How confident do you feel right now? Very? A little? Not at all? I think it’s fair to say that through the course of our life we feel confident at different levels and in varying situations. I know that I am more confident in places or with people that are familiar to me. I’m more confident doing things that I enjoy or I am naturally good at. Conversely, I am not confident with particular people or with subjects I am not adept at. I am sure that most people would relate to this. The question then of how to become more confident every day, regardless of who or what we face, is a pertinent one. Taking on life with zeal, confidence and passion can sometimes just feel like a distant dream. But why should it be? It’s our life. We only have one…
Confidence…what is it really?
In essence, confidence is all about trust; trust in your abilities, your judgement, and your qualities. It’s about self-belief, knowing who you are, and pursuing life backed up by it. Imagine feeling like that every day?! Ready to take on the world, come rain or shine, and feel empowered and driven because you trust yourself. Not possible, I hear you say!
Well, let’s just see, shall we?
When we set out to achieve something, and do it, we feel great! Big or small, that feeling of accomplishment gives us a boost in confidence and sets us on a great track. The act of goal-setting itself is one that requires practice and a baby-step approach, especially if you’re not accustomed to doing so.
The phrase biting off more than you can chew is one to pay heed to here as goals should be small and achievable to help you reach a bigger one. No one climbs Everest in one go; it is by short treks, up and down the mountain, to allow for acclimatisation. If you were to attempt to climb Everest in one go you would surely die. I am not saying, of course, that our goals are this extreme, or fatal, but the analogy stands firm. Take on too much at once and we will more than likely fail.
Confidence is built on accomplishments that slowly build over time. So set yourself daily, weekly, or monthly goals that you feel are achievable and go and do it.
So you’ve set your goal. Now what? You must be proactive in achieving it. Keep an eye on your behaviours and go about ensuring you are on the right track to success. If you’re trying to lose some weight, eating those choccies isn’t going to help you out! If you’re trying to get more sleep, staying up watching your favourite TV show till past midnight is counter-productive. Make sure that you are setting things in place to aid you in your goals and then keep track of them. Remember that the sacrifices you make now will help you on your way to achieving your end goal. You’ll feel better about yourself for being disciplined and for the progress you will undoubtedly make.
Being accountable to yourself builds character, and when you are pleased with your character, you become more confident.
Confident people know what they believe in and stand firm in it, even if the world tells them otherwise. Being resolute and following through based upon your values is not always easy, in fact, most of the time it probably won’t be. But you will feel better and more at peace with yourself than if you’d sacrificed your character and values to be a sheep and follow the crowd. We would never have won WWII and been victorious against such blind hate if people had not followed through on their convictions, even in the face of such terrible hardship and sacrifice.
What we do and the choices we make define who we are. Everyday. We need to decide who we want to be and stand firm in it. Even if it means making sacrifices now to enable our goals to materialise further down the road. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end.
It seems that most good things that we want to see happen in our lives require us to move. Exercise is just one of those fundamentals that has a synergic link to most other things: mental health, physical health, emotional wellbeing, confidence. Time and again it crops up and reminds us that it is so important to get moving in some way to better look after our whole being. Besides the benefits aforementioned, our focus, memory, and stress levels are all improved by exercise and therefore we are less likely to feel depressed because our brains are functioning better.
So take time to look after your physical being and just see how your confidence grows when all those other things are benefitted too.
This quote first met my ears in the lovely film The Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews. Anne’s character faced a terrifying decision that she didn’t feel equal to, but her late father wrote her a letter with these words, inspiring her to face her fears. She realised that life is about embracing what feels scary, impossible, too big, and facing it with courage. When we do this, our confidence grows and we find we are able to take on bigger things than that first mountain.
Fear of failure illuminates to us what is important in our lives. We are scared of not achieving something, of shame, failure, ridicule, disappointment. But not facing our fears means we feel these things anyway, and without even trying. So what have we got to lose?
You will always be faced with nay-sayers in life. It’s unavoidable. But we can control how we respond to them. We can give in, let their negativity infect our goals, or we can fire up our defences and keep their unwelcome opinions out. You will always have people who think they know better and feel it is their right to impose upon you, but you don’t have to listen. If you believe in your goal enough and are willing to put in the hard graft, then go for it.
You must also believe in yourself. Negative self-talk is the slayer of dreams and ambition. Keep a check on it and always be ready to encourage yourself along your chosen path.
Mean what you say
In order to become more confident, you must first respect yourself. One of the ways to do this is to mean what you say and then follow it with action. How often have you said you’ll do something and then a few months down the line you’re feeling rubbish because you’re no further forward due to inaction. Our confidence will never grow if we are ashamed of what we have not done. Furthermore, the people around you will respect you more if they see you are a person of integrity who does what they say they will. When you receive that respect from others your confidence cannot help but grow as a result.
Make time for you
Pursuing your goals and seeking to become more confident is admirable and to be encouraged. But it is also important to take time out to recharge, to rest, and to re-focus. Spending time with family or friends, enjoying the outdoors, taking a bath, doing some gardening…whatever it is that relaxes you and recharges your batteries, make time for it. You will never become more confident if you are frazzled and overworked. Downtime is vital if we are to feel good about ourselves and enable us to take on the world each day with confidence.