A few weeks ago now was my 4 year anniversary of moving to Philadelphia. It’s been a wild ride, and also kind of rad reflecting on not only how much my life has changed since moving to the city, but how much I’ve changed as a person. I’ve been pretty fortunate to find the company of some of the best movers and shakers in this city, and I myself have grown into a fairly confident, independent person. It might come as a surprise to my current social circle, but that person is actually someone I’m still getting to know.
I spent most of my life being the awkward introvert, and it wasn’t till a crappy breakup forced me to reflect and realize I didn’t have to stay that way. There was nothing inherently wrong with the “old” me, but I suffered from the kind of crippling social anxiety that lets you get all dressed up only to wait (in the car, outside the event). You know how some people seem like they’re born confident, with that je ne sais quoi that commands a room? I wanted a fraction of that, and either had to figure it out on my own, or continue through life hugging the dang wall.
Even though I came into Philly often to party, moving into the city was a fresh start. I swan dove at the opportunity to find my voice with people who didn’t fully know the awkward me, and frankly: it worked. Sure, I feel shy sometimes, but I’ve never felt more sure of myself. In celebration of my 4 years in this city that helped me blossom, I’m sharing my four suggestions on how to build your own confidence, and a giveaway to give you that extra oomph.
1. fake it till you make it
This is one of my absolute favorite things to suggest to people for a myriad of scenarios, but especially for building social confidence. Fake it till you make it. Build up a persona in your head, and commit.
I have a nickname that friends have been calling me since high school, so when I moved to Philadelphia, it was easy to start “faking”. I made a character in my head of what I thought this nickname’s personality was like: outgoing, confident, outspoken, strong, and so on. She was the type of girl who stood up for herself and took no shit. When I went out, I’d ask myself “How would she behave??” and did just that. Eventually it became like muscle memory, and I wasn’t pretending to be that girl; I just was this girl.
To do this yourself, pick your own characteristics, then work on embodying them. What do you want to be? If it’s easier, nickname those characteristics (I only found it easier, because I wanted to be someone not me at the time). Walk with your shoulders back, head up, and your chin forward. As time passes, you’ll find it easier to truly be the confident person you’re faking being, because you won’t be faking. Just be careful what you fake, because you really will become what you pretend to be.[clickToTweet tweet=”We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” quote=”We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”]
2. assertive vs. narrative
One of the first things Gary John Bishop covers in his book Unf*ck Yourself is that you need to look at how you talk to yourself. Rather than using narrative self-talk that’s directed in the future such as “I will be more confident this month” or “I will become great at this”, use assertive self-talk saying “I am confident” or “I am great”. When you make that slight change, it alters your perception of yourself.
Instead of working toward something in the future, you force yourself to start believing that you already are and already doing these things. It forces you to take ownership of your life in the moment, and as such, start to take control over your life. Changes truly start inward. [clickToTweet tweet=”Changing how you talk to yourself can change how you perceive yourself. I am, not I will.” quote=”Changing how you talk to yourself can change how you perceive yourself. I am, not I will.”]
3. know yourself
I think there’s two types of confident people: the person who is perceived to be confident because they’re loud, and the person who is truly comfortable in their own skin. People will notice both, but the second one is who I strive to be.
Being showy is a defense mechanism that animals have used since the beginning of time. The animal that’s the flashiest, loudest, or meanest is seen as something predators don’t want to mess with. When people behave in that manner, it tends to come from a place of fear. There’s nothing wrong with cracking a joke, but when you learn to feel comfortable with yourself, you won’t need to flash that dang peacock tail.
I understand that it’s not always easy to get to know yourself, but it’s really one of the most beneficial steps to building confidence. The only way to “defeat an enemy” (or in this case, whatever is holding your confidence back) is by knowing them. Look at your quirks, your thoughts, the things you like, and the things you consider limitations. Pick apart what you know and put it back together. This is who you are, and when you become comfortable with that, it’ll shine through everything you do.[clickToTweet tweet=”This is who you are, and when you become comfortable with that, it’ll shine through everything you do.” quote=”This is who you are, and when you become comfortable with that, it’ll shine through everything you do.”]
4. stop feeding awkwardness
I recently read the Tony Robbins quote “where focus goes, energy flows”, and that’s super relevant here. The places you direct your attention are the things that will thrive. That means, if all you can think about is how awkward you feel, look, or think you are, then that’s exactly what you’re going to become.
Starting to recognize your negative thoughts when they pop up can help you fix that. To help you pinpoint the problem, know that intrusive thought patterns flow from two places: dwelling in the past, or fear of the future. Once you can see that, you can redirect your mind away from the thoughts on being awkward toward more assertive language, telling yourself you are brave, and you are confident.[clickToTweet tweet=”Know that intrusive thought patterns flow from two places: dwelling in the past, or fear of the future.” quote=”Know that intrusive thought patterns flow from two places: dwelling in the past, or fear of the future.”]
Related post: Tips For Living Your Best
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And now, the fun part!
I’m going to be giving the two books above, You Are A Badass and Unfu*k Yourself, to one lucky winner to help them on their journey toward building their confidence! These are two of my fave self-help books, and I can’t wait to see them help someone else!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rules: Use Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway will end 11/25. Only open to U.S. or Canada this time, sorry! Winner will be announced here and notified via email.