“I don’t feel like I even know who I am anymore, I’ve been focused on my spouse and my kids’ needs for so long.”
“I worry so much about what other people think about me!”
“I feel like I derive my sense of self-worth from being super busy and getting lots of tasks done.”
These are examples of things I frequently hear my clients say – especially my clients who are moms.
It may not seem obvious at first, but all of these statements have the same thing in common at their core: lack of self-confidence.
What is self-confidence, really?
It’s not something you’re born with or not born with, like a gene you either got or didn’t get. It’s actually a skill that you can develop and strengthen. But how? That’s where a lot of moms get stuck. “I would love to have stronger self-love and self-confidence, but how do I gain that?” Few things make me happier than answering this question!
I would like to offer you three keys to developing self-confidence.
- Self-confidence is being able to trust yourself.
- Self-confidence is choosing high-quality thoughts about yourself.
- Self-confidence is knowing that you can feel any feeling without being permanently harmed.
Let’s look at each of these in turn.
First, self-confidence is being able to trust yourself.
If you know you can count on someone, you have confidence in that person. Plain and simple.
That is also true of ourselves. If I know I can count on myself to do the things I’ve said I’ll do, I have confidence in myself.
Take a moment and ask yourself: “Do I typically do the things I tell myself I’ll do?”
Often, we make certain we follow through on our commitments to everyone else, but we’re less reliable when it comes to commitments we’ve made to ourselves. If that’s you, that is a sure sign that you are not valuing and esteeming yourself highly.
We shift this one step at a time.
I’ve always had lots of good desires to do lots of good things. But before I discovered life coaching, I found myself frequently setting lofty goals and starting out strong, only to fizzle out.
When I discovered life coaching and learned to manage my mind, I began to take smaller steps. I built stronger confidence in myself by making – and fulfilling – one small commitment at a time. I chose my commitments to myself more carefully, knowing that I was going to take it seriously and see it all the way through.
Over the months, my confidence in myself grew profoundly. I now believe that I can accomplish pretty much anything I commit to, even if it involves lots of failure and mistakes along the way.
Here are some possible first steps you could take to developing trust in yourself to do the things you tell yourself you will:
- Decide to take a walk, and then do it.
- When you have a thought to call or text someone, either do it right away or at your earliest opportunity. Don’t blow off your own thoughts and ideas as if they’re not important.
- Choose one small goal. Just one. Then make it a top priority for one week. Just one. Let yourself find satisfaction in keeping that one commitment, and then build momentum from there.
Remember that keeping a commitment to yourself doesn’t necessarily mean perfection. It doesn’t mean you won’t stumble, mess up, or get off course. It just means that you keep getting back up, adjusting the plan if necessary, and working at it until you get there.
And when you do get there, always take a moment to acknowledge yourself and celebrate your trust-worthiness, no matter how small the commitment you’ve made and kept to yourself!!
Self-confidence is literally choosing high-quality thoughts about yourself.
Did you know that our circumstances don’t determine how we feel? It’s our thoughts about our circumstances that determine how we feel. And how we feel drives the way we act. And the way we act produces the results we get in our lives.
My point? Our thoughts, not our circumstances, are THE most important deciding factor in our lives.
Let me illustrate. Have you ever met an absolutely gorgeous man or woman who, in spite of their outer beauty, is terribly insecure? Conversely, have you ever met a person whose physical features would not be considered attractive by many – and yet they radiate happiness and self-confidence?
There’s a reason for this. The reason lies in what each of these people are thinking about themselves.
The fact that our thoughts are more important than our circumstances in determining our results in life is incredibly good news! Why? Because we don’t always have control over our circumstances, but we do have control over choosing what we think. That means we have a lot of power over how things play out in our lives, regardless of our circumstances.
Thoughts are free. You don’t have to pay more for healthy, uplifting thoughts than you do for unhelpful, negative thoughts. So why not choose thoughts that build yourself up? Thoughts that focus on what’s great about you rather than what you think you lack.
The habit of choosing high-quality thoughts takes practice but is well worth the effort in that it can literally transform your self-concept.
Here’s one trick to be aware of, though. The thoughts you choose must be believable to your brain or your brain will reject those thoughts. For example, if you struggle with hating your body, thinking “I love my gorgeous body!” will be too big of a leap. Try starting at just the next rung up on the ladder instead. A thought like “I have a body” is more neutral than “I hate my body” and can pull you up out of the depths of despair and set your brain on the path to gratitude. You can build from there.
Here are some examples of helpful thoughts you might want to focus your brain on:
- I have a healthy body
- I am a mom who truly cares and sincerely tries.
- I really have a gift for ______________.
- I am capable of doing what I set my mind to.
- I am a strong woman.
- I am intelligent and can figure things out.
Self-confidence is knowing that you can feel any feeling without being permanently harmed.
What are feelings? A feeling is literally just a vibration in your body. That’s all! And yet we are so averse to feeling negative feelings that we will do just about anything to avoid them. Feelings like humiliation, rejection, failure, fear, and shame.
We shy away from things that might result in feeling a negative feeling. We put off pursuing our dreams, because “What if I fail?? People will see me fail and talk badly about me!” We avoid having a conversation that really needs to be had because “What if my feelings get hurt?”
But what if you knew you could feel any feeling and not be permanently harmed? What if you could learn to handle negative feelings in a healthy and productive way?
What things might you have the confidence to do? Express concerns calmly and sincerely to your teenager about something that is worrying you? Exercise in public? Say, “No, I’m sorry” when asked to add yet another thing to your schedule? Audition for the community musical you’ve always longed to participate in?
When we are not so busy being afraid of feelings we don’t like, we free ourselves up to grow and develop and learn incredible things in life. Discomfort is often the key that unlocks growth and change.
Why does self-confidence matter?
We only get one glorious shot at living fully and intentionally on this earth. I, for one, do not wish to spend my finite number of days here hiding or beating myself up or focusing on what I think I lack.
As I have practiced these three principles and my own self-confidence has grown, I have developed sincere love and compassion for myself. Determination and self-assurance have blossomed. A whole world of experiences and opportunities has opened up to me.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges and mistakes and fears anymore. It’s just that I don’t let those things keep me from loving myself and living a full life.
I invite anyone reading to actively practice these three keys to developing greater self-confidence. See what happens! And if you crave support around learning, understanding, and practicing these principles, it is my great passion to help. I always welcome your outreach.