I don’t know about you, but there are some days when I’ve got it and others when I just don’t. There are some times when I’m feeling totally on top of my game, and other times when I want to retreat to a cosy little corner and just watch and not get involved with anything. Is this normal? Absolutely. Because most of us ebb and flow through time feeling more or less good or ok, and there are just times when we’re under the weather or life is getting us down. But pretty soon we start feeling better and life continues as before.
And sometimes it’s not our mood, the moon or our state of health that affects us; it’s something that runs deeper than that. We can’t always identify it for ourselves but you could call it a lack of confidence, or for some it’s profounder still, and becomes a lack of self-esteem. I’m not a psychologist so it really isn’t my place to delve in to the recesses of someone’s mind and explore how they might come to feel these emotions but there are some ways I can share about how we can face life in a more confident way. Because sometimes we need to just get on with it - we have people to see, places to be and stuff to do.
“If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
So here are some tips on how to build up that confidence.
1. Look the part
Take some time to take care of yourself and how you appear. From smelling good to looking nice in what you’re wearing, ultimately if you feel good you’ll come across with more self-confidence. What you wear and how you wear it and how you carry yourself, can impact on how people interact with you.
2. Cultivate gratitude
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have, and what isn’t working for you, look at what you have got, what you have achieved. Think about your unique skills, the positive contribution you have made to others, the loving relationships you have or have had. You will feel a lot more motivated by your successes.
3. Hold your head up high
Good posture and your body language can really support you in more ways than one. How does someone come across when their shoulders are slumped, or their head is held low and their body movements are slow? Aside from potentially appearing like they’re suffering from a good night out, mostly this can come across as lack of self-confidence. Just pulling your shoulders back and holding your head up straight can make you feel stronger, more confident.
4. Appreciate and compliment those around you
By noticing and becoming aware of the positive aspects of those around you, you become less engaged in that internal dialogue of self-doubt and more open in your appreciation of others. You can learn and grow from the people around you – notice what they do well, how they dress, how they communicate effectively.
5. Be first
Rather than waiting for everyone else to go before you, take the first seat, the first row, ask the first question. The more visible you are, the more confident you will appear.
6. Think about what’s important to you, and act upon it
Setting even small goals, and then working on achieving them, will give you confidence. Set big goals by all means, but be sure to have small, bite-sized achievable aims so that your confidence grows with each tick off the list.
7. Stop worrying about what others think of you
You will never, ever truly know what someone is thinking. Ever. You may assume, you may ponder, you may take an educated guess – and you may even ask them but at the end of the day, unless you are truly a mind-reader, you simply won’t know. So stop concerning yourself with others’ thoughts.
“We probably wouldn't worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do.” ~Olin Miller
8. Reflect upon your language
Really hear what you say. Are you using words like ‘never’, ‘can’t’, ‘I’m so bad at…’ Become mindful of your internal dialogue and external phrases. It takes practice so the starting point is simply to observe and become aware, and then gradually make a choice to catch a word and re-phrase it to something more positive. So, instead of, “I can never do that”, try “at the moment I’m choosing this way”, which leaves room for you to actively chose an alternative. Remember to say what you want, rather than what don’t want.
9. Grow your knowledge
There’s something really empowering about learning something new. Set yourself little or even big challenges to grow. Whether it’s a new language, a new skill, a creative pursuit or just a new hobby – having a new activity or focus in your life gives you a boost of energy and something fresh to share with friends and colleagues with the added bonus of expanding your personal knowledge base.
I know it seems a bit too simple. But sometimes just creasing those cheeks and even forcing a smile can enhance your mood. Practise frequently and you’ll see how people respond and before you know it, those smiles are coming naturally.
Don’t be afraid to be the amazing being that you are, even when you don’t feel like it.
I’ll leave you with one of my all time favourite quotes.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson