Being Confident…

This is one of many articles I am currently writing to show you different ways to help you boost your confidence and feel awesome!

Through these blogs my aim is to offer you all some helpful (and maybe some not so helpful) tips but, if you truly want to feel confident, it’s down to you and you alone to do the actual hard work. As they (whoever they are) say, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

For me, confidence is feeling self-assured; knowing who you are and being comfortable to be you. If you feel confident, there’s no doubt you will look confident. However, not many people actually feel naturally confident. If you’re this kind of person, then maybe changing the way you see yourself, others and the world around you might be the kick start you need to embarking on your ‘feeling confident’ adventure.

When I was in Sixth Form, we had a Life Coach come in trying to work his magic on us. The idea behind the visit was for this guy to magically make us all feel so unbelievably confident we’d ace all of our A-Levels. I can safely say, the intended outcome was not achieved. In the session, we were told to stand up in front of the class and embody Britney Spears (pre-2007 psychological meltdown). I can honestly say this moment was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. The aim of the exercise was to act confident. However, forcing a 17 year-old girl to embody Britney in front of the judging eyes of peers had the total opposite effect. My confidence was shattered and my instant response was to giggle. When in doubt, uncomfortable, flattered or nervous (to name a few) I giggle! Thus, attracting even more attention my way, which in turn increased my self-consciousness and absolutely deflated the dwindling shreds of confidence I had.

My 17 year-old self simply found the notion of copying a celebrity’s body language as far too embarrassing (even in the privacy of my own home). I wouldn’t endorse this exact method for me. However, if you want to look confident you have to act confident, so a simple trick is to change your body language!

If you’re not sure how to act confident look to someone you think is confident, maybe a friend, a colleague or even someone famous to see how they act. At your own pace, perhaps try to incorporate your observations into your own way of being. This method allowed me to look at my own body language, revealing that (unbeknown to me ) I really wasn’t conveying any sort of confidence at all. For example, when I was away from my nearest and dearest, I held my head down and covered my mouth when I spoke, instantly giving the world the impression I was terribly shy and, maybe, I didn’t want to get to know them (which was certainly not the case).

Having good body posture (which is something I don’t do all of the time) and giving lots of eye contact (but remember not to stare) will convey confidence. You’re more likely to feel a little bit more confident (give it time) and, if you’re feeling more confident, you’ll act more confident!

We’ve addressed behaviour, so now we need to look at your thoughts and self-belief. You can only truly be confident if you believe in yourself, however, if you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t expect others to believe in you and your ability. Self-belief is something I know about all too well. Embarking on a career in therapy at the tender age of 21, I have experienced all kinds of prejudices with regards to my age and appearance. Being young and looking even younger has acted as a huge barrier in receiving acceptance within my profession, which has meant I’ve had to work extremely hard to carve a good name for myself. However, over the years, I have learnt the key to combating such prejudices is to stop listening to the ‘haters’ (sounds easy enough but it takes self-discipline). Anyone who wants to say anything negative or disrespectful clearly has one motive and it isn’t to boost your confidence. I’ve learnt these people bare no significance in my life so, as tough as it might be, I simply try to ignore them.

Surrounding yourself with positivity by changing your perspective to focus on the positives and paying less attention to negativity will ultimately improve your confidence and mood. Obviously not everything can be positive out there, but the idea is to put less emphasis and importance on the negative stuff. As well as focusing on external positives, we need to look within ourselves too. Self-belief is so important to truly feeling confident; believe in you and your ability. Yes, you may not be perfect at everything, but recognise what you can do. If your ability isn’t top-notch, stop dwelling on what you can’t do and do something to improve yourself and your skills!

Tell yourself you can rather than you can’t. Every time you find yourself saying “I can’t do…” or “I’m useless”, stop yourself and instead say “I can do…” or “I’m awesome”. As soon as you start to believe in yourself, you’ll talk to people with more confidence (speak clearly, be bold and believe in what you’re saying) and in turn people will probably interact with you differently too!

Self-belief isn’t something that instantly happens or you can buy, but if you make small changes to your life, self-belief will start to blossom. The more you believe in yourself, the more likely you will feel confident in your ability to achieve your goals and live a happy life.

The moral of the story is this… adapting your behaviour and thoughts can massively boost your confidence over time. It may sound simple enough but it takes time, practice and self-regulation (and if you’re struggling to keep yourself positive, ask a friend or family member to point out whenever you slip into negativity). Modelling behaviour may not explore and work through issues, but if you’re strapped for cash or don’t feel comfortable in addressing your problems just yet, it’s an inexpensive method to try. The idea behind this is if you act and think confident, eventually, you’ll feel confident.