Three Dependable Ways To Building Self-Confidence (Part 2/3)
(Hey, if this is the first article of mine you’re reading, please check the links in conclusion first to better understand Amber and her journey)
I hope you enjoyed the first part where we spoke about mindfulness and how to inculcate those habits daily. While becoming mindful and self-aware can help you identify the reasons behind our triggers, we’ll first need to look at self-acceptance to work on healing these triggers.
When Amber learned to identify her triggers, her reactions to situations made more sense. She was less judgemental about her reactions.
Her focus shifted from “I wish I didn’t react that way” to a kinder “I finally understand what I truly need to feel safer.”
When was the last time you reacted regrettably to a situation?
Do you wish you could find a way to respond to people instead of reacting to them?
Self-acceptance is key to that journey of growth. And while self-acceptance takes a bit of practice, here are four doable ways to build this mindful practice:
Become Self Accepting
Once you build on self-awareness, you simultaneously learn how to accept yourself. I know, easier said than done. But here’s what I think:
“To be truly aware of yourself, you need to learn to let go of judgment. The absence of judgment brings safety to the darker parts of you to resurface. Learn to be kind and gentle with yourself. In kindness, you’ll start to let go of what people think and focus on understanding why you matter.”
Kindness can help you accept all parts of yourself. You will no longer need to seek validation externally. Instead, you’ll be confident in knowing that you are complete and cherished, just as you are.
Amber sure had a hard time with this. But, here are a few ways her coach suggested to help with baby steps towards self-acceptance:
Identifying And Exploring Triggers
Your triggers are significant opportunities for your growth. Triggering moments can seem scary to revisit. After all, we want to bury our reaction to triggers the best we can for the longest time we can, right?
Wrong. And Here’s why.
Your triggers shine the light on parts of you that you haven’t healed from. They’re deeply insightful if you allow them to be. Exploring your triggers and reaction with kindness and curiosity will enable you to feel safe in your body.
This curiosity will deepen your trust in yourself. This trust will lead you to be more self-accepting. Furthermore, this self-acceptance reflects in stopping yourself from seeking external validation. Instead, you’ll be comfortable in your own skin.
Imagine how confident you would be when you would just let go of the fear behind exploring triggers and accepting and working on your reactions instead.
When Amber practiced radical self-acceptance, she noticed it was tough at first. She realized baby steps and kindness was the way to go. Now, she’s working towards building more self-confidence, but her self-esteem sure got a big boost.
Taking Up Space.
Like you, Amber grew up listening to “children should be seen and not heard” from a young age.
“Why can’t you be more like…” is a common phrase we’ve all heard while growing up. Amber, too, went through life unaware of this phrase’s impact on her life.
She, too, grew up in a society where gender discrimination was normal. There were unsaid expectations about each gender. Those who didn’t fit the mold weren’t celebrated for being misfits. Rather, they were ridiculed, made small, and in some worst cases, ostracised from their community.
Identity and individuality weren’t celebrated. Instead, people shamed these values. When Amber realized how incredibly unhelpful this advice could be, she realized how society leached away her confidence.
Slowly, through the years. Without Amber’s realization. Only because this was the norm. These beliefs were the general expectation. It almost seemed like these unsaid expectations were the truth. And no one questions the truth, right?
Amber needed to learn to be okay with taking up space. She needed to understand how to sit in the discomfort of disappointing people with limiting beliefs. Enough of making herself small to keep others comfortable.
When Amber started taking up space, something incredible happened. All those that didn’t want to see her grow faded away in the background. Dropped away like flies from her life.
And those that remained, or new folks that she welcomed, all celebrated her confidence. Cherished her for being able to speak her mind out. They praised her for refusing to be meek.
This life can be your truth too. Take up space. It will be alright.
As said in the previous article, Brene Brown’s famous quote, “vulnerability is the cornerstone of confidence.” sums up this point.
When Amber learned it was okay to be vulnerable, she could accept parts of her she kept hidden. All in a weak attempt to look confident.
Fake it until you make it is the worst advice you can get about confidence. And here’s why. Fake it till you make it means you’ll be busy sweeping all the uncomfortable parts under the rug, and you’ll be trying hard to keep the show going of your “confidence.”
Not only is this awfully exhausting, but you’ll feel helpless and lonely.
How can you remove a mask you gave your blood, sweat, and tears to uphold?
Begin with self-acceptance. Begin with vulnerability. Confidence shall follow.
When Amber read Brene Brown’s book: The power of vulnerability, it instantly opened her eyes to how powerfully linked vulnerability is to self-confidence and self-esteem.
From the time she could remember, Amber always struggled with her anxieties. Sure, she never knew her fears about living her life had an official term, “anxiety.”
But she knew she was constantly overthinking about everything. Sometimes, this overthinking led to self-sabotaging her relationships, not being able to enjoy the present moment, or even regretting her life when she looks back.
Amber had to work on setting boundaries. She had to learn that she was allowed to have her needs. And that having needs and wants doesn’t make her selfish. Amber had to learn basic human skills from scratch.
When her coach suggested she read the book: Unf*ck your boundaries by Dr. Faith G Harper, Amber was hooked. Right from the start, Amber felt seen. Like Faith got Amber’s story.
For so long, she was so scared of telling no.
- What would people think?
- What if they abandon me?
- What if I’m wrong/ being unreasonable in my feelings?
- What if I’m not the one adjusting in this relationship?
Tell me you haven’t been here. We’ve all had these thoughts. Internally wanting to just flip people off for treating us so poorly but externally just putting on a smile and saying, “it’s alright.”
Well, it’s not alright. You matter. Your feelings and emotions matter. The moment you take ownership of standing up for yourself, you’ll find yourself in happier, healthier relationships. You’ll notice your confidence soar through the roof.
In the End
I’ve saved the best way to build self-confidence for the last. My goal is to help you on this journey of confidence as best I can. To do so, we will have to walk each step towards our goal: embodying confidence.
So, this week, I encourage you to continue identifying your triggers and practice kindness to yourself. Become mindful of harsh, judgemental thoughts.
Work on acknowledging your reactions and get curious about why you reacted the way you did. Once you learn mindfulness, you’ll be ready to take on the next step in your journey to self-confidence.
The best is yet to come. This article is part of a series on Amber’s journey to gaining confidence. Check out the sequence here:
- Amber’s Story
- Amber’s shift in mindset to confidence
- Amber’s tested tools to building confidence Part 1
- Amber’s tested tools to building confidence Part 2
- Amber’s tested tools to building confidence Part 3
Stay Tuned to the next one.