4 MYTHS ABOUT CONFIDENCE, DEBUNKED
“Just be confident!”
How many times have you heard that and thought, “OMG! For sure! It worked!”
Like, never? Yeah, same.
Confidence is trendy right now, especially at the start of a new year. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a GREAT thing. But I know for a fact, not everyone has a handle on what confidence really means. For example, many of my clients come to me and admit confidence is mysterious. They consider it aspirational and far away. It’s the planet you want to reach, but you’re not sure if the spaceship you’re on is going to get you there. (You know I love a good metaphor.)
We’re told we have to be confident to achieve our goals, which seems aspirational on the surface, but in reality, it suggests that being insecure is shameful. That lack of confidence is a weakness, a character flaw.
Well, that’s a myth. How can you gain confidence when you’re putting yourself down for lacking it in the first place? There has to be a better way, and there is. Here are a few more confidence myths floating around that I want to kick to the curb once and for all.
Myth #1: Confidence is rooted in appearance.
Let’s get this one out of the way immediately.
Many people put emphasis on confidence being rooted in appearance. It’s been hammered into our heads that all it takes to get the guy or score the job is a little confidence. But the one doing the hammering, is often a celebrity on a magazine cover or an influencer on your Instagram feed who’s been airbrushed, FaceTuned & filtered into oblivion. It’s more than subliminal messaging. We look at them, the image of what society has deemed “perfect” and instantly link their confidence, AKA their success, with their appearance.
Naturally, we start to think, “Once I look a certain way, I’ll be confident, THEN I’ll achieve all my goals.” So we set goals related to improving our appearance in the hope that we’ll gain confidence along the way.
But deep down we all know that’s bullshit.
Looks fade—your mind is where it’s at.
Confidence, like self-worth, comes from within. So, find what makes you unique and run with that. True confidence comes from knowing you have something to offer the world that no one else does and believe me, you fucking have it. You just have to overcome that nagging fear we ALL have that tells us we’re not good enough. Do something that scares you every day. For some people, that might be applying for your dream job or booking a solo trip to another country. For others, it might literally be walking out of the house.
It’s a spectrum.
But facing your fears will give you confidence in your abilities, because you know if you can overcome yourself, you can overcome anything.
Myth #2: Confidence is linked to personality type.
OK, so if confidence isn’t rooted in my appearance, it must be linked to my personality right? Some people just have it. “Maybe she’s born with it.”
Think of anything you’ve ever had in your life that was worth having. Were you born with it? Hell no, you had to work for it. It’s the same with confidence. It’s not linked to being an extrovert. You don’t have to love being the center of attention or even enjoy talking to people to radiate confidence.
I, for example, am an introvert. A closeted one, but an introvert nonetheless. And I’m confident as hell, most days (more on that later).
When I feel the most confidence, isn’t when I’m on a panel speaking in front of people, or making a group of my friends laugh. It’s actually when I’m sitting with a client, feeling like I’m making a difference in her mindset. Making a difference in how she feels about herself. Helping HER confidence. Because that’s when I get to believe in my own skills, and in my ability to help others.
Myth #3: Confidence is the same as self-esteem.
They’re close, but it’s important not to confuse the two. Self-esteem is internal, it’s our opinion of ourselves, which in turn, leads to self-confidence. Confidence is more external; it’s our assurance in our opinion of ourselves. You need BOTH to know your worth. Self-esteem runs deep and is connected to so much—your mental health, your fulfilment, and your level of self-acceptance, for starters. It’s a majorly influential force, which is why nurturing yourself is so important.
This ties back into mindfulness (Click for mantras blog). Remember to take time to just be with yourself throughout the day. Sit. Breathe. It will help with your confidence because it removes you from any self-inflicted pain and it calms your anxiety.
Myth #4: Confidence is fixed.
Confidence isn’t an achievement. It’s not something you can check off your to-do list. Some days I wake up feeling absolutely awesome, and three hours later I feel like shit. Does it mean I’m not a confident person? Of course not. It just means I’m HUMAN. Confidence, like the rest of our human emotions, feelings, and experiences, is fluid. It ebbs and flows based on what’s happening in your life, your day, or even this very minute.
Take a second right now and become aware of your posture. Chances are, you’re hunched over your computer or cranking your neck over your phone. How does it feel? If I were a betting woman, I’d say, probably not great.
So now, sit up tall, push your shoulders back, and face forward—tell me that doesn’t make a difference!
Posture completely influences our perception of confidence, whether it’s how others see us or in our own minds. I literally make some of my clients stand like Wonder Woman: feet apart, hands on hips. Sometimes, the smallest things can immediately make us feel more powerful and in control.
Remember that. And also remember that even the most confident person in the world can falter—it doesn’t mean she’s failing.
Your journey to self-acceptance is your own. If you walk away with only one nugget from this whole piece, I hope it’s that confidence originates from self-respect. It starts with you, and it starts from within.
No one CAN or WILL love you as much as you can LOVE YOURSELF.
So how much do you have to give?