I was inspired to write this post on confidence for a couple of reasons, and namely because it is a relevant topic for many who make it to my couch. I had a timely conversation with a client yesterday about what confidence means to her as it relates to her view of self and body image.
I will adamantly stand by the fact that I get to work with some of the brightest and best clients. Seriously. They blow me away with their talents, personality, courage, and heart. However, at the the start of our work together they are unable to see themselves in the positive light in which I see them.
If you find that you are you own worst critic and struggle with being confident, I would take an educated guess it could be for a variety of reasons: family upbringing, emotionally damaging life events, and/or natural temperament (perfectionists, people-pleasers, or sensitive souls, anyone?).
Oh, and let's not forget gender role, social, and cultural considerations that can impact confidence. For women it can often be something along the lines of the following sentiment: "Be humble. Don't be 'too much'. People don't like too strong, aggressive, or 'know-it-all' women. You won't make friends/business partners/lovers etc.."
Here's the deal though-- Confidence is not to be confused with cockiness, and it is definitely not demanding perfection.
Confidence as I simply define it, is the belief that you are valuable and capable enough.
(Please re-read above definition as many times as you need.)
There are so many benefits to self-confidence; I stumbled across the list below in a mindfulness and relaxation book by Dr. Arlene K. Unger, and had to share.
TEN BENEFITS OF SELF- CONFIDENCE
1) Enables you to say "no" to others.
2) Inspires you to take on challenges and stretch yourself.
3) Lets you embrace uncertainty.
4) Endows you with resilience, so that you can bounce back from setbacks.
5) Helps you know your strengths, so that you can make the most of them.
6) Increases your ability to accept your flaws, and those of others too.
7) Encourages you to meet others, socialize, and stay connected.
8) Reduces regrets and "what ifs."
9) Gives you the ability to speak in public.
10) Impresses others and helps them believe in you.
If you've read this far, I'm hoping you see the value in embracing self-confidence. I hope you also know that being confident doesn't always come naturally, and it's okay to approach others for help with building your confidence.
I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes. (If you are non-religious or non-spiritual, I hope you can still grasp and appreciate the concept without focusing on the God aspect.)
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”