Are you ready, ladies? Get out your notebooks, or get your notes app out. I’m about to tell you all the deets in building confidence. I want to make sure you’re paying full attention, so here it is, ok, are you ready? Step 1…
Change your mindset.
That’s it. No, step two. No subscription to Psychology Today. No walk on hot coals. It’s that simple, really. But is it? (She asks, as she sobs into her wine glass in the bathtub.) It can be if you start changing how you look at things around you and accessing that authentic self that I know you have deep down.
I must admit, if you had asked me about my confidence about 5 years ago, I would have probably told you it was non-existent. I would have totally bought into all that Kylie Jenner lip gloss bullshit (in fact, I think I actually bought one set, and it stained my lips so bad that I knew this wasn’t really “me” deep down). I briefly thought about Botox until I looked at the gouging price tag and realized that I’d just have to suffer in silence with my normal cream. And yes, I too (reluctantly) tried those “body after breakup” diets like Keto, Paleo, and whatever other one-word catchy titles that tried so hard to make each diet feel so “fab, fit, fun,” all the while thinking this would be some magic way for me to gain confidence. But was I feeling fab and fit and fun inside? Was I feeling confident? No. I was still feeling lousy because I was focusing on my insecurities and hiding who I really was out of fear of being judged. I thought maybe I wouldn’t be “cool” like the people you see on TV or in the media. And all of this when I was still just 27!
Remember in high school when your boyfriend would talk to another girl at cross country practice (or insert any co-ed “mingle” activity here), and you would tell all your friends how pissed off about it you were? Your boyfriend would tell you that she had a homework question about math, and the chances are that it was probably true, but you were just too jealous and insecure to care at the time. You were (naively) not a confident woman. You didn’t believe in yourself (it takes growth, ladies) or your relationship. Maybe that eventually overflowed to present life now with your adult relationships. Women- we need to start believing in what we bring to the table (and no, it isn’t about your IG following). As someone who has worked very hard over the last five years to change my own self-deprecating mindset, I feel one of the most direct ways to become a more confident woman is simply by showing your vulnerable side.
Although perhaps an unpopular opinion, walking like a “tough girl” all the time can be quite exhausting (and not to mention obnoxious). Who actually likes to pretend that the overbearing Dad from an 80’s movie shouting, “Don’t you cry!” makes women turn out to be confident in the end? That does nothing for anyone’s self-esteem, body image, independence (I could go on)… But what I have learned, not only from my jealous, insecure high school relationships but also from a failed marriage, is that not much can actually break us, women. We are stronger than we sometimes believe.
So what do we do with that internal strength? Some of the smartest, most confident women I know are not women you see running around town boasting about everything they know or the “look at me” types. No. Sometimes these types of women take risks without telling anyone they are taking them. They are strategic. Confident women are the women who make mistakes, learn from them, and are vulnerable enough to discuss those mistakes in the public eye to building a community to support other women.
Confidence and dating are two things most of us don’t use together in the same sentence, mostly because it’s safer to sit in our sweat pants swiping on a dating app than it is actually making an effort to go on a real date. (Who wants to actually have feelings anyway?) But changing your mindset about dating is the first key to making it actually work. If you look at dating as something that can actually be fun (who knew) and that it’s ok if not every date works out, it’s much easier to go in with confidence and to show those true authentic colors.
Be your authentic self.
Lastly, what exactly does it mean to be this authentic self? I believe it means peeling back those layers and exposing who you really are as a person. Not what someone (like your parents) wanted you to be when you were a kid, not what you think society wants you to be (what you see on Instagram), and certainly not what you think will match best with whomever you’re crushing on at the moment. Who you are, what you like, and your beliefs are what define you as a person. When you believe this about yourself and show the rest of the world too, that’s what attracts people. That’s vulnerability. That’s sexy. And that’s confidence.