abuse, give it as much respect as it gives you. Same goes for your mind. Feed it with positivity as much as you can, and it will thank you with endless inspiration. I love reading self-made success stories, especially ‘rags to riches ones’, since all those people have one thing in common: they developed a mental strategy to help them through difficult times and to reach their goals, usually without being aware of it. Often times their success simply stems from getting up the 100th time after falling 99 times. You will need to give yourself millions of little pep talks throughout life in order to constantly get back up. Feeding my brain with stories like that helps me stay on track and inspires me to become a better version of myself every day.
These are just a few small tricks to help you on your journey to self-confidence, I hope you enjoyed reading and if you did, please share my blog with friends and family.
Thank you for reading!