Confidence looks like it has been handed to some people. They laugh at the right volume, or make their words heard in meetings. They know how to get a promotion or figure out how to get the guy they set their sights on. They look like they own a piece of the world and walk with their heads held high, their sense of self-worth unbreakable. But who knows, maybe it’s a different story on the inside?
They say confidence is something you can fake until it becomes second nature, but IMHO faking is for fools. Faking confidence is fine if you know what to fake in the first place but isn’t it better to have the real thing? If you really are scraping the bottom of the confidence barrel each day and question what, if anything, makes you so great anyway, then first – I really want to give you a hug and a pep talk – but second, you need to know how to build up your confidence from the foundation up.
It’s a really tricky one, confidence, because it is something that can be knocked down. Things that happen in life can make us feel like we deserve less of it, but ultimately it’s all about valuing yourself, growing a thicker skin and figuring out what makes you feel good.
I spoke to Jo Blakeley aka The Bliss Expert who specialises in helping women to boost their self-esteem and confidence, and is author of the world’s first self-help novel, Blokes, Beers & Burritos.
She shared her confidence secrets so no matter whether you want to feel like a big shot (I’m kind of wondering what that is anyway) or simply want to take life by the lapels a little more, then see what you can learn from these techniques which Jo swears are immeasurably important when it comes to claiming your confidence.
The Keys To Confidence
Jo says that at the heart of confidence lies self-esteem.
“Self-esteem is about the way you feel about yourself while confidence is about behaving a certain way. For true confidence, you need to have healthy self-esteem because this shines through as authentic confidence,” Jo says.
If your self-esteem is low then you may find that you’re always putting yourself down or comparing yourself negatively to others. If you want to get a handle on appearing more confident then it’s worth going for the real thing. Forget the fakery – work on your self-esteem instead. Start by reminding yourself of all your achievements and everything that you have going for you. Once you allow yourself to have self worth and value you’ll notice your confidence levels start to soar.
We all want to be liked but sometimes it can lead to people pleasing which basically means putting yourself last and being passive. This is disempowering behavior and can lead to a negative cycle of pleasing others, beating yourself up then feeling badly about yourself. People who behave passively tend to have the occasional explosion of aggression – usually at a loved one who has done nothing wrong – because the pent up feelings have to come out somehow. Anyone who knows me will know that this is the case.
Jo says, “The only way out of this vicious circle is to act assertively.” Start being your own cheerleader. You’ll soon find your self confidence grow as Jo explains, “Being assertive shows other people their boundaries and it ensures that they get to speak their truth, which is empowering.”
Talk The Talk
What if your internal thoughts were out there on a loudspeaker? Scary huh? It’s true that there’s no critic as harsh as our inner critic but that fool needs to know her place.
As Jo says, “A useful technique to increase confidence is to be aware of your self-talk and change it if it’s negative. Self-talk is the continuous voice that chats to you in your head. It’s important to be aware of what it’s saying to you and noticing whether it’s being positive or negative. This is because self-talk is a reflection of your self-esteem.”
It is a huge challenge to try and change regular thought patterns but remember that ultimately you are in control of your thoughts. Every time you hear your self-talk say something negative or unhelpful, try switching the thought with an opposing view – like the one a close friend would use with you instead. Making friends with yourself will soon show up as confidence and self-assuredness.
Leading on from self-talk is the way you look after yourself.
Jo says, “Many people wouldn’t dream of treating, or speaking to their friends in the harsh way that they do to themselves, so start treating yourself as if you’re your best friend – not your worst enemy.”
As a proactive action try starting the day by reminding yourself of your achievements, your successes, the things you like about your body and personality. Try to add something new to your pep talk list every day and keep re-enforcing that message that you are pretty awesome and have every reason to feel confident.
Read more of MBS’s Tips & Tricks column over here.