When I was in Catholic middle school, I dreaded the thought of getting up in front of my church on Thursday mornings to do a reading or…gasp…..sing. Yet it was something we were all required to do on a rotating basis.
Then, in high school, I had a near panic-attack when I had to give a presentation in front of a class that included the boy I had a crush on.
In the 25 years I’ve been alive, I’ve come to realize that a great deal of problems or difficulties are a result of a lack of self-confidence–whether it’s your appearance or something else (like my crippling fear of public speaking back in the day). Truthfully, self-confidence is vital to a person’s overall existence. It makes you more hire-able in the job market. It makes you more date-able. It makes you a happier person. This doesn’t mean you have to change yourself…it just means you can improve yourself to be the most confident you you can be.
I’m by no means the most confident person to walk the earth. But I’ve learned a few things that have greatly improved my own self-confidence that I’d love to share with you.
1. I practiced
Freshman year of college–I was just beginning to discover myself in the world as an adult–an the insecurities were still there. As part of my Journalism/Communications fulfillment, I took a speech class. Let me tell you–this is something I would recommend for everybody. Because the only way to overcome something is to learn it, to practice it, and to get better at it. Ultimately, to just do it! For our spinal speech, every word was being listened to, the professor studying our every movement, annunciation, and noting any time our eyes darted to our cards in front of us.
I practiced for days. To my boyfriend, my friends, myself. I took their feedback until I had damn near every word of that speech memorized. (WARNING: HORN TOOTING AHEAD) The professor was so impressed, I got an A.
2. I worked out
You might be worried about your appearance. Working out doesn’t just improve your overall appearance, but it stifles the worry. You’ve all read my fitness posts about the mental and physical benefits of exercise–but I really can’t stress it enough. When you look and feel better, your attitude and self-confidence really comes out.
3. I told myself
what I wanted to hear the truth.
“I want you to come up with a list of good things about yourself and read them every morning” someone once said. So, I tried to come up with 5 good things about myself. I’m funny, I decided. I make people laugh. I’m very caring–a trait that can often cause stress for me, but is also a very positive thing. I have a great smile (Thank you, Mom for footing the bill for those braces). I’m smart, damn it (I wasn’t going to say anything, but I can name all 197 countries in the world). Anyway, the point is–it’s very easy to focus on the negative things about yourself because we are our own worst critics. The idea here is to change the thought process and gaining a more positive outlook.
4. I took care of myself
I made time for myself. You have to decide that you are worthy of a little time to do whatever you want–work out, do your nails, drink some wine and watch TV, read a book. You likely dedicate yourself to spending time with people you love, so the same should apply to yourself.
5. I never gave up
I been knocked down. But I got up again! Rejection, in whatever aspect of life can damage self-confidence. People always say “Don’t take it personally”, but it’s pretty hard not to! Brush your shoulders off, accept it, and move on. You have to keep on going.