Have you ever felt insecure and unsure of your future?
You want to believe in yourself, but you have no idea where to start.
I’ve totally been there!
Back in 2010, I imagined standing up for myself, following my dreams, and living a life that was totally my own.
I had dreams of starting my own business, running half-marathons for fun, and waking up each morning feeling energized and confident.
But that was so far from my reality. My job as a non-profit counselor was leaving me exhausted at 5pm, I was struggling to make it to the gym twice a week, and I felt drained and completely out of alignment with myself.
How did I deal with this?
I was incredibly hard on myself. I compared myself to others and when I didn’t measure up, I spiraled into a ring of judgment and self-criticism.
I kept putting myself second and I was miserable.
I wanted real, radiant confidence and integrity, so I did the only thing I knew how to do.
I began putting myself out there, one step at a time.
I slowly learned strategies for working through my negative self-talk and building the courage to move forward even when I was scared.
Three years later, I now feel confident in “playing big” and going after what I want because I have a strong base of a self-love. I have rock-solid strategies for cultivating authentic confidence that I practice daily. I stand up for myself, feel free to be who I am, and no longer sabotage my own dreams.
I want that for you, too.
7 Ways to Cultivate Confidence
1. Practice self-care
When we feel secure and taken care of, we’re more likely to exert our confidence. So remember to kind to yourself. Add a special something to your day that’s just for you. It could be taking a bubble bath, meditating, reading your favorite blog, or savoring a cup of vanilla chamomile tea before bed.
You can also consider how you’re being mean and sabotaging yourself. Do you need to practice positive self talk in the mirror? Could you making yourself a meal instead of grabbing take-out? Or could you stop logging into Facebook as soon as your wake up in the morning?
2. Experience self-love
It’s super easy to say you love yourself, but it’s much harder to actually experience it and practice it on a daily basis. What does self-love look like for you? You can start by taking yourself out on a date. Put on your favorite fancy dress with those killer shoes and spend hours fixing your hair and make-up. Go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or spend the evening at a museum. Do something that feels good and makes the time you’re spending with yourself feel good.
3. Eliminate judgment
Instead of immediately jumping to judgment (either toward yourself or others), focus on your curiosity and compassion. When you get caught up in the drama that connects itself with judgment, it creates a negative emotional experience. And if you are weighed down by negative emotions, you will not be able to radiate confidence.
4. Observe your inner world
Instead of staying wrapping up in your emotional experiences (especially self-doubt), become aware of what’s going on inside of you. Notice the stories on repeat in your head, what triggers you, what buttons often get pushed, observe them without getting caught up in it. In a detached way, become curious and observe it. Say to yourself, “look what’s going on inside of me, look at these thoughts I have.” You can also use journaling as a way to process these feelings without giving your power away.
5. Unstick your confirmatory bias
Even though it’s hard, we can totally change the picture we have of our self. You know the one where you lack confidence and are completely insecure. When we get stuck with this distorted, negative view of ourselves, we tend to only pay attention to things that confirm that view (that’s called confirmatory bias). So, we have to work extra hard to concentrate and give weight to the positive. You can do this with a gratitude journal, writing a love letter to yourself, or practicing positive self-talk every day.
6. Be kind to your critic
We all have a fierce inner critic. She’s the part of your that says you’re not good enough and will try to sabotage anything that may be “new” or “bigger” or more you. Know that you are not messed up or crazy just because you have a super strong critic. Listen to that voice, hear how it’s full of fear and doubt, and treat it as if it’s the 5-year old version of you. How would you speak to that child? You would be kind, gentle, and forgiving. Practice this with yourself and know that it’s okay to be scared, but don’t let that stop you from living your truth.
7. Own your magic sparkle
We are all here for a reason. No one else has your unique blend of talents, wisdom, strengths, skills, and creativity. We all have something great to offer and owning your magic sparkle is the first step. You can begin by practicing stating your opinion. What do you want for lunch? Which project do you want to start first? What outfit are you wearing this weekend? Show yourself that you matter by sharing your opinion every chance you get to begin cultivating radiant confidence.
What are your favorite ways to feel more confident?
P.S. If you want to stop getting in your own way and finally put yourself first, I’d love for you to join us for this round of Say Yes to You. It’s a 4-week group coaching program about the transformational power of cultivating radiant self-confidence and there are only 3 spots left!
[photo credit: pulpolux]