~ Norman Vincent Peale
"People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet." ~ Sa'Di
Confidence is vital. It's that extra zing that gives you a special edge.
It's what makes people see past the outside shell --- and makes them wish that they can delve right in to your essence.
In its truest form (not like its evil lookalike called 'arrogance'), confidence is just such a beautiful, attractive thing to behold.
And yet, at one time or another, we've all suffered from a lack of it. We've struggled with finding the right amount of confidence to help us get the right job/person/project...
And, unfortunately for some, it's a persistent issue that plague them on a regular basis.
The bad news? There are no quick and easy solutions when it comes to confidence issues. It's something that needs to be worked on a regular basis, especially if you didn't develop enough of the right kind of confidence in your formative years.
The good news? You can do something about it! Even if you struggle with confidence issues, there's always hope if you make a conscious effort to address your needs.
As someone who has been working on confidence issues (both on a personal and professional level), here are 5 tried and tested ways to help you boost your confidence:
1) Define and acknowledge your confidence issues. Really pinpoint the issue and specify the areas where you have 'confidence needs'. Saying, "I lack self-confidence" is really not the best way to look at this. That sentiment makes it seem final and unchangeable. Instead, it's better to say, "I need more confidence when meeting people for the first time." Or, "I need to develop my confidence in public speaking." Or, "I need to be a more confident blogger." This way, you'll see that YOU don't lack self-confidence. There are just certain areas in your life where you could use a little bit more boost. Once you're able to identify these voices inside you, you can then start working on how to shut them up.
"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." ~ Vincent Van Gogh
2) Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, celebrate it all! I admit it: I really, really want to be a good singer. In fact, it's my biggest frustration in life. But, I can't sing to save my life. I wish I knew that - before I joined a singing contest while I was in fifth grade and humiliated myself. Badly. In front of my then-crush and his best friend no less!
Well, at least when I finally realised that I can never be the next Lea Salonga, I knew I had to have a backup life plan.
That's when I started to see that although my singing voice isn't exactly my best instrument, I am able to use the pen (and later on, the computer!) as an instrument for expression and communication. I was also compelled to find out other ways to connect with people through music and art, among other things.
So yeah, the short of it: Even though our confidence may receive some knocks due to our weaknesses, it shouldn't be knocked over completely. Find your strengths and harness them. Make them glow and shine.
"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." ~ Author Unknown
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within." ~ Elisabeth KÃ¼bler-Ross
3) Do something you love. Do something you're really good at. Everyday. Engaging yourself in positive activities that help you see the good that is in you will help uplift the other parts of you that need uplifting. So, next time you try to say, "There's not enough time to ___________ (fill in the blank with something you really enjoy doing)." Remember: You NEED to make that time. You owe it to yourself and the people you love. You have to do things you enjoy to enlighten and enrich your life and the world around you.
"Enlightenment does not ask you to be perfect; it simply asks you to find perfection right where you stand." ~ Alan Cohen
4) This is probably best said by some unknown author: "Don't let people drive you crazy when you know it's in walking distance." Seriously. Toxic people, toxic talk... they're just not good for your soul. If you already find yourself lacking in confidence regarding certain areas, don't go seeking assurances from people who tend to put you down. Besides, there really isn't any point in trying to 'win over' someone. Just do what you need to do. Be who you're meant to be.
"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes." ~ Sally Field
5) Start a Gorgeous Gifts of Gratitude list. Collect kudos and praise. Confidence is knowing that life is (and/or can be) good. Even if certain things don't always go the way you want them to go. Or certain areas of your life don't always look fantastic. If you're constantly able to find positive thing in your life, your confidence will grow.
So, keep a gratitude list. If someone said something nice to you, write it down and remember. If someone sent you a note, letter, email or blog comment that really lifted your spirits, make sure you keep that somewhere safe. Read and re-read them on days when you're feeling low.
"God wisely designed the human body so that we can neither pat our own backs nor kick ourselves too easily. " ~ Author Unknown
More Thoughts on Confidence:
- "Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong." ~ Peter T. Mcintyre
- "Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people." ~ AndrÃ© Dubus
- "The best way to gain self-confidence is to do what you are afraid to do." ~ Author Unknown
- "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson
Peacock Image from Marja Flick-Buijs