Practising a few of these 12 mindfulness tips and tricks will help boost your confidence daily
Few things are more beautiful than a confident woman is. We see and admire them everywhere, every day. We admire strong, effective women in business, unshakable mothers and grandmothers, and inspiring faces and voices, both in public roles and in our everyday lives. And they all have one thing in common: confidence.
But where does their confidence come from? Research related to wage gaps and equality in business and society has shown that women tend to be less self-assured than men. And, in his book The Confidence Gap, mindfulness coach Dr Russ Harris says that freeing yourself from confidence-sapping fear doesn’t necessarily mean confronting or ‘conquering’ it. It’s about looking at things more honestly and finding a way to turn ‘weaknesses’ into strengths.
Here are 12 qualities we see in confident women everywhere, to start putting into practice today.
1. Surround yourself with confident/successful people
Billionaire TV mogul Oprah Winfrey said it best: “Surround yourself only with people who are going to take you higher”.
It is mentally draining to spend all your time comforting and pep talking that high-maintenance family member or long-time friend from school or college who just can’t seem to get themselves together. As much as you may love them, you need to be around people who aren’t needy but have advice, experience and new ideas to offers.
Widen your circle. Seek out and kindle friendships with strong, confident friends, colleagues and family members (even those you are a little jealous of). They will help inspire and recharge you.
2. Forget about pleasing everyone
You are not here for anyone’s entertainment. Wanting to be popular is not the same thing as wanting to be successful – sometimes they come as a package, but popularity and success are actually two very separate things.
Don’t look for ‘fans’, look for supporters; people who will rally behind you when you need to make a big move or decision.
3. Stop taking everything personally
Women tend to be all-in. In everything. And often more so than men. While a man may remain Mike or Johan, regardless of where he works or what his hobbies are, people (even other women) tend to attach more labels to a woman.And traditional gender roles and identification doesn’t make things any easier. In the past, a woman was known as so-and-so’s husband. And even today you’re more likely to be known as [insert your child’s name here]’s mom around the neighbourhood. And, whenever you meet someone new, there’s always the inescapable question: “So, what do you do?”
And you just know that they’re going to judge and form an opinion of you based on the answer to that question.
Perhaps it’s because of this women’s identity debacle that women tend to go all-in with whatever they do. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, then you become the ultimate soccer mom. If you’re a career woman, then you live and breathe The Company, the work.
It could be that this trend of attaching everything you do to your own individual identity makes everything feel more personal. But it’s not. If you make a mistake or if someone criticises some part of your work, they’re not attacking you.
You are not your job title. You’re actually not even a mom or wife, you are you, the individual, a human being, first. Never forget that. You are an individual and you have just as much right to whatever you want as anyone else does. Criticism of those other parts of your life cannot change who you are. And you shouldn’t allow it to affect you personally.
4. Don’t be afraid to spend time alone
Yes, you love your family and friends, but taking time for yourself is vital. Confident women know that it’s empowering to take a few moments of me-time for yourself every now and again.And it’s not just about going for a solo run or drawing a long bath. You should actually try to venture into the world on your ace a little, too. See a movie or have a meal by yourself – it can be refreshing to get out and just be you. It’s a little guilty and uncomfortable at first, but it’s a great confidence booster.
5. Look for the empowering angle
It’s important to see everything – even the bad and sad stuff – as a chance to learn and grow. Instead of wondering why this always happens to you or why you have such bad luck, ask instead, “What can I learn from this situation?”It’s a simple change in mindset, but it’s hard to master. Start practising putting an empowering spin on things by thinking back to something trivial, like when you broke up with your first love. Back then, it seemed like the end of the world, but was it? Now, try to think of any new challenge or setback that may arise as the same kind of thing: something that looks and feels terrifying now but will, in the long run, be for the best if you overcome it and learn something from it.
6. Take excellent care of yourself
Never, ever let anything take priority over taking care of yourself. And this goes for every aspect of yourself. Get all the exercise you need to keep you feeling fit and healthy. Eat the way you want to and your body needs – even if it means splurging on rare health foods.
In terms of your skincare, we know and have seen how great skin boosts your confidence. Skin conditions can be debilitating, and the cost of rectifying them professionally pales in comparison to the priceless confidence boost it imparts.
Also, avoid burnout and stress by focusing on recharging, getting enough rest and boosting your energy levels.
7. Know the difference between being busy and being effective
Especially at work – yet sometimes at home too – we feel the pressure to keep pushing. There’s always something that needs doing, always another way to get a step ahead.If you’re cleaning the floor three times a day only to find yourself curse the fact that you have to do it a fourth time when the kids go to bed, then perhaps it’s time to start cleaning the floor only once a day. After they go to bed and, preferably, just before you sit down and enjoy a glass of wine.
Busying yourself with fruitless tasks is not being a good mom or good employee. It’s actually counterproductive because you’ll burn out. Instead of splitting hairs, focus on tasks that require the least effort (usually the ones you’re passionate about) and yield the greatest reward.
8. Learn to be you – authentically
With the rise of social media, we’re constantly bombarded with the idea of perfection. We see smiling families enjoying perfect holidays in idyllic places practically all year round. We see the most elaborate party invitations, cookies, recipes, homemade dresses and home renovations, and we start to think that this must be the norm for everyone else. That’s when you start to think there must be something wrong with you and your family and the fact that you haven’t crafted a homemade anything in years …
But it’s not. What we see on social media is the very best of the best, filtered by users and robots. No one is that perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist.
But authenticity does. You exist. And only you can authentically be you. It can be empowering to look past all the noise and know who you are, to project and share that which is real: you.
9. Learn to live without needing praise
All of us feel a need for recognition. It’s an obscure but very powerful need. And, especially if you’re a little insecure or trying something new, a little praise can go a long way.But, you can’t let others’ admiration or approval become what drives you forward. You need to learn to find it inside yourself, to know when you did something well – even if no one else sees it. You are your own worst critic, but you can be your own biggest source of inspiration too.
10. Don’t let others choose for you
Unconscious choices are everywhere. We’re constantly being offered solutions about how to live, what to wear, where to eat and how to spend our money. And it’s easy to just go with it.But, confident women are focused on their own goals and purpose. Each choice must be a direct and deliberate action towards reaching your goals.
11. Learn to see the opportunity in failure
Fear of failure is probably the biggest confidence killer. Past failures hurt, and we want to avoid it. But, remember that everything that happened in the past has led up to this minute, meaning your failures, as much as your successes, are what helped shape you as you are today.From a purely scientific perspective, failure is how your brain learns. Everything you’ve ever learned came with a lesson of failure. You fall off a bike a few times before you drive away on it for the first time.Hard as it may be, you need to embrace every opportunity and the inherent risk of failure as all being part of the ride.
12. Talk to yourself with respect and an aim to empower
Silly as it may sound at first, self-talk is actually a very powerful tool. How you treat yourself in ‘conversation’ inside your own head has a profound effect on your self-esteem. You might think you’re driving yourself forward by acting like a mean and hurtful instructor – “aw, come on, stupid, you can do better than that!” – but you’re actually breaking yourself down.
Learn to empower yourself by looking for opportunities and personal advantages in every situation. Instead of bringing yourself down, try to look for the lessons and value in everyday occurrences.
And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every now and again – you deserve it. We’re often so caught up in what we need to do to move forward, that we forget to keep in perspective how amazingly far we’ve already come.
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