For a long time, self confidence was like my holy grail. I searched for it everywhere. I knew I had it at one point in my life but years of people pleasing, fear of not fitting in, financial struggle and the totally insane change of becoming a mother had me lost.
I clawed my way out of the dark pit of devastating insecurity and in that fight I realized something really powerful and kind of shocking. Not only are we not taught how to be self confident….we don’t really know what self confidence is. Misconception of the concept makes it a really hard thing to grasp, never mind build in yourself.
I want to change that. I want it to be easier for you then it was for me. Don’t underestimate the power of building your self confidence. It changed my life completely! I hope these four tips will make the battle easier for you.
#1: Reconcile Your Shame
Society has taught us to be humble. If you are a woman, multiply that sentiment by 1000. Women especially are taught to be agreeable, not to cause waves, humble and selfless. We are inundated with images of women “doing the right thing” by being self-less, it’s what the heroine in every movie does and the mom on every sitcom finds her way to. We’ve been taught the martyr archetype and connected it to what it means to be a worthy woman.
You grow up with years and years of that societal conditioning and then you try to work on your own self confidence……it seems like it’s in direct opposition of what you’re told to be. You shouldn’t feel too good about yourself right? You shouldn’t flaunt anything, brag or appear to feel to good about yourself. Who do you think you are? Shame on you!
That shame can be paralyzing. It can feel like you’re being pulled in 2 directions: being a strong self confident person and being humble and selfless.
Let’s reconcile that shame by setting a new example. Instead of so much celebrating of being selfless, what if we strive for a strong sense of self. Let’s be a generation that reconciles that shame to set a new example. When you start to feel that shame creeping in…refocus on your sense of self.
#2 Reframe It’s Meaning
Misconception alert! Self confidence doesn’t mean you think you are better than anyone else. In fact it has nothing to do with anybody else but you. Let’s reframe this meaning. Self Confidence is simply trusting yourself. Not trusting yourself to always get everything right, but trusting your ability to navigate whatever outcome you get.
Self Confidence is going for something and knowing you’ll deal with success or failure. It’s knowing you’ll get it wrong sometimes but you’ll figure it out. For example, I’m really confident in my abilities as a mother and I make mistakes daily and I have no idea if I’m choosing the right thing at least half the time. My confidence doesn’t come from being right or doing better than someone else, it comes from trusting that whatever comes up, I’ll figure a way through.
That’s a tangible thing you can work on building…trust in yourself. Work there and you’ll discover just how powerful you really are.
#3 Get Cozy With Your Fears
Fear gets a bad wrap and I totally get why. We live in a society that runs on that sh*t. Real talk though: fear can help you if you know how to use it. Instead of trying to jump over the fear, side step it or ignore it….lean in.
Ask your self the secret weapon question: What am I actually afraid of? Fear is tricky in that the thought circling around your head is not the actual fear, it’s just a story designed by your ego to get your attention. Let’s look at an example.
You have to make a pitch at work to the CEO. Fear is in overdrive. You keep thinking about how scared you are to make the presentation but……you’re not actually afraid of the presentation. You’re afraid that the CEO won’t form a favorable opinion of you. You’re afraid of an outcome, not the presentation. This fear can actually help you. What adjustments can you make, language can you use, facts can you include that will help you get a favorable response? Add them in. Boom…fear addressed and trust in yourself to get the outcome you want increases. Hello self confidence!
#4 Language Is Key
Words are incredibly powerful! Use them to empower yourself instead of having them keep you at a disadvantage. Whether it’s words you are saying out loud or the words you are choosing in your thoughts….I can’t overstate how important they are.
If you are constantly using language that doubts your own abilities, talents, intellect, etc……you are compromising those things.
Tony Robbins says “Realize now the power that your words command if you simply choose them wisely.”
Try my catch and switch technique. Catch yourself speaking or thinking things that trigger self doubt and switch them to a more confident sounding statement. For example: If you get in the car and realize you forgot your cell phone, catch yourself saying “I am such an idiot” and switch it to something like “wow I have a lot on my mind.” It’s a simple switch but it has a powerful effect. I was shocked to see how often I criticized myself and put myself down. Bringing awareness to it can be very eye opening.
You can also use language to own your strengths and your weaknesses. It’s ok if you’re not strong in all areas, speak about what you are strong in. Own that you have a zone of genius and be proud of that instead of apologizing for not being everything to everyone.
If I can become a self confident person, so can you. As the formerly crowned Queen of Insecurity I’m really proud to say that I’m truly a confident person now. I actually like betting on myself, it’s a safe bet because she’s been through a lot and she’s still fighting.
Cheers to self confidence and setting a new example for the next generation.