In this blog post, I’m going to be talking about why confidence is so important, my journey and tips for you to become more confident. It’s not easy and I wouldn’t even say I’m a confident person, but I guess I just give less of a shit now what other people think of me.
This is so cliche and basically said all the time but life is too short! One day you might die (ok you will just trying not to be too morbid) and if you were to watch your life back at the end of it – you would wish that you just did the things you wanted to do, wore what you wanted to wear and were the person you wanted to be without caring what others think of you.
Why you need to work on your confidence?
For me, I really think confidence would be the answer to all of my problems. You need it for job interviews, relationships, friendships, and loads of other reasons. I am someone who worries and gets nervous about absolutely everything so it comes a lot less naturally to me. This is why I have to work hard at stepping out of my comfort zone.
We feel comfortable around confident people and they are always easy to make friends with because they put themselves out there. However, if you’re a worrier like me it can be really difficult, and you might be reading this like yeah right, like I could ever be confident? But you can, firstly you have to try and see what you can do about the things you worry about most.
It’s easy for me to say stop caring what people think of you, but that would mean unlearning so many taught behaviours.
Why confidence doesn’t come naturally to so many of us
The reason so many of us lack confidence and try to please others is because we are culturally taught that we need to. Through advertising, we are told we need new makeup to change the way we look and cover our “flaws”. Have you ever thought, would I even notice this flaw if the media hadn’t pointed it out to me?
This society obsesses over thin bodies and marginalises curvy people. Body types, skin colour, who you love, the gender you identify as, nationalities, disabilities, age – these are all compartments of your identity yet some are more “accepted” than others.
Also, how often do you compare yourself to the people you see online or on TV? Do you ever wish you were them? We are so used to a certain way of looking and acting in our society that you kind of may not want to be any different at the risk of being too noticeable or worrying about how people will perceive you. This is all wrong! We should celebrate our differences and just not worry about what anyone else will think.
If there are people in your life who will change their opinion of you if you start being yourself then I’m sorry, but fuck them! It’s time we start learning this at a young age I think. I am 31 and know I have a long way to go before feeling fully confident. But at school, I’d mostly just try to fit in and stay under the radar and pretend to like things I didn’t so that people wouldn’t think I’m weird. This is wrong again, and I do think younger generations are definitely getting better when it comes to accepting other people.
I could talk about so many things, but basically, the world we live in makes it really difficult for us to be confident in who we are. This is why we all have to actively step up and really try to take charge of our own identities. For the sake of our own mental health, but also encouraging others to do the same and looking out for their mental health too.
Steps to gaining more confidence
Now full disclaimer, I have already said I am not a particularly confident person and I’m not some sort of mental health professional who can really help you sort your life out. These are just tips that I have used to really become happier within myself and have made me more confident in social situations.
1. Stop focusing on the person you should be, and start focusing on the person you are – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
It sounds obvious, but honestly when you let go of what people and society expect of you and just start doing you and what makes you happy, you will feel a lot better. This is quite a challenge, and as I said earlier, it will take a lot of unlearning of things you knew, but it is vital!
2. Fake it ’til you make it
If you really lack confidence but need it for things like job interviews etc… then really just practice acting confident. You have heard the term practice makes perfect? Just take your time trying to act like a confident person and eventually this will become habitual.
I have been in the process of this lately. one thing that terrifies me is talking on the phone. I will email, text, DM my way out of phone calls any day but as I am adulting, I need to pick up the phone for things more. It still scares me but before each call with someone I don’t know, I have a little word with myself like come on you know what you’re saying you can do it.
I’ve had a similar thing with Imposter Syndrome a lot too, thinking I’m not good enough for things I do or don’t have enough followers to be reaching out to a brand to work with them. For this, I just have to think twice and kind of give myself advice that other people would give me. Like, you wouldn’t have this job if you weren’t qualified for example.
3. Let go of your fear of rejection
Something that stops a lot of people feeling confident is a fear of rejection. This is a scary one because the way to get over a fear of rejection is to expose yourself to it more. Nobody likes rejection, it’s human nature, but it shouldn’t get in the way of our happiness.
I am watching reality show about finding love at the moment and have seen so many people get rejected on live TV, which some people may think is tragic but it’s really not. It’s all about how they handle it. If they have been rejected and they take it with pride, like oh well I stayed true to myself that’s ok, don’t you have a lot more respect for them than if they were to go off on one? So reactions are key!
Another time we can face a lot of rejection is applying for jobs. Honestly, applying for grad jobs after just finishing university was the most I have ever been rejected in my life. Was this because I wasn’t capable of doing the job? No. Is this how it made me feel at times? Of course! Then, I did secure a job and remembered how hard it is at the moment and that it is not to do with me.
4. There is only room for uplifting people in your life
In your life, if you put it simply, there are people who make you feel good when you spend time with them, and then there are people who don’t. My advice is to only focus on the people who make you feel good. You may even find cutting toxic, negative people out of your life really beneficial and freeing. Each time I have done this, I have been so much happier!
Who you spend your time with is SO important for your mental health, I can’t even tell you. There is no room in your life for people who want to put you down or don’t want to see you shine. Bin them off. Obviously if possible, some toxic people might be in your workplace or even in your family.
Good friendships are ones with people who want to see you grow. They are happy for your successes, not jealous or trying to put you down. They celebrate you and whatever differences you may have from them and you leave them feeling refreshed, rather than drained.
How has your journey to confidence been going? What advice would you give to your younger self? Also think, what advice would your future self give you right now? Think about your idols and what makes them have the confidence that they do.
Have you seen my latest video on YouTube? This is like my secret sauce, my secret weapon, as an introvert, a shy person who doesn’t naturally talk to a camera. This actually works for recording YouTube videos. It works for attending a conference or a public gathering of any kind and even works for public speaking. And the tip is to simply PRETEND. Pretend that you’re not a shy introvert. What would it look like if you just showed up on camera as a confident person? If you could pretend to be an extrovert, nobody knows the difference. Nobody knows that you feel awkward or that you don’t feel confident or that you’re actually an introvert.
All they know is what you show them. So show them that you’re confident. Ultimately, though, you don’t have to be comfortable on camera in order to create a video. And in fact, I challenge you to be confident in the uncomfortable. Find confidence in the uncomfortable. You know, when you take just one little step outside of your comfort zone, your comfort zone gets bigger.