I’ve had the idea of writing a blog post on how to be more confident for a while now, but every time I sit down to write it, something feels off and I think today, for the first time, I understand why that is. I’ve always had a strange relationship with confidence. I’ve never been unconfident exactly, but I’ve never been very confident either. Over the last few years I’ve made a huge effort to learn how to be more confident. And I grew, massively, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s only in the last few months that I’ve started to be able to say I’ve truly felt more confident – all thanks to one little mindset shift. Let’s go through this journey together, shall we?
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Bernard M. Baruch
First, how NOT to be more confident
When I first set out learning about how to be more confident, I had an image in mind and used this as my definition of a confident person. I tried being louder, more outgoing, more spontaneous, but it never quite hit the spot. I was expecting some magical, glittery epiphany where I’d wake up confident and glowing in this new, shiny extrovert personality. Of course, this didn’t happen. I’d got it into my head that to be confident, you needed to be a certain type of person (spoiler alert: you don’t).
I lost myself and became a chameleon, shaping and moulding myself to fit everyone else in the room. Of course, I wasn’t doing this consciously, so I was left wondering.
Why did I only feel truly myself when I was alone?
Why couldn’t I bring that confidence to group situations?
Why did my ‘confidence’ never have the edge other peoples’ had?
Why did everyone always seem so perfectly ‘them’ when I felt so uncomfortably ‘me’?
In my shapeshifting form, I was missing the foundation of confidence: being who you are. I can be loud, outgoing and spontaneous, but not in the same way I was attempting. It’s not who I am and it’s not even who I wanted to be. Most of the time I’m pretty quiet, I like to listen, I like to share my ideas once I’ve thought them through, I enjoy time by myself and I make a lot of bad jokes that could never crack up a whole room. But I’ve learnt that I can be confident in those things.
Confident is a way of being, not a personality type.
I stopped searching for that shiny epiphany. I realised this path isn’t a miraculous overnight glow up, it’s a quiet transition that you walk every day as you learn, develop and create yourself. So, after the longest intro ever, let’s dive into how to be more confident (the right way, this time).
Quit the chameleon act
This is really really tricky. Mostly because I think a lot of us are blind to the fact that we even do this. It’s natural for us as humans to mirror each other, it’s how we learn and way back when, it would have been how we remained in with the caveman-crew, which at the time was the difference between life or death.
Today, it’s not that scary. Sure, rejection and negative feedback suck, but they’re not the end of the world and they’re certainly no reason to change who you are (provided you’re not hurting anyone, of course). Being a chameleon is a one-way ticket to feeling unconfident and, no better way of putting it than, ‘meh’.
Online, we have access to limitless amounts of people, groups and communities so if you don’t find community belonging in your life, reach out – I promise you, there’s a place for everyone.
As for internal belonging, that feeling will only come when you start to really be who you are. Accepting and loving it will come later, just like any relationship, it comes with comfort and time. It sounds too easy to be true, but being yourself every day can actually be pretty difficult. Once you start taking off your chameleon costume (I’m taking this metaphor all the way to the end), you’ll start to find layers of yourself you didn’t know were chameleon habits. Don’t let that put you off though, discovering who you are is the most important task of life.
Get to know yourself
So, the logical next step is asking, who are you really? This is a tricky question to just answer so it’s important to break it down and take your time with it. Oh, and be as honest as you possibly can be. It can be hard to admit that you have opinions or interests that vary wildly from those around you. But this is an exercise just for you. There are no wrong answers and your answers will definitely change over time, so don’t worry too much, just put down what you think right now.
Journal prompts to find out more about yourself:
- What are your core values/beliefs?
- What are your top five priorities?
- If you could live in another’s shoes, whose and why?
- What could you read about for hours on end?
- What could you teach others about?
- Which issues do you feel most strongly about?
- What are your main characteristics?
- What’s your favourite thing to do?
- Describe your ideal day. What does it look like?
- Who inspires you?
There are so many questions you could ask here so get curious and add some of your own (feel free to leave them in the comments too!).
Unlock your intuition
I’ve done a lot of digging into the idea of intuitive, intentional living this year. For my personal journey of self-discovery, slowly deconstructing the rules and filters I’d set up around my intuition has been a big focus. Especially today, in a world where we rely on step counts, conventions, alarms and clocks, it’s so easy to shush our intuition. We eat because it’s time to, rather than when we’re hungry, get up and walk around not because we feel we feel we need to, but because our tech tells us to, sleep and wake when we have to, not because we’re tired. That’s a side effect of modern life, but learning to listen to your intuition as much as possible, will help you become more happily you.
When you’re in sync with your intuition, you’ll feel more, be more trusting and aware of your hunches and thoughts, you’ll be wittier (you’re funnier than you might think), you’ll be able to figure out what you like and what you don’t (and why!) quicker and better in tune with what your body and mind need. We’ll talk about alignment later on, but trust me, getting in sync with your intuition is the biggest way to start feeling more yourself.
How? I have a whole blog post that dives into how to live more intuitively.
Once you’re working on your intuition, you might start finding yourself drawn to things or not-so-in-love with others. This is fine and completely normal! As you start to become more aware of how you feel towards things, you’ll discover places, things, people and roles in your life that don’t fit you anymore. It might seem scary, but it’s a chance to take a big step forward, closer to a more-you you.
When something sparks that fire in your belly, note it down, when something makes you uncomfortable, write it down, when something feels like it’s draining your energy, note it down. By giving these thoughts your full attention and taking the time to write them down, you’ll be teaching yourself that having these thoughts is a positive thing, soon they’ll be second nature.
Learn to act
But, of course, a thought is only as good as the action it provokes. Confidence comes from trusting yourself to act and the only way to learn to trust yourself is to see yourself do it. This doesn’t mean you have to act drastically off of one thought, but if you find yourself consistently unhappy at work, dreaming of a change in career, act on them!
When it comes to learning to act, there’s a golden duo of practices I try to keep in mind.
- Stand up for yourself
Whenever you voice an opinion or desire, there’s a chance people won’t be on your side. To be authentically yourself, you need to learn to voice those thoughts anyway and stand up for them if it’s needed. Of course, compromise is important, and this also isn’t a cause for being stubborn, it just means speaking up when you need to and not backing down when something doesn’t feel right. This isn’t about enforcing your ideas, just making sure you’re heard.
- Deal with things as soon as they come up
Stop the ball rolling before it hits a spiral. Confidence comes from being sure of yourself AND acting on it. Chucking yourself in at the deep end is the best way to do this. This is proof to yourself that you’re able to trust yourself and give yourself what you need straight away. Once you trust yourself, confidence is easy.
And that, for now, is all the insight I have into growing your confidence. I’m still nurturing it myself, as I’m sure each of us always will be, but hopefully, this gives both of us a start. It’s not about being confident, it’s about being you. Authentically, honestly, unapologetically you, for the betterment of you and the betterment of the world.
Bless the world with all you have to offer. Love, Ella-Rose xx