"When I'm not feeling my best, I ask myself, 'What are you gonna do about it?' I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me" – Beyoncé.
When I was in my twenties, I would elbow anyone who came between me and a microphone. I loved the spotlight, loved speaking to crowds and a microphone only helped amplify that, in every sense. From the outside, I exuded confidence. Interestingly, entering my thirties and forties, that disappeared and now, I would reference public speaking as one of those activities I do, but with a large amount of nervousness and not before inhaling a healthy dose of rescue remedy! What is more interesting, however, is that while those external signs of confidence now elude me, internally they have been replaced with an increased calm and self-assuredness and a solid trust in backing myself in everything I do, proving that your feelings of confidence and self-belief evolve with you as you move through the different stages of your life.
What exactly is self-confidence?
To my mind, it is an attitude. It implies that you fully trust yourself, your own skills and abilities. It suggests that you know your strengths and you have no problem sharing them with the world. You are the one in control and that inspires you to keep showing up in the most positive way. It indicates that you also set realistic expectations and goals, communicate yourself assertively and can handle criticism, in the knowledge that it will make you stronger. Those gifted with good self-confidence and a strong connection to their self-worth are forever admired by others. As a result, they serve to inspire the rest of us, to be more confident simply by being able to see what’s possible.
So, what then, makes someone appear more confident than others? What stops them from appearing arrogant or cocky; or is there actually a difference? And how can we learn from others to increase our confidence and to value ourselves so much more?
Before we start to explore these questions let’s begin by looking at what the real benefits are of feeling more confident.
Benefits of self-confidence
You perform better. Rather than wasting your time and energy worrying that you aren’t good enough, or trying to impress others, you can focus your energy on learning and growing so that ultimately, you’ll perform better when you feel confident.
Your relationships will be healthier. Growing your self-confidence not only impacts how you feel about yourself, but it also helps you to better understand, and be more available, to love and be loved, by others. You feel more able to receive love but you also find the strength to walk away if you’re not getting what you know you deserve.
You become a risk-taker. When you believe in yourself, you become much more willing to try new things. Whether you put yourself forward for that promotion at work or sign up for a creative writing class, or you decide to prioritise your health and join the local spinning class, putting yourself out there is an awful lot easier when you have more faith in yourself and your abilities. You believe you deserve more and that gives you the momentum you need, to do more.
You develop resilience. Connecting to that belief in yourself really helps you navigate life’s challenges and set-backs. You learn what you need to do to get back up again. You create patterns that show you just how to bounce back.
What gets in your way?
Comparing your life’s progress with that of others is a sure-fire way to damage your confidence. Not alone are comparisons unhealthy, but they are rarely accurate. When you are online, for example, you compare a highly filtered version of someone else’s life to ours. They show you what they want you to see. This isn’t reality and this certainly isn’t the template on which you should base your own comparison. Instead, I invite you to ask yourself what success looks like for you, what it means for you to be successful?
Connect with your strengths, talents and the skills that will help you get there and focus only on them. Use your role models to inspire not deflate you. If you find yourself doing this, step away, unfollow and remove them from your space.
What can you do today to boost your self-belief?
Surround yourself with good people. Do you know that you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with, so ask yourself just who is this for you? How do you honestly feel when you leave the company of your friends or your family, do you feel depleted, deflated or inspired and buzzing? Really think about these questions because there is a wealth of information in the answer.
Pay close attention to how your friends make you feel, to how they speak to you, to how you allow yourself to be spoken to or treated. These people should want what’s best for you, if they don’t, they are not your people.
Be kind to your body. It can honestly be hard to feel good about yourself if you feel bad about your body. Commit to taking some time out each day to do something for your mind, your spirit, and your body. Nourish your body by making healthier food choices, or including some form of exercise. Feed your mind by introducing a new practice such as journaling or meditation. The more you connect with these, the more you connect with yourself and increase those feelings of self-worth.
Mind your language. Watching how you speak to yourself can be such a wonderful way to ensure you keep working on self-compassion, which is a direct link to your feelings of self-worth. Swapping phrases such as ‘I can’t,’ ‘I’m not able,’ or ‘I won’t’ for ‘I choose’, ‘I believe I am able’, ‘I trust’ and ‘It is safe for me to be…’
The very act of observing just how we speak to ourselves, can itself reveal the source of our lack of confidence. But the truth of it is this: if we don’t believe in ourselves and if we don’t feel we deserve to be who we want to be, how on earth can we expect others to? It might mean giving yourself the proverbial kick in the rear every so often, it might mean disrupting the old thought patterns by introducing new ones, it might mean taking stock of your life and uncovering what exactly it is you want from it. It might in fact be a combination of all of the above.
The one thing I know for sure is that the only person that can change this, that can change how you see yourself, is you. So, what are you going to do today to develop the attitude that you deserve better?
Look no further than the queen of confidence, Beyoncé. “When I’m not feeling my best, I ask myself, ‘What are you gonna do about it?’ I use the negativity to fuel the transformation into a better me.” Be more Beyoncé.
Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Change and Transformation Coach, Founder of The RESET for Change 3 Month 1:1 Private Coaching Programme, and host of The TOUGH LOVE ENERGY™ Podcast. She’s known for her practical solutions to life’s challenges and her ability to tell you not what you want to hear but always what you need. For more check out niamhennis.com or find her on Instagram @1niamhennis.
Photography by @beyonce.