I have always considered myself an empowered woman, quite confident in myself. That is until I caught myself endless of times that whenever someone gave me a compliment, I always found a way to minimize it, instead of saying ‘thank you’ with a smile, I would give some strange comment back.
Her: ‘Your hair is so nice and shiny’
Me: ‘Yea, I really need a haircut and actually I noticed I am getting some grey hair’ (Ugh, did I really just say that?)
Him: ‘What a beautiful dress, really love that color on you’
Me: ‘Actually I got it super cheap and it is my least favorite color. And I don’t like the fabric’ (What??)
Almost as if I felt embarrassed by a genuine compliment, not deserving it or simply not believing it is true. Every time when that happened, and the moment passed, I would feel stupid and question myself ‘what is wrong with me’? Why do I reject good things that others apparently think of me, or the way I look?
While some people seem to be born with all the confidence in the world, for some it is a life long working progress. I am definitely in that second category. I am trying to make a conscious effort and treat myself with more kindness. Some ideas on how to gain more confidence?
1. Feel worthy
Why would others feel worthy of you if you don’t feel worthy of yourself in the first place? You are worthy of all the good things that you believe you deserve. Sometimes it takes as little as a few daily affirmations. Take a few minutes each morning before you start your day and tell yourself (out loud) ‘I am a deserving person and I can achieve whatever I put my mind to’. ‘I believe in myself and in my abilities to create good things for myself’. ‘I trust myself and my decisions’. Customize your daily affirmations; it may feel strange at first but you will get better each day at vocalizing them. Try repeating them to yourself quietly in your head throughout the day. Make it a habit and you will notice a huge difference sooner than you think.
2. Learn to say ‘no’
So you and a group of friends are making plans to go out tonight and all you can comfortably spend is $35. Yes, of course they are suggesting that new place that just opened and you know that lobster is ‘THE’ main thing they serve there… Well, you cave (yet, one more time), pay $80+ and feel miserable. You only had one beer with dinner but somehow you all split the bill, even though some of your friends had 3 drinks. You ended up not enjoying your time at all (you were too busy doing math in your head with each new dish coming in). You spent way too much you wanted (get ready to cook your lunches at home this week!). Yes, and you hate yourself a little bit too for being such a pushover.
3. Unplug from [or limit at least] unhealthy relationships
Do you feel like sometimes you put in much more than the other person? You are always the first one calling, planning catch-ups, and organizing get-togethers. You are the shoulder to cry on and know all your girlfriend’s problems (yet, she barely knows anything about you, since all you talk about is her). You are the one paying for most of the coffees, movie tickets, snacks (you’re too embarrassed to ask to be paid back). Whether it is your boyfriend, sister, cousin or even your best friend, one-sided relationships filled with drama, with time get emotionally exhausting and drain you from your precious energy. Give yourself permission to unplug from any of these relationships and it will feel like you are re-born again.
4. Cut out on the drama/gossip
Doesn’t it just feel awful, that sour after taste in your mouth after you just spent hours talking about and analyzing your friend’s’ relationship with her abusive boyfriend? Well, you are not really sure if he is abusive or not, but come on – he has to be – you heard that from your second cousin’s friend’s girlfriend who overheard it herself!
How about you focus on yourself and find ways on how you can better and enrich your own life instead. It really feels liberating knowing that you are not putting anything out there you wish to take back the moment you say it.
5. Admit your flaws
Be ok with not being perfect, well, not even close sometimes to what you wish you were. Find things that you are happy with about yourself (and I can assure you, you will find plenty), whether it is your beautiful hair, nice teeth, your dancing or cooking skills. The more you focus on good things in you, the more of them you will find.
6. Take responsibility for your own feelings
How great it would be if no one can make you feel bad and you would never upset anyone? Good news! All your emotions and feelings are a matter of choice and you can choose which emotion you decide to roll with. Same way, you cannot ‘make’ someone feel a certain way – whether it is a positive or negative feeling.
7. Treat yourself with kindness
You are working hard, you don’t miss payments on your student loans and credit cards (well, most of the time you don’t). You stick to your budget, take care of your children, husband, puppy and two cats. Sometimes you fall behind on doing laundry but surely you devote most of your weekends to catch up it.
You are deserving to take a break without feeling guilty, and please rest assured everyone will be fine when you do. Trash your ‘to do’ list one day this weekend, inform your hubby it is his turn to take care of things and do as you please. Sleep in, make plans to have a bagel and coffee with your girlfriend in a cafe you both love, catch up on reading, buy something ‘just for yourself’, take a bath, even watch a re-run of ‘Desperate Housewives’ if you wish!
8. Learn new things
You have always wanted to learn play guitar (and you even got one for your birthday 7 years ago). You got several ‘teach yourself play guitar’ books, you actually even signed up for classes (wow, that was $340 down the drain as you actually went only twice). Well, here you are, 7 years later and not able to play a single song.. Sounds familiar?
You graduated years ago and find it difficult to commit to a learning schedule – try baby steps and commit to learning one new thing each year (every 6 months, or every month, whichever works for you). Make a plan and set up goals to reach, no matter how small.
What else would YOU add to the list?