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When you think of self-confidence, who do you imagine? Michelle O Bama? Taylor Swift? or do you picture someone in your class or on social media? What is it about them that defines confidence for you? Do you think they are beautiful or perfect?

Is confidence an appearance or is it an action? Sometimes we compare ourselves to others and think they have it all. They may talk outwardly in groups or dress a certain way. Is this an illusion or are they in fact the true epitome of confidence? Do they really believe in what they are saying? We can try to appear more confident by dressing a certain way, but confidence is more than appearance. It is a feeling. It is not always built from success, sometimes it takes failure to build confidence. Life’s ups and downs help us to build resilience.

What can help “build” our self-confidence? If we win a race, or pluck up the courage to ask what we think is a stupid question in public, what does this do for our confidence? If we are praised or if someone tells us they are proud of us, does this give us more of a boost than winning the race or asking the question? Simply putting a smile on someone’s face can give us that feeling of “hey! I’m doing okay and should be kind to myself”!

Dua Lipa Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Kind actions or words change the way we view ourselves, which motivates us to keep going. If we give each other a helping hand, it can make us do things we never believed we could. We feel brave and strong, and this builds courage, which in turn is confidence boosting.

Confidence is linked to our values. For example, if I value kindness then I will refuse to tease the weaker individual. We may not feel confident in the moment but when we take time to reflect, we feel better in the knowledge that we stayed true to our beliefs. Confidence is therefore a by-product of us staying true to our values. This is tough in today’s world as we are surrounded by images sometimes not by choice, mainly on social media. We follow what we think we want to be, when in fact this is nibbling away at our self-esteem. We need to question what or who we follow and how it affects our mindsets.

When I think back to my growth from adolescence to adulthood, my confidence was put into question over and over. I still evaluate where I am with my confidence on a regular basis. Depending on the life event my self-belief can rise and fall. I stay true to my values and secure in the knowledge that I have been here before and survived. I remind myself of how that happened. What support did I turn to? How did I take care of myself? What was my inner dialogue? How did I alter that?

Confidence Black Girl Magic GIF by ALLBLK (formerly known as UMC)

Instead of looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are confident, why don’t you think about what self-confidence means to you and how you have demonstrated it in the last 24 hours? Confidence doesn’t always have to be about achieving, it can be a demonstration of the self-awareness to know your limits and boundaries. Maybe it was admitting you were afraid or saying no to attending a social event. We can see this as weak. By being true to ourselves we can rack up more of a confidence score.  On the flip side, it might be better if we push ourselves into social situations. Attending even though we feel insecure, may help us find a feeling of belonging.

Sometimes we are our greatest enemy in how we grade our confidence. It can hold us back from saying what we think or staying true to what we really want. There is a degree of honesty that goes with confidence and sometimes it’s easier to be a liar! We can be so hard on ourselves and knock our own confidence. Remember to ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen and remind yourself that when things don’t go to plan it does not mean you are a failure. In fact, you are far from a failure you are writing your own story and it’s one you will want to read in years to come.

When we put our minds to it, we can do extraordinary things.

Here is my self-confidence tool kit. I hope it helps;

  1. Be kind to yourself.
  2. Surround yourself with positive people.
  3. Stay true to your opinions and beliefs.
  4. Take one action at a time and ask for help along the way.
  5. Practice self-care-exercise, meditation, listening to music, whatever it is that helps you unwind and restore energy levels.

 

This piece was written by one of our lovely community members, Denise Hennessey. Thanks, Denise x

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