For as long as I can remember I was a shy person, lacking confidence. So I started to identify myself with these terms. I just thought “this is who I am” and I continued being that way. After years of hiding in the dark, I was ready to try something new and started to gather information about how to become more confident.
I one day realized that to be recovered, I had to act like it. I had to go through the actions, say the words, embrace the process, and accept that someday it would begin to feel normal. When I applied this concept to my recovery, I started to see that this is the only way to change who you really are. There isn’t some genetic shift that will suddenly be made, no secret code, no 180-turn out of the blue. It’s long, slow, and it really boils down to this: fake it till you become it.
Fake it. Pretend that you are the person you want to be. Do the things that person would do. Speak up because that’s what a brave person does, smile because that’s what a happy person does, be accepting because that’s what a tolerant person does. Read because that what smart people do. Give because that’s what kind people do. Journal because that’s what mindful people do. Meditate because that’s what calm people do. Listen to loud music because that’s what fun people do. It’s not putting on a mask, it’s shifting your habits, shifting your life. If you want to be different, you have to do different things.
I now know that: No one is born confident and no one is born with lack of confidence, you create it! People don’t know you are shy or talkative until you let them. I know a lot of you will say: “Easier said than done”, so here are my tips to create more confidence.
Stand up tall
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy argues that “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident – can boost feelings of confidence, and might have an impact on our chances for success. E.g. stand up tall in front of the mirror before facing a challenge, go into a meeting or do something out of your comfort zone. More research suggests that sitting and looking downward will make it easier to recall negative memories, while sitting upright and looking upward makes it easier to recall positive, empowering memories and emotions.
Challenge your fears
Fears are only fears because we avoid them. If we challenge ourselves with what we are afraid of, we grow from them. Getting outside of your comfort zone is key to creating confidence. E.g. call a stranger by dialing any number on your phone and wish him/her a beautiful day.
Be specific about your goals
Instead of doing things to stop lacking confidence, start doing things to create confidence. If you’re forever focusing on what you are not, you will continue to be the person you don’t want to become. Want to be confident? Focus on being confident. Speak up in big groups, wear whatever you want to wear, start to record yourself talking on your phone. Focus on things that will make you feel confident. Ask yourself WHY you want to become more confident and practice daily!
Surround yourself with people who help you, not those who drag you down
We have all had a relationship where that person makes you lack self-esteem, says things that makes you feel uncomfortable and overall makes you feel weak. Create relationships where you thrive of each other’s growth, you motivate each other and make each other feel strong. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and who thrive of your happiness and success. Remember, “your vibes create your tribes”.
At any moment, we can choose to be whoever we want to be, because we always have control over our actions and reactions.And always remember that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments and don’t forget to check out Amy Cuddy’s TED talk! It has actually raised my own confidence.
Thank you for reading.