When you think about how to build confidence and self-esteem, what comes to mind? Visualization? Faking it ’till you make it? Or maybe just simply getting a new haircut?
While all three of those may work for different people, they aren’t going to work for everyone.
So what’s a mom to do?
And why is it even important at this point in your life?
First, let’s talk about self-confidence versus self-esteem.
“Your degree of confidence, called self-confidence, is the trust or faith that you have in yourself and your abilities. Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself.” –Psychologist Anywhere Anytime
Although different, today we’re going to group them in together a bit.
Self-confidence and self-esteem go hand in hand. As you grow one, the other should naturally grow as well.
Trusting your own abilities and having faith in yourself stems from having a positive image of yourself.
How Can a Lack of Confidence Affect Your Life?
A lack of confidence will rob you of opportunity in every area of your life.
Sounds kind of harsh doesn’t it?
But think about it:
If you don’t believe you’re good enough for the promotion or bonus at your job, it will pass you by every time.
You’ll never take the leap of faith that it takes to change careers to something that would be a better fit for you because you don’t believe that you can actually do it.
Fear of pursuing love or feeling unworthy of love will prevent you from taking risks and meeting new people.
Hesitation to disclose and deepen relationships with other people because you don’t feel like you can be yourself in social situations will keep friendships at arms length.
You miss out on conversations for fear of saying the wrong thing.
You’ll always question your worth.
You’ll always look at others with longing for what they have and who they are. Competition will rule your life, and you’ll fall short every time.
You put yourself at risk of depression and anxiety.
Your intimate relationship will never be fully enjoyed because you always doubt your husband’s opinion of you.
You’ll find yourself distanced from everyone, including your kids.
Your children will mirror you. Not your words.
You can tell them day in and day out that outer beauty doesn’t matter and that they are brilliant and valuable, but you invalidate it all every time they hear you call yourself “worthless” or “fat.”
Who do you want your children to be? Do you want them to mirror your insecurities or your strengths?
“Many factors affect the development of self-confidence. Parents’ attitudes are crucial to children’s feelings about themselves, particularly in children’s early years. When parents provide acceptance, children receive a solid foundation for good feelings about themselves. If one or both parents are excessively critical or demanding, or if they are overprotective and discourage moves toward independence, children may come to believe they are incapable, inadequate, or inferior. However, if parents encourage children’s moves toward self-reliance and accept and love their children when they make mistakes, children will learn to accept themselves and will be on their way to developing self-confidence.” –Psychologist Anywhere Anytime
It starts early, mama, and it starts with you finding your confidence first.
Let’s be real. You don’t have to do all of these to become a more confident person. Start by working on 2-3 this week and start adding new tactics as the old ones become more comfortable. Now let’s get to it.
Confidence in Yourself
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, well duh, Lace, but hear me out.
How often have you been crushed by a simple, thoughtless comment? Or maybe the pretty new girl at work made you feel inferior just because you felt that she was more attractive than you?
It’s time to stop letting external circumstances control what’s happening internally. Oh, and stop letting those internal negative thoughts drive you into the ground. You’ve gotta get control of those too.
Here are some activities to try:
Spend some time alone to reflect, clear your mind, and let your heart breathe.
Take time to find yourself and find comfort in knowing who you are.
Take care of yourself. Know yourself well enough to know what you need regarding self-care and relationships. Take the time to fill your own cup and cultivate yourself. Do not tolerate being talked down to or treated badly. You deserve more, and you are the only one that can determine that.
Think for yourself. Maybe you’ve been raised in a certain religion or with certain beliefs. Maybe you conform to the people around you. You need to dig down and pinpoint why you believe what you believe.
Take care of your physical appearance.
Visualize the person you want to be, and start taking steps to become that person.
While the first two areas can be worked on privately, this area will take some guts to put into motion.
So many people deal with social anxiety, and that fact in and of itself should give you a little peace.
You are not the only one.
In fact, I’d guess that if you took a day to step outside of yourself and really watch other people you would see a lot of insecurities leaking out of just about every single person.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you to find confidence in this arena. It means that you actually have a really great shot at exuding confidence if you’ll just adjust your mindset a bit.
Give these a shot:
Understand that someone’s opinion of you is none of your business (Thanks to Rachel Hollis, author of Girl, Wash Your Face for that amazing reminder! If you haven’t read Girl, Wash Your Face yet, pop over to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself. This is my go-to gift for every woman.)
Don’t let others dictate who you are or what you can do.
Accept compliments without deflecting or self-deprecating.
Give compliments freely and sincerely.
Visualize yourself in social situations as someone who is comfortable and confident and start working to be that person.
Understand you can’t control how other people react to you, only how you present yourself.
You are not what you do – be able to separate yourself from your job, your advice, etc. when you’re rejected. You can’t let rejection dictate the amount of confidence you have in yourself.
Be aware of your body language and nervous habits. Actively work to project confident body language.
Surround yourself with the people who fill your cup and cut ties (or at least reduce the amount of time spent) with negative people.
Learn to be Uncomfortable
Growth doesn’t come naturally or easily. Growth comes from purposeful, intentional actions and decisions.
And sometimes the act of growing is going to be downright uncomfortable.
If you want to build your confidence, you’re going to have to get a little more comfortable with being a little uncomfortable. The more you slip in and out of the discomfort, the more you’ll find that you welcome the challenge.
That’s called confidence, my dear.
Fighting to build confidence is a daily struggle. You’re going to deal with situations and conversations every day that will make you question your worth and ability.
This isn’t going to happen overnight.
You need to practice confidence daily by consistently working to break old habits and replace them with more productive ones.