I want you to take a second and think about how you talk to yourself. Be honest, have you ever said any of these:
I’m so stupid. I’m an idiot
I’m worthless, I’m just taking up space
I’m no good, I’ll never be good enough
No one loves me and no one will ever love me
I hate myself
Maybe you were having a bad day; you were running late and you spilled some makeup on your white top, accidentally emailed the whole accounting department which has started a chain of confused reply alls, and none of your friends are responding to your texts so you think “they probably hate me.” We have all been there, it happens. But if this is the light you see yourself in, if this is what your thoughts are constantly swirling with, then that’s just no good. But hey, if you’ve clicked on this you probably already knew that. In that case, high five! You realise that you want to change this and have sought out a resource to help fix it-both very important steps.
In the past year, I have been able to implement a lot of changes in my life to help with my confidence. Today, I would like to share some of these with you. And keep in mind, this is coming from a college student-a notoriously pretty unconfident demographic. If I can do it, you can too!
My number one tip is to be compasionate and patient with yourself. Realise that at times, you may simply be too harsh on yourself. It is helpful to think, “would I say this to a friend? A family member? A partner? Someone I care about?” You will come to realise that often times, the answer is no, you wouldn’t treat someone you love like that. So, why are you doing it to yourself? It is essential to be forgiving and understanding in your self-talk. You will make mistakes, you will be awkward and embarrassing sometimes, and some days will just not be your day, and that is okay! Instead, you can change these harsh thoughts to things like “I am just having a rough day. I am human, I make mistakes sometimes and that is okay. I am a capable and intelligent person.”
Secondly, in the sports world, we have the saying, “look good, feel good, play good.” The meaning behind this is that if your uniform is nice, tidy, and to your liking, you feel good and confident. By extension, your confidence shows in the way you play your game, and thus your mindset is setting up your success. I’m not necessarily saying that you should follow the latest fashion trends, but wear clothes that you feel good in, even if it is not what everyone else is wearing. Same thing goes with your hair, your accessories, your makeup, your nails, etc. Clothes and appearance carry meaning and emotion to us. Do not be afraid to experiment and find the style that makes you feel good. Change can create a positive energy. In turn, you will notice that it is easier to feel good about yourself, which will once again make you feel more confident. It’s a good kind of cycle to be in.
Lastly, I am sure that by now you have heard all about this thing called meditation. A big part in both recognising and implementing what we’ve talked about here is mindfulness. Having the awareness to identify, stop, and change thinking patterns takes a lot of mental effort. Meditation is a great tool in improving this ability. Meditation has also shown to provide other benefits such as decreased anxiety and insomnia, increased focus and productivity, and decreased stress levels. Every time your mind wanders and you gently bring it back into focus, you are getting stronger at controlling your flow of thoughts.
These three things will be great at improving your self-esteem and confidence. It may take some time, but remember, it’s okay! Everyone grows at their own pace, the important thing is to allow yourself the opportunity to do so.