“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
So, lets talk about confidence. Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all. What is Self-Confidence? For me it refers to the assuredness in your own worth, ability and power no matter what situation you find yourself in. A confident person has a strong sense of belief and certainty in themselves as well as being calm, composed and self aware.
Also consider self esteem. To me having positive self-esteem means, in essence, that you like and accept yourself. If you have low self-esteem you may think you aren't 'good enough', that people don't like you or that you need to change yourself. Feeling like this can affect the way you live your life and can hinder you from reaching your full potential.
But, don't be fooled, even a confident person (which I see myself to be, although used to be as shy as a mouse and wouldn't talk to anyone, now you can’t shut me up and I enjoy public speaking. Crazy huh!?) can also have those moments of lacking or uncertainty, even me I am just very good and putting on a front. Do you know why? We are HUMAN.. thats the beauty of it, perfectly imperfect so take a deep breath and be aware of that even if you don't see them we all have a wobble and take knocks and know it is ok to have them too. Those knocks only push you to get back up and grow as a person and in confidence so always see the positive. They happen for a reason. I never used to be confident even if I appeared to be (deep down I am a big softy who loves to make others feel good and happy, my friends and family would tell you that but this side doesn't always show), honestly, but I have actively worked on this and its so worth dedicating the time to it!
Also, just because for example I didn't feel as confident yesterday, no way does it mean that today I wont be back to my usual self. It happens a lot for one reason or another. For example; if I am having one of those silly ‘girl’ days I like to call them where a cuddle and some dark chocolate with peanut butter surrounded by your favourite people wouldn't go a miss (my best friend knows all, Nicky, if you read this you are wonder woman, my voice of reason and a one in a million best friend amongst some of my other best friends!) and then there are other where you feel like you could take on the world - always remember how you feel on those days and the days you feel less so its an important learning curve.
Its funny, as I sit here and think about all the times I feel less confident because perhaps the projects i have on aren't moving forward fast enough or I have had to change path on something, I feel so far away from a goal, even an opinion from some else making me feel not worthy, almost useless and incompetent (never ever allow others to make you feel that I have learnt to tackle that one and remember they only shoot you down because they aren't truly happy or confident in themselves or they could be jealous!) or sometimes there is no real reason, my natural response is the peanut butter jar or nutella to make me initially feel better (as you know I am obsessed) and then because theres nothing worse than feeling rubbish, that goes straight back in the cupboard and its time to take action.. we all hate that the feeling of being unproductive and like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders.
“With realization of one’s own potential & self confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” ~Dalai Lama
So what do I do when I feel less confident?
Put your headphones in and go and hit that session with everything you have with one thing in mind … You are stronger than you think, never give up and lift that bar and go chase a PB. You ALWAYS feel better after a workout because of all the endorphins that are released. I always feel it refocuses my mind and refreshes everything and allows me to see a new perspective. Going to the gym isn't all about aesthetics its about transforming YOU mentally, making you feel good from the inside out, making you feel strong, sexy (yes who doesn't want that and with that feel confident naked!) I said it but you know its right up there. IF you feel better on the inside it shows no the outside… increasing confidence - aesthetics are a bonus from eating well and training smart.
When you feel confident about your body you are more likely to feel confident in other aspects of your life, this goes in hand with nutrition.
- Eat well.
Good nutritious food not only makes you feel good, it also gives you brain power to chase those dreams. Eating well doesn't have to be boring. Take time to learn how to cook your favourite foods, this in itself makes you feel good and actually its totally satisfying.
Lets look at this in a bit more detail. The idea that food can affect our mood and behaviour isn't new and research shows fascinating links between what we eat and mental health. When it comes to confidence and self-esteem, considering your diet and making any necessary changes can help to reduce anxiety, boost your mood and in turn help you feel better about yourself and more confident.
So, how you ask? It's all about getting the right balance of nutrients from foods which can help our mood and the way we feel. For example eating carbohydrate-rich foods make the brain receive more serotonin - a hormone that makes you feel positive, relaxed and confident. Too many foods or drinks that are high in sugar or caffeine however can cause mood fluctuations, which can leave you feeling lethargic, irritable and anxious.
I feel I could write forever on this so… maybe I will do a blog post separately or we will be here for ever. You get my gist.
Sounds silly? Anyone else feel lethargic and rubbish when they are slightly dehydrated. Even just 1% of dehydration can lower concentration and energy so get that water in - you will miles better inside and the results show on the outside through your skin, hair and nails as well as your energy levels.. feel good = more confident!
- Take time to learn who you are!!
Strengths, weaknesses the lot. Note them down, and work on them. Realise your true potential and accept your flaws. We all have them and thats what makes us unique so embrace them.
It might help to list five things you do well that you enjoy and five things you’d like to do well. Make an effort to utilise some of the first list and work on some of the second every day. As you use your strengths and improve where there’s room to grow, you’ll develop both confidence and fulfillment simultaneously.
- Trust your capabilities.
You know that saying ‘always say yes, learn how to do it later’? You are capable of mind blowing things if you apply yourself and if you don't try or push yourself out of comfort zones how do you know.. you may have have a secret talent hidden away and it would be sad not to discover it. I always tell people you can do anything when you put your mind to it - trust me. Ive done things I never thought I could do but I achieved by going for it and saying yes to opportunities. Never stand still always keep moving, experience and live life to the fullest. Grow up with stories to tell.
- Take risks.
I am a risk taker, I scare the life out of Mamma Holmes at times as she has no idea what I am going to come out with next, especially if I say.. ‘SO, I found a new challenge’ or ‘I have seen this and I am going to do it’ without a shadow of a doubt in my mind that I achieve it, even if its not the exact way I planned, I will get there. I get the eye rolling emoji look from her (although she is the best mum on this planet and I would never change that, she truly is one in a million - I am so lucky, she will support even my crazy ideas and not moan about taking over an entire cupboard full of PNB - true story that) but the way I see it is, you don't know until you try and if you want it enough you will succeed and this will give you confidence in yourself. Best things I have ever done is take risks in work, relationships, challenges, adventures or opportunities and you will always regret the chances you didn't take. To build the life I have now I took the biggest risk of my life at 20, it was the best thing I could have done 5 years ago and I plan to continue in this fashion in all areas - you succeed or you learn. I will always succeed.
- Face the fear.
Embrace the unknown. Similar to risk taking, always do the things you don't want to because out of that you not only gain valuable experience and knowledge you will also overcome some hurdles and this in itself will help with your confidence to know you can deal with whatever life throws at you. Remember also, life only gives you as much as you can handle in one go.. even through those times you feel life is unfair, try see the light at the end of the tunnel. Keep your positive pants on and keep focussing. With bad times, good is always around the corner.. without the lows you don't appreciate the highs. No risk is a waste of time. If it didn't work, that path isn't for you and you will be led down a much better one.
- Next, something I admit I am awful at, receiving praise or compliments.
Every time i have that awkward smile followed by a ‘Thank You’ to be polite but it is important to learn how to accept them in take them on board. it’s amazing how easy it is to believe all the negative things people say and yet discredit the positive… Taking a compliment is an art. Sometimes, it’s instinctive to assume they’re just being nice or that maybe you aren’t really skilled—you just got lucky. Occasionally, this may be true, but for the most part you earn the praise you receive. Don’t talk yourself out of believing it. Instead, recycle it into confidence. You did a fantastic job on your project at work; that means you can do it again. You had an amazing performance; that means you can trust you’re talented. Other people want you to succeed. Now you just have to believe them when they show you you’re worthy.
- Practise makes progress.
Practise your confidence with friends, family and those you meet. Replace those feelings of uncertainty and know what you are saying and thinking are true to you. One of my favourite quotes here is ‘believe in yourself so strongly that everyone else has no choice but to believe in you to’. Key example, when I was 19 i was very unwell, hospitalised and unsure of what was ahead even the doctors did not fill me with confidence (bare in mind when I was 15 I was told I wouldn't make 30, I am now 25 and I am determined I will be here until i am at least 87) I made a promise to myself. For as long as I have the control, I am going to make sure I am never going to be in this position again. Guess what, I haven't been - I realise each story is different when it comes to illness but this is mine. That day, I sat, focused my mind and made two lists, one my bucket list (blog post on this soon) two, what I want to achieve and who aspire to be - although this is always changing as I always want to better myself when I reach a milestone. I believed so much I could achieve whats on that paper that I went out and grabbed my goals with two hands a ran and never looked back because I made sure i told myself all the time I could achieve anything I put my mind to. My proudest moment to date is summited Mount Kilimanjaro last year as this was the biggest thing in my list. There were plenty of doubters or those who thought I was crazy (even doctors) but i wasn't leaving until I had done a couple of burpees on the top. Video evidence on my instagram. But what I am saying here is practise and believe in YOURSELF.
“Nothing builds self-esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”
Above all, remember you are capable and worthy—just as much as anyone else, regardless of what you’ve achieved, regardless of what mistakes you’ve made or what has happened in the past to knock you down. Knowing that intellectually is the first step to believing it in your heart. Believing it is the key to living it. And living it is the key to reaching your potential.
I do love a quote as you can tell from this post so I am going to leave you with this last one. One that I always remind myself of and one my best friend also now lives by and recently had tattooed on my foot (an by request from a few blog post coming on all my tattoos soon)
‘An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means its going to launch you into something great. so just focus and keep aiming’