When I was younger, I was ashamed and embarrassed to be different. At school, I sat on the outskirts of the norm and berated myself for it. It was only when I left high school that I felt safe explore who I was as a person. During high school, I felt very confined by what was ‘successful’ i.e. good at sports, outgoing, funny, creative, cool. I felt like all of them, and none of them, all at once and never had a place. Nobody understood me because I didn’t actually understand myself. I struggled to express myself verbally, so would spend my spare time scouring through blogs, reading books, and diving into subjects outside of school that nobody else would be interested in, in order to find purpose (spirituality, self help books).
When I left school I was able to wear my own clothes, and started to express myself through fashion. I found a sense of confidence in this, because even though I couldn’t speak my truth exactly, at least I could convey it visually. I then started to attract likeminded people, because my personality started to reveal itself. With this came a sense of self, purpose and a curiosity to learn more about who I really was.
Fast forward 10 years, and I now have a much deeper understanding of what makes me feel good and confident in my truth. But not fake confidence, real deep down, humble confidence. That feeling of backing yourself no matter what. The ability to show up without a mask, speak your truth as you are and feel supported as that person. Trust me, it has not been an easy path.
I’ve gone down many routes of self exploration that lead to dead ends, rockbottoms and starting from scratch for the 11th time. Of course finding real self confidence is a journey into the self, and I often wonder whether trying things on is what our twenties are for. We are always going to have things that shake our self worth, that force us to step up, or even take a backwards step for a minute (all in the name of growth). Especially when levelling up, overcoming fears and striving for personal goals. But getting to know ourselves on a deep level takes time, patience, self compassion and finding safe ways to express in supportive environments.
Set your morning ritual
When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing you can do to take control of your confidence? What do you need to say to support your self in the morning? What affirmations put a spark in your step? Visualise the day ahead, the ideal outcomes, situations and conversations. Set your intention for the day.
What am I going to do to today to make it better than yesterday?
How will I show myself love today?
What will I do today to take a small step towards a goal?
2. Self expression and creativity
We are complex and have many creative abilities if we let them through. Exposing ourselves to new ways of creative expression allows our soul’s personality to manifest in a new form. It not only feels expansive and magnetic to express creativity in a new way, it also renews sense of self and worthiness. This in turn allows a renewal of self belief and confidence.
Creativity can be in the form of a new workout, a new adventure, photography, painting, a way of dressing, a new hairstyle, makeup, listening to a new music style, changing walking route, dancing alone, new hobby, roadtrip, travel, new friendship, taking a chance on speaking to a stranger.
3. Find your community/tribe
The saying ‘your vibe attracts your tribe’ is true and it’s much more than that. Your tribe are the ones that hold space for you to be who you truly are. Does your tribe allow you to feel vulnerable and unconditionally supported as you are? Can you truly let your guard down without fear?
Start showing up as yourself and the right people will stay. The wrong people will go. Rejection is redirection.
4. Move Your Bod
It’s not new information that moving your body increases endorphins. But I have to include this because it’s a game changer for not just mental confidence, but for body confidence. For me, if I fall out of an exercise regime I can get into a mental rut without noticing. It doesn’t have to be high intensity, it’s about combining the body, mind and breath with movement, so a gentle home yoga practice or nature walk is all it takes.
5. Mirror Work
This only works if you take it seriously! If you say the words but don’t really mean them deep down, then there’s no point. I use mirror work when I really need some cheering up and positive reinforcement. How often do we stare at ourselves in the eye balls until it’s almost confronting? Hardly ever. It’s hard to be mean towards yourself when you see a human just trying to be the best they can in the world. Mirror work can really change our relationship with ourself. You can make it easier by putting post-it notes on your mirror to remind you of your favourite affirmations.
Some affirmations that work for me are:
Baby girl, I see you, I love you, you’ve got this, I believe in you, trust the process
You are a beautiful, worthy and deserving
My body is safe and supports me everyday, I am healthy and vibrant
These have all been so immensely helpful for me in growing a space of true confidence and value. It really does get easier with time and continued practice.