One of the things I've figured out over the last few months is that self-confidence is a choice. You can either be confident, or not, but it's all about attitude and how you choose to live your life. Sure, overcoming fears and moving outside your comfort zone have a lot to do with it, but in my humble, not-so-expert opinion, it really boils down to three things. To be self-confident, you have to accept yourself, believe in yourself, and care for yourself.
Let me ask you a question:
How easily do you accept yourself?
If you asked me that question a year ago, I would have said "not very, but I'm learning." Now, I think I'm a lot more accepting of myself and I have the expectation that others will accept me just as I am too. I couldn't have said that before.
Accepting yourself is not something that comes easily to a lot of women I think. It's easy to accept that no one is perfect, but we're not no one, are we? Women of my generation and those that came before were conditioned to believe that we should be perfect -- perfect daughters, perfect wives, perfect mothers.
I know that a big part of my lack of self-acceptance came from my own mother. I had buck-teeth when I was younger, and was always made to feel like I was less than perfect in her eyes. I wasn't cuddly enough when I was a baby; I wasn't pretty enough when I was a young girl, and as I got older it got worse. In fact, after she passed away I was given a letter that had been included in her will telling me how much of a disappointment I was as a daughter. Even as much as ten years after she died I was still trying to live up to her expectations.
It took me a long time to accept that I was never going to be that domestic goddess my mother thought I should be. I'm way too much of a tomboy for that, and quite frankly, I like it that way!
The first step to self-confidence comes from accepting your own uniqueness and embracing it for all you're worth! And you are worth a lot, in case you were thinking otherwise! After all, if you don't love and accept yourself first, it makes it awfully hard for anyone else to. It also makes it very hard for you to believe in your abilities and to live up to your potential.
Believe In Yourself
Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~ Norman Vincent Peale
For so many women, lack of self-confidence goes hand in hand with a lack of self-esteem. Because when you don't accept yourself, it's really hard to believe that you can do anything well.
Here's an example from my own life. You may or may not know that I've been designing websites since 1997. I think I'm pretty darned good at it, and so do the people whose sites I've done. Yet, I continually (even now) find myself deferring to people who have a lot less experience that I do, thinking that they're better than me and therefore they have more right to speak about it than I do. All you have to do is see how long it took me to actually start writing about website design and social media to realize that believing in my own abilities is still a work in progress.
But enough about me.
One of the best ways you can start changing those negative thoughts that have you doubting yourself and your abilities is through positive affirmations. If you tell yourself often enough that you are good and what you do, and worthy of success, you will soon start to believe it.
Sure you may have setbacks once in awhile, but before long you will be believing in yourself and knowing that you can do anything you put your mind to.
Care For Yourself
Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. ~Parker Palmer
When I was at my lowest (okay, so I'm talking about me again), the last thing I wanted to do was care about myself. After all, if I was worthless, what was the point in taking care of myself?
Let me tell you -- it's that type of thinking that gets you a heart attack at age 40. And that's exactly what happened to me.
It is so important to take care of yourself FOR yourself. As women we are so conditioned (or at least we were) to believe that we have to take care of everyone else first.
It ain't true.
If you don't take care of yourself, you won't feel good about yourself.
If you don't feel good about yourself, you won't accept yourself.
If you don't accept yourself, you won't believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals and see your dreams come true.
Do you get the feeling we're going around in circles here?
You'd be right.
It's all related... accepting, believing, and caring for yourself are three parts of the whole package that's called self-confidence and self-esteem, and being the best possible you that you can be!