I think a lot of people underestimate the power of self confidence and growth, and what it can do to your state of mind. This is something I’ve only really learned to master over the last six months, and what an absolute game changer it has been.
Going into the new year, I had an internal conversation with myself that seemed to spark something in my mind. It changed my outlook and mindset. I recognised that I needed to start putting myself and my own happiness first. I know that I am not defined by other people’s opinions of me, and I won’t allow anyone to treat me less than I deserve. It was quite eye opening to say the least, it’s as though I woke up one morning and thought ‘time to change a few things!’.
I think we all have our own definition of what self love and self confidence is, but in general it refers to the way we see and feel about ourselves. By no means do we shimmy out of the womb boasting confidence. We are ultimately a work in progress, something that is never finished. What I mean by this, is that there is never an end to what we can learn. Whether that’s in regards to ourselves, to other people, and the world in general.
One thing to note is that the process of self growth and confidence isn’t a quick one. It takes quite a lot of time, patience, and the passion and drive to want to be the best version of yourself possible.
In the 22 things I learned by 22 article, I mention that perfection is an unattainable ambition, and that you should never compare yourself to others because we all possess a kind of uniqueness that no one else holds. This in itself provides you with a better, more up to date outlook on how you see yourself, or how you should at least. Confidence isn’t the occasional compliment to yourself, that’s just one little step you can take to build that up – it’s your state of mind, your judgement, beliefs and power. And most importantly, how you use these.
There is a significant difference between telling yourself that you look good in those jeans, and believing that you can accomplish something. If you suffer from low self confidence and low self esteem, it can often be masked in self destruction that you might not even be aware of. This ultimately is the kind of negativity that not only impacts your mental wellbeing, but physical wellbeing too. You can learn to channel your negative thoughts and emotions into something positive. Carrying around bad energy is a waste and it takes a toll on you.
I’m not some confidence guru here to tell you how to be comfortable in your own skin, and how to live your life to the fullest by just ‘being confident’. I’m writing this to spread awareness and offer some advice about how you can tackle a few things in order to be where you want to be, so you can unlock the full potential that you hold. (And yes I realise that sentence made me sound like a life coach, but just go with it).
The tips I mention below are pretty much the things I’ve learned this year so far, so I hope they can inspire you to do the same and be the progress and inspiration you need to be a better, much positive you.
Take control – You are the only one who has the ability to take control of your life, and the things in it. Do not let other people influence what you do, because sometimes we have to be selfish, and sometimes it is vital that you put yourself first. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s you who decides what friends you want to keep in your life, you’re the one who decides what kind of career you want to pursue. We may be wired to avoid pain, and avoid conflict and situations that make us feel uncomfortable, but in order to move forward and create solutions that work, you have to work through issues first. The most effective yet simple step to taking control, is to do one thing at a time. As humans we were not designed to operate constantly, so remember this.
Practice mindfulness – Practicing mindfulness is essentially creating a space for yourself, so you can breathe and take everything in in a healthy, more reserved way. There is absolutely no way you can quiet your mind, it’s pretty much impossible, unless you have your own personal mute button. The aim with mindfulness is learning how to cope with your thoughts, and to not let them escalate into negative thoughts that will eat away at you. It’s literally the practice of returning again and again to the breath, which is the known as the present moment. Mindful meditation is an easy task that only requires a bit of ‘me’ time. Take a look online at a few meditation tips and get into the routine of doing it every day to help be more kind to your mind.
Practice self compassion – Self compassion is treating yourself how you would initially treat your friends and family. Hopefully that’s with kindness, love and a whole lot of adoration. There are 3 elements commonly found in this definition, and they are; self kindness, common humanity and mindfulness.
We have the tendency to beat ourselves up over the smallest things, and torment ourselves. In order to practice self compassion, if you’re having a bad day and your mind is wondering to insecure and disrespectful comments towards yourself, just think, would you say that to your best friend? Of course you wouldn’t. Speak to yourself like you are your own best friend. Be considerate, respectful and patient.
Research over the last few years has shown that people who are more self compassionate are more likely to experience greater happiness, increased motivation and overall better mental health.
Break bad habits – The reason habits are relatively hard to break is because we do them constantly – it’s repetitive which is why it’s wired deep inside our brains. Habits are known to be patterns of behaviour, so once you break the patterns, you then break the habit. First determine which habit you want to break, identify the triggers and come up with a solution to overcome or deal with that trigger. Sometimes it can be easier if you replace a bad habit with a better, much more healthier one.
Empower yourself – It’s much easier to empower other people around us than it is to empower ourselves. Our mindsets can change within an instant, from negative to positive, and vice versa. There are many little tricks you can do to empower yourself, putting yourself first is one of them. Listening to yourself comes at a close second. This may sound like something you do on the daily, but do you really? We tend to ask friends and family for advice and opinions on particular things, and we look for self acceptance from others to feel good and better about ourselves, but that’s often short lived. Never minimise the importance of your feelings and your own thoughts.
An old dance teacher always told me when I was younger that there is no such thing as “can’t”. If you feel as though you can’t do something, do you know why that is? Are you choosing to not do a particular thing because you don’t want to, you don’t know how to or you don’t believe you can? They are three very different things. Next time you come across a situation that makes you think you can’t do it, consider those three things and apply it to that situation.
Be assertive – Being assertive loosely links in with being able to take control. Do not mistake assertiveness for aggressiveness – if you’re having trouble separating the two then google is your buddy, familiarise yourself with the correct definitions.
You can positively assert yourself, and negatively assert yourself. Hopefully you’re going to choose positive assertiveness. The nicest people often have the most difficulty in becoming more assertive, I say that from experience but the transition isn’t as daunting as you might think. Being more assertive allows us to have a louder voice, and enrich our lives while still being nice! Yep, it’s possible! I’ve listed this tip as the last one, because it can be easier to tackle once you’ve built your confidence up a little.
Try a few of these;
- Try to say no without feeling guilty. If there is something that you don’t want to do, don’t feel forced into it.
- Have your own voice and use it. You are allowed to express your feelings and thoughts but be respectful and mindful while doing so.
- Determine your own priorities. If you’d rather spend time on your own having a relaxing bath and reading a book rather than going out, you can do that! You choose how to spend your own time. Try to say no without feeling guilty. If there is something that you don’t want to do, don’t feel forced into it.