Confidence: How to Get It. (It's Easier than You Think, Duh)Confidence: How to Get It. (It's Easier than You Think, Duh) by Jennie Lucas
Author’s note: are you unsure if you’re confident or not? Check out the original quiz posted in yesterday's blog!
Okay, posse girls, it’s brutal confession time: What will it really take for you to feel good about yourself?
According to recent polls, the main reason for your lack of confidence is …
- 8% of you drive the crappiest piece of junk ever called a car (made in Taiwan, in 1974).
- 14% wear clothes that are so dumpy even the garbage man won’t take them (when did frayed sweatsuits picturing droopy-eyed kittens go out of style?).
- 32% have no man, or wish they had no man.
- 41% have the suckiest careers that ever sucked (and you’re tossing five days a week down the drain in your panting eagerness to make it to Freedom Friday).
- 98% of you avoid the beach, the pool, and life in general due to intense shame about your flat chest/ big boobs/ short legs/ cottage-cheese thighs/ weirdly shaped toes.
Sharp-eyed readers will notice that the percentages, when added up, don’t precisely equal 100%. That’s due to a rare statistical anomaly. (i.e. I made them up.)
The point is: most of us are lacking in confidence in some area of our lives. But getting a better job, a better man, a better body or whatever won’t give you confidence. Look around – there are plenty of people who have those things, and yet still feel insecure.
The truth is, the reasons we use are excuses. The reason we don’t feel confident is because we choose not to be.
“What?” you gasp. “I’m not getting anything out of feeling insecure! I’m stuck in a dead-end job! I never meet anyone new or try anything out of my comfort zone! I’m not only depressed, I’m bored out of my friggin’ skull!”
Maybe, but there are some benefits to your rut that you’re conveniently ignoring. Stuck where you are, you’re safe and comfortable. Which is a lot better in some ways than the alternative: nervous and out on a limb.
That’s why some people just stay out of the game. You know the ones I’m referring to. The talkers. The ones who are constantly yammering away about the diet they’re on, the manuscript they’re writing, the jerk they should dump. And yet mysteriously, the weight stays on, the manuscript never materializes, and the jerk stays.
It’s because, in our heart of hearts, we all do what we really want. We just don’t always realize what it is.
Sure, you might think you want to lose weight – but the real truth is that junk food gives you more pleasure than imaginary size-8 jeans.
You might think you want to write – but the real truth is that you love sacking out on the couch and watching TV more.
You might think that you should dump your boyfriend – but the real truth is that, even though he’s not perfect, you’re afraid to be alone.
So here's the deal:
1. Confidence means paying attention to what you really want. You might find that you’ve been far more successful than you realize.
For years I beat myself up for not traveling more. I yearned to see the world, and yet every time I had an opportunity – a year in Russia, a boarding school experience in England, a month in Africa – something would mysteriously prevent me. I felt like a failure for not following my dream.
Then I saw the truth. Deep down, I didn’t want to leave my family and go to Russia for a year. I wanted to dream about Russia from my safe, cushy sofa. So I wasn’t a failure. I’d actually been 100% successful at doing what I really wanted to do.
If you’re not putting your dreams into action, maybe it’s time for you to reexamine your dream, too.
2. Confidence means looking out for yourself. Selfishness has gotten a bad rap. But here’s a novel thought: what if you treated yourself with as much kindness and care as you give everyone else? You deserve respect and love. Give it to yourself!
As the old cliché says, if your plane runs out of air, make sure you have oxygen first and then assist others. We’re more generous and loving to others when we feel strong and nourished ourselves. So read that book, take that class, go to the gym. You need it, and your family needs you to be happy, not exhausted and resentful.
If you choose to spend every drop of your energy on others, then act like a martyr and whine about it, it’s a choice. And what are you getting out of that, really? An excuse not to go to the gym? An excuse to blame the people you love for everything you hate about your life? How selfish is that!
3. Confidence means practice, practice, practice. You don’t need to be perfect. You just need to make progress. That means practice!
The next time you’re tempted to take the easy way out, turn it into a challenge. Feel too intimidated to go into an uber-cool boutique? Listen to the little voice that whispers I dare you. Feel scared to submit a manuscript to the agent of your dreams? Terrified to ask for a raise at work? Hyperventilating at the thought of taking your dream trip to France – alone? I dare you. I dare you.
Each time you practice, you win. Every time you take a risk, even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly, you win. Because you’re practicing being brave and strong and free. You’re showing the world – and showing yourself – that you’re a force to be reckoned with.
Sure, being lazy can be great. And being afraid can keep you safe. But there’s a time and place for everything. If you’re bored, if you’re blue, then it’s time to be bold. That’s where adventure lies, and as Helen Keller said, ‘Life is either a great adventure, or it is nothing.”
Just don’t use lame excuses to be less than you are. If you’re choosing junk food instead of size-eight jeans, either change that or accept it – but either way, be at peace. You are the star of your life story. Why not have some fun?
So get a toe ring for those weirdly shaped toes. Get a nice wax job on that 1978 Pinto. Because you’re beautiful, smart, funny, and wise, and the whole world is waiting to benefit from your glory.
What are you waiting for?