So often we (or at least those of us who struggle with confidence) tell ourselves that confidence is one of those intangible, inherent qualities. Either you have it, or you don’t. We see people who seem to just ooze it. You know who I’m talking about. They walk into a room and you can just see the puddles of leftover confidence that’s just dripped off of them as they meandered gracefully from one person to the next. Little social butterflies with the presence of something so much larger and greater.
I’ve wanted to be that person for a long, long time. I’ve wished that I had the confidence to be the “life of the party” or, if not that, at the very least someone who didn’t shy away from the party altogether. People are attracted to confidence. I’ve always wanted to inspire that. But, here’s what I’ve learned over the years: we can choose to be confident.
Confidence After Heartbreak?
If you don’t think so, let’s try a little experiment. Think back with me to your last major, serious heartbreak when you were left crying on the curb (hopefully not literally). Do you remember the feeling of thinking you would never be good enough for anyone ever again? That you might as well accept that you were the ground upon which everyone else walked?
Okay. So, we’ve all been there (even the most self confident have, trust me). Now. Think about this. Have you gone out on a date since? Have you dated since? Oh, well you see, that was a choice. You chose at some point, to not believe that no one else would want you, you gave yourself another chance, and you put on, at the very least, the bare minimum of confidence necessary to get dressed, get yourself to the requested location, and put yourself out there again. That, my friend, took confidence.
The Inevitability of Confidence
You can really only be at the bottom for so long. Sooner or later, you have to rise up. Maybe not much, but some. Otherwise, none of us would survive. We’d throw in the towel and call it quits. And, the bright spot in all of this? That little fact alone should give you a huge boost. If you’ve managed confidence before, you can manage it again, a little more every day in fact. You’ve been tossed aside like a wildflower, and you’ve come back and are standing on your own two feet. Did you ever fail a class? Lose a job? Get rebuked unfairly? Anything that has brought you down that you didn’t allow to conquer you took confidence. You chose it. Simple as that.
What to Do With This
Now, you’ve been given a revelation, hopefully, with this article. I hope if you haven’t realized that you’ve had much confidence before, that suddenly, you’ve seen and taken stock of countless times when you confidently came back from something harsh and took a step forward. And, whether this is good news or bad news, those of us with “less” confidence usually take more put-downs than the rest simply because we’re easy targets. So, while you may have endured more pain than you think is really quite fair, the upshot is that you’ve been building confidence through all of those situations and you probably weren’t even aware of this. But now, the ball is in your court. Chances are, you still have nowhere near the confidence you’d like, right? So how to move forward? Here goes.
One Person/Situation at a Time
Oozing confidence, unfortunately, does not appear overnight. Confidence builds upon confidence. The more times you build it up, the stronger each layer and each level gets. So, you build your confidence one situation and one person at a time.
For starters, think of the last situation or person with whom you felt your confidence was shot. Let’s say, for the sake of continuity here, that it was getting “dumped.” I’d be willing to bet you’re not feeling confident about yourself, nor about being around that person again. (We’ll call him Will.) Will left. Will’s gone. And, while the rejection, or sting, or loss of a future, whatever it is, definitely cuts and hurts, the trick is to think and act confidently. Right now. At some point, Will fell in love with you, right? Right. Find confidence in that. You’re still the same person that you were then. So, continue living as you lived then, confidently. Change nothing about yourself but the fact that you’re going to step forward with some spring in your step knowing that:
- You are a person that people love;
- This hurt is only going to make you stronger, and
- Both of those things together is adding on another thicker layer of confidence!
Same thing with a lost job. You were qualified enough to be selected for the job. Regardless of circumstances at the moment, you can know:
- You were selected for a particular job out of a pool of other applicants;
- You’re available now for something even bigger and better, despite the fact it isn’t pleasant in the moment; and
- Both of those things are… yes you got it: going to make you a more confident person in the future.
Next time either one of these things or something similar knocks you off your feet momentarily, your confidence won’t take such a hit next time because you’ve been there, done that, bounced back and risen above. See how that works?!
Confidence Builds Confidence
Now, while you may still feel lost and still feel lacking confidence, you have to muster confidence to know that confidence builds confidence. Every time you use it and choose it, you get more of it. That’s one of the best things about it! And there’s basically a never ending supply. So stand up, put your two feet squarely under yourself and go do something you normally wouldn’t. That little stretch? Yeah, you’ve got it, it will build confidence. And the faster you want to be that most-confident-of-confident people, the more you have to willingly put yourself out there. Just know that nothing, nothing can knock you down. You’ll always get back up and you’ll always be stronger.