Confidence. You just feel it. Some people have an aura about them. From the spring in their step to the twinkle in their eye, they’re head to toe confident.
Why do we love to be around truly confident people? Well – they feel good about themselves, others and life. And that means they make us feel good too.
Confidence is the magic ingredient that can transform our lives into a wonderful adventure – whether that’s at work, with our loved ones or in our social lives.
So, if your day is super-stressful or a monotonous grind, I’ve got good news. You can sprinkle this magic ingredient over your life too.
Even better – exuding confidence isn’t about becoming someone we’re not. It’s simply about dropping the behaviours that scream “not confident!”
So, get set for a confidence spring clean. Let’s clear out unhelpful behaviours and let our natural confidence shine through!
Time to stop…
1) Talking too much about yourself
Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Especially if you’re a wallflower-type…
After all, aren’t those chatty people the confident ones?
Not necessarily. If your lack of confidence comes out as social anxiety you can find yourself talking too much. Have you ever watched in horror as you ramble on, repeat yourself, or try to be the life and soul of the party?
Confident people make room for others to shine too, rather than dominating conversation. Everyone loves them for it and the whole vibe soars. That’s what really gets a party going!
2) Making it all about you
Do you find yourself consumed by problems or worries? Do your one-on-one chats with friends seem to always end up being about you? Do you talk yourself round and round in circles?
Stop! Take a deep breath. In fact, take several. It’s all going to be okay, and you don’t have to work it out all at once.
I love this quote from thinker/writer Nishan Panwar: “Once you focus on your gifts instead of your problems, your whole perspective will change and you will see blessings everywhere.”
A confident person’s intimate chats are two-way streets. They ask about others and listen to what is said. They also hear what is not said, using their intuition to help people find their own answers, rather than giving advice.
Because everyone is unique after all, which brings us to…
3) Comparing yourself to others
This is a total confidence killer. Remember, you have no idea what’s going on for anybody else. And how often do you hear of someone incredibly beautiful, wealthy or successful struggling with issues rooted in lack of self-confidence and self-esteem?
According to Social Comparison Theory: “People constantly evaluate themselves, and others, in domains like attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success. According to some studies, as much as 10 percent of our thoughts involve comparisons of some kind.” (Psychology Today).
Comparison can inspire us, but it can also bring us down. If that’s the case for you, remember this: Only you can be at the heart of your precious life, daily experience and relationships – so re-focus on gratitude and the magic and power of being you!
4) Putting yourself down
Putting yourself down can be a habit formed over time, and you may not even realize you’re doing it. Here in the UK, putting yourself down is also a cultural thing. People bond over how awful they are at things, how terrible they look, or how disorganized, incapable or generally clueless they are.
This is not healthy! Of course, it’s wonderful to be confident enough to acknowledge your own weak spots. Even better if you can laugh at your own expense once in a while! But habitually putting yourself down just erodes your confidence further.
As does self-criticism…
5) Judging yourself harshly
Do you obsess over what you said, or wish you hadn’t said? Go easy on yourself and give yourself a break. You’re learning and evolving all the time – we all are.
Yep, even those super-confident people.
The only difference between you and them is that they’re okay with that.
As Robin Sharma says: “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons. There is no such thing as a negative experience, only opportunities to grow, learn and advance along the road of self-mastery.”
6) Gossiping and judging others
I don’t have a lot to say about this one – apart from Just. Don’t. Do. It.
You might feel justified at the time, but later you’ll feel icky and kind of like you let yourself down.
Believe me, I know this! Which brings me to something else I spring cleaned out of my life…
7) Trying to work it all out by yourself
You know this one, right? You need to ask for directions, or where to park, or whether a deadline can be moved. But you just kind of don’t, because you’re not confident.
Confident people ASK for the info they need. They ask when they’re not sure how to do something. They ask if they’re not sure how someone’s feeling.
Asking the questions means you’re in right place at the time, with the right skills and equipment. This equals far less stress, things going better all round which, you guessed it, breeds even more confidence!
8) Obsessing about your appearance
Obviously, it’s great to care for ourselves and make an effort. However, being overly obsessed with how we look is a big sign we aren’t confident.
Needing compliments, constantly looking for flaws or needing to look ‘perfect’ are three behaviors that can go straight in the bin, right now.
Why? Because when we’re confident, we love ourselves and we’re good with ourselves. We can have the odd messy day. Yep, even out there in the world. So be brave, let your hair down and shine from the inside!
9) Avoiding eye contact
In Science of People, Valerie Cantella writes: Eye contact leads to meaningful connections because we like when people give us their visual attention. And, most importantly, receiving eye contact changes your chemistry! Research finds eye contact boosts dopamine and oxytocin, two chemicals that have all kinds of positive effects.
Those feel-good hormones are another reason why you feel great around confident people.
10) Being awkward in your body
You know those people who have an easy, relaxed way about them? They move fluidly. They get up and walk around the office. They let themselves stretch, run, dance and play. They probably love a go on a tire swing with their kids, too.
And even if there’s a physical reason they can’t do some of the above, they’re comfortable in their own skin.
Those people have forged a good relationship with their own bodies. That comes from confidence – from feeling safe and grounded in life. And it breeds even more confidence.
11) Being too agreeable
Yeah… I put my hand up to this one. It’s great to go with the flow, but it’s something else to be washed away with it!
Wanting to fit in, to be part of the gang and please others can make us too agreeable. We end up saying things we don’t mean and doing things we don’t want to do. We can even come across as clingy and drive people away. All of which hits our self-esteem hard and knocks our confidence even more.
Confident people focus more on expressing themselves honestly and authentically, and on collaborating with others. They don’t avoid conflict, and they set fair boundaries. That way, everyone is seen and heard, and the whole vibe rockets!
12) Being too disagreeable
Uh huh. You got it. Those defensive, fighty people who kick off about everything aren’t truly confident either.
This may stem from being unheard or unseen as a child, or from unfairness between siblings.
If you resonate, maybe it’s time to lovingly put those ghosts to rest with some trauma therapy.
Then you can use your warrior spirit to support worthy causes and speak up for those without a voice. That’s one of the most powerful gifts confident people bring to this world.
13) Hiding at home
We can’t power hose our unhelpful behaviors if we’re on the couch watching Netflix with the curtains closed!
Do you avoid the office party, don’t quite make it to that evening class or give up that new hobby?
Confident people get out there and live life, and learn, and screw up, and look terrible and have fun.
So, challenge yourself to jump in more, try new things and meet new people.
I hope your confidence spring clean really shakes things up, gives you some of that magical aura and makes you amazing to be around, too!
And don’t stop there. Keep stepping into your natural confidence, making deeper connections with others, opening to life, falling down and getting up – and watch your confidence grow and grow!