Confidence is one of the hardest things to achieve and I think that is why people often feel threatened by people with confidence. It is one of the things we all want most in life. I have slowly grown in confidence over the last decade and wanted to share some things that have really helped me.
First is understanding that confidence really does come from within. Sure we can put on makeup and cute clothes and feel extra good.. but true confidence comes from knowing yourself and loving that person. You know how you will meet a truly stunning person.. only to hear that they too struggle with insecurities? You might wonder “how?” and I have wondered that about people too.. the like “how could they ever feel anything but amazing.. they are so pretty and cool” but that is because it isn’t that simple. Enhancing your appearance is great – however you decide you want to do that (for me I love wearing hair extensions, I got veneers, I love a good spray tan, etc) but all of that is surface level compared to the feelings you’re left with when your make up is off, you’re in pajamas, and nothing or no one is around to distract you. How do you feel when you are by yourself and left with your thoughts? How do you feel when you look in the mirror? How do you feel when you make mistakes or have a bad day?
I have told you all how I started therapy last year and while I was in therapy she asked me how I felt. I told her and then she asked how do you know that? I had the hardest time answering this question.. I don’t know I just feel like that? Long story short, she said she felt like I needed to get to know myself more and explained why. She gave me a challenge and told me to write a list of questions in my notes on my phone and answer them every day until I began answering them naturally. I didn’t do it every day but I did it 3-4 times a week and sometimes I didn’t answer them all. At first I didn’t know how to answer all of them because some of them seemed redundant and I often felt weird and emo writing the answers for some reason. I kept doing it anyway and wanted to share the questions and I will explain how it has changed my perspective and has actually helped me get to know myself more and my patterns.
How do I feel right now? *this would be your emotion: mad, annoyed, happy, content, confused, lost, lonely, stressed, nervous, offended, alive, etc.
What do I feel right now? *this would be answers like: my chest is tight, weighed down, feeling tense, tight shoulders, mind is spinning… more about what your body is feeling in response to the emotion. This was harder for me because you can’t just do this answer quickly. To do it right you have to really slow down for a moment and scan your body and see how it feels.
Why am I feeling this way? *don’t just answer quickly, try to ask yourself a follow up question.. example: because my kids were so much work today and I lost my patience *why did I lose my patience?*
What am I afraid of? *this has actually helped me see that what I am scared of most the time isn’t even something to be scared of .. like often it is not even a big deal but had I not asked myself this I would have kept feeling nervous or anxious. Sometimes I still do but I at least go into things now knowing that even the worst case scenario is not something to be nervous about. I actually recently filmed a podcast episode with someone and normally I would have been very very nervous but this was the first time I wasn’t nervous at all and never got nervous before. I didn’t even notice til after we had filmed that I was like woah I can’t believe I just did that and never felt nervous?! haha sounds so small but honestly these things added up and kept affecting me.
Why am I afraid of this?
What am I afraid is going to happen?
What am I longing for most right now?
What do I need right now?
What do I feel about myself right now? *looked at my notes (I kept all of the answers so I could compare to other days) and one of my days from last year said “like a lost person” gahhh 🙁
- What do I feel about myself as a woman? *do you feel trapped? defeated? confident? insecure?
My therapist also said, “I also finish by asking myself to be there for myself, am I ok with myself feeling all this, how can I love & support myself through these feelings.”
Since a lot of people don’t know how being shy and being introverted are different I first wanted to explain that – because understanding the difference is REALLY helpful. An introvert is someone who feels their energy is drained with social interactions. So it isn’t that an introvert is incapable of socializing, they just don’t get energy from interaction like extroverts do. Being shy is having a fear of interaction. You also don’t have to BE shy you can also just ACT shy from time to time (like me!) and some people naturally grow out of shyness or learn skills to help them feel more comfortable.
I used to overanalyze conversations a lot after feeling shy.. I would leave a dinner party and feel so guilty for not talking as much as others had and would start to have anxiety about it “did they think I was rude?” “why did I not say this?” or “why DID I say this?” – it was so frustrating to feel so disappointed in myself for what felt like something I couldn’t control. Sometimes I wouldn’t feel that and I would feel fine about my level of involvement so I started to notice little things about why certain situations brought out that post interaction anxiety and why certain people or groups made me feel more shy than others. This is what I discovered as to the reasons why I ACT shy:
- My energy was already drained. Often after a busy week of events and phone calls etc I will feel totally drained. In those moments I honestly don’t have the energy to be super involved in a group setting or often even in a more intimate setting.
- The people I am with have more energy than I feel I can compete with. I know when I am going to be with a big group of extroverts I simply will not be able to have the energy to compete with that level of energy. An example would be when David’s whole family gets together I sometimes just shut off. A lot of them are extroverts and when they all get together they have that really great sibling energy and I love to observe it but I can’t always keep up with it. (BTW.. It isn’t a bad thing at all.. it is one of the things I love most about David and his family, they have amazing energy)
- I simply don’t want to talk.
- I actually just like sitting back and observing and listening. I really don’t need to have attention to feel content and often I just enjoy silence and doing my own thing.
Being able to recognize these patterns has helped me a lot because now I can manage my expectations for how I will act – if we are going to a dinner with loud music and a lot of people I just already know I will likely not be super involved and I am okay with that. I don’t go home and feel guilty anymore. I also don’t look at myself as lacking confidence anymore which has been the biggest PERK!!!!! Confidence does not mean being loud and being insecure does not mean being quiet – they are completely different. Confidence is a feeling not an action. I always thought shy = lack of confidence.. and yes it CAN be I suppose but looking at it like that actually takes more confidence away (at least it did for me) because I kept correlating the two. When I was able to separate that I was able to be like…
WAIT I AM AN INTROVERTED, SOMETIMES SHY, SOMETIMES OUTGOING, CONFIDENT WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!! I finally know more about myself!!!!! It was a very exciting moment.
It was also helpful for me to understand that I don’t have to always feel confident to be confident – you can feel extra confident in certain areas in life while trying to improve confidence in others. Or you may have days that feel kind of blah and that is fine too.. your confidence doesn’t have to be defined by the days you feel off. You can actually define it however the FREAK YOU WANT! Please don’t wait til you are 31 like me to realize this stuff!
Having an abundance mindset also helps as a quick reminder when you catch yourself not feeling confident to be like oh yeah we can ALL be the shiz – she is the shiz and so am I – that is the energy we all need to have!!!
So I posted that video the one that goes:
“ohhhh is your daughter just so shy?”
“no, she is actually just really thoughtful about when she decides to speak”
… and I understand people who made the argument that being shy isn’t bad (I agree, it isn’t always) but it is OFTEN used in a negative way (ask literally any introvert and they will have so many examples of times they have felt bad when being called shy…*I know not all of them but you get what I am saying..) I just think it is so unnecessary to place those labels on kids before they have even fully developed.. I mean so many kids will naturally grow out of it and some will work with their parents to understand it better but either way it just feels like something we should be more thoughtful about how we say that and when we say it.
People who act shy often are very thoughtful and observant individuals who have a lot of compassion. It is actually such a cool trait and I think there are a lot of perks from being quiet. I have found so many perks to being quiet and compassionate in the work place too.
I used to lack confidence because I knew I was quiet and also felt like I wasn’t smart enough to be talking to certain people. I always felt a bit silly talking to a CEO who graduated from Harvard .. having never graduated college myself. I had previously been given the advice “just act confident and pretend to know whatever they are talking about and you can find out after!” I found that to be horrible advice for myself .. I would get WAY too deep in conversations I know nothing about and then look like an idiot. I started saying “oh I am not familiar with that term can you please explain?” or simply “I don’t know what you mean by that” and I found that the people I was talking to also didn’t know things that I KNEW. Once I said I don’t know they also felt comfortable saying it. I felt insecure not knowing their fancy business terms but I knew more about influencers, marketing, hair, and building a community. Those are the things I thrive doing because I LOVE doing them. I am good at them and not everyone is so I started to feel confident knowing it is okay to say “I don’t know” because we aren’t all meant to know everything. I also think more of someone when they don’t pretend to be a know it all – because that is…annoying. Be quick to ask for clarification and let them see how much you love to listen and learn. I was recently talking to this incredible woman who has been a CEO of multiple massive brands.. I got so excited talking to her and learning from her I got so in the zone asking questions. She stopped and told me how much she loved that I loved to learn and not pretend to know everything. To her it was refreshing. It felt good to hear that and I think just being YOU will be refreshing to people. And if anyone makes you feel dumb for not knowing then honestly don’t do business with them anyway. I have zero time for doing business with egotistical people who think they are better than others because they have X title or X income or X level of education… and if saying I don’t know is a quick and easy way to see someone’s true colors than more the reason to say it.
It is a journey to get to the point of truly knowing yourself, reading your body’s queues, and knowing your patterns… so don’t feel defeated if that feels daunting. I am always going to be working on it and don’t think anyone is every truly there in all aspects of life. We all will always have our strengths and weaknesses and that is okay. Love you guys!!!!!!!!! xoxoxo