It’s International Women’s Week – the week that holds International Women’s Day. This year International Women’s Day is Thursday March 8th.
Most women and girls walk through life feeling dis-empowered, or not in control of their own power. Maybe not in every moment of every day, but enough to make them miss out on life’s wonderful opportunities, to make them scared to take risks, to make them settle for less.
A big part of being able to own your own life, attract opportunities to you,and feel happy and content within yourself lies in being able to boost your own self confidence. Self confidence is not about how much money you earn, how thick or thin your thighs are, how many followers you have on social media or what you do for a living.
Self confidence is all about feeling centered, appreciating just how fantastic you really are, and not being afraid to fail. Self confidence makes you a magnet to others. It is sexy and alluring, at the same time it is repellent to bullies and mean girls.
Whatever age you are, where ever you are in your life, there are always reasons to develop, boost and enhance your self confidence
Here are 10 easy ways to boost your self confidence
1. Use Your Body Language
Self confident people walk differently. The carry themselves differently. And here is a little secret – it is impossible to maintain self confident body language and feel insecure at the same time. Your brain can only put you in one state at a time, so choose self confidence!
Self Confident Body Language
- Stand up straight, pull your shoulder blades together toward your spine, then slide them down your back. This will square your shoulders and give you a nice, straight spine. Squared shoulders are the first sign of self confidence.
- Square your hips. As girls and women we tend to balance phantom babies on our hips, throwing our weight to one side or the other, or we curl our hips into each other, both of which make our shoulders curve and slump downward. Squared hips and squared shoulders signal self confidence.
- Keep your chin parallel to the ground. A chin that angles downward indicates subservience or a lack of confidence. A chin that is parallel to the ground, paired with squared shoulders and squared hips, inspires confidence, makes you look honest and aware and ready for every great thing that is about to come your way.
- Make eye contact. Watch the people around you for more than 5 minutes and you will see their eyes bouncing around, looking everywhere but directly at the person they are speaking to or with. When you maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking to it says that you are confident both inside your skin and in what you are talking about.
- Smile. When your shoulders and hips are squared, your chin is parallel to the ground, you are making eye contact and you are smiling it tells the world you are confident, happy and content in life.
Just for fun try maintaining the body language of self confidence and feeling insecure or scared or stressed at the same time. It is impossible! In order to feel less than confident you have to adopt a different posture.
When ever you are feeling less than confident use your breath to calm your mind and re-calibrate your thoughts. Close your mouth and breathe in through your nose to a count of 10, breathing all the way down to the base of your belly. Hold the breath for a count of 10 (or work your way to being able to hold it for 10) then blow your breath out of your mouth to a count of 10. Repeat this over and over until you feel at peace.
If your brain won’t stop running in a million different directions then quiet it back down by silently saying “I breathe in” as you inhale, and “I breathe out” as you exhale. (I learned this from a yoga teacher years ago. It works!)
3. Stop Being A People Pleaser
Self confident people are not people pleasers. Put yourself at the center of your universe and then act kindly towards everyone, but know that it is OK to say “No”. Don’t try to please others. Don’t say or do anything because it is expected of you or because it will make someone else feel good, regardless of whether that is your boss, your co-worker, your lover or your friend. Don’t do anything because you think it might make someone like you – it will just make them think they can walk all over you. Know that you were not put on this earth to be a people pleaser. You were put on this earth to shine!
4. Put Yourself First
This ties in with not being a people pleaser. Self confident people make a point of knowing what they want and putting themselves first to make sure they get it. As women we tend to put our own wants and needs behind everyone else’s. Without being unkind or unfeeling, a self confident person will assert themselves and make sure their needs are met. You don’t hear self confident people say “I really wanted to see that movie but, I had to do all these other things for other people first and so I didn’t have time. ” or “I really wanted to read that book but by the time I had cooked dinner, done the dishes and the laundry, picked up the house and helped with homework each night I was too tired to read anything!”.
A self confident person will divide and assign tasks to others so that everything gets done and there still is time to sit down and read that book.
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Part of being self confident is being able to quiet your mind, shut out the distracting noise, control your thoughts and emotions, give your brain the time and space it needs to think up the good stuff! Meditating doesn’t have to take a long time and it doesn’t have to be difficult. Find some 10 minute meditations on You Tube, separate yourself from distractions and if nothing else just listen to one over and over each day. Sometimes they will just bore your brain into quietness.
Once you learn how to meditate – quiet your brain for a few minutes, you will be able to handle the more difficult or stressful situations in life, just like a self confident person does. Sometimes confidence is about being able to step back from a situation, see it for what it is, make a decision and move forward.
6. Get Quality Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep or enough quality sleep you get anxious, more easily stressed out, manic. All of which are the opposite of confident.
Make getting enough sleep a priority. Minimize the distractions that make sleep poor quality. That may mean wearing earplugs to block out the traffic noise or wearing an eye mask to black out the neon lights that shine into your room. It may mean turning off TV or video games early so that your brain can quiet itself down. It may mean soaking in a bath with epsom salts or assigning yourself quiet time before bed. (Confident people allow themselves the time they need to quiet their mind before bed. It is a necessity, not an indulgence.)
7. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses And Embrace Your Strengths
Very, very few people if any are really, really good at everything. Self confident people understand that. Not only do they know what they are good at and where they are not strong, they have no problem admitting to their weaknesses or asking for help. Confident people embrace their strengths and are proud of them. They put their weaknesses or things they are not strong at in perspective. How important is it? Is this something they need to work on and turn into a strength, or when put into the bigger picture is this issue/trait/situation not worth worrying about?
Serena Williams is really great at tennis. She is the best. Do you think she would lose any sleep over not being able to flip a crepe, or sew a dress, or make an excel spreadsheet? Of course not! If it was something that really mattered to her she would learn how to do it, but chances are she would look at it and decide it was not worth her time or energy.
8. Take A Digital Detox
Remember that the perfect lives we see on social media are not real. No one’s life is that perfect, so don’t compare yourself to the people and stories you see on social media. One of the most empowering things you can do to boost your self confidence is to take periodic digital detoxes – put down the phone, stop checking social media and just focus on enjoying life.
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9. Learn To Accept Compliments Graciously
Self confident people accept compliments graciously. If you compliment them on their outfit they will never say “What? This old thing?”, instead they will smile and say “Thank you.” If you compliment their makeup they will never say “It’s a pity my hair won’t behave.” or “I just threw this on, it probably looks awful!”. Instead they will smile and say “Thank you”.
If you compliment them on their work they will never say “I could have done it better”, or “I should have done it more quickly”. Instead they will smile and say “Thank you”. Not only will a self confident person graciously accept a compliment, but they will appreciate the compliment and know it has merit and is deserved.
10. Focus On What Makes You Happy
Self confident people don’t waste a lot of time focusing on people or things that annoy them, upset them, or bother them. They understand that negativity just holds them back.
Self confident people focus on the things that make them happy. They devote time to pursuing their hobbies, put effort into surrounding themselves with people and things that make them happy, keep moving forward in a positive direction.
images in this post are courtesy of Brad Olson at Brad Olson Photography