Confidence is a lot like dieting. It is a delicate balance to maintain that confident persona and one small thing can tip the scales.
I was an incredibly confident young girl, always eager to volunteer, loudest in my class and life and soul of the party. I seemed to have an endless supply of confidence and energy.
This was stripped away from me over time by a very clever individual. My ex-husband didn't go all Rambo on me and break my spirit in one go, he took his time and gradually chipped away at my confidence and self-esteem until there was nothing left of the old me.
He would use a snide comment, a derogatory remark, or pure manipulation, to ensure that I gave up my friends, distanced myself from my family and left my career. I became a shell of who I had once been. My children kept me going and I filled my days keeping them safe and dreaming of an escape.
I now understand that regaining confidence is possible with a little time and preparation. I finally walked away from that abusive marriage, unfortunately it was only after it became violent, but the lessons I learned have shaped who I am today. My confidence is back, I have a renewed spring in my step and through my holistic health business, I work hard to help other women find their confidence too.
When I began the long journey to become a more confident person once again, I followed these top 5 tips:
- I learned to approve of myself. This was a tough thing to do after being told for seven years how stupid, useless and pathetic I was. I had to stop listening to the external criticisms as well as my own inner voice that had begun to believe the lies. I began to tell myself every day, how strong and brave I was.
- I had to believe in myself. I was suddenly on my own with three small children under the age of 5. I had to trust that I could take control of my life. I love the film, The Holiday starring Kate Winslet, my favourite line is when the elderly neighbour tells Kate's character to 'stop being a supporting actress in her life and become the leading lady'. This resonated with me so much and I try to act on those words every day.
- Jot it down. My regular blog readers will know how much I love journals. I have one for every possible reason - dreams, gratitude, ideas and inspirations. When I started writing down something positive about myself every evening, I began to believe that these values were true.
- Become your own BFF. Over time I made new friends, some of who are still a huge part of my life today. I would do anything for them and if they were lacking in confidence I wouldn't hesitate to support them. It took me a while to realise that I deserved the same respect.
- Alone and lonely aren't the same. When I was trapped in my abusive marriage I was lonely and frightened. My lack of confidence fed on my fear of being alone and this was probably one of the reasons I stuck it out for as long as I did. Only years later did I realise that being alone wasn't a negative thing. Some people jump from relationship to relationship because of that fear, but if they spent some quality time with themselves, they would reconnect with who they are and what they want in life. My biggest life lessons came to me when I was on my own. Only then could I hear my true inner voice and recognise my path.
I hope you found some inspiration in today's post.
Confidence isn't always about the big stuff in life, it can be the smaller tasks that tip the balance - meeting new people, speaking in public, starting a new job/school, selling yourself in an interview. If you take a deep breath and follow at least one of the tips above, it should help you to be more confident. They worked for me!
I would love to hear your top tips for being more confident, what has worked for you?
Photographs courtesy of www.Freedigitalphotos.net and www.LouiseHay.com