Being confident and/or having confidence is a lot easier said than done. We are all on our own separate paths. Different things work for different people.
I have composed this little list of things I have found that work, in hopes to help people that may need it.
Everyone deserves to live freely, without judgment. “Do not let fear hold you back. Let the fear motivate you to spring forward.” -Josh Helms
Learn to laugh at yourself and move on
Learning to move past something is extremely difficult. Especially if you have some kind of mental illness. Whether it’s an embarrassing moment, a breakup, or messing something up. I know everyone says this, but nothing truly lasts forever.
Your heartache over your seventh-grade boyfriend WILL go away. You will find someone else. Use your heartache to learn more about yourself. Things you like, things that make you happy, places you want to see, etc. Do all that you can to strengthen your relationship with YOU. And eventually, your relationship with other people will strengthen, too. Although, do not blame yourself if one falls through. That is not your fault. Things happen for a reason. Not everyone is your friend and not everyone is going to like you. That is something we all have to eventually face and get used to.
Do not sit in embarrassing moments and mistakes. You are wasting time on things that cannot change. You cannot go back in time. You can only grow from those moments.
If you find yourself spiraling, breathe. I know this sounds so stupid. People post about this all the time. “Wow, you cured my anxiety and depression. Thanks for the tip… NOT.” I totally get that. If I find myself beginning to spiral I do a few things.
I go deep into analyzing my surroundings. I will name each color I see. Blue journal, white duvet, pink cup, black table, red box. Then, I will analyze everything I am touching- IN FULL DETAIL. My hands are touching my keyboard and my wrists are laying on the space in front of the keyboard. I count the things I hear and the things I can smell. You can go as far as taste.
Keeping from spiraling is really difficult for me. I don’t like to use the word “anxiety attack” if I’m not actually having symptoms of an anxiety attack- hyperventilating, tight chest, cold sweats, etc. Spiraling is mostly just getting locked inside of your head which could lead to an anxiety attack, but that’s not always the case. Get to know your body, your triggers, and things that help you.
Don’t wear makeup…. or do.
I was told earlier this year by an instructor that she was glad I wasn’t wearing makeup as much as I did when she first met me. To me, I’m right in the middle. THIS DEPENDS.
The only reason it seemed like a good thing is because I started relying on makeup and treated it like a necessity. That has not always been the case with me and it is not the case for every person.
Makeup has always been an art form, but I think now more than ever it’s become a HUGE outlet. If it brings you peace, if it’s fun, if you think you look amazing in makeup- wear it. It is art. I stand by that 100%.
The only time I decide to take a step back from wearing makeup is when I feel as if I HAVE to wear it or I don’t feel pretty. I would suggest getting comfortable with both. If you wake up one morning and you just don’t want to wear makeup- don’t. Do not force yourself to wear makeup. Get comfortable with BOTH. Get comfortable bare faced and full glam. Both are uncomfortable. Find the beauty in everything you do and you will feel more rewarded.
Set goals and go reach them
Oh god, I cannot stress this one enough. It may very well be the Virgo in me, but set goals. Make a list, get a calendar, etc. I go absolutely insane with lists. One, you will feel more accomplished and happy when you see that you are knocking things off of a physical list. Two, you will notice how little goals can and will lead up to bigger goals. You will begin to open doors for yourself if you set goals.
We learn this in school. Create small tasks to complete that will help you reach those goals. Write down by what time you want to complete these goals.
Create a dream board. I learned this little trick while in my first semester of college. Take a board, put a picture of yourself in the middle, and add various pictures of things you wish to have onto the board. Instead of saying “I want this,” say “I will have this.” It changes your whole mindset. You will get it. Set your goal, when your going to get it, and how you’re going to get it. The only time people don’t get what they want is when they don’t work for it. Believe it. Live by it.
There is strength in vulnerability
Do not. I repeat- do not hide or push away your emotions. They are real, they are valid. I think Tati’s quote was a perfect example of what I mean. “Just because someone is in a full body cast, doesn’t mean your broken leg doesn’t hurt.” I know that I fell into pushing away my emotions for a long time because I felt that there are a million other people who have it worse than I do. There are, but that doesn’t mean that my feelings are any less painful or valid. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be mad. You are allowed to feel worthless. Pain is pain. Acknowledge it.
“Ignoring your pain is like having a cut on your hand, sticking it in the dirt, and pretending it doesn’t sting.” -Macey Waid
“You would ask for help when you had the flu, so why wouldn’t you ask for help when you were depressed?” -That one doctor I had
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
I have a few notes on this, but there’s so many things you can do. You do not know, what you don’t know. Also, this does not mean put yourself into dangerous (mentally or physically) situations. This is about growth, not going against your gut instincts.
Make eye contact when you speak to people. I have a horrible habit of not looking people in the eyes when I talk to them. I’ll occasionally fall into a habit of doing it (which is where you want to be), but I’ll fall out when I’m going through an elongated episode. This not only shows you have confidence, but it makes other people feel more comfortable around you. It shows you care about what the other person is saying.
Talk to strangers… safely. Once again, please don’t put yourself in dangerous situations. I’m talking about telling the girl in your math class that you like her shoes, talking to your new friend’s mom, or just telling someone to have a good day. You don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life and it could really turn their day around. You could even make a new friend- you never know.
Accept compliments. Honey, accept the compliment. Not only does shooting down compliments make that other person feel lousy, but you’re putting it in your head that you are not worthy of the compliment. You are. You are worthy of being told you’re beautiful, smart, talented, etc. Accept it. Return the compliment. Start telling yourself some, too.
Chances are, your gut is telling you to do these things, you just aren’t paying attention or you’re pushing them away because you are scared or anxious. I understand 100%. I’ve been there and I am still there. The best thing you can do if just make yourself do things that make you nervous. Don’t even give yourself a chance to think about it. Just do it.
Say your affirmations
Three assignments for you.
The first one, you will need about 25 index cards. Write positive adjectives that describe you. (Talented, optimistic, intelligent, hardworking, resilient, patient, etc.) You can add some quotes onto those cards, as well. Every card must be filled. No cheating. You must read these out loud every morning and right before bed. Fake it till you make it. Believe me, after a while, you will start to believe the things you say about yourself. Might as well make them positive.
The second one, similar to the last you. This is cognitive behavior therapy. You are changing your mindset. Make two columns. Write down a list of every negative thing you believe about yourself on one side. The other column is for reversing that negative thing. Write the opposite, positive version of that negative thing. We are our biggest critics. Change your mindset.
The last one, you will need a picture of yourself, a painting of yourself, or a mirror. You will also need some sticky notes. Each day you will write one positive thing about yourself and stick it onto your picture (painting or mirror).
Like I said before, after a while you will believe the things you say about yourself. Make those things positive. Change the way you think about yourself. It is hard to combat your mind. These are little things to help you out. You cannot completely get rid of mental illness, but you can find small things to encourage you. I hope this helped.
**A side note: I’ve created a little group on Facebook for all of my Cute Little Strawberries! I promote positivity, fashion, empowerment, etc. This group is the perfect way to get in touch with people who are into the same things. If you would like to join- the group name is “Cute Little Strawberries.” Feel free to send a request!