This post contains affiliate links, at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep The Determined Dreamer running!
I recently ordered a personalized journal from Minted (which I’ll be writing about in an upcoming post, btw!) and added my absolute favorite quote to the inside cover. I’m in love with a whole lot of quotes, but this is the one and only one that I actually have memorized- the one quote that I repeat to myself at least once a day (no joke).
Confidence is not, “They will like me.” Confidence is, “I’ll be fine if they don’t.”
For years upon years, it was my mission in life to make sure everyone liked me. I stayed quiet in order to not ruffle any feathers or be thought of as “too opinionated.” I either tried to dress trendy or dress incredibly simple in order to blend in. And don’t even get me started on how often I avoided parties, phone calls (I still avoid this one haha), and speaking up in class in order to avoid criticism. I didn’t want to reveal any of my weaknesses or draw attention to any of my insecurities. I had such a strong desire to be “well liked” (or at least not disliked) that I shrank down into a lesser version of myself. Simply put, I wasn’t confident in who I was.
My Discovery About Confidence
Confidence is something I’m still working on (and probably always will be working on). And I know I’m not alone in this! Most of us want to be well-liked. And all of us have things we’re insecure about- things we’re afraid of people judging. We want to know that others accept us for who we are- flaws and all. But unfortunately, that just isn’t going to happen- at least not to the extent that we want. There are going to be people that don’t like us, which is exactly why having a sense of inner confidence (one that can’t be swayed by others opinions of you) is so important.
When I figured out that I shouldn’t die trying to please everyone (because it’s impossible), I was able to start focusing my energy on accepting and loving myself because that’s the only opinion I have control over. This is something I’ll have to continually work on, but I do feel like I’ve come a long way from where I once was. I’m excited to share some of the things that I’ve found most helpful in my journey to become more confident!
7 Things I’m Doing Regularly to Feel More Confident
1. I’m making sure that some of my time spent alone is quiet.
It’s no secret that I’m an introvert! I thoroughly enjoy spending time alone and am often more bored in group settings than I am when I’m by myself (actually, I’ve never been bored by myself). But I recently came to the realization that a lot of the time I spend alone is spent browsing through social media, reading books, getting work done, or watching TV. It’s rarely spent truly alone with my own thoughts.
How am I supposed to feel confident in who I am if I haven’t even spent enough time alone to know who I am?
Lately, I’ve been making an effort to spend at least an hour a day meditating, writing in my journal, or simply sitting in a quiet place and thinking. In these moments I’ve learned more about myself than I could ever learn from when my mind is buzzing with the noise of everyone else’s feelings and opinions.
2. I’m dressing cute, yet comfy.
Nothing ruins a super cute outfit more than it being uncomfortable, am I right!? For me, feeling uncomfortable in an outfit actually makes me feel less confident
I recently found a pair of high waisted jeans that don’t feel like a death trap for my legs and have been pairing them with my favorite comfy
Cents of Style has a ton of cute tee’s, trendy tops, shoes, pants, and jewelry! I’ve been wearing the comfy tee I got from there on repeat (literally) and am about to purchase a few more of their tee’s! They’re currently offering a major discount, along with free shipping. You can use code TAKE20 here to get 20% any of their other products! They have the cutest clothes and ALWAYS offer FREE shipping in the U.S.
3. I’m taking care of my body.
One of the first things I neglect when I’m feeling down in life is, ironically, my body. Unfortunately, that’s just about the last thing I should be
4. I’m taking more time to think about others.
Recently I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a somewhat infuriating tweet. Apparently, this person thought that our generation is too obsessed with “self-love” and decided to proclaim aloud that our last priority (even after work) should be ourselves.
While I agree that, at times, people seem to be a little self-absorbed, I’m glad we’ve moved on from the ways of past generations, when they often put themselves as a last priority (causing them to stay in abusive relationships- among other reasons for staying, neglect their mental and physical health needs, etc.) At the same time, I believe that focusing on others should be a close second priority to focus on self.
There’s a famous quote that states, “You can’t fill others up if your own cup is empty.” That’s just one reason why self-care is crucial… but the “filling others up” part is also crucial. I firmly believe we shouldn’t help others purely for selfish motives (blessings, to help ourselves, etc.). Our reasons for focusing on others should be genuine, but I have noticed that when I spend more time focusing on others, I’m more confident in myself. I’m not sure why this is, but it’s truly a lovely little “perk” that happens when I take more time to genuinely help others.
5. I’m taking time to focus on my mental health.
Unfortunately, a lot of the issues we experience in life and with confidence can’t be solved by a simple, “Think positive!” or, “Just stand in front of the mirror and repeat, ‘I am beautiful.'” Our past experiences shape who we are and sometimes those experiences aren’t the prettiest.
That often requires working through some sort of CBT workbook, reading self-help books (and then taking action on what you read), or even going to therapy (which btw, is nothing to be ashamed of). Gaining confidence isn’t simple and it doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it won’t happen unless we put in the hard work to make it happen!
6. I’m surrounding myself with people I admire and who lift me up (and vise versa).
Ever since I graduated high school, I’ve been extremely picky about who I’m friends with and who I’m willing to sacrifice time away from my husband and myself (I need lots of alone time!) I don’t have time or energy for negative people who judge others (so I know they’re judging me) or who don’t make me feel comfortable. I love being around super sweet people who “get me,” – the kind of people who I can tease and joke around with but whose jokes are never hurtful.
I’ve realized that it’s okay to be picky about friendships. And that it’s okay to say, “no,” when someone who doesn’t make me happy or bring out the best in me asks me to hang out. It’s even okay to say, “no” to family members if they aren’t contributing to my overall happiness at the moment. In fact, it’s not only okay, it’s detrimental for my mental health and happiness!
7. I’m learning to laugh at myself.
I’ll admit that I’m definitely “high strung” at times. I don’t take criticism well and I often beat myself up for making little mistakes. This is still something I’m working on, but learning to laugh at myself and realize that it’s okay to make mistakes and that I’m not “stupid” because I forgot to switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer and had to rewash them for the 5th time.
I’m human. I’m going to say the wrong thing sometimes, accidentally offend someone, and do extremely embarrassing things. But it’s not the end of the world when those things happen. In fact, ten years from now I’ll probably laugh at the dumb things I’m doing now. And for the bigger things that I find it difficult to forgive myself for, I can work hard to learn to do so (through meditation, prayer, therapy, etc.) No matter what it is we’ve done, we can get to a place where we have truly forgiven ourselves.
7. I’m committing to taking part in a “Social Anxiety Challenge.”
I’m so excited to announce that I’m going to be leading a Social Anxiety Challenge starting next month! After reading How to Be Yourself and watching this TED talk, I felt like it would be important for myself and others to have the opportunity to work on our social anxiety.
I’m still working out all the details for the challenge, but it’s going to include a lot of “exposure therapy” involving rejection (i.e., asking a Burger King employee for free refills on burgers, asking strangers which way is left, etc.). There’ll be IG story templates, calendar and challenge printouts, and loads of other fun stuff to get everyone excited about this challenge!