I can remember when I was about 10 years old, I made the decision to be confident. I decided to stop being shy, to stop feeling inferior and to like myself. Of course, I have suffered many crises of confidence over the years. My bouts of self-doubt generally tend to centre around my academic performance, future prospects and ability to provide for my daughter. For the most part though, I possess a self-confidence which borders on delusional. I really, really like who I am! I’m so proud of me. I have confidence to spare, so I’m going to share it with you.
“I wake up looking this good, and I wouldn’t change it if I could. And you can say what you want, I’m the shit. I want everyone to feel like this.” – Beyoncé
Make the conscious decision to be a confident person. Confidence does not come naturally. So, make that decision. Tell yourself you’re going to be a confident, self-aware person who will slowly become more self-assured. If you lack self-confidence in social interactions, try to adopt the mindset that you are liked, that your opinion has value, and that you are welcome. My default position used to be that no one liked me and I had to somehow win them over. Which basically means that I was subconsciously telling myself that I was unlikeable and that being me wasn’t enough.
Take out the trash. Try to identify your triggers. Is there something or someone in your life that is stoking your feelings of self-doubt? Does reading women’s magazines make you feel shit? Stop buying them. Do you have that friend who subtly puts you down, or makes you feel excluded, or makes you do all the reaching? Confront them and explain how you feel, and if their treatment of you doesn’t improve, it might be time to bow out. What ever your trigger is, you have the power to stand up to it.
Care less. Honestly, once you reach the conclusion that other people’s opinions don’t define you, you will feel liberated. You do you. You have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself. Refuse to be bound by other people’s expectations of you. Many times throughout my life I could have allowed myself to believe I am incapable, because of the way I have been spoken to (or the way in which I have perceived I have been spoken to). But I don’t let it affect me – I shake it off. Most of the time when a person criticises another, it’s a projection of their own insecurities anyway. Remember that.
“I learned a long time ago that what other people think of me is none of my business” – RuPaul
Queens see Queens. Pay compliments. Show interest in each other. Big someone up when they’re feeling low. Be inclusive. One of the surest ways to boost your confidence to boost the confidence of someone else. Life is not a competition. We know it’s detrimental to unfavourably compare ourselves to others. But, it’s also extremely counter-productive to unfavourably compare others to our own positive attributes. Because, in a way, that means you are still more concerned with what people think of you than what you think of yourself.
Liking yourself is not an act of rebellion. We are constantly bombarded by mediated messages which are designed to feed our insecurities, and we live in a culture where striving to be wealthy, socially mobile and more attractive is our presumed raison d’être. It definitely goes against the norm to openly declare that you like yourself, that you believe in yourself, and that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life. It might even irk some people. I’ve experienced that: a sort of what have you got to be so happy about? attitude because I’m not exactly smashing glass ceilings or bathing in bank notes yet.
“There are people who will dislike you because you do not dislike yourself ” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Don’t let external influences make you feel like you should dislike yourself. Let’s normalise treating ourselves with the kindness and respect that we afford others.
How do you cope when your confidence has a wobble?
(see also: HBL’s Motivation Masterclass)
Born this way,