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  • Writer's picturePrisci Ribas

Steps to increase self-confidence

Self-confidence. I definitely have a vast repertoire to talk about the lack of it. I spent my entire life having self-confidence issues (hello, imposter syndrome) and it actually increased when I moved to New Zealand and had to start a new life speaking a new language.

But after talking to others about it more openly, I realised that almost everybody I know has self-confidence issues. I can count on one hand people that I've never seen having any lack of it (and to be honest, those people are usually clueless about themselves), which brings me to the first important thought of the day: not trusting 110% on your gut helps you not to be a clueless person. The problem is when, all the time, we think we are not capable of doing things.

Do you know that feeling of something that is meant to be yours? That job, boyfriend/girlfriend? Well… I never did. I really NEVER thought that I was going to be the chosen person for whatever I wanted, for simply thinking I wasn't capable of it.

Since this feeling was a pattern for me, I started reading about it many years ago, but never really liked the available content at the time,seeing that it didn't work for me. It was a "good vibes" thing, they used to tell us to look at the mirror and say positive words to ourselves, to leave post-its around the house with affirmation sentences… and if that works for you - great news! But for some people like me, that's definitely not how it works, considering that's just us telling ourselves that we are amazing. For someone who has self-confidence issues, it means nothing as we usually expect to hear those positive things from others.

…And that's a HUGE mistake. We expect the others to validate our qualities and tell us that we are capable of anything, except that's not how things work. The others will have THEIR point of view about us, which not necessarily is the truth.

So what a few (or a lot) of years in therapy has been teaching me?

  1. Write down everything that is happening: what is the situation, how you are feeling, and why do you think you are feeling this way? You can be silly, that's no problem. Just practice being completely honest to yourself and telling the truth about what is going on in your mind.

  2. Ask yourself why you want that (that job, that boyfriend, that accomplishment - it works for anything). That's usually where you separate the wheat from the weed as you will find out if you are wanting to accomplish that for the right reasons. You might rcome to the conclusion that you thought you wanted that just because everyone else does, or the society expects you to… and if that's the case, it doesn't really matter if you get it or not. At the end of the day, you didn't really want that, and if you lose, you will just have to deal with your ego, but that's a topic for another article.

  3. Let's say you answered all the previous questions and stablished that you want this thing for genuine reasons. Now it's time to think about WHY do you think you're not capable of achieving your goals. Is it the competition (the others?) If that's the case, you need to remind that's something completely out of your control. You don't know if they have more abilities, if they know how to sell themselves better or ir they have been preparing themselves more than you. What you do know though, is how much YOU are preparing yourself for this. Anything that is not worrying about only your efforts, it's a waste of time.

  4. What if it's not competition? Is it the feeling that you're not ready for it? That you don't have the required experience for that? Well, sorry to break the news but the harsh truth is that if you are not ready for something you simply won't get it. And life goes on, you keep trying, because if you don't, well, you actually never will be ready for it. My dad always says that there are two things that block us from self-improvement: too much self-confidence, and guess what? Too low self-confidence. As with almost anything else in life, you just have to find the right balance.

Ok, so you now have written down what you want, why you want that and why you feel the way you do. I bet that after going through this process you have some good answers inside you. And I also can tell that it involves you feeling more confident about yourself, taking into consideration that you are doing everything you can do to make it work, and accepting that everything outside that, it's not under your control.

When I started following those steps, I realised that I spent a whole life learning that I should look into a mirror and tell myself that I'm amazing, when all that I had to do, really, was just have a deep chat with myself. I am the only person 100% capable of understanding myself.

Self-confidence isn't a way of how we think about ourselves, it's not a thought. It's a process and a practice. And we have to practice it every day. It's important to say that self-confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem. You can be self-confident and still have no self-esteem and vice versa. I consider myself a person with self-esteem but here I am… sharing how is my process to be more confident.

I want to finish this article sharing one thing I learnt that we can all do to feel more confident for something specific, which is the Wonder Woman pose. The psychologist Amy Cuddy talks about postures of power and how these techniques can trick our brain.

According to her, depending on how our posture is, we can either feel ourselves more or less powerful.

So in the Wonder Woman pose, you stand up with your hands on your waist, half-open feet and keep your head up. When you stand like this for a couple of minutes, the testosterone levels in your body go up as well as the cortisol levels (related to stress) go down, resulting in you feeling more powerful. I have to admit that I've been doing this for many years now, and it has always helped me to give a little boost before having an interview, assessment, etc, and I still go through all the steps I shared and I always end up feeling less stressed or anxious when going through any process.

I hope this content made sense to you, and if it did… share with someone who you think will like it as well. :)

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