Most of us have had times in our lives, perhaps extremely long periods of time, where we felt broken. Maybe you’ve felt emotionally defeated, insecure, hopeless, and inadequate. If so, you’re not alone. I went through years of feeling that way. And the worst part for me was that I didn’t see a way out of it. I felt unloved, insecure and depressed. Part of it stemmed from post partum depression and part of it stemmed from difficult life experiences I’d been through . But what made it all soooo much worse was self sabotage. Which of course at the time I wasn’t even aware of what I was doing. But I would numb my emotions with food or social media instead of actually facing those emotions and working through them in a healthy way. I would procrastinate things that were important to me. I’d often find myself wallowing in self-pity and I spent zero time taking care of myself or showing myself any kind of love.
I remember thinking all the time, “I feel so miserable and lost, I can’t ever see myself being a confident person again like I used to be”. But what’s interesting is there never really was a time in my life that I was truly confident. However, in my mind I thought I totally had been at one point. I remember when I was in high school and early college I thought pretty highly of myself. I was so good at not focusing on anything that I was insecure about. I only did things that made me feel great about myself and I would only share the parts of myself that I thought were worthy of sharing. When people complimented me on my talents or my looks, I took that as validation and permission to believe that I was pretty amazing. Sounds SO CONFIDENT right?!? Far from it. I didn’t learn what true confidence was until much, much later in my life.
But what I know about confidence now? I now know that confidence doesn’t come from anything outside of you. I know it doesn’t come from thinking you’re amazing or better than someone else. I know it absolutely doesn’t come from only focusing on the things you’re good at or hiding the things you’re bad at. It doesn’t come from compromising your values. It doesn’t come from makeup and hair products and cute clothes (although I will always love those things). It doesn’t come from people complimenting you and approving of you. It doesn’t come from throwing your kid a Pinterest worthy birthday party or from being “the best” at anything. And it sure as heck doesn’t mean any of the things I thought it meant in high school and college.
So here’s the truth and the realization that literally changed my life…
Real confidence comes from knowing who you are and embracing ALL parts of yourself. Even the parts that are flawed. Real confidence comes from loving yourself exactly as you are AND choosing to be okay with the fact that you’ve still got crap to work through! Because guess what… we all do. It’s part of this life experience. And it’s all OK. Confidence also comes from training your inner voice to be KIND (this is a big one). Kind to yourself and kind to others. Nothing will kill your confidence quicker than when you believe the lies your brain tells you about yourself. That inner voice we all have is by default more negative and condescending than it is positive and uplifting. So YOU have to be the one who trains it to speak to you with love and compassion and positivity. That right there is one of the most confidence growing skills I’ve ever learned. Along with taking responsibility for your own emotions and not assigning someone else the job of making you feel something you want to feel. Meaning you can’t expect someone else to give you YOUR confidence. It’s an internal job and it can only be done by YOU.
And lastly, one of the most powerful things that I’ve found helps you grow real confidence is keeping commitments to yourself. We often take action and keep commitments we’ve made in order to please other people. But it’s an entirely different experience when you choose to do something because you’re honoring a commitment to YOURSELF. If this is something you’ve personally worked on in your life, you know it not only builds self-confidence but it also builds self-trust and self-respect!
So where do you start?? Start by first recognizing that you are not broken. You never were. You have always been whole and beautiful and capable. No matter what you’ve been through. Once you’ve worked on believing that, then decide to take ownership of where you’re currently at in your life and start growing from there! But you MUST decide first to love yourself as you are right now. That can be a hard step, but it is necessary. It’s tempting to think that once we’ve built up our confidence enough, THEN we will finally feel love for ourselves. That’s what I used to believe. But that’s totally backwards. Self-Love does not come from confidence. Confidence comes from making the choice to love yourself. Flaws and all. So start there friends. ❤