Today we’re getting really personal and covering a topic I really struggle with: how to exude confidence when you’re insecure.
Growing up, I was considered shy. I hated talking to adults, saying what I wanted to order at a restaurant was my least favorite activity, and talking on the phone put me in a full blown panic. My parents did a good job of pushing me out of it. I always had to place my order with the server and ask for help when I needed it. I’m so thankful they did this because I would really have a problem now that I’m an adult.
As I’ve gotten older, my shyness turned more into social anxiety. I always worry that I don’t belong somewhere, that I’m not welcome or wanted, or that I will under-perform professionally.
“Maybe it was a mistake I was invited.”
“They probably only asked me out of obligation?”
“I’m going to embarrass myself.”
“What if I fail?”
I’ve felt this anxiety in all of my relationships and most of my professional environments. I always wondered if I was good enough to be friends with someone, to date someone, to perform the job required.
My anxiety has really hit an all-time high over the past year. I’ve grown my blog a lot, had a very high-pressure job up until recently, and honestly have gained a little weight. That combination has made me incredibly insecure and caused me to question my relationships and positions.
About a month ago, I was at rock bottom. I really didn’t want to leave my house or do anything social, and the only people I felt really comfortable around were Stephen and my family. I was terrified Stephen was getting tired of me and going to leave me, even though he has been nothing but a supportive, committed, fun, loving perfect partner since the day we met. I had no reason to think that but I had built it up in my head.
Fun fact: I’m a 6 on the Enneagram test, in case you couldn’t tell lol.
I’m on my way back out of the hole I’m in. Right now my motto is “fake it til you make it.” I don’t think people know that I feel this way. I’ve always called myself an “outgoing introvert.” I can go into social and professional situations and act like I’m fine. The great thing about insecurities is that they are invisible and you are the only one who knows that you are uncomfortable.
So today, I want to share my strategies and tactics to exude confidence even when you’re insecure.
-Make a self-esteem portfolio: put a portfolio together of things that make you feel good. Maybe you have a reference letter a superior wrote on your behalf, or a note from a colleague telling you how valued you are–put these in there. If someone gives you a compliment throughout the day, write it on a sticky note and put it into your portfolio. If you’re a blogger, take a nice comment or direct message that makes you feel good. Print out a photo of yourself where you know you look great. Make this portfolio and read it any time you need to give your confidence a jolt.
-Lift your shoulders and look people in the eye. I genuinely hate making eye contact, but looking people in the eye makes you look confident. It also is polite and makes people trust you. Really not looking people in the eye looks shifty, so you should do it anyway. Also pull your shoulders back and think tall. Having good posture can make you look (and sometimes feel) confident.
-Take Deep Breaths and speak slowly. When I get nervous, I have full motor mouth. I talk so so fast rather than speaking calmly and slowly. It’s the worst when I have to do any kind of public speaking, but this also happens to me on phone calls and in conversations I don’t want to have.
-Wear colors that make you feel brave. I like to wear black. It slims me out and makes my hair look blonder. So black is my go-to color for most things. Some people like red because it makes them feel bold. Whatever you feel great in is definitely the color you should be wearing in stressful situations. ALSO, wear clothes you are comfortable in. If you pull on your clothes you don’t look confident so if you don’t like low-cut or too short, don’t wear it.
-Exercise. I mentioned earlier that my weight gain is part of the reason I don’t feel very confident, so I’ve started exercising. I walk dogs and do workouts in our home gym. If you want to really feel confident, I love doing the Fitness Marshall videos. They are really fun dance workout videos that boost your confidence.
-Find something to do with your hands. I love events that have drinks because I always have something to hold. But find something to do with your hands so you don’t get nervous and fidget. I’ve also done the trick where you have to concentrate on touching your side. I make it like a “floor is lava” game where I can’t stop touching my side. If not I’ll play with my hair so I really try to focus on this.
There you go, my tips for exuding confidence when you aren’t! Do you struggle with insecurity? What are some of your favorite tips?