Like most people, I’ve struggled with my confidence growing up. But over the past few years I have come to quite a few realisations about how I need to live my life in order to be confident in myself, and what I do. It doesn’t mean that I feel confident all the time, but I’ve developed some tools that really has changed how I treat myself. After realising that everyone is suffering from some kind of insecurity, and fear of being vulnerable, it made it a lot easier to find a way to deal with it. These seven steps are just my way to rise to a higher quality of life, and I though I’d share them with you.
NO.1 Nourish, don’t punish
Our relationship to food is one of the most important relationships in our lives, and I’m not proud to admit that mine has been quite troubled. Punishing myself by not eating for days, leaving it even harder to live up to my own ideals about how to eat healthy. I don’t believe in dieting. I believe in eating to nourish your body, which for me means filling your plate with food that gives you energy. Food that feels good in your body, in portions that satisfy it. I believe in indulging and giving into carvings, and I believe in the freedom that the lack of restrictions gives you because it makes your cravings far less frequent. I don’t believe in deprivation, but having everything in moderation.
NO.2 Work out for skills, not calories
Growing up, I’ve always done some kind of activity and I learned from an early age that what it came down to was ambition and dedication. I don’t remember it ever being about my body, it was always about my skills. For a few years I tried working out for calories and becoming thinner, but it only felt like I was punishing my body. I stopped exercising altogether for a while, and when I started up with Ashtanga yoga and running, I could truly concentrate on what my body was able to do, and on developing my skills, rather than trying to fit some kind of ideal I had about how I was supposed to look. It would be a lie to say that I don’t want to be in a slim, fit body, but what I have learned is that through focusing on skills I became a lot happier, and the results came faster too. Find something you like doing, and get really good at it!
NO.3 Go a little easy on yourself
Accepting that things will stray a little from the ideal situation, makes it a lot easier to be comfortable with whatever happens. I like to ask myself if what is happening now, will matter in a week, a month or even a year from now, and guess what? It usually won’t. I’m a perfectionist, so this is not always easy to accept, but it does make me more confident in my decisions, and my ability to deal with change.
NO.4 Find your passion
Being involved in projects where you feel that you are developing your potential and using your skills is crucial to feeling confident. There is nothing worse for your confidence than feeling like you are underachieving, not living up to your potential and simply not being in the right place. Finding your passion, will lead you to finding what you truly excel at, and that cultivates confidence and happiness.
NO.5 Dress the part
I must admit that I use fashion as a weapon. When I was defending my bachelor thesis, I had my outfit picked out a month in advance, and I love how knowing that it would give me confidence in the situation made me feel at ease. What you wear is all about reflecting who and what you are, and I’m always surprised as to how uncomfortable it can make me feel if I’m dressed in something that doesn’t make me feel good. Clothes can make me feel incredible confident, and it’s all about finding out what works for you. Dressing in a way that flatters you, and playing with expressions is what will end up being your key to feeling on top of things.
NO.6 Be honest
Being vulnerable is not exactly one of my favourite things, but I have learned that being honest and letting other people really see you, will end up rewarding you with a sense of self that is really strong. I don’t believe in making excuses for other people, which I have done a lot in the past, and being able to be honest and let myself be vulnerable has changed me, in a way that has made me value my own opinion of myself, more than others’. It’s about standing up for yourself, and not be afraid of people liking you less because of what you have to say, and it can really feel empowering (as well as incredibly scary, but do it anyways).
NO.7 Surround yourself with good people
Life is too short to have friends who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, and who does not support you in the way that they should. All these things listed above is all good, but being able to see yourself reflected in your friends, and devoting yourself to being a good friend, does something to your confidence. Being able to have a place where your failures to reach your perfect ideal really doesn’t matter, and your are not loved according to success (like we too often do with ourselves), is so important. I’ve learned to be that friend to myself a little more, through all of these steps, and I’m so happy that I have such an amazing group of friends and family where we share a mutual love and respect for each other, to make the whole thing a lot easier.