It’s hard out there being human. We’re bombarded with messages that tell us we’re not good enough, and we often end up believing it, too, in the name of someone making a buck.
I used to walk with slumped shoulders because I felt guilty for being tall, and didn’t want to make others uncomfortable with my existence. Just typing that feels cringey, but it was true. I dressed in drab colors I didn’t even like because I wanted to blend in, not cause a stir, or shine too bright. Needless to say, I was not confident.
Ten years, a lot of personal development, seven therapists, and plenty of life experience later I can say I do feel confident in my own skin, out in public, or in a group. I am comfortable and proud of the person I am and am becoming, and I accept myself for my mistakes and shortcomings. I walk (actually, I am told I strut) with my head held high, and can maintain eye contact easily, and I show up as myself in the world and if someone doesn’t like it, it’s really not a big deal. I am not for everyone. Neither are you. That’s ok.
Do I have bad days, or times when I second guess myself, or feel not good enough, thin enough, young enough, or whatever else the fuck makes up the ideal, never-aging, never-offending, ever-gorgeous, “perfect” woman? Yes. I still struggle on the regular, and get caught up in comparison traps and my own b.s.
For the most part, though, I’ve come out the other side, and have learned to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin.
People can sense confidence in others. It’s not arrogance, or bragging about your accomplishments. It’s not recklessly driving fancy cars or flaunting designer goods. It’s not being the loudest person in the room whose talking the most. It’s not finally getting a six pack, or a million followers. Confidence doesn’t exist in the external. It’s something that happens between you and you, that you build from the inside out.
How can you feel more confident? I’ve compiled a list of my top seven tips to feel more confident, whether it’s long term changes or quick, easy ways you can feel more confident anywhere.
Seven ways to feel more confident:
Stand up straight. Practice good posture. Check yourself in the mirror so you know what it feels like. Hold your head high and gaze ahead of you. Imagine your head is being pulled up by a string. Bring your shoulders back, even if it feels like you’re sticking your chest. You’ll not only appear more confident to the outside world, but you’ll actually trick your brain into feeling more confident as well.
Research shows that when we stand or sit up straight, it actually improves our confidence and helps us feel more capable.
Our bodies communicate to our minds, so by simply improving your posture and appearing more confident, you’ll actually start to feel that way. Make it a habit and it will start to sink in.
Bonus: standing up straight also makes you look slimmer, taller, and more attractive.
Side note * It took me years to consistently improve my posture, and making it a habit takes practice. It takes more energy to stand tall, and you have to build the muscle memory for a while before it feels effortless. I still have to remind myself and check myself with it., even as I type this.
Just keep improving. Strengthen your core and back (especially with bodyweight exercises like Pilates and yoga) so it feels more effortless.
Try New Things That Scare You
Take the class, go on the date, take yourself to a restaurant alone, learn the sport, start the blog, go after the thing you want, move to a new city, go to therapy. Repeatedly doing the things that you want (that also scare you a little) will build up your confidence and you’ll be reminded that you are a strong, capable woman who is always evolving and getting better and better each day.
Do the thing. You’ll live a more interesting life and gain confidence in the process.
Nobody gets more confident by snacking on the couch to reality TV. I love a little couch potato action as much as the next person, but it’ll do you and your confidence good to shake up your routine a little.
Read Personal Development Books
This is one of those things that’s so easy and accessible, and it really was a turning point in my life. While there are some more credible books and authors than others, reading research based, credible books that challenge your thought processes and encourage you to think healthier thoughts, build healthier habits, and make positive changes in your life will offer you inspiration, motivation, and a lot of tools and tricks to lean on.
Reading personal development books will quite literally help you develop yourself and give you actionable steps to become the person you want to be.
Maybe you don’t have the support from people in your life to make positive changes. Books can offer you that support until you find people who are on the same page as you.
I don’t mean you need to get super shredded and lean, or even look a certain way, but getting in shape, and improving things like your running time, learning new sports, gaining flexibility, gaining strength, etc. will give you a confidence boost not only because you’ll start to look and feel better, but because you’ll be able to actually see real progress you’re making.
It’s really awesome to see your running time get a little faster, to learn how to surf or skate, or to be able to use heavier weights or even learn to do your first pull up. It’s way more satisfying (and effective) than simply logging in the same thirty minutes on the elliptical every day.
Focusing on performance based fitness goals will remind you that health isn’t just about looks, and you’ll feel more confident in your capable, strong body, and be reminded that you can reach the goals you set out for yourself.
Ironically enough, focusing on improved performance over hours logged often creates a more dramatic physical change anyways.
You’ll likely feel better about the way you look, as well as giving yourself a boost of endorphins.
Taking care of your body says to yourself and the world, “I am worthy of good things. I am a precious fucking gem and I deserve to be cared for.” You are a precious fucking gem, girl. Act like it.
Work on Your Mental Health
Ooof, this one is tough, I know. It’s sticky, it’s a little smelly, and you’d probably rather drink a sardine smoothie than call up a therapist, but hear me out:
Working on your mental health is one of those things that is really uncomfortable in the short term, but makes you infinitely MORE comfortable in the long term. Kind of like working out.
We all have our shit, believe me, and it’s 1000% worth it to take a look at it, clean it up, own it, and work on finding healthy coping mechanisms.
Often we don’t realize the limiting beliefs we are subconsciously holding on to that are keeping us stuck. Usually these beliefs aren’t even our own, but some b.s. we learned and picked up from childhood and other, wounded people.
Therapy is one way to work on this. I’ve seen seven therapists, and while they were all beneficial, some helped me take baby steps whereas others helped me make huge strides. Finding someone you connect with and are comfortable with is important. Not all therapists are good therapists.
I personally love BetterHelp because I can enjoy the benefits of therapy from the privacy of my own home (or car, or hotel, or even the middle of the woods.) BetterHelp also lets you discreetly switch therapists if the first, second or third one you try isn’t a match. It’s also $45 a week for unlimited talk and text, and you can start and stop whenever.
There’s also life coaches, group therapy, art therapy, and plenty of free resources out there to help you work on your mental health.
Everyone can benefit from therapy. Life is weird and hard. Going to therapy doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it makes you human, and in fact, it makes you a human trying to be a better human. The world needs more of those.
A good therapist or coach will help you uncover the subconscious limiting stories and beliefs that may be derailing your confidence and goals. It’s so valuable to get a trusted, objective perspective to help us see the ways in which we self sabotage.
Be Your Biggest Fan
You have to look in the mirror into your own eyes and fucking love and accept what you see there, flaws and all.
When no one “gets” what you are doing, or wearing, or creating, you have to stand by your side, and say, “I get it. I think you’re awesome.”
You have to believe in yourself, in your art, in your gifts, and your abilities. You have to believe you deserve all the things you say you want.
You have to feel proud of yourself for how far you’ve come. People come and go. Support waxes and wanes. Be your own ride or die. Be your biggest fan, not your biggest critic.
Commit to being a life long learner. Learn new sports, new skills, learn about different topics. If you’re curious about something, get in the habit of doing some research.
Read books. Watch YouTube tutorials. Take courses. Learning new things will remind you that you are never too old to learn something new or change course, and that you can do what you set your mind to.
Continuing to learn is continuing to grow, and when we grow, we feel proud and confident.
Own your quirks, your weirdness, your flaws. Learn to laugh at yourself. Wear clothes that make you happy even if others think they are “out there” or “too much.” Own your weird interests and hobbies, your self help books, the nerd in you. Own your mistakes and failures and life experience.
Changing yourself to be liked is so boring and not to mention, really unhealthy. Owning who you are, and letting the chips fall where they may is the ultimate act of confidence.