Many people struggle with confidence issues, low self-esteem, and more often than not, a battered sense-of-self.
One must understand that confidence is a privilege, not a given; you are not born confident that your parents will take good care of you; you do not grow up with a guaranteed warranty that your life will go well; you cannot even say that it is a right in itself to have confidence. You must be willing to invite it to the dinner table in order for it to function as a part of you!
But how does one invite confidence into their lives?
You have to find your own reason. Not everyone will have the same idea of what confidence is. Many think it is a high value of oneself; others find it is merely emotional charge, motivation, and desire to succeed; some cultures actually see it as something that can, ultimately, disrupt the balance of their society. Is it that powerful? Yes, it is! I truly believe everybody has the privilege to feel confident about themselves. It is not to be owned by only a select few; we all require it if we want to live a happy life.
1) Write a list of traits you possess
When you write down both good and bad traits you feel you possess (whether this is observed by your own two eyes, or merely something you feel is truth), scratch off the bad ones. Then, highlight the good ones. How you determine the good from the bad is simple: you base it on your own morals and beliefs. The key to confidence is not to base it on what society holds as valuable. That defeats the purpose of the exercise. You must figure out what you feel is fundamental to your sense-of-self.
2) What do you like about yourself?
People do not ask this question enough on a day-to-day basis: “What do YOU like about yourself?” It can be anything from your sense of humor to your hair, but whatever it is, you need to own it!
If you have great hair, that should be the first place you look when you feel you are having a bad day. If you like your sense of humor, indulge it with funny quotes or books! If you have a great smile, what do you think you should be doing all of the time? And even if you do not like your smile, ask yourself: “Why not?” When there is something you DON’T like about yourself, question why not.
3) Emphasize the unknown
You will never know what others notice if you do not ask. I think it should be as common as asking about the weather: “Do you like my hair?” “I feel my eyes are too droopy, what do you think?” I know, it sounds like I am promoting general weirdness, but the truth is, if we want to grow as human beings we need to understand what our strengths and weaknesses are.
If you think there is something “off” about who you are, why don’t you ask the reflection pool? By that I mean, the people around you. Though I do not condone asking a complete stranger how your hair looks, I feel if we all talked about confidence and esteem more often, it would become so common that we would forget our “deficiencies” to begin with. Again, ask a loved one, and if they say you look beautiful, accept it!
4) Take the damned compliment
This is for the women out there! When you ask a man if you look bad in a dress and he says: “No, you look beautiful”, why is it so hard to believe that he is telling the truth? I think that if someone compliments you, regardless of the circumstance, you should be more than willing to just accept it as-is without a need to question it.
If I, as a man, were to ask if my haircut looked funny to a trusted friend, and he said: “No”, I would rather believe that he is telling the truth than continue on through my day, feeling like a martyr, despite the fact that the person I trust most in the world just said: “You look fine.” If everyone in the world were able to take a compliment and accept it as truth, then there would be a lot more confidence among us, and confidence spreads!
5) Confidence spreads – share it!
Did you know that smiling releases endorphins? Did you also know that 85% of people smile back when someone smiles at them, even if they are unsure of the reason? Did you also know that there is a 3 in 4 chance that if you smile at someone, and then they smile at someone else, that smile will continue down an endless stream of happy faces?
You have the power to change the world for the better, and all you have to do is feel happy. I know, easier said than done, but there is a theory called the “fake it ’til you make it” complex. It means that if you pretend to be happy, at a certain point in your day, you will actually become happier, even if just a little. It is because anti-stress hormones are released when we smile, so show those shiny whites to a stranger!