Many of us struggle with developing true confidence and self esteem. Our view of what confidence is has been distorted by the media to the point that we buy into thinking confidence is something which we can fake; forgetting confidence and self esteem are the result of continuous effort at becoming the best version of yourself. Its the result of getting in touch with your inner weirdness and embracing your uniqueness; the more you embrace it, the more you practice your abilities, the more you will develop true confidence.
So what are the ways one can use to increase confidence and self esteem?. I can only tell you what has worked for me and my experiences during my journey within. I am still on that journey, there are moments in which I struggle but I keep chipping at it. The more I keep at it, the more I am re-discovering who I am and the more I fall in love with myself. The more you love yourself the less you will care about what others think; ultimately that is confidence!. One thing which I’ve learned to keep in mind and I try to implement every day is “It is never how we are that is the problem, is how we perceive ourselves”.
The perception we have of ourselves is greater than the perception other people can have of us. When we talk about confidence it goes back to our body awareness… how do we feel within our body? are we keeping our head up? are we breathing deep within our diaphragm? are we loving ourselves enough? or are we doing the opposite by letting others decide our value?. Whenever we allow others to decide our value, we loose confidence.
We need to learn to accept ourselves completely. At times we need to be willing to make mistakes and be wrong; whenever we are not willing to be wrong we loose the ability to be creative with our lives and grow. Many people have a low self esteem because they are afraid of failure or they are afraid no one will love them. Willing to accept that you will make mistakes is not the same as repeating the same pattern of behavior over and over again. Mistakes are part of life and necessary in order to grow and learn but only if we are willing to be instrospective and take responsability for our own lives.
Its all about our perception… In boosting our confidence and self esteem, it’s important to remember that is not necessary for any of us to be the most congenial or the loudest every time we find ourselves surrounded by people. Being unapologetically yourself without needing to constantly seek the approval of others is what speaks volumes. We have to be ourselves; specially when it comes to our inner dialogue. How we talk to ourselves affects our mind and body. Is about surrendering ourselves to our own greatness, is not about entertaining other people. It is about doing what we love for us, not because we are seeking approval. No matter how much you think you are portraying confidence; so long as long you are dependent of the acceptance of others, as long as you keep trying to impress everyone, then you are not confident. Real confidence is the ability to be you no matter what. Real confidence means respecting yourself and others instead of seeking attention. Real confidence means feeling so comfortable in your own skin that it does not matter if others accept you or not; not out of a narcissistic tendency but because you truly like who you are. Real confidence is standing up even when it will make you unpopular.
Whenever you fake confidence, people will only see one facet of yourself and they might miss the rest; the worst part is that facet isn’t even you!. Many coaches out there say that one needs to “fake it till you make it”….wrong!!! You can not fake confidence. You may fool someone for a time but ultimately who you are will be exposed. Confidence isn’t like riding a bike where you just need to keep practicing until you get it. Confidence requires you understand how you work, and what makes you who you are. Confidence requires you to confront yourself.
In our world we are confusing detachment with confidence, people pleasing with confidence, congeniality with confidence or being loud with confidence. In reality those people are not confident, they are insecure and wounded. They aren’t bad, they are just too scare to live without the approval of others; terrified of not being liked. These type of people need to work on themselves as much as the person who comes across openly insecure; they really are no different…they just react differently to their insecurities.
So what if you have wounds to work on or insecurities?…we all do!. We all have many facets of ourselves; most people won’t ever get to know all of your facets. For example: My writing is only one part of who I am; not all of who I am. If I started to worry about what others are going to think of me every time I put something out there, then I would lose my connection with my core and with it my love for what I do. People will only judge a part of me without knowing me as a whole. If I were to go out of my way to please every person who thinks he or she knows me, then I would become a real life comedian and lose who I really am. I don’t know about you but to me that seems a high price to pay for acceptance!
We have to let go of society’s expectations to improve our self esteem and our confidence. We need to remember not everyone came to this earth for the same reason, therefore we need to learn to follow our heart. People who do what they love have a higher level of confidence and self esteem because they know their own value.
Sometimes the root to not having real self esteem is due to the fact that people are waiting for approval from the external and fail to recognize others are on their own journey and have their own issues to work on…no one is perfect!!. Whatever life experiences and beliefs make who they are do not apply to the rest. There are no two people who are identical in their way of being; we are unique!
The secret is in living from the inside out… we have to be okay with who we are. You can only be okay with who you are when you stop trying to become someone else. To raise our self esteem we need to seek to connect with kindred spirits, those who boost our sense of self love and who remind us to love ourselves because that is where it all starts. We need people who love us without enabling us…those who push us outside our comfort zone.
Confidence originates from the latin word meaning to trust. Raising your self esteem and confidence is all about trusting yourself but also trusting the universe. Realizing at the end of the day if you are trying your best, all will be okay. Learning to trust yourself can be one of the hardest things to do, specially if life has conditioned us to believe that everyone else knows better. Personally I am discovering the challenge of rewiring our old programming it’s worth it, because at the end of the tunnel your true self is awaiting!
During my journey there are two mantras I’ve come to discover and which have helped me in my road to self discovery and self acceptance:
“I am willing to release the pattern within me that has created this condition”; this mantra has helped me a lot because it takes you from the victim role into one of power. It helps you recognize you have the choice to walk away and stop attracting those who only want to victimize and hurt you. When you are not willing to be their victim, they will get tired and move on, or will be fearful to hurt you again, or be fearful to be exposed which will also contribute to them stopping their pattern of behavior.
When we put ourselves in the victim role we can not change our own pattern of behavior, but when we choose to accept our part of responsibility in what is happening or what happened to us, then we also give ourselves the power to change. This does not mean in any way what others did to hurt you is acceptable; it means that you are no longer willing to let it control you. Rather than being the victim, you can choose to use your own life experiences to help others. Those who can relate to you will feel the hope you bring with the sharing of your experiences. Those who refuse to see the difference between whining vs teaching from your own life experiences are those who are afraid to face themselves in the mirror and to ask themselves why they feel that way. Do not focus on the second type; they will always find something faulty within you if that is where they are coming from, because they are not coming from their heart space.
“I trust the process of life to take care of me”…This mantra is beautiful!. When I first had it explained to me it made so much sense. I was made aware that the most important thing in our lives is air and yet we are not aware of how much we need it. We trust that we will take our next breath without thinking about it. If we can do that over the most important thing we need in order to survive, then why do we obsess about everything else we feel we may need?. As long as we try our best every day, we will be okay. Positive thoughts plus positive actions equal results. Success is defined differently, depending of who you are; do not let others tell you what success is. True Success is when you have reached a place where no matter what happens, no matter how much you have lost, you are still confident enough to keep your head up and keep going.
Love your body and love your mind because at the end of the day is never how you are that is the problem, is how we see ourselves. Don’t put too much value on the opinion of others; reality is those who criticize us the most are the ones who know us the least… with that in mind who cares what they think?.
Stand your ground but don’t waste time trying to make others understand. Recently someone reminded me that those who are ready to see will see. Those who want to see only that which does not disturb their reality, will not see the truth. To quote from the bible “do not cast your pearls on the swine” or another quote that my father and grandmother taught me growing up… “A monkey dress in silk is still a monkey, you can not teach it rea class or intelligence. It will see itself as great because is too ignorant to know anything else. It believes because it is dress in silk it is mighty; it does not even begin to truly understand the complexities of the mind and spirit” .
If you look at things from that perspective, you come to realize how silly it is to waste your energy on those who do not want to accept you, or on those who pretend to know you by looking at only the cover of your life story. Love yourself, embrace yourself, and be humbly proud of your wounds and mistakes for wisdom does not emanate from having lived a sheltered life. If you have had a sheltered life, be grateful, and count your blessings; do not judge that which you do not know.
I leave you with a quote I read ” let’s be random, let’s be weird…Let’s be ourselves!”.