That's a really cheesy blog title: "how to grow inner self confidence" like I'm some wise, omniscient human who never feels down about myself. That is SO SO SO SO untrue, I definitely have my moments of picking at my fleshy being and I definitely do not know all.
But I do know that self-awareness is one of the things that not every mammal has. As humans we are uniquely hyper aware of our own physicality. Unlike the macaques that do not notice a red sticker on their faces, we notice in an instant when a blemish pops up.
Oh hey, that wasn't there 4 minutes ago...(me when I hop on Instastory).
And with social media being how we connect it's how we view ourselves and others. We really want to put our best self forward. That can be hard to do when you're constantly picking at your self.
I don't think it's wrong to want to feel confident and I think there's a way to present ourselves with more of it, without being narcissistic or subscribing to perceived beauty standards.
This post was inspired by a memory I have from fourth grade. To give you some background, I am the youngest of 4 kids. We are all 3 years apart: girl, boy, boy, girl. So if you did the math you know my sister is 9 years older than me.
Anyways, it was fourth grade which means I was 9 years old (I'm a June baby!) and I remember walking back into the classroom after gym class. We were changing clothes for gym by that age so it that time where some bodies were developing at different rates.
A boy in class saw my deodorant and said “Eww you wear deodorant?”
I said “Ew, you don’t?” (lol).
I don’t even remember if I “needed” it or if it was more like I had a big sister and I just wanted to copy her and do every cool grown up thing she did. Pretty normal!
I can see that could have gone 1 of 2 ways. I could have said what I said, realizing that this twerp is a judgemental punk. On the other hand, I could have let this really affect me and make me feel really self conscious that I wore deodorant...
So you see how something so completely normal (me wearing deodorant) was judged by someone and it didn't affect me? Well, that's what I would hope to help someone do.
I don't have a formula for it (and obviously didn't in 4th grade either) but here are some things that may help:
1. Look at your self in the mirror and go BAM! You's a fine ass woman (or "man", if you are a dude and reading this).
I literally trained myself to think positively by doing this simple task. I did it when I got out of the shower because my bathroom mirror is like right there. Ha.
So when I step out I get a full view and I decided it would be a good habit to get into to start taking that time to say something nice. BAM! You's a fine ass woman. 5 words, repeated each time I saw myself in the mirror started to positively reinforce me. This is how habits are built #science.
There is a reward (feeling good that I am a fine ass woman, plus I laughed at myself in a good way)
There is a behavior (Saying "BAM! You's a fine ass woman)
There is a trigger (my reflection)
2. Don't give words more power than they deserve
Okay, so this is a tough one but try to listen to and hear words without emotion.
I'm not saying don't have emotion, but when someone says something that is clearly offensive, don't let the words be offensive. Don't even call attention to it. Deleting negative comments is an option on instagram. OH, but comments help with engagement and the algorithm? Eff that noise.
Delete those rude comments and forget about a numerical algorithm. If you do keep those comments and respond to them, then you gave the words power they didn't deserve and in turn you may internalize those words and actually believe them.
What's that saying? Sticks and stones make break my bones but words will never hurt me?
Yes, of course some words will hurt but I share these tips to help them not hurt and also these tips are just meant to be helpful guides, not rules to perfectly implement.
3. State to yourself 3 positive affirmations about ANYTHING- not just your looks
Yay, this is a goodie. I have my private nutrition coaching clients do this as part of their action plans (when it makes sense for their goals). Some other dietitians in the space of health promotion and counseling do this too and I am willing to bet its common in other disciplines.
Sometimes we need to plan to say nice things about ourselves and that's perfectly okay. Especially, if it's to build a confidence you may have lost or never had.
I mean if you saw what humans looked ike without skin, we're all just weird looking composites of nerves and vessels and muscles. Skin is meant to protect and about a million other things.
Here are some examples of things you can say about yourself:
"I crushed that to do list!"
"I was very attentive to my friends needs today!"
"I handled that situation at work like a boss!"
"I love my hair"
Notice only 1 of those things were about looks? I do that on purpose to share with you that part of growing your confidence is commenting on things that have nothing to do with the fleshy parts. What's inside that makes you a good human deserves complimenting.
Which leads me to my next point.
4. Make commenting on other's appearances less normalized
We are all so quick to say "You look great" or "I love your hair" or whatever. That's awesome and I'm not saying that's not allowed. Who knows, maybe if there was more of that I wouldn't have to write this post ? I haven't seen that data.
All I mean is, just like we shouldn't solely make comments on our own appearance, we should practice that complimenting non-physical traits on others too. So you know, maybe when you are scrolling through the good ol' instagram and you see a friend post a picture of her on vacation you can make the choice and say "You look amazing" or you can say "You look like your re having so much fun!".
Just a suggestion! As are all of these. Like I said earlier these are by no means rules to perfect. That would pretty much defeat the point.
All I am saying is that in order to make commenting on people's looks less normalized it helps to dish out some of the non-physical appearance complements.
5. Wear clothes that fit and don't fit into a certain size just because
Okay, this one I have personal experience with. I was in Express and saw a dress for $19 it was SO cute and they had sizes 0, 2, 10, and 14. I'm a "size 4" (only in specific brands though, I'll have you).
I debated on trying on the 2...and that's just what I did. How could I not it was so cute. I tried it on and dear lord, it was so freaking short. Not my thing and I put it back but so regretfully.
Then I'm walking around the store thinking about this dress and how affordable it was and how cute it was and then I was like well why the F am I not trying on the 10? What if it fits? What if its longer. You know its just a dumb tag.
I tried it on and guess what? Perfect length! Yea it was a little wide in the torso but there are seamstresses and to be honest it really wasn't worth getting fitted because it looks great just being looser and flow. I wear this at least once a summer!
Even Athleta sizes are varied. I can wear anything from an XXS to a M. Like my studio wrap is an XXS but my sports bra is a M. I am an advocate for trying on a few sizes of things and also reading reviews.
I will ask on websites or other brand ambassadors "Hey, I'm 5'4 and about 130#, what size would you recommend" and they answer. Personally I like when fashion blogger share their sizes. I don't think they are triggering I find it to be helpful for me because then I know, oh okay, this 5'1 fashion blogger is wearing this size jeans or a size S bathing suit so I would best fit in a Medium.
No big deal because I'm not attaching power to the words or the sizes on the tags (see tip # 2).
Ultimately, it is my opinion that self confidence begins in the mind and we can grow it when we nourish it. We can train ourselves by saying kind things to us and to each other. When negative comments do come along, make them powerless.
Now go take on the world and do so with confidence!