SELF-CONFIDENCE & SELF-ESTEEM
Some people like to distinguish between self-esteem and self-confidence. I will be using them interchangeably, but for you know-it-alls out there, there’s a slight difference. Self-esteem asks, do you believe that you’re worthy of respect from others? Self-confidence asks, do you believe in yourself? They’re more-or-less the same and the tips I’ll give below will help with both. I believe they exist in the same plane. Basically, it’s how you view yourself and it is usually influenced by the people around you and other factors in your environment.
Just as any other feeling/emotion, self-confidence fluctuates like currencies in the exchange rate; sometimes it goes up and sometimes it comes down; but you want it to be like the GBP or USD i.e. fairly stable and that’s up to you. Henry Ford said ‘Whether you believe that you can or you believe that you cannot; you are right’. Self-confidence is that important. If you want to achieve your goals and objectives, you absolutely must have enough self-confidence to see the job through. As the size of your goals and ambitions grows, your level of self-confidence must grow to match it. Self-confidence can reduce dramatically due to life changing events. For example, in Game of Thrones (the greatest show ever!), Theon Greyjoy went from being a part-time Stark to being a full-time Reek! (If you haven’t watched GOT so you don’t get my reference then I really don’t know what to do with you).
Self-confidence isn’t natural it’s a very much learn-able skill so anyone can attain it. Building confidence takes practice and ‘practice makes permanent’ – Dean Graziosi.
How to Boost Your Self-confidence/Self-esteem
Think positive: Positive people are seen as more attractive than negative people. If you keep bringing yourself down, inviting these grey clouds into your blue sky then people are gonna run away from you when it starts to rain. This also implies that you should diminish negative thoughts to a bare minimum. You’re the landlord of your house (mind) negative thoughts can come in and rent the place and subsequently more-or-less becoming the acting landlord, bringing others to come in cos we know misery loves company. They will start charging skyrocketed rents from your positive thoughts and even evicting them until you take back your authority as landlord and evict the negatives. Kick them to the curb! You can be positive by visualising yourself and saying good things about yourself; change your cannots to CANS. To get your brain to accept your positive statements quickly make them questions like, “Why am I so awesome at writing?” instead of “I am so awesome at writing.” Our brains are biologically wired to seek answers to questions, without considering whether they are valid or not. Our self-talk will make or break us. It’s what separates winners from quitters
Grooming & Dressing: Mandem (guys), we know that feeling when you’re fresh out the Barber’s (hopefully a good one), you got that fresh trim and your hairline so sharp it could cut a bitch. Gyaldem (girls), you know that feeling when you get your hair done, eyebrows looking like bird wings, nails done and all that. Or that feeling when you cop some fresh creps! (British slang term for sneakers) Jheeezee! (in Giggs’ voice); that dopamine rush just feels so amazing. When you’re well-groomed and well-dressed you feel better about yourself and you’ll seem successful and self-confident to others. Obviously, when you cop a new outfit(s), practice wearing it at home first to get past any wardrobe issues before letting the world see it. Dress well so the fashion police doesn’t come for you (R.I.P. Joan Rivers).
You vs You: In Kendrick Lamar’s last album ‘DAMN.’, he had a song ‘DUCKWORTH.’, and this line on the intro resonated with me ‘it was always me vs the world until I found it’s me vs me’. This preaches self-awareness. The person you need to conquer is yourself cos who knows you better than yourself? Once you’ve conquered yourself you can conquer the world. You have two sides in you constantly battling, the good and the bad, the one you listen to more will win. Listen well. When I started this blog with my friends I procrastinated and gave excuses left and right cos I just didn’t know what to talk about, nothing came to mind but as soon as I read John Mason’s book, Know Your Limits and Ignore Them where he said you can find purpose or happiness in life when you can help others find it, I had an ‘aha moment’ something which I had waited so long for, so that’s why I’m blogging and giving advice. Since then my confidence has increased I was able to shake off the negativity all thanks to God. How I got to this point was I was thirsting after what to do with my life. There was that part that said I’ll end up being a wasteman, a failure, self-doubt was screaming in my ears. I had to learn how to shush that negative part of me and well here we are, me writing this and you reading this.
Body Language: This is the unspoken language that everyone knows how to speak but some understand it more than others. Your body has subtle or not so cues on how it reacts based on certain environments or feelings. In short, your body language can be a dead giveaway for how confident you feel. Your posture, smiling, eye contact, etc. are all factors. Whenever we feel bad about ourselves, down or hurt, we tend to close down and it shows both emotionally and physically. We try to become as small as positive, so people don’t notice us. We curl up, so we limit the surface of exposure. Then someone asks us, ‘are you okay?’ and we say’ yeah’ but obviously, your body language says otherwise. Stand with your head high, shoulders slightly backwards and chest slightly pumped up this will make you seem confident to others. Smiling (not a sheepish one) is so therapeutic, it makes you and others feel better and comfortable; obviously, it makes you seem more warm and approachable and we all know a smile is the best accessory in your closet. Imagine a person with good posture and a smile and you'll be envisioning someone who is self-confident. Most of the images of Jesus you’ll see show him with excellent body language, open hands, a smile, etc. Eye contact is very important. They say the eyes are the window to the soul so gazing into someone’s soul makes you confident. Notice that when you wanna say something you’re a bit embarrassed about you tend to look away. When you’re talking to a group of people it’s best to not hold eye contact with one person for too long or they start to feel uncomfortable. The goal is to appear or be self-confident not make anyone feel someone uneasy. Imitation is the best flattery so if you don’t know how to act confident then act like someone you know who is.
Speech: This is something I used to struggle with back in uni and previously but not as much now. My friend, Anj said my mumblings were ‘legendary’ and in general I could be hard to understand but it’s hard to keep my voice down when I’m happy or in my element. But, we can’t always be in our element for different reasons. So, speak loudly! Voice tonality is very important, when you’re not loud enough it can indicate that you’re not quite confident in what you’re saying or sure of yourself. When I had a public speaking exercise, everything else was good but the instructor said I needed to work on my voice; So, I did. Also, speak slowly cos those who take the time to speak slowly and clearly feel more self-confident and it appears so to others. The added bonus is that people will fully be able to hear or understand what you are saying. When you speak fast it shows you’re nervous and it seems like you’re not sure of yourself and just wanna get it over it; subconsciously you might as well be saying that ‘no one really wants to hear me anyway’.
Hang around confident people: Jim Rohn said you’re the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with. As a Nigerian, it was part of our orientation for the olders to tell us ‘show me your friend and I’ll show you who you are’. Self-confident people are admired by others and inspire confidence in others. Think about it if your Doctor comes in being all gloomy and unsure will it not scare you? When you’re around confident people a lot you’re mostly likely gonna emulate them.
Focus on your strengths: How many times have you focused on your weakness and felt good about yourself? Don’t get me wrong sometimes it’s good to work on your weakness if it’s for something important but it’s more uplifting and feels less tedious when you focus on the things you can do well. When you’re feeling down write down 10 things you can do well and feel the smile gently return to your face. Comparing your weakness to someone’s strength is a game lost from the beginning; it’s like putting me and Usain Bolt to run together and giving him a head-start. You can only become your absolute best when you’re working on strengths, those are your God given gifts, discover and harness them! If you don’t do so you’re operating on at a disadvantage like a tyre with a wheel clamp, you can move but it requires way more effort and you can only move slowly.
Small connecting goals: Setting and achieving connecting goals will give you momentum for the next step kinda like dominoes after one falls on the other it keeps going. For example, when I was learning skateboarding with my mate, I’m talking 5am, 10pm-12am business sometimes just cos; I break down the course cos man’s not tryna slide down the whole road in one swoop, I ain’t Evel Knievel (legendary stuntman who died in one of his stunts). My friend will do the whole course once but cos I was afraid I’ll do it in bits, get off, get back on and continue till I complete it and then I’ll do the whole course once or more.
Organise your room or working area: Too much clutter is stressful to look at and unattractive. I mean why else would you clean your room when a girl is coming over or anyone you deem important. Doesn’t it make you feel better, more fulfilled?
Preparation: Ever heard the saying “there’s nothing sexier than preparation”? No? then let's say I made it up. Preparation would naturally instill confidence in you. A prepped person is ready to conquer but always know that some things have to be left to chance. I’d say a good preparation-chance ratio is 90:10. When you’re prepared for battle you can still be ambushed but that doesn’t mean you shouldn't prepare; it’s wise to even prepare for an ambush! Just like Abraham Lincoln said “give me six hours I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” this shows how important preparation is.
Action: As an adult, your actions carry more weight and meaning than words. When you act contrary to your words it shows you don’t really believe in what you said. Please don’t be an empty barrel, making the loudest noise with nothing to offer. Act the way you want to feel, even if you don’t feel confident at first, when you proper get into it it’ll resonate with you. You can also do good deeds for others and it’ll make you’ll feel better. Putting a smile on someone’s face is always worth it! Plus, it’s good karma. Please TAKE ACTION because’ to know and not to do is really not to know’ – Stephen Covey. Start implementing these tips NOW cos Skepta (British Grime legend) said ‘real gees don’t procrastinate on the job’.
Bonus: Gratitude is also an important factor cos like the hymn goes 'count your blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what God has done'. Be grateful for being able to give, receiving, opportunities and you'll well be on your way to being very self-confident!
QOTD: You’re never well-dressed without a garment of self-confidence doused in the perfume of self-esteem – Ofai Edori
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Jeweller on Mondays, Book Connoisseur on Wednesdays, Quotologist on Fridays (ahh I'm still working on that one lol) and Blogger everyday! My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!