Confidence isn’t inherent. It is a learned skill which is a lifelong and worthy pursuit for all of us.
It doesn’t come from being loud, dressing loud, acting wild and being the center of attention like I see a lot of 20-somethings doing today. There’s a “Look at me. I need attention” attitude that I see a lot on social media. Don’t be fooled into thinking those people have it all. They don’t. As soon as they don’t have people recognizing them they may be incredibly disappointed because they may not have true, inner confidence. I see myself in them when I was their age and wish I had someone to tell me the things I’m about to tell you.
With maturity, comes an understated, calm, open-minded type of confidence. A confident person isn’t afraid to be challenged and even change their mind when objective data is presented. It’s someone who loves and takes care of his or herself. It’s someone who allows others to be themselves without judgment. Meaning, they aren’t threatened by others’ success.
Confidence, to me, is knowing you’re doing your personal best, being brave enough to get out of your comfort zone knowing that whether you win or not this time, you’ll be OK. It’s taking every situation for what it is and not blowing it out of proportion. It’s being able to move on despite obstacles. It’s finding ways to turn problems into challenges and failures into lessons.
On the other hand, people that have a lot of drama in their lives or are always “wigging out” need some work in the confidence department (and probably could use some stress reduction and inner work).
I used to have a very difficult time dwelling on situations that weren’t favorable. However, over the years, I’ve been able to do some personal inner work which led me to understand why I felt insecure about certain situations. (if you don’t understand inner work I’m going to be doing a post on it coming up).
For example, I’m a really hard worker. I try hard to do a good job and put a lot of effort into my job. If I were criticized in any way in the past, I would get very worked up over it. I felt horrible. I’d get defensive. Mostly I’d dwell on it. Now I realize that because of past trauma I became a perfectionist which is a really unhealthy trait. I’ve learned to balance work better and don’t always go way above and beyond and bend over backwards like I used to. I understood that because of past criticism from adults (when I was young) which, of course, didn’t make me feel very good about myself, I developed a people-pleasing personality. I was subconsciously trying to avoid any criticism. Though my brain was trying to protect myself, this wasn’t a healthy coping mechanism to try to avoid feeling insecure.
With confidence comes opportunity. I don’t avoid certain situations or conversations anymore. I allow myself to be OK with who I am, flaws and all, knowing I’m human like everyone else. I’m still learning even at age 50. I don’t feel inferior or superior to anyone anymore. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. That includes people who are rich or poor, those with a high status or no status.
I remember when I was working at the hospital (I’m a nurse, if you’re new here and welcome!) we used to have “VIP patients.” These were doctors, politicians or some “well respected member of the community.” Some nurses didn’t want to take “VIP” patients. I never had a problem with it. Everyone is the same to me once they put a hospital gown on and I’m taking care of them. That’s how I think it should be.
Here are some ideas that anyone can use to work on building confidence.
First and foremost, and the thing that helped me the most, was getting to know myself. I happened upon some self help videos on YouTube because, honestly, I was feeling miserable at the time. I was just searching through different channels and found Alan Robarge, who is a psychologist and relationship coach. I watched a lot of his videos and realized I had past traumas that weren’t recognized, understood or dealt with. I really did some heavy inner work which gave me a lot of insights to my own personal behaviors that had developed from past traumas. Before learning about this I didn’t even know what happened to me in my past was considered a trauma. Upon further delving I realized that just because our family didn’t talk much about it (a father who was an alcoholic and verbally abusive though has since been recovering for many years) didn’t mean it didn’t happen. It did happen and deeply impacted me in ways I am still learning about. Some of which really affected my confidence. I’m a work in progress, just like everyone, but have come a long way. Once you start doing inner work you will be surprised how your life can change for the better. I highly recommend either self help books, videos by psychologists, psychology blogs or, if you can, see a psychologist. Some people may benefit from retreats or more spiritually-based help. You can do it on your own too like I’m doing. Do whatever works for you. There’s no shame in it and every single one of us can benefit from a listening ear and good healthy advice at some point in our lives.
Another resource to do inner work is journals with focused questions. Search “self therapy workbooks or journals” on Amazon for ideas.
I’ve said it before and will say it again. If you don’t have good, solid boundaries you will become the world’s door mat. You will never understand why you keep getting “trapped” in the same situations over and over again. You will never feel free or like you are the captain of your ship. If you want my tips on boundaries go here.
This is HUGE. If you don’t think you’re worthy enough to take the time to take good care of yourself how do you think others will think of you? I used to be every manager’s “go-to” worker. You do not want to be the go-to person. That’s the person who never says “no” despite working overtime already and barely having enough time to eat and sleep before doing it all again.
It doesn’t even have to be that extreme. If you aren’t making the time in your life to recharge and replenish your soul you need to start right now. I mean NOW. As soon as you’re done with this post go to my Self care kit , take one idea and do it and work from there. This is critical for everyone’s well-being and something I wish I learned so much sooner. Trust me, even though people may not directly know what you do in your spare time, when you practice self-care, it shows. People will automatically have more respect for you once you honor and respect yourself. It’s a truly beautiful thing to behold.
It’s time to stand up for your own well being and kick bad habits and negative thoughts to the curb. Stop yourself when you think your life isn’t good enough or what you’ve said or done isn’t good enough. I mean it. Just start reversing a negative thought into a positive one. If you need help with that check out Louise Hay. She’s someone who has really helped me see my own worth. I highly recommend checking out her YouTube talks or books.
While you’re at it you may want to consider deleting certain negative influencers from your social media feeds. You may even need to take a long, hard look at the actual relationships in your life and let certain negative people go. You know, the ones who are always draining and bringing you down. Just like a garden, your life needs constant attention. It needs the right things to flourish and constantly needs to be weeded. Not just once, but on a regular basis. You need to be the one to surround yourself with positivity and good energy so you can feel on top of the world. It’s your right to feel great about your life and the people in it. Your confidence will soar once you stop hanging around people who find fault in everything around them. You are entirely up to you. You can live in a garden that is a magical place of growth, wonderment and fulfillment or you can sit in a stagnant patch of weeds.
My next tip on building confidence is getting organized and prepared. Make sure you aren’t showing up late to work or appointments. Organize your home and workspace. I, personally, am trying to purge a lot from our home and am extremely careful now about what I buy to put in it. I have a long way to go because I was never a minimalist and have been married for 33 years (so accumulated a lot of stuff) but am truly making efforts to change my ways and can see a big difference in my confidence. It just feels so good to be prepared and to be able to take my time getting to appointments and have a clean home and workspace. The effects it has on our mental state are really overlooked and underestimated. Just try it for yourself and see the difference it can make. I personally feel calmer, more in control and confident. I also feel less stress being in a space that’s organized.
My last tip is to be a person you’re proud of. Keep your word. Don’t gossip. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. When you take things that don’t belong to you, you are telling the universe that you don’t think you are capable of having good things come to you. It’s a set up for failure. (I learned that from listening to Louise Hay). I won’t even take a pen from work after hearing it put that way. It isn’t just things people steal. They can also steal someone’s time or worse, their happy spirit by bringing them down.
When you are a person of good character you have nothing to hide. I always try to act like the person I want to be. It doesn’t mean I don’t freak out sometimes or make mistakes but I can now quickly recognize when I’m off track, learn from the situation and get back on track.
I know all of this seems like a lot. And it is. Things that obstruct your self confidence can go really deep and require a lot of introspection. It’s hard work for some of us. It takes time. Just think about one area outlined above and start actively and consciously working on it throughout your day. Start making better habits. Start seeing yourself for the amazing, beautiful person you are. Take care of your inner child. Speak to him or her with loving kindness and give yourself the same advice you’d give to a good friend. Forgive yourself and others. There’s too much beauty in this world to get caught in the same old patterns. Free yourself of negative self talk. Recognize your worth. When you work on yourself for yourself and come out on the other side, it’s one instance where the grass truly is greener.
Do you agree or disagree with any of the things mentioned?
How’s your confidence today?
In what situations do you feel the most and least confident?
Do you think confidence is a work in progress or are you one of the lucky ones who was raised to have amazing self-confidence?
If you’re a parent, what can you do to instill self-confidence in your children? I’m going to do a post on empowering kids soon so stay tuned for that.
Thank you so much for reading. I truly appreciate it!
May you be happy and well, Friends.
Part of my self care practice is being creative. I made this using Procreate. 🙂