Often you cannot do anything about circumstances, such as the loss of a job or the end of a relationship. It can knock us off balance, but it is how you react that really determines how long you stay down. You always have a choice. And you can choose to see the positive side to everything.
Additional tips for “Can Do” Confidence:
- Look the part.Or, as the saying goes, “fake it ’til you make it.” If you know that you look like a confident, capable person, eventually you’ll start to feel it, too. You should dress how you feel best — not what you think confident is. Try these tricks: Devote a little time each day to personal hygiene and making sure you’re presenting yourself well. Shower daily, brush and floss your teeth, and groom your skin and hair. Dress for confidence. You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe to feel better in your clothes. As long as you’re clean, comfortable, and feel good, you’re set up for confidence. After all, you wouldn’t wear a three-piece suit on a pizza delivery. If you think you look good, odds are you probably do. Be careful that you don’t overdo it (e.g. putting on tons of make up or wearing too revealing clothes). Dressing appropriately for situations gives you one less thing to worry about.
- Smile. Keep your grin in easy reach — you’d be surprised how even the smallest of smiles can disarm many a social situation and make everyone feel more comfortable. Can you imagine approaching someone who’s scowling? No thank you. If you’re worried your smile is fake, keep it small. A fake smile can be spotted from a mile away. On the other hand, if you’re genuinely happy to see them — or just happy for the chance to practice your new confidence skills — flash those pearly whites!
- Think of the obstacles that stand in the way of your confidence. Take a piece of paper and write all the things that you think are keeping you from becoming confident, e.g., bad grades, introversion, not many friends, etc. Now ask yourself this: Is that valid or logical? Or are these just assumptions on my part? FYI, the answers are “no” and “yes,” respectively. How in the world does it make sense that one thing determines your self-worth? It doesn’t! Here’s an example: You didn’t get good grades on your last math test, so as a result you’re not confident when it comes to your next test. But ask yourself this: If you studied really hard, worked with the teacher, and prepared for the test, would you do better?! YES. That was just one event and has nothing to do with you. You have absolutely ZERO reason not to be confident.
- See confidence as a process, not a singular achievement. Having confidence isn’t a finish line you cross once, and the process won’t always move forward — there will be days when you feel like you’re starting from square one. Take a deep breath, remember the self-confidence hurdles you’ve already cleared, and resolve to keep going. In the toughest of times, it is good to make it your duty to pat yourself on the back even if you didn’t do anything. Odds are you won’t really realize you’re confident until you already are. Was there a day you realized you were smart, funny, resourceful, or punctual? Probably not. So if you don’t see immediate changes, know that it’s just because you’re too close to the painting. Can’t see the forest through the trees, type of thing. You get it.
- Get out of your head. A lack of confidence has nothing to do with the external world, so you have to get out of your head. If you catch yourself having an inner dialogue, just stop. The world is swirling around you — swirl with it. The only moment that exists is now. Don’t you want to be a part of it? So much of the world exists outside your head (if we’re going with the assumption that reality is as it seems). Constantly thinking about what you feel or look like takes you out of the moment. Practice not thinking about the past or the future. Concentrate on what’s in front of you — there’s probably something exciting about it.
- Embrace your interests. If there’s a sport or hobby you’ve always wanted to be good at, now’s the time! Improving your skills will reinforce that you are talented, and subsequently boost your confidence. Learn a musical instrument or a foreign language, take up an art form like painting, start building projects — whatever it is that catches your interest. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not immediately awesome. Remember that learning is a process, and you’re in it for the small victories and the relaxing recreation time, not to be the best ever. Take up a hobby you can do with a group. Finding like-minded people who share your interests can be an easy way to make friends and build confidence. Look around your community for groups you can join, or find kinship with fellow hobbyists.
- Accept compliments gracefully. Don’t just roll your eyes and shrug it off — own it! You deserved it! Make eye contact, smile, and say “thank you.” Being nice about it when someone else wants to compliment you doesn’t compromise your humility; it shows that you’re polite and have a secure sense of self-worth. Pay a compliment in return. If you’re still uncomfortable taking compliments, try giving one back after you’ve accepted. This can help you feel like the score is “even” and you haven’t been too prideful.
- Build your confidence by helping others. Take time to pay someone else a compliment, or do an unannounced good deed. You’ll brighten their day, and you’ll feel better about yourself. When you become a source for positivity, others will seek to be around you, bolstering the good vibes. Lots of people aren’t good at receiving compliments. Odds are if you give someone one they’ll respond with one in turn. Just make sure you mean it or they might respond skeptically — “Hey, I really like that shirt you’re wearing. Was it made in China?” might not get the best response.
- Drop those who bring you down. It’s hard to be confident in a group of people that you feel are constantly judging you. You could naturally be the most extroverted, loud, self-assured person, but with these people, you turn into a puppy dog that hasn’t been cared for well enough. Those people need to be dropped like a bad habit. And now. It’s important that you surround yourself with others who you feel make you feel like you’re the best version of you there could possibly be. It’s only around these people that you’ll be able to make the growth you want to (and can!) make.
- Take risks. Sometimes the only way out is through. In order to get good at life, you’ve gotta encounter experiences that force you to learn. You can’t be awesome at it right off the bat. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll never get better at…anything. You gotta take chances to grow. Failure is inevitable. It always happens. And it doesn’t matter. The only part that matters is that you get back up. Everyone experiences set backs, but not everyone gets back up. It’s the getting back up that builds confidence, and you’ve got to fail in the first place to do so.
Be sure to tune in this spring as we engage in other creative opportunities to inspire and empower others – you don’t want to miss it!
Until next time, BE INSPIRED!