One of my friends frequently tells me that I’m the sassiest person she knows which usually gets one of three responses from me.
1. Thanks . . . you really don’t know many people do you?
2. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha *pause for breath* ahahahahahaha . . .
3. What now?
Don’t get me wrong, I am a confident and slightly sassy person but not enough to earn that accolade. That title, my friends, can only belong to Beyonce. Even so, I’m a content person and pretty happy in myself and, for that, I’d like to think Beyonce would be proud of me. However, I don’t think enough people share my mild feeling of sass and this genuinely makes me quite sad. I feel like, in the interest of humility, it seems to be the social norm to reject compliments and focus on our negative features. I recently asked some friends if they considered themselves as confident and I was met with a weird mix of shrugs and maybe-I-dunno-hey-was-that-my-phone kind of answers. As someone who spent their adolescence hiding from the world, I’m more than aware of the challenge of becoming a confident person. Some people are just born with it (damn you Beyonce!) but for most, it’s a long long road. Even so, it’s an attainable goal for everyone and I think I have the solution! No, you’re right, I should rephrase that . . . I have a solution!
Most grown up’s associate adolescence as a difficult, transitional time and nobody can associate with that more than me! I was a confident child but my teens brought an age of self awareness that totally wore me down. My body was changing in ways I didn’t like, I was completely disengaged with school and I ended up feeling very lost. Add a sprinkle of hormones, flippant friendship circles and frizzy hair that rivals Marge Simpson and you have an overwhelming situation. I thankfully found a lovely group of friends who became my greatest buddies. However, I still felt very unhappy because I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I wanted to be a confident girl but I didn’t know how to get to her. However, a decade later, I would now call myself a kind, resourceful, passionate, thoughtful, beautiful, charismatic, slightly odd and, yes, confident person. Seems like a crazy transition but it happened and I put it down to these two changes:
1.Fake It T’il You Make It
Faking confidence all links to Self Perception Theory, where if you imitate a confident person you will inevitably become a confident person. When I was in Year 10, I decided to take GCSE Drama even though I had no prior acting experience and was the quietest girl in my year. Yeah, can I get a slow clap for that genius plan? For our first assessment I had to perform a speech and my character was a bold woman telling a heart wrenching story. Yikes. I was terrified but I knew I had to act like I knew what I was doing. I walked on stage with sweaty hands, looked my peers in the eye and pretended with all of my might . . . and it worked. I faked my way to success and my peers saw a completely new side to me. In fact, my teacher called me the surprise student of the year. I was shocked at the response but it made me realise that if I acted like I deserved more respect then people would treat me differently. From then on, I slowly started to incorporate this pretence into my day and my fake confidence slowly transitioned into real confidence.
2. Be kind to yourself and others
So, I’d fooled my new peers, made the jump to university and started to feel really good but, after a while, I realised my confidence would only go so far if I didn’t learn to like myself. Many people struggle to get past their insecurities and I totally get it as I did this myself for a long time. However, I was tired of feeling rubbish when I looked in the mirror and I knew I had to stop punishing myself. So, I started to focus on things I liked about myself, bought clothes that made me feel awesome and made an effort to compliment my peers. Being kinder to yourself will make you a happier person because you’ll realise how great you are! Whilst, being kinder to others will also make you happier because kindness increases our dopamine levels (happy feelings). Plus, by treating others as you’d like to be treated, you’re providing a shining example of how to be a confident and truly self assured person. Win win!
I really want to clarify that there’s nothing wrong with being shy or naturally quiet. Confidence lives in both introverts and extroverts so don’t feel pressured to be anything other than who you are. I hope these tips will help someone feel a little bit more comfortable in themselves but if not, hopefully we’ve still bonded over our love of Beyonce? I haven’t done tests or physiological evaluations to come up with this advice so by all means ignore it and read a book by a doctor with lots of initials after their name. However, adopting these changes made me a lot happier so feel free to give them a try. After all, the world could always do with an extra dose of happiness, right?
Let me know if you have any other tips about gaining confidence.