Of all the questions I am asked, the most frequent is about confidence. This makes it crystal clear to me that most women struggle with self-confidence, no matter their age, experiences, or socioeconomic standing. In a world built on the backs of broken women, it is hard to find and maintain confidence. Everywhere we go, there are images and words telling us we are never good enough. There are impossible rules telling us how to be. We are supposed to be on a pedestal that puts us above men, yet, we are told we are below.
Being a woman is confusing and frightening at times, and keeping strong and loving yourself every minute of everyday is impossible. Still, we need to be okay with that––with the fact that we are flawed and sometimes weak. We need to be okay with our bodies because they are powerful, so powerful that the government sees fit to govern it with its laws. We need to know that we are the strongest creatures on earth and this is why we were solely given the painful responsibility of childbirth. God knows our strength!
There are truths about women that many of us still do not know because we have been poisoned against each other and ourselves. Women side with patriarchy because they feel they are too weak to fight against it and, in turn, attack their sisters. Women are hurt, they are judged, and so they judge and hurt other women. If every woman was more confident, if she were happier with herself, she would be better prepared to change the world and the lives of other women who need to be reminded of their strength. Here is where we begin:
1. Define Yourself
Never let other people define you in any way, shape, or form. The best way to avoid allowing other people or even your circumstances to define you is to define yourself. In order to do that, you're going to have to make clear, concise declarations about who you are and what you want. Now, for a person riddled with insecurities, this may seem difficult, as you think you are unsure about everything––but you're not. Your spirit knows itself. Now, you just have to get in touch with your spirit!
2. Be With Yourself
The best way to get in touch with your spirit is to spend more time with you and only you. Most people have a deep seeded fear of being alone. This is the reason why so many people, women especially, are clamoring to be in relationships, why they can't leave the house without knowing there is a friend waiting for them when they reach their destination, and why most people find it difficult to be at home, amongst their things, their image, and the life they've built or the lack thereof. Most people run around ignoring themselves while begging other people to pay attention to them, to validate them.
Gaining confidence in who you are will not happen until you are comfortable in your own skin. Most people confuse being alone with loneliness. They also confuse being with themselves with being by themselves. In a society filled with insecure people, it is common to think that something is wrong with you if you want to be alone, if you want to stay home or go out with yourself. But, knowing how to do these things and actually preferring them, is a sure sign of confidence and the building of such.
3. Accept Yourself
There are facts in this world, things that just are, and there is nothing any one of us can do about them. Most of those things are in the past. I find that people who suffer from insecurities also suffer from fear, and fear is usually based on past experiences. Once we practice and learn to be truthful with ourselves about the facts of life and accept the things we cannot change, that fear subsides and insecurities wane.
4. Change Yourself
Once you have accepted the things you cannot change, take a look at the things you can and want to change and then, change them! Insecure people tend to think they don't have power over their lives, mainly because they have given that power over to other people, based on their insecurities. It's a vicious cycle. But, when you have defined who you are and what you want, learned to love being with yourself, and accepted the things you cannot change, making changes becomes less daunting. This happens when you begin to realize and accept that other people really don't matter. What other people think, say, or do has no baring on your life. As the saying goes, what you eat doesn't make me shit. It's crass, but it's true.
Making changes becomes less stressful when you aren't doing it for other people and aren't looking for others to validate your decisions and changes.So, take a look at the things you would like to change about yourself, things you want to improve upon, and start doing it!
5. Celebrate Yourself
As you begin to start making those changes, big and small, have a little party for yourself every time you accomplish a goal. Don't wait on the world to celebrate you because that may never happen. This is one of those hard facts I mentioned earlier. As you gain confidence and find your place and your voice in this world, not everyone will be happy for you. This is why you have to learn to be comfortable in your own skin and to love being alone––there will be times in your life when even those closest to you won't be there and you'll have to know how to celebrate yourself! So, start now.
6. Don't Defend Yourself
There is no reason to defend that which is not offensive. So many people walk around feeling the need to defend themselves and their choices. Short of the obvious, nothing you do is wrong and there are no mistakes as long as you learn from them and put all your experiences to good use. Turn your mess into a message and you will never regret one day of your life. So, show confidence in your choices by never defending them. Shit happens and not all of it is going to be pretty, but God will always give you beauty for your ashes, so why defend what He has allowed?
7. Trust Yourself
And that question brings me to the question of trust. It is easy to be confident when you trust yourself to trust God. Know that you don't have to know everything. Everything is not for you to understand. Once you know, and I mean, really know that God exists and believe that He orders your steps and that His plan is the only plan, you let go. When you let go and stop trying to become something and instead just be, life stops falling apart and instead, falls together.
8. Give Yourself Time
Everything takes time and habits take practice––even practice takes practice! So, be patient with yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day and you won't be, either. Most of us gain confidence over time, as we age and make our way through harrowing and wonderful experiences. As we get older, many of us learn what really matters in our lives is whatever makes us happy. Living a good quality of life begins inside of you and once you get a hang of who you are, life gets easier. I promise.
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New York Times best selling author, keynote speaker and workshop leader, founder of The Gorgeous Girl's Guide, Steffans Publishing Enterprises, and Karrine & Co.