Depending on the day you meet me, you'll either think I was the most confident person you've ever met or you'll just feel damn right sorry for me because of my lack thereof. Whenever I say to someone that I am not the most confident person, their response is always almost similar - 'What? 'You not confident?' No way!, don't believe it! 'You just come across as such a confident person'. Because I get this so often, it got me thinking - what is this confidence thing that others seem to see in me that I can't most times see in myself.
The English dictionary defines self confidence as confidence in ones own abilities or having faith in one's self. I just simply put it as the way a person carries themselves when they believe in their own abilities. How very true! For instance, in certain situations when I believe in myself, I can confidently handle things that most people will otherwise pass out if they found themselves in e.g I am quite confident to approach strangers in a social gathering and start a conversation.
I will also happily give a presentation to a room full of people (not saying that I won't be nervous to start with but once I get past that initial fear,I will enjoy doing it). Not so confident though when I have to say no or speak up to people I am close to even at the expense of my happiness just to make sure the other person is happy - known as people pleasing for short.
Working on improving my self confidence is where my journey of personal development first began. When I look back to see how far I've come, I'm glad I embarked on the journey, not quite there yet but actively working on it.
The lack of self confidence can be quite limiting and even destructive. In my case as I mentioned earlier it resulted in unbelievable people pleasing. However, I am learning everyday to love myself enough to say when I'm uncomfortable with a request without feeling judged.
I still catch myself sometimes trying to give in to people pleasing especially to those closest to me but I stop myself, take a deep breath and try not to agree to anything I'm not comfortable doing. The good news is self confidence can be learnt and improved on. When you start to value yourself more, you will do things that will amaze you. You will look in the mirror and like what you see :)
I believe it is important to work on improving ones self confidence and here are some of the reasons why :
- You will be happy to just be you and not conform to meet the expectations of others. Goodness the expectations of others most times can just be straight out unrealistic. However, when you are comfortable being you these unrealistic expectations will not trump the opinion you have of yourself which is a good one.
- You will begin to see things in a more positive way. Instead of challenges putting you down, they'll motivate you find solutions. Instead of saying things like this is impossible, I say okay, there is a solution to this problem even though I can't see it right now I know I will figure it out. I've found that by working to replace negative thoughts with positive ones, I've started having more positive results too.
- You will not crave the approval of others, because you'll realise that you can't please everyone all the time and this is fine. How very liberating for people like me who struggle with people pleasing.
- You will be happy to admit when you are wrong, Haha, I used to be in the debate team in college and I know how bumped I was every time our team lost. Seems I carried this spirit into the real world... not proud of this but I am not very good at admitting I am wrong. Scratch that, I used to find it very difficult to admit that I was wrong. Now though, I am more open to correction and I have learned to take criticism and improve upon it.
- You will be more confident being around others and others will be drawn to your confidence too thereby leading to you building more positive relationships. There is something infectious about someone who is self confident, you will love being around them because they just motivate you to be better.
I know how important being self confident has been for me personally that's why I have put together a few ideas on how to improve self confidence
Make a list of the things you are good at. Things you do well - otherwise known as your strengths. Things such as being creative, being a good cook, being a tidy person, being determined etc. For me , I'm often referred to as a 'people person' which can be a good strength to have in certain situations but it could be a weakness too if I don't set boundaries. I also know that encouraging others and building people up is something I'm good at and something I love doing.
Celebrate your successes and achievements. Celebrate you! Whenever you achieve something no matter how big or small, take time to celebrate it. It could be as small as tidying up your flat (ooh I always celebrate this one because the boys sometimes really make a mess of our flat) or as big as finishing your book. Just celebrate you, why not. You are amazing!
Remember you are not perfect and this is ok. When you start working on anything in life including building your self confidence, you will along the way fall or fail. The one thing to remember is not to beat yourself up because failure is a normal part of life. Pick yourself up and keep moving and you will eventually get there.
Replace negative self talk with positive self talk. If you wouldn't think or say it to a loved one or a close friend, then don't say it to yourself. (Reminder to self on a daily basis). Listen to the language you use when talking to yourself and if it's full of things such as 'I'm not good enough, I can't, no one will take me seriously' etc. Please change it. You can, you are beautiful, you are intelligent, you are UNIQUE (ooh I like this one) every time I say it to myself I feel unstoppable!
Thanks for reading, please kindly share with me any other tips that you may have that can help improve self confidence.
Your comments, feedback, suggestions as always are much appreciated. Please don't forget to share.