“The only power that exists is inside ourselves.”
– Anne Rice
My friend, Lisa, suffered a serious blow to her confidence not too long ago.
She’s a mother of four, and her world got turned upside down after her now ex-husband cheated on her (with someone half her age, no less).
“I always thought of myself as someone who was poised and cool as a cucumber,” she says, “but after what happened, it crushed every confident bone in my body.”
Lisa added, “It really messed with my head for the longest time. I felt ugly on the outside AND the inside… and the feeling ran DEEP.”
“It wasn’t just about my looks, but also in terms of personality… and pretty much my overall worth as a human being.”
So, not only did Lisa have to deal with the sting of betrayal…
…but her self-esteem also took a deep nosedive.
But the good news is that after spending about a year and a half putting the pieces of her life back together, Lisa got her groove back.
“It wasn’t an easy road for sure, but I’m actually grateful I went through all of that,” she says.
Lisa realized that she had to rediscover her strengths and, more importantly, rebuild her self-confidence from the inside-out.
Today, she’s dating Matt, a fellow single parent that Lisa’s friends set her up with. She couldn’t be happier, and her kids absolutely adore Matt.
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The Benefits of Being Confident
While not everyone has gone through what Lisa did, we’ve all had experiences that have done a number on our self-confidence.
But the great thing about it is that we can all start building the foundations of rock-solid confidence at ANY age.
And it opens up a world of benefits, such as…
- Knowing how to stand up for yourself: a confident person dares to put their foot down when they realize they’re being mistreated.
- Having the courage to take action: confidence also translates into the natural ability to get the ball rolling. While other folks are busy hemming and hawing, the confident ones make stuff happen.
- Confidence = self-belief: another hallmark of being confident is knowing your potential… and doing everything you can to realize it.
- Grace under pressure: Nothing says “sexy” more than keeping your cool in the face of adversity. When you’re up against formidable odds and still crushing it, that’s a sure-fire sign of authentic confidence.
- Being insanely attractive: As Kirsten Dunst put it, “The real secret to total gorgeousness is to believe in yourself, have self-confidence and try to be secure in your decisions and thoughts.”
Now that we’ve covered the awesome perks of self-confidence, let’s get into HOW to cultivate this quality:
#1: Get Out Of Your Head
Getting stuck in the inner world of your thoughts is an insidious habit – and it’s the quickest way to tank your confidence.
And when you let that inner critic run rampant inside your head…
…it’s going to act like it OWNS the place.
So you have to take back your inner world by watching the quality of your thoughts.
You know what I’m talking about – it’s those little lies that your inner critic feeds you. And they usually fall under these main categories:
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m such a bad person.”
These types of thoughts often surface when you mess up in some way – and you end up judging yourself harshly for it.
Furthermore, these ugly thoughts also come tumbling out when something terrible happens (like in Lisa’s case, for instance).
And what most women don’t realize is these two kinds of thoughts go hand in hand.
Once those feelings of inadequacy kick in (i.e., “I’m not good enough”) …
…then those “I’m a bad person” thoughts come in to finish the job.
The reason is that a lot of women have a moral attachment to their mistakes.
In their eyes, failing at some aspect of their lives (e.g., a work blunder or a failed relationship) means failing as a human being.
In other words, an underlying sense of SHAME keeps women trapped in a self-defeating mindset.
So the first step to breaking free from this mental trap is by harnessing the power of self-awareness – and, more importantly, acceptance.
And that brings us to our next point…
#2: Get Comfortable With The Uncomfortable
Now, that we’ve gotten to the root of a confidence-destroying mindset, its time to face those uncomfortable (and downright ugly) feelings head-on.
To do that, you need to ask yourself, “Where are these negative thoughts and emotions coming from?”
Spend some time to quietly reflect on these feelings. Then, write them down on a notebook.
Putting it down on paper makes those feelings less fuzzy and vague. Furthermore, it allows you to trace those feelings back to whatever caused them.
Again, this has to do with external circumstances and negative experiences – so this is where you should start digging.
(Now, there’s another process of “emotional digging” that I discovered which works WONDERS – and we’ll get to that soon…)
Once you’ve pinpointed the exact source of those dark emotions, you can start ACCEPTING them for what they are.
So this is about being aware of those feelings, observing them, and ultimately, making peace with them.
And the fantastic thing about this breakthrough is that it removes self-judgment from the equation.
Rumi, a prolific poet from the 13th century, described these negative thoughts as “temporary guests.”
And more importantly, he tells us to accept these “guests” with honor and gratitude.
This is the key to lifting yourself – and your sense of confidence – from the depths of self-loathing and shame.
#3: Build The Other Crucial Pillars of Self-Confidence
Ok, so aside from embracing those negative thoughts, you also need to upgrade the other areas of your personal growth.
After all, the more well-rounded you are, the easier it is to crush that inner voice of self-doubt.
Here’s how to get started:
- Keep all electronics out of your bedroom: You probably know that the blue light from your phone or laptop screen isn’t doing your sleep routine any favors. But this is also about looking at a screen first thing in the morning to check your email or social media account.
- So this boils down to not allowing these external distractions to hijack your mind – and your ability to get things done during the day.
- Be an agenda-setter: This is directly related to the point above. Sidestepping digital distractions allows you to set your intentions early in the day.
- When you set your most important goals for the day right out the gate (instead of diving right into your inbox or newsfeed), it gives you REAL power to make things happen.
- Experts call this phenomenon the “Confidence Competency Loop”: the better you get at doing something (i.e., getting stuff done), the more confident you become.
- And the more confident you get, the easier it is to get better at it. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- So, when you remove the obstacles to taking action, you’ll get on the fast track to higher self-confidence.
- Attend to your other needs: I’m talking about socially, intellectually, and health-wise.
- Aligning yourself with people who share the same goals and values is a great confidence builder. In fact, renowned psychologist Abraham Maslow says that being part of social groups is a fundamental human need.
- And it’s always a good idea to make time forlearning new stuff, no matter what you interests are.
- Your local library and the world wide web are a treasure trove of resources. Use them to upgrade your knowledge and skills – which, as you know, are building blocks of confidence.
- Finally, regular cardiovascular activity boosts your endorphin levels AND improves self-image. And you’re also boosting your confidence levels just by knowing that you’re taking care of yourself.
#4: Train Your Brain
This, in my opinion, is the BIGGEST one.
By now, you’ve probably gathered that confidence is really about looking within.
And the best source of confidence comes from none other than your inner world. That’s why earlier, we covered the importance of “emotional digging.”
This gets to the root of a lot of things we take for granted – and that includes the inner depths of your subconscious mind.
You see, THIS is where those negative emotions and thoughts come from.
And while you need embrace this part of yourself…
…it’s ALSO important to fill your subconscious mind with the right BELIEFS.
These beliefs don’t just shape the world you live in – but also define your reality.
So, when you plant the seeds of confidence deep in your brain…
…it gives rise to an honest-to-goodness, dyed-in-the-wool kind of confidence.
That means you won’t get easily rattled by criticism, negative circumstances, or toxic people.
Did your co-worker get that promotion, and you didn’t? No problem.
Do you have that one friend who stays slim without doing much (because they’ve got a “fast metabolism” or whatever)…
…but meanwhile, you’re struggling to keep the pounds off and find the motivation to hit the gym?
What DOES matter is that you’re taking action and focused on your own growth – all without looking over your shoulder and comparing yourself to others.
THAT’S confidence – and everyone will see that.
And training your mind to withstand these external forces is easier than it seems.
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