Has a constellation of chin zits has zapped you of your confidence? Maybe there’s a Tinder ghost haunting the dimly-lit recesses of your mind? Could it be that your harsh inner critic is convincing you that you are a fraud and You Do Not Belong Here! (Hello, Imposter Syndrome, my old friend!)? Midway through a life-shattering breakup? Anxious AF? Struggling at work?
Whatever the case for your confidence deficit, there’s a practical tips you can follow to help you replenish your stocks. The first is to remember that confidence wobbles happen to everyone, and not to beat yourself up too much if they should befall you. The next three are listed out for your perusal below (along with gifs of Rihanna, Queen of Confidence).
1. Prepare for failure
You know what's a devastatingly popular strategy? Failing your way to success. British author and journalist, Elizabeth Day, has built a career out of it with her brilliant podcast series, How To Fail, whereby she interviews super successful people on the failures that have most defined them. It’s soul-soothing and wonderful and I suggest you go listen to it in 3, 2, 1…
Back? Ok, cool! Here’s another #inspiring recommendation for you. I was wallowing in a dark pit of anxiety-flavored hangover last Sunday when I stumbled upon our lord and savior, Brenè Brown’s, Netflix special and decided to give it a whirl. It was the only smart decision I made that weekend. Peppered with just the right level of self-effacing LOLs, the shame expert goes deep on vulnerability, courage and failure. She basically proposes that real bravery is putting yourself out there and accepting that not everyone will like what you’re about, and that you are going to F-A-I-L. You are not gonna RISK failing, came her glorious booming voice through my computer speakers as I reached for my kebab, interest piqued. It’s GUARANTEED that you WILL fail! You’re gonna get hurt!
So far, I’ve only channelled her advice for very small acts of bravery (mainly work-related and involving asking strangers for coffee), but I still like to imagine that from hereon in, there’ll always be a pint-sized Brenè perched atop my left shoulder, cheering me on when I need it the most.
2. Hang around confident peopleThe people you surround yourself with are bound to impact you, whether that be positively or negatively. Instead of pouring your precious, finite time and energy into people who feed your neurosis or self-doubt, hang around with people who challenge and inspire you.
While your natural inclination might be to avoid confident people, because #intimidating, being around them can really help you grow, both personally and professionally. Take a break from living in your head and have a good, honest conversation with someone who you admire. Focus less attention on the internal conspiracy theories swirling around in your brain about what the other person thinks of you, and more on what you can learn from, and about, them. Be present!
3. Deal with mistakes and criticism productively
People who lack self-confidence will often replay mistakes they’ve made over and over in their heads (guilty), regardless of how paltry they are. Silence the demonic inner voice that tells you that you are stupid for messing up at work or for cracking a terrible joke on a first date and try and replace it with a more rational inner pal that encourages you to learn from your mistakes.
Likewise, rather than viewing (healthy and constructive) criticism as a threat or an attack on your character, try to see it as information that can help you blossom into the beautiful sunflower that you are. If you’re only seeing criticism in a negative light, then you’re depriving yourself of the benefit to grow and develop into a better person. A true shame! Confident people are humble enough to realize that they don’t know everything. This, combined with not letting the opinions of others completely derail them, means they’re better equipped to accept criticism. Adversity is a problem that you can solve, not an indictment on who you are as a person.
And now, one final hair toss from RiRi to drive these points home:
Ever wondered how can stress and anxiety show up on your face? Read this.