As I pointed out in the last post (linked above), the area I, personally, had the least amount of confidence in was my wardrobe. When I have extra money to spend, one of my “passions” simply doesn’t include clothes for me. As a matter of fact, my husband and I were out shopping a few nights ago and while he was looking at computers and such, I found myself looking in the men’s department. I even hunted him down between a couple of HP’s and told him, “You have to come look at these slacks…”
He didn’t feel the same enthusiasm for the color that I did, so he meandered back to his computers and such. I swear, when the man enters a store, it’s a wonder the tech section doesn’t meet him at the front door…. “Mike! What’s been keeping you.” Hmph.
I’ve decided that each month, I’m going to add at least one item of clothing to my wardrobe – in between the kitchen gadgets I can’t live without and the Bath & Body Work’s lovelies that steal my breath away, I’ll grab purple and pink sweaters (my fave colors), and whatever they seem to want to pair up with.
Like most situations, improving one’s self confidence in the area of “dress” can’t be accomplished overnight. It’s something that has to be improved upon over a course of time. But the simple act of moving in the right direction makes you feel 100 percent better.
The same can be true for the other categories we looked at. Below are a few tips for shoring up our confidence in each. And remember, even if you gave yourself a 10 in a category, it doesn’t mean you should forget about it. We should take every bit as much care in protecting our 10′s as we do in raising our other numbers.
If your confidence level with your relationships isn’t a 10, being aware of it (which you now are!) is a huge step in the right direction. I’m fairly certain that you “get” that you share blame if any of your relationships don’t come easy.
If you’re one of those people who expect too much from people, knock it off… like, yesterday. No one wants to be around someone they feel looks down on them. They’ll resent it AND you. Even if you mean nothing but the best – you may be too controlling and domineering. This is especially a problem in the workplace, but it can extend to your relationships at home.
The problem is, many people fall into a routine. They get so accustomed to treating people a certain way and so used to not showing people respect that they think it’s a way of life. That it’s their right, even! Then, a few years go by and people at work avoid them, they walk into the office and the laughter dies (wouldn’t you hate to be a laugh killer?!?!), their kids avoid them at all costs - leaving the house when they come home, coming back home when they leave, etc.
Another piece of advice I’d offer to everyone looking to improve their relationships is this: Stop trying to live through or for the people around you. Allow them to have their own interests, pursuits, hobbies, etc. I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it a million more, we each have our own life to live - never try to take someone else’s. Live your own and allow others the same luxury.
If you score your confidence in your relationships below a 9, do yourself the biggest favor you will ever do for yourself and ask – NOT “What are they doing wrong?…” BUT “What could I do better?”
Then, do it, my dear! If you nag – stop. If you worry too much – dial back. If you yell - shut up. (Sorry, I hate yelling.) If you harp – get a new tune. If you bully – get a life. (Yeah, I hate bullies, too.)
The funny thing is, I believe most people who have traits that get in the way of their relationships are fully aware of these traits. I don’t think bullies, nags, screamers, or worry warts are oblivious to their own charms. I think they KNOW they’re this way and are afraid to change. Do they like being the way they are? Probably not. But they think that backing down (or off) will set them up for disappointment or pain. The problem is, until they change the way they are, disappointment and pain are all they’ll ever know – they’re simply sharing the wealth, i.e. – making everyone miserable.
Just a little special note to men and women in relationships (from someone who has been very happily married for 25 years, come February): If you are miserable to be around, he/she will find someone who isn’t. If being around you makes them uncomfortable or unhappy – it won’t be long before they tire of the feelings. If you’re one of those people who “picks” at people, think of the mosquito. He gets swatted for his efforts, and in one way or another, you’ll meet with a similar fate.
Conversation and Written Communication
If you lack confidence in either one of these areas, don’t despair – they’re pretty easy to improve upon. The best advice?
- Be yourself
- Practice makes perfect
- Fake it until you make it
First of all, when writing or speaking – just be you. I don’t just practice this when writing, speaking, or living – I immerse myself in it entirely. Maybe it’s stubborness, I don’t know. But I look at it like this: I may not be perfect, but I am aware of who I am and what I want to say. I know what makes me happy and I know what I believe in. I know what makes me smile and what makes me cry. I will put pictures of animals all over my self help website even when others suggest that it makes it look like a wildlife site. I will not hesitate for one second to say that I’m a Christian and that the Bible holds the answer to every single question we’ll ever have. When writing on my blogs (or e-mail, or articles, etc.) I may start a sentence with “And..” Rebel on board!
Hold on firmly to who you are and to what makes you.. well, you.
I guess it comes down to being comfortable with who you are. When you’re comfortable in your own skin, you won’t care who sees it. You’ll adopt an attitude of, “If you get me, fantastic! If you don’t get me, Best wishes!” Be you. Some will get it, some won’t. There are some people who don’t like Shakespeare, the Eagles, Angelina Jolie (duh all over them), John Grisham, etc…
Practice! Whether it’s conversational or written communication – simply do more of it. Talk up people who you’d normally simply say, “Hi” to. Ask questions, be interested, and look them in the eye. I’d recommend reading, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by the great, great, great Dale Carnegie. Although it was written many years ago, it reads as though it had been written last year. It’s a great book and will increase your confidence by proverbial leaps and bounds.
When it comes to written communication, practice is especially helpful. I wouldn’t even want to guess how many words I typically write (er, type) in a day. I do know this, though: A few times in my life where I found myself separated from words for a few days (like when my mom unexpectedly died or when I had the flu from hell) I found that the flow of writing got rusty. By contrast, it seems that the more I write, the more I’m able to write. The words practically run over themselves trying to get out fast enough. That’s why you’ll sometimes find typos or little boo boos. I know how to spell and pride myself on my grammar and knowledge, it’s just that sometimes my brain gets ahead of my hands – even though they type furiously trying to keep pace.
I read a blog post by a blogger not long ago that said, basically, “This is harder than I thought it’d be.. This is my last post.” The hard part is that most people either don’t have the time to spend writing daily or they don’t have time that they’re willing to give up for writing. It’s literally something you have to work on regularly if you want to have a good relationship with words.
They’ll leave you in a heartbeat if you make them feel like second class citizens.
As for the last tip – Fake it until you make it – it’ll serve you well until you reach a 10. When talking to someone, act as though talking is what you do for a living. Take on the persona that you’re a cross between Larry King and Oprah Winfrey. When you write, write as though you’re an author with a fan base that includes Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Dean Koontz, and Maya Angelou.
To name a few.
Finally, if confidence in your appearance - for whatever reasons… I mean, I think you look great – is cause for concern, ask yourself, “Why?” Then, ask yourself “How?” and “What?”
Why do I not feel fabulous?
How can I make myself feel better about the way I look?
What is the first thing I need to do?
If you aren’t in love with your hair, change it. If you feel overweight, first of all make sure there isn’t a medical reason and, when cleared, start walking for 30 minutes every day and cut back on the calories you take in. If you feel underweight, I despise you. Kidding-ish. If you feel underweight, again – make sure there isn’t a medical reason, first. Then, if you’re thin simply because you’re thin (grrrrrr), consider putting on a little muscle.
Either way, joining a gym or finding a great author who deals with your particular subject will help a great deal.
Personally, I don’t think size matters. I find very thin rock muscicians, large football players, tiny little fashion models, and full-figured divas all to be beautiful. One size doesn’t fit all and doesn’t look good on all. The trick is being happy with who you are. Confidence is a gorgeous, glorious thing.
In summary (how pretentious was that?): Find the areas in which you don’t feel as confident as you should. Vow to work on improving yourself in those areas. Adopt the mindset of improving yourself and the way you feel about yourself.
mindset – noun
1. an attitude, disposition, or mood.
2. an intention or inclination.
Once you feel good about who you are and where you’re headed, there’ll absolutely be no stopping you. There’s a great deal of power in having an optimistic attitude and mood - you’re liable to find doors opening for you that you didn’t even know existed. What’s more, you’re relationships will be so amazing, that you’ll never have to walk through these doors alone!