I wanted to tie this post in with one of my other recent posts about why I refuse to airbrush. Mainly because it’s all well and good me telling you my opinion on why we shouldn’t feel the need to do it without giving some advice on how we can actually feel confident in the first place and therefore feel less of a need to actually do it. I’m going to give a little warning here; a lot of what you’re about to read is definitely easier said (or read) than done so please don’t feel bad if you don’t feel you can achieve these changes or that the end result is too far away for you right now. That’s okay.
Firstly, it will actually take some work. If you’re not a confident person, whether that’s in talking to people/audiences or within yourself about your appearance, you’re not going to suddenly wake up one morning and be a lot happier with the way you look or be able to take on a crowded expo. No, it takes some real life changes to see a difference. So ask yourself this question first – do I want to be happier? Most of us lacking in self-confidence will say yes to this and so if that’s what you want, you need to make it happen.
Guess what? The only person who can do this is you so I hope by reading this blog post, you can take some control over the things that make you unhappy and start doing things that will make you a more confident version of yourself.
Not everything works for everyone and I’m no expert – these are just the things that I have found helpful for me that you might want to learn from. I’m by no means there yet either, but slowly and surely I’m feeling myself become a lot happier.
Start slow. Baby steps people! You don’t want to dive right in at the deep-end so just start with listing out the things that make you unhappy. This might be your job, it might be the way you look (what don’t you like about the way you look, weight, teeth, hair?) or it might be the people in your life (or virtual life – it’s amazing how people you don’t know via Instagram that can actually be making you unhappy).
Then write out what does make you happy – you’re partner, your legs, your flat stomach, where you live etc…. now don’t touch this list – you just want to add to it.
We all like a good list and writing out those things that make you unhappy means you can start to tick them off one by one and create an action plan. Let’s say your teeth really affect your confidence (they certainly did for me a while ago). What can you actually do about them? If it’s how straight they are, put down an action to go and see some Invisalign dentists and enquire about payment plans – if this is totally out of your reach, maybe research cheaper options out there? It really depends how much this particular feature bothers you, if you find it debilitating then it’s worth making sacrifices to ‘invest in your confidence’.
If in your mind it’s not worth the money or doesn’t feature highly on your list then cross it out and don’t worry about the things that you can’t change right now.
That last point is really key – don’t worry about things you can’t change. I’ve hated my short legs for years and wish so often that then were longer but there is literally nothing I can do about this so instead I find ways to make them look longer – you’ll often see me in heels or high waisted shorts, for example. Moaning about it doesn’t get me anywhere, embracing those ickle pins and working out how to style myself to improve my confidence in that area is a much better use of my energy.
So cross out anything on that unhappy list that you can’t do anything about.
You’ll notice that a lot of what I’m saying is about doing rather than thinking. That’s because you need to take action to take control. If you’re not happy in your job (been there!) then make an action plan to update your CV. Do you want a career change? What qualifications might you need to do this, you might need to save but the end result will be worth it – again, it’s about investing in you.
Actually I’m doing this right now, I quit my job to move to Bermuda with my husband and am using the opportunity to re-train in an area I’m a bit rusty in order to update my CV and move into a field of Marketing I love.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m extremely fortunate to be able to do this and a lot of people simply won’t have those opportunities fall into their lap but it is about turning things into an opportunity that is important. If someone at your work place leaves and a vacancy opens up that is in an area you want to move into, ask if there’s a possibility to train into the role – offer to pay for the study if you need to or suggest a ladder pay scale until you’re qualified – it might not happen but you don’t know if you don’t ask and things don’t have to be as black and white as ‘qualified for the job’ and ‘not qualified for the job’.
Next is probably the hardest – take away any crutches and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I’ll give you an example of how I did this recently. I have always been a glasses wearer and probably the biggest thing I hate about myself is the bags under my eyes (they’re genetic, they’re not from tiredness). When I wore contact lenses I would always cake on the concealer in order to feel confident going out – and even then I always felt everyone was staring at them. Imagine then getting laser eye surgery and not having those glasses around ever! They were my crutch I hid behind and they were gone and I felt vulnerable.
This was right before we moved to Bermuda and so I really had to embrace this change – I knew it was a good one overall. Anyway, I started off wearing sunglasses a lot more but would always leave a bare face at home and avoid looking in the mirror. But then I joined a new gym and realised I couldn’t do my morning Barre class in said sunglasses and didn’t want to wear make up either. So I have started not wearing makeup to the gym – for the first time without glasses and I’ve also noticed that getting the sun on my face doesn’t make them look as bad. Actually, removing the crutch has made me less self-conscious now than when I did wear glasses! It just took a bit of time. So remove any crutches that are not crutches at all – they are holding you back and push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and again.
My next tip is to do what makes you happy! This might seem contradictory in some ways to my last post but hey, if you want Botox, lip fillers, a fake tan, bigger boobs then don’t let anyone judge you for doing what is ultimately right for you. I would urge you to really think about whether those things will in fact make a difference though and perhaps talk to your partner and friends about it first (not the fake tan obvs!). My point is that we all need some things to make us feel more confident and THAT’S OKAY but also remember that no one is perfect and you don’t need to be either; accept and embrace the things that make you imperfect. For me having a tan makes me feel more confident so I reserve a little time in the week to work on it. My figure is really important to me and my confidence as well, it makes me proud of who I am and so I train regularly and eat well – not training and eating badly makes me unhappy so again I make an effort to incorporate this into my life. It’s amazing how one good week in the gym can suddenly make you feel really slim and toned right? This is where the happy list comes in – reserve time for the people on it or the things that make you feel better about yourself and then keep adding to it. You are your biggest and most important project and so always put yourself first!