For the longest time, I’ve struggled with confidence. It felt like, no matter how much I read about the subject or how many affirmations I did in front of the mirror, nothing really changed.
I have to say that it took me painfully long to figure this out, but I finally learned what confidence really means and, even more importantly, how much influence we actually have on it.
Confidence is often portrayed as an if-then condition for external factors in our lives.
↠ If you lose 20 pounds, then you’ll be confident.
↠ If you get a promotion and earn more money, then you’ll be confident.
↠ If you buy the new outfit, then you’ll be confident.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely fallen into the trap of believing that. And sure, all these things do affect how we feel about ourselves. But I think that true confidence goes much deeper than that.
I mean, you probably know someone who doesn’t upgrade their wardrobe every six months and isn’t successful or slim by society’s standards, but they’re still confident and charismatic, and you wouldn’t even stop to think about superficial things like their looks or financial status.
1. Who you are
First of all, I learned that our identity (What makes you unique) and our Self-esteem (sense of self-worth) ultimately build the foundation for our confidence.
When you know who you are at the core. When you know your values and start to appreciate and stay true to yourself and your values, it’s a great first step to becoming more confident.
Unfortunately, I used to do the opposite many years ago.
I worked in a very competitive environment and was often told that I was too kind and too sensitive.Which, for the longest time, made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.
So I tried to toughen up and adapt to the prevalent elbow mentality. Which didn’t only feel unnatural but ultimately ate away at my confidence in myself and my way of being.
It took a few personality & strengths tests, some soul searching, and a lot of reading up on my unique strengths and values to figure out that it’s more than okay to be the way I am and to start standing up for myself.
I also realized that there are some personality traits or temperaments we are born with and that there’s only so much that we can change about them. Which leads me to the next point.
2. Who you want to be
Over the last few years, I’ve realized that I am the most confident and happy when working and living according to my values.
A few extra pounds or less money really didn’t make much of a difference.
So I think that simply knowing who you want to be, how you want to be spending your time, and making an effort to be and do exactly that, even if it’s only taking small and imperfect steps, does enhance your sense of self-worth and confidence
I don’t know about you, but I always feel the least confident when I’m stagnant and not even trying.
3. What you do
The last but most impactful piece of the puzzle for me was simply learning the definition of confidence.
The basic definition of confidence is: Knowing that you can trust and rely on yourself.
↠ Telling yourself that you will get up tomorrow morning to work out and then actually getting up to work out creates confidence.
↠ Telling yourself that you will put in the work & study instead of watching Netflix and then actually sitting down to work creates confidence.
↠ Telling yourself that you’ll make an effort to eat healthier and then doing it creates confidence.
And yep, I’m working on that myself, and things are not always perfect. (me drinking beer on couch and peace sign)
But since learning about this, I’ve realized how much better I feel about myself if I do what I said I would vs. if I don’t.
Confidence is basically keeping the promises you made to yourself and not letting yourself down. Every time you don’t show up for yourself, your trust and confidence in yourself will fade and vice versa.