I used to think that if I increased my confidence I would have to become somebody different – somebody new. I was a bit scared to become empowered, because my belief was that if I did increase my confidence the way I dreamed of doing, I wouldn’t be me anymore. Maybe my life would change in ways I wasn’t yet prepared for them to change.
Those maybe’s were holding me back.
I’d spent years trying to be like other (more confident than me) people, and I didn’t like it. It always felt false and weird – I was trying too hard to act the part, when really all I wanted to do was enjoy feeling like me. I became scared that I’d never be able to be a confident person that felt like me – and so I became a little bit stuck in a place where I felt small, disempowered and unworthy.
What is confidence?
My problem was that I was watching other people – and wishing I could be more like them. I used others as a marker for the person who I thought I should be. I tried to emulate the qualities that I admired in others, and I compared myself to them. Almost always, I would fall short – and in noticing this I would create the opposite affect to my intention. My confidence would take a nose-dive. Inevitably, I would crash and burn.
Over, and over, and over again …
Over the years, I have come to realise that confidence isn’t something you can copy. It also isn’t something you can learn.
True confidence is something that you own.
True confidence resides inside each of us – it is a feeling of comfort and belonging inside of our own skin. It is a willingness to embrace the person that we are – and to be that person in the World. True confidence is something that we all have … and if we aren’t feeling it, we simply need to know where to look for it.
Why other people’s confidence-building strategies don’t work for you
Over time, I have been able to come to the realisation that I was doing it all wrong. For many years I had been hoping to increase my confidence by trying to be someone different – someone who I was not. I thought that if I acted more like the confident people around me, I would become more like them.
Inside of me, something else was screaming for recognition. I didn’t realise that the qualities I was seeking were already living inside of me. In denying my self the joy of being the way I was, I was continually pushing away the one thing I wanted.
For me, true empowerment has been something I began to discover reluctantly. When I set out, I had no idea it would take me decades to find something that seemed so natural to many others. I didn’t know that I was searching in the wrong direction – that instead of looking for inspiration from others, I could instead simply learn to accept and Love myself. It is through a mixture of time, determination, frustration and trust that I was finally able to begin embracing the goodness inside of me.
If you want to feel more confident now …
Looking back on my childhood (and beyond), I often wonder how it would have been if I had been able to accept myself the way I was. Growing up felt like a gigantic struggle to fit in and find my place. I never really felt like I did either of these – I was too busy trying to be the person I thought other people would want me to be (and failing miserably at that too).
I continually searched for self-confidence, worthiness, acceptance and Love in all the places I would never find them. I searched for them in other people. If you do the same, I hope you are ready to accept that doing things this way doesn’t work. It’s difficult to trust that inside of the person you’ve been running from your whole life is the self-assured, confident person you were born to be.
Last week I wrote about Three steps to increase your confidence without changing who you are. In this post, I wrote about what I call my mantra, “Acknowledge, accept and allow”. When you can acknowledge, accept and allow yourself to be the way you are right now, chances are you will also notice a natural feeling of self-confidence rising within you. Those personality traits you were running from drop away, because suddenly you are happier inside of your skin. I’m not saying it’s easy – but it is simple – and it is OH so worth it. Good luck, and please feel free to share your own experiences by commenting below!