"Self-confidence can be learned, practiced, and mastered--just like any other skill. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better." -Barrie Davenport
Confidence is a characteristic that I find attractive and desirable in women. I am incredibly inspired when I discover the backstory of how they have overcome insecurities, fear and negativity on their journey. A sentence in an article I recently read stuck with me "Confidence is a gift you give yourself." With many things in our lives, we feel like we don't have full control. Confidence, however, is one area in your life that you fully own and can control.
As women, confidence is a very personal topic for us. I would like to treat this topic with the care and respect it deserves. In this post, I'll share some tools and techniques that will help you on your journey to build your confidence and my personal story.
As a confident woman......
You are: Bold, Adventurous, Fearless, Hopeful, Positive, Sure, Courageous, Certain, Assured, Assertive.
You are not: Insecure, Afraid, Doubtful, Fearful, Pessimistic, Uncertain, Unsure, Cowardly.
What is confidence?
I intentionally used the word "build" with regards to self-confidence as the following is true:
How to build your self-confidence
As you work on building your confidence, I recommend some proven techniques that have worked for me:
Know yourself and what affects your confidence
What makes you feel insecure? Is it what people say or have said? Is it what you tell yourself? Is it your family history or some statistics?
Knowing what steals your confidence is a crucial step to build your self-confidence. You might have to go back in time and look into your childhood. Take the time you need to discover the source of your insecurities. You will feel empowered and in control when you take an active approach to work on them and regain your confidence. Check-in regularly to see the progress in the improvement areas you identified and celebrate your growing self-confidence.
Think & Say positive things about yourself
How do you talk about yourself? Do you use a lot of these words - can’t, try, if only, impossible, doubt? Do you think you are enough?
Your journey to self-confidence starts and ends in your mind. Observe what you think and how you talk about yourself for a few days. This activity will help you become more aware of the positive and negative thoughts and words you use to describe yourself. Make it a point to increase the positive thoughts and the words you say about yourself. After a while, you will see how much more confident you'll be. Start believing in your powers and that you are enough.
Appreciate your abilities and accomplishments
You have many great skills and talents. Acknowledge how awesome you are and know your unique contribution to the world around you. Confidence is built through appreciating our abilities and past accomplishments. Reflecting on the times when you achieved something you doubted you could, will help grow your confidence in your skills.
At the times when life events steal your confidence and make you doubt yourself, remember your value, skills, strengths, talents, and accomplishments.
Address your fears
Often, we let our insecurity and fear to rob us of so many great opportunities. A phrase I heard a while ago has guided me through my journey - "Do it afraid." Don't let fear stop you from taking that step and doing that great thing. Fear of the unknown will steal your confidence in your ability to achieve your dreams. When you are afraid, look back on something you did although you were scared and thrived at. Reminding yourself of your past experiences with overcoming your fear and the great outcomes you saw will boost your confidence. Facing my fears is the hardest lesson I have had to learn and still re-learn daily.
Build your team of “cheerleaders”
Surround yourself with people who know your value, support you and cheer you on. They will help boost your confidence at times when you are unable to do so on your own. Especially when you are embarking on an unknown journey having people in your court that believe in you, encourage you, say kind things to you, remind you of your strengths is very crucial. While I take bold steps in new areas of my life, I have come to value how much my personal "cheerleaders" support me and help me build my confidence. The positive reinforcement has kept me going.
My self-confidence Journey
"I am bold, assertive, hopeful, sure and positive." - MC, 2018
As a kid, a lot of negative things were said to and about me. People teased me, I was compared to my twin, and I was made to believe that I had a lot of negative traits. It was not a good foundation for my confidence. Interestingly, looking back I didn't know I had low self-confidence.
In my early teens, I became aware of how loud the negative voices around me were and how they impacted how I saw myself. I "kind of" knew I had something good although people around me didn't necessarily say it to me. My quest to silence the negative external voices and start turning up my inside voice began.
A significant turning point for me was when I started seeing how specific traits I had that I was told were negative started helping me on my journey. The most significant being my ability to communicate and talk to complete strangers. I was labeled as being "talkative" and “stubborn” as a kid. However, this specific trait or skill was what helped me make new connections and settle into my new life in Germany.
In the past years, I have been working on "rebranding" the so-called negative traits and seeing the positive in them. Today, I know that those voices don't define who I am. I actively build my confidence through positive affirmations, learning new skills and surrounding myself with positive people who value the real me.
Your confidence toolkit
In addition to the techniques above, here are some additional tools that can help build your confidence: