Learn to Exude Confidence
Confidence is something some of us grow into, because it’s generally taught to us in various ways. Sometimes we have it in abundance, to the point of arrogance; sometimes we lack it, to the point of fear.
As a child and teenager, I was painfully shy; I dreaded interaction with others and was afraid of being approached in any way. It also didn’t help that I’m an introvert. And no, shyness and introversion are not considered to be the same. Shyness relates more to the fear of socializing, whereas introversion has more to do with the level of interest (or the lack thereof) in socializing.
I think it’s safe to say that most of us may wish to be more confident. Well, some folks are overconfident, leading them to be arrogant, and in extreme cases – narcissistic. They are probably well aware that they are abundant in that area. For others, gathering the courage to simply meet a new person, or ask someone a question can be an intimidating sweaty challenge.
While I’ve become more introverted as I get older, I’m proud (wink!) to say that I’ve been able to outgrow shyness. I can pinpoint at least a couple of attributes that I believe have contributed to my ever growing confidence; self-awareness and self-respect.
Unlike most of my posts, this one is not filled with easy “practical” actionable items; this one is a little more challenging in the sense that it pushes you to dig deep within yourself, and seek answers that may take time to find and accept.
SELF-AWARENESS – We invest so much time getting to know the people we love, I think it’s important to invest time and energy learning more about ourselves.
When you are self-aware, you become comfortable with yourself. You can be honest about the person you are and about your motives. You are confident–even in your weaknesses; you recognize and label them for what they are, instead of pretending or making excuses for your beliefs, or the things you do. Of course, the key is in working toward improvement, which should be an ongoing journey, but that’s a post for another day.
- Perspective – Think of it from a work or business point of view: when we’ve been doing a specific job for a long time and consider ourselves well versed, we speak about it with certainty. We’re able to train others and answer questions with confidence. If someone challenges us about the job, we are ready to defend our expertise. Likewise, when we are truly well versed in ourselves, we become confident.
- My challenge for you – Make self-awareness a lifestyle. Learn something new about yourself on a regular basis. Begin by asking yourself questions about who you are; your beliefs, your actions, your motives. Are you tougher on others for making the same excuses you easily justify for yourself? Compare the answers to what you actually do in practice. Do those line up? Or are you under the illusion that you are of a certain characteristic, but are quite different in reality? Sometimes it’s easy for us to see ourselves as the person we wish we were, rather than the person we really are.
SELF-RESPECT – In the same way we respect other people, we should practice self-esteem. Learn the reasons why you respect others; is it because they are kind, well spoken, good listeners, because of their opinions, or the way they express themselves, etc.?
- Perspective – “Respect yourself and others will respect you.” ~Confucius. Need I say more?
- My challenge for you – Consider your good qualities – attributes that you would normally respect in others, which will likely be your strengths. Make a list if it’ll help, but do explore them. Focus in on those and decide that, just as you would respect those attributes in the people around you, you will respect them in yourself.
You are worthy of respect, and the person you need the most respect from is yourself. Learn to walk in confidence. Having said that, don’t become so obnoxiously overconfident that no one will want to be around you.
As with all things, balance is necessary. Learn and grow yourself, but do it with grace and wisdom, and balance will follow.
“…If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident…”
Lines 15 and 16 of Dorothy Law Nolte’s poem “Children Learn What They Live”
What helps you to be confident? Help others by commenting below.
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