In today’s society – social media has taken a huge toll on the average person’s confidence. Everyone is comparing themselves to others who have more money, better relationships, plastic surgery, better bodies, or just overall better lives. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with those people – that lifestyle is just less attainable by the general public. Because of this, it is rare that you ever get on social media and leave feeling better about yourself.
So what are we supposed to do if we can’t look like or “fit in” with the societal norm? ACTUALLY love ourselves the way we came into this world? Yeah, right.
I wish it were that easy. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone. Especially if they were raised by even one parent that was insecure and unsure of themselves. Confident parents grow confident children, or else those children are forced to learn for themselves.
Over the years, I’ve practiced gaining confidence in many different ways. Being an introvert, confidence is very important for me to have so I don’t completely melt away in the background of everyone’s lives. These are some of the things that helped me throughout my insecure years – I saved the key for last.
Step 1: Separate The Connection Between “Having Fun” And “Being Attractive”
It is often misconstrued that someone has to be good-looking to be confident. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have met more perfect-looking insecure people in my life than I can count. True confidence comes from how little you care about what others are thinking of you.
The moment that you are able to let loose, have fun, and not hold back your happiness or excitement is when you start to show your confidence to others. Don’t wait until you’re a size 2 to go boating in bikinis with your friends. Don’t wait until your acne clears up before you start posting more pictures of yourself on social media. Don’t wait until you “feel confident” enough to start making inspirational videos to share with the world if you have the knowledge to spread – just share it now.
Never put your life on hold until you’re confident enough, or “attractive enough”. The two do not coincide. With that being said, you are only as attractive as you make yourself feel.
Read that again. You are only as attractive as you make yourself feel. True confidence and feeling good about your appearance come from yourself truly thinking so, no amount of compliments from others will help flip that switch in your brain.
Step 2: Learn To Take Up More Space
Learning to take up space is a tough concept for some to put into action. Growing up, most kids were told to quiet down or be calm anytime they were overly excited about something.
For most, this trained us to think that not speaking up or “stepping on any toes” was the only way to be respectful. In fact, when you start taking up more space, you’re usually labeled as selfish.
The word ‘selfish’ is commonly misconceptualized, though. I like the term, “self-loving” better.
As cliche as it may sound, you really do only get one life. The biggest regret someone may feel on their deathbed is how they didn’t speak up enough, they never stood up for themselves, they never went after their dreams, or they never took risks; all because they were scared to be too loud, or take up too much space.
Start being the main character in your life, today.
Step 3: Find Quality Clothing
This isn’t meant to be a plug, really.
While I just stated that appearance has nothing to do with confidence, I do want to make the point that when you feel like you look good, it works wonders.
When I told myself I would start going to the gym more often, I realized how self-conscious I felt wearing old t-shirts and sweats to workout. The moment I purchased actual workout clothes that matched – my confidence skyrocketed in the gym.
Aside from that, putting in the effort to wear a stylish outfit every day has a domino effect. You don’t feel as self-conscious, putting yourself in a more confident state, making you look happier, feel happier, and others the energy shift too; making you seem more approachable and open for conversation.
And for those who want to say, “not everyone has money for nice clothes!” keep in mind, not all fashionable and quality clothing is expensive; and most of the time, the more spendy clothing items do last longer, making it worth the steep purchase.
If you aren’t sure where to start – look on Pinterest for outfits you think are cool and start shopping for dupes of those items. (And shop with Only Quality People, of course).
As a clothing brand, we strive to not only make high-quality modern fashion, but also make universal styles that can be worn casually, athletically, or even paired with other trending items.
Step 4: Make More Eye Contact
This is such a small thing you can do in your everyday life that boosts your confidence level like no other.
I used to avoid eye contact with everyone, whether they were strangers, coworkers, or family members. It became normal for me to fixate on something nearby while having a full-blown conversation with someone – or look down at my phone while being in public alone.
Keeping your head down and not making eye contact with people cuts you off from being approachable to anyone who might be worth your time.
Try walking into a coffee shop or store without your phone in your hand. Keep your shoulders back and make eye contact with anyone you talk to – it might be scary at first, but once you get over the adrenaline of nervousness, you’ll be like “whoa, that wasn’t so hard after all!”
Step 5: Stop Asking For Opinions
This can apply to both small and big problems – from “what should I wear to this event?” to, “should I get back with my ex?”
Here’s the thing about other people’s opinions, specifically YOU asking for them: this is a huge sign of insecurity when you’re doing it often.
This tells your brain subconsciously you are not capable of making your own decisions and you also don’t trust yourself to make the right ones. Therefore, you seek others’ validation to hear how you should live your own life.
See the problem here?
I used to catch myself asking for others’ opinions, even when I didn’t want it! When someone would give a conflicting opinion of what I secretly wanted them to agree with, I would sit there and second guess my own choices, making me more insecure.
Make your own decisions. Feel confident in the choices you make, and learn from your mistakes of making wrong ones. Don’t involve anyone else in choosing what direction your life goes, big or small. It’s your life, not theirs.
Step 6: Learn To Accept Compliments
When a stranger compliments us, our first reaction is usually to deflect that compliment with an excuse as to why it’s invalid.
Someone compliments your curly hair, you might say “Ugh, it’s actually really frizzy today.”
If someone said they liked your outfit, you might downplay it by saying “Oh I literally just threw this on this morning!”
In conclusion, stop outing yourself. These people that are complimenting you aren’t even thinking about or noticing the things you are blatantly pointing out to them. Practice accepting the compliment and moving on!
Step 7: Realize That Nothing Is Awkward Unless You Make It Awkward
I learned this trick after dealing with some immature people in my young years – the type who would take embarrassing pictures of you to send to the group chat for laughs, or someone who would bring up a humiliating story about you in front of others.
These kinds of little things used to get to me until I realized that if I acted like I wasn’t embarrassed, it fizzled out way quicker than if I had. This rang true for all situations; the truth is if you can laugh at yourself before anyone else can, the awkward moment passes and people forget; you hold the power over how much you let something affect you.
Step 8: Do Things That Scare You
Think of your confidence as a bar that is at a certain level. When you accomplish some fears, you move that bar up a little higher. This is because you can then think back to the scariest thing you accomplished, and say, “If I did that, I can do this!”
The most growth I’ve ever experienced has been a result of doing things that made me uncomfortable or things I would normally talk myself out of. These things may include taking a class in your community with strangers or getting back out into the dating scene. Being vulnerable and trying something new around people who are possibly way better at this task than you is everyone’s worst nightmare!
But remember, growth never comes from your comfort zone.
Confidence is like a muscle – you don’t grow it overnight. It takes repetition and training to see improvement.
But just like anything else, if you put in the work, you will see results.