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Boosting self-esteem: How I faked confidence till I got it

brown dried leaves on sand

I speak openly about my imposter syndrome and one thing that I have come to realise is that if you think that you are incapable and “Failure” is your middle name, you are absolutely right. If you believe you’re brilliant and can accomplish anything in the world, you have never lied! Because I began to recognise the power of my mindset in a way that I didn’t before. It may not be as simple as that but what we think is usually what we feed our energies to and often that is what we become. I learned this the hard way.

For a while, I spent so long getting depressed about my weaknesses that I’d completely forget that I have any strengths. I struggled to even accept compliments and it took a while to realise that my power lies in what I know and when I am confident about what I know, I will feel empowered to work through everything else. Having said that, our confidence levels might differ from day to day, leaving us shy or confused at the wrong time. Or it might not be there at all. If you are struggling either way, look no further. Today marks the start of International Boost Self-Esteem Month and I would like to share a few simple tips which I have found helpful.

Embrace the learning curve. The most important thing that I try to do is seek the knowledge I need to get better at the things that I am not so good at, instead of feeling sorry for myself. This is hard. But it helps to constantly remind myself that no one is perfect and no one knows everything. Instead of dwelling on perceived shortcomings, I try to view them as opportunities for growth and personal development. Adopting a growth mindset helps me see challenges as opportunities rather than insurmountable obstacles. This perspective fosters resilience and encourages a positive attitude towards self-improvement. Whether it’s taking courses, watching TEDx videos, attending workshops, or reading books, staying curious and open to new information keeps my mind sharp and reinforces the idea that improvement is an ongoing process.

Remember that it’s not always about you. Sometimes people might do or say very hurtful things to you. Don’t take it to heart. People’s actions, even when hurtful, rarely have anything to do with us. It’s easy to read into the negativity of others and see it as a slight to our personality or a challenge to our ego. This type of reaction causes unnecessary stress and can prevent you from focusing on the positive things in your life. People are people; there’s never a need to link their behaviour to your happiness. Knowing this gives you peace and the freedom to feel the confidence you deserve.

Dress well and wear clothes that fit. Be it your favourite boho-chic look or dressing in all black, in reality sometimes the things we think cover our flaws can actually be very unflattering. Trust me I know! You don’t have to “dress your size” as long as your clothes fit well and flatter your body shape. You don’t have to be at your ideal weight to look good. Your clothes don’t make you. You make them work for you. It is all in your attitude and character. Love you, love what you’re wearing and people are likely to love it too and even if they don’t, who cares?

Useful tips for curvier women. I’ve made every single one of these mistakes.

Laugh a little. Or maybe a lot. Make way for endorphins that will fill you with happiness and in turn inspire internal confidence. Laughter releases some of the tension that we build in our bodies every day. Ensure that you are consuming media and engaging with people who make you most happy. Avoid Debbie Downers and Melancholic Mikes. Don’t be one yourself. For empaths like myself, I recommend The Happy Newspaper on Instagram to help balance out the negative noise of traditional media.

No time for idle chatter. Don’t gossip. Don’t indulge in he-said-she-said. Idle chatter about other people might make you feel good to be in the know until you start wondering what others are saying about you when you’re not around. Or you start comparing notes. It is not worth it.

Embrace the self. Can you be comfortable in your skin and alone with your thoughts? Or do you have to surround yourself with people all the time or need to find a way to occupy your every second so you don’t go crazy being still? Can you switch off your phone for one hour and just embrace yourself in solitude? Being still is a great way to reconnect and make us more comfortable with ourselves. When we are comfortable with ourselves, we appear more confident to others.

Surround yourself with positivity. I’d rather be alone than be surrounded by people who do not enhance my existence in some way. Life is too short to be around people who cannot inspire or uplift you. I try to engage in activities that bring me joy and fulfillment.

Celebrate your achievements and accept what you deserve. It could be compliments, gifts from a loved one, or a new promotion. Do not question it. This is still a work in progress for me. I am learning to accept compliments and gifts with grace. I am still learning not to second guess or belittle my worth, my knowledge, or my accomplishments. I have to remind myself every day that I am not an imposter. Conversely, I try to speak life into others and pay people positive compliments when appropriate. Sometimes the feeling of giving is just as good as that of receiving.

This is by no means an exhaustive list or a one-size-fits-all formula. It took me a while to break free from the shackles of self-doubt and embrace my strengths. Yet my confidence still fluctuates and the work on the self never ends. As we embark on International Boost Self-Esteem Month, may we find the courage to be comfortable in our skin and appreciate the uniqueness that defines us authentically and without apology.

May we always remember that we are deserving of all the good that comes our way.

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