Feeling confident is such a funny thing. Sometimes it feels so readily available to us and sometimes it feels eons away. But that makes sense, right? Confidence is a feeling, just like joy, love, happiness, anger and sadness. Feelings come and go, so it’s normal and natural to have fluctuating levels of confidence on a given day and in doing certain activities. This is good news – if there’s something you don’t feel confident doing right now, your ability to become confident in that same area is infinite. It’s not like we’re born with a fixed level of confidence that you either have or don’t have and then are forced to walk through life that way.
Still, what happens when we’re not feeling confident? What do we do then?
Begin With An Assessment
Before you do anything, assess where your confidence level is and remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with you for not feeling as confident as you might have hoped. You are whole, worthy and enough, whether or not you feel confident. All of your feelings are valid, whatever they may be. By allowing yourself to recognize that what you’re experiencing is normal, you can stop beating yourself up for your lack of confidence and instead focus on how you want to build that confidence up.
There are two methods that I love to use to strengthen that confidence muscle: the quick and dirty confidence boost, and the long-lasting shift in confidence.
A Quick Fix
Let’s start with the quick and dirty. Here are some quick and easy fixes to increase your confidence before going into a meeting you’re dreading, speaking in public, meeting your significant other’s parents, or beyond:
- Phone a friend. Call someone you trust who makes you feel great about yourself. Before you head into doing something where you might feel shaky, a pep talk from a friend or family member can tip the scales of confidence in your direction.
- Turn on your favorite song and dance. One of my favorite ways to hype myself up is to blast the Pointer Sisters’ “Jump For My Love” and dance around with total abandon.
- Put on clothes that make you feel like a bada**. Wear your favorite outfit when doing something where you may not feel your most comfortable. By dressing in a way that makes you feel great, you’re tipping the scales of confidence in your direction.
- Take a moment of quiet. Inhale and exhale slowly and deeply and envision things going exactly as you want them to. I have found that more often than not, when I envision things with the best case scenario occurring, it does! And at a minimum, it decreases my anxiety and stress and increases my confidence before going into a given situation.
- Go do something that makes you feel amazing. We all have things we’re good at and even if you wouldn’t admit them in public, you know what they are. Before going and doing something where you’re feeling shaky and nervous, get out there and do those activities that make you feel amazing. It could be running, latte art, a dance class, creating a spreadsheet. Seriously – anything that makes you feel good, go and do that before entering into the activity where you’re feeling less confident.
The Root Of The Problem
However, when you have more time and you’re looking for that confidence to be long-lasting, you can do more of a deep dive. By figuring out where your lack of confidence originates, you’re more likely to create change at the source and experience more confidence more often.
Start by asking yourself some questions:
- Why don’t I feel confident in this situation or overall?
- Is it something that happened in the past?
- Is something triggering me?
Ruminate on your answers either by journaling, sitting with yourself quietly or, if you’re a verbal processor like me, reaching out to someone you trust (a friend, family member or mental health professional) and start to unpack where this lack of confidence is coming from. By getting to the root of your lack of confidence it will be easier to start to build your confidence in this specific scenario and others.
Once you have the answers to those questions, visualize. What does the “Confident You” look like? What would be different if you felt confident in a given situation? How would you respond and act? What would look different about you? How would it feel? And most importantly, ask yourself: what is holding me back from being that version of myself? Write all of this down and read it back, come back to it often. When you start to visualize your confident self you will more readily be able to access those feelings and embody that confidence.
Confidence Is A Mindset
I was not always a confident person and still feel less confident in certain areas of my life or in doing certain things —that’s just called being human. However, I’ve learned that by using these methods I can tap into my confidence when I need it most. Reaching out to my people, doing things I’m great at, looking back at my past, and visualizing what I want in my future have all increased my levels of confidence exponentially.
You can do this, whatever “this” is. You are a worthy being just as you are without even brushing your teeth in the morning. You can access confidence, you are resilient and amazing. The only thing stopping you from feeling everything you want to be feeling is your mindset and thankfully, that’s something you can change. I believe in you.