As of late, Demi Lovato’s “Confident” has become my theme song. Now, I know that this song is not exactly innocent in nature BUT the way I see it whether it’s in the bedroom or in everyday life what really is so wrong with being confident and knowing what you want?
Let’s backtrack on why this is such an important topic to me. When I was in high school I lacked confidence in everything. In myself, in my abilities, in my intelligence and most importantly in my ability to overcome. This struggle continued all the way into my third year of college. I was recovering from a broken engagement and another failed relationship that followed that. I was unfortunately a young woman who had no aspirations for herself but instead wanted to follow a man around, have children and be a stay-at-home mom. (Please note there is NOTHING wrong with stay-at-home-Moms or those that want to stay at home with their babies. It’s the fact that it wasn’t even my dream…I just didn’t have ANY dream.)
I have since learned that I would go crazy being a stay-at-home mom, because I need something for myself that is JUST for me, but to still have the wondrous opportunity to be a mom. I have the pleasure of being a bonus-mom to the best little boy ever, but thankfully I also have all my individual accomplishments as well.
My 21-year-old self sat on my bed new year’s eve 2011 and decided that enough was enough. I was not going to let the man, or lack thereof, in my life dictate how I saw and spoke to myself. I always had this inner voice telling me I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t pretty enough and I should just be thankful there was anyone willing to give me attention. It did not matter that I graduated in the top-ten percent of my high school class and made the Dean’s list nearly every semester in college, I told myself I wasn’t good enough, therefore I wasn’t.
When I sat on my bed and decided I was going to change my internal script, it started small. It started with me making a post that I hung on my mirror that said “You are beautiful.” Know that this wasn’t about external looks. I had to decide what MY definition of beauty was, and I decided that whether or not I liked all my external features wasn’t the most important thing to me. I was beautiful because I try to make the world better by being kind, listening to others and trying to be as understanding as possible and most importantly by being ME. What’s more beautiful than being undeniably yourself? NO ONE else can be YOU. Only you can…so that’s pretty freaking beautiful.
And this one simple task was BRUTAL. I had to look myself in the mirror EVERY SINGLE DAY and tell myself something that I thought was a lie. I was so busy focusing on my flaws that I failed to see the GOOD things, because we ALL have features that are beautiful INSIDE AND OUT. Looking myself in the mirror though…I didn’t see those, I just saw all the things that I felt were wrong. And this is NOT okay. For me or anyone else. So I kept at it. Every day, without fail I would look myself in the eyes and tell myself You. Are. Beautiful.
It took years, I mean I was out of college and had landed my first real full-time gig and had been dumped (again) and I was DONE with relationships and I was DONE with the thought that that would happen. Because I was dumped because my insecurities caused so many fights with my ex that he couldn’t deal anymore. Somehow, even though I was telling myself this every day I still found it easier to turn to someone else to try and make me feel beautiful, strong and smart. The bad thing about turning to other people for that is that they’re going to eventually let you down. Maybe not intentionally…but it’s bound to happen. Because the issue is internal. The issue is with that inner bitch that makes you believe you’re not good enough.
So I got back in the habit of telling myself you’re beautiful every day and slowly I was able to add another positive affirmation on and I started to see improvements in my confidence at work. I started to excel in my job, I started a side business, and eventually (three years later) I found the man I didn’t even dare to dream about. THAT is the power of positive affirmations and truly believing in yourself. It’s not about faking it and having a cockiness that is just a cover up for your insecurities. Day by day, push by push I re-taught myself that those lies I’d been led to believe about myself were just that. LIES.
So here I am, seven years later and I still have DAYS where I struggle. But it is no longer a day in and day out thing. Even more importantly, it’s become near and dear to my heart to help OTHERS overcome that inner bitch and tell her (or him) to shut up. Day by day and positive affirmation by positive affirmation we can do this. We can overcome our insecurities because WE ARE WORTH IT. Did you know that 80% of women in the US hate their body? Not just dislike…I mean HATE. We’re focusing on the wrong things. I obviously have no issue with working to change your body (hello, I work in the health and fitness world) but there IS a VERY big problem with hating your body. You may not be in the body you want YET, but you still shouldn’t hate it. That body has done so many amazing things for you.
Of all the things I have tried over the years to really improve my self-confidence and belief, I would say reading personal development books have become KEY. I have to admit, I had a really hard time accepting that I needed help from “self-help” books. Honestly though, it’s key. My biggest recommendation these days is Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis and T is for Transformation by Shaun T. They have lit a fire within me and given me more skills to help me grow and overcome my insecurities. Here’s a hard truth, those insecurities may never fully go away. You may always find yourself having to chase some portion of them off. It’s important for you to realize that that is OKAY. It’s okay to have days where you don’t feel as confident as others, but it’s not okay for you to beat yourself up about it or tear yourself down because it’s easier than overcoming.
So go ahead, look yourself dead in the mirror and tell yourself you’re strong, beautiful and confident. I bet that you eventually believe it if you don’t already.