Confidence is a big thing. In fact, it’s everything. It affects your relationships, it determines who your friends are but most importantly, it determines who you are and how you feel about yourself.
Confidence is about figuring out who you are. Your insights are developing and growing; you’re discovering you and new feelings that maybe you’ve never experienced before. When you were a child, you probably didn’t even think about confidence because it was just a given. You were a child and the confidence came from being unaware of it. It came from the love from your family, it came from an interest in new things you were discovering, it was all around you and you didn’t even know it was there.
Now you may think that you don’t have the confidence you had when you were younger. The truth is it’s still there. You may have changed; your likes and even how you physically look, but the love from your family is still there even if your family dynamic may have shifted since your childhood.
The love and strength that gives you confidence has remained intact, but you have suddenly become more aware of confidence and what that is. What has changed is how you think others feel about you and in return that has changed how you feel about yourself.
Getting back to that confident place is absolutely an attainable goal. In fact there are three things you can do right now that will grow your confidence level.
1. Act as if
Think of a role model who has confidence ‘oozing’ out of them. It could be a celebrity or somebody in your family that you look up to. When you think of that person I want you to take these three words ‘act as if’ and use them as the beginning of a sentence. For instance, ‘act as if’ you have that same confidence as that role model. Think of how they walk and how they hold themselves.
What would your role model act like? How would she treat people? How would she behave towards her friends and family? When you apply the ‘Act as if’ method, you will see that once you start acting that way, things will start going that way—you will start gaining the benefits of acting that way. If you act as if you are outgoing, you will become outgoing.
2. Just breathe
When we are nervous or excited our bodies naturally start to breathe faster. This rapid intake of breath elevates our heart rate, it gets the blood pumping and it makes us shake and sweat. By simply slowing down our breathing, closing our eyes and trying to relax, it gives us time to think about our actions instead of acting irrational and doing something that we may regret.
In a stressful situation – say, if you’re about to go into a job interview – take a moment to pause and just breathe. Sometimes just taking one moment to pause, think of what you’d like to happen here and how you can make that happen. This will change the situation from not so positive to spot on.
How we talk to ourselves is even more important than how we talk to others. Why? Because no one else is listening; there’s no one else there to give us their opinion of the message – it’s just us, alone in our heads and often we are harder on ourselves than we would ever be with anybody else.
Just like how you would probably never talk to a friend in a hurtful way, you should try not to talk to yourself in a hurtful way. It’s easy to do because you know yourself so well. You are comfortable with yourself and often, with the people we are most comfortable with, we say the most hurtful things to.
When you have quiet moments with yourself—when you’re riding the bus or even when your mind wanders during a class—tell yourself positive things. Point out the things that you like most about yourself – your sense of humor, your ability to cook, your love of reading, how you like to go to the movies. These are the same things that you would like about another person, they may even cause you to want to be their friend. So take a moment and realize that you are a friend to yourself first, before you can be a friend to others.
Now I’m going to ask that you really ‘step into’ that role. Feel the sun on your back, feel the wind in your hair; listen and imagine your friend’s voice, the inflection in their voice and what they are saying—in what you are saying, as well.
By placing yourself into this meditative movie scene you are surrounding yourself with all your confidence building tips. You are putting the ‘Act as if’ method to work, you are breathing and moving confidently.
Over time you will see your confidence level grow organically and become such an automatic thing, it will become like breathing. You will naturally be friendly, comfortable, confident inside your body and your mind and I promise you, people will notice. But most of all, you will notice. And that will be the springboard that will bounce you into a more confident you.
FOUNDER AND COMMUNICATION EXPERT
As Founder of Career Change Happens and Find Your Calling, Maria has had years of experience in the world of Cognitive Behavioural Conditioning, and personal and professional development. Her intense passion for supporting others in making their dreams a reality has helped thousands of people clarify and move into positive futures.