Friday, November 6, 2015

How To Get + Maintain Confidence

Getting and maintaining confidence are two very different things. It's one thing to get confident, but it's another to maintain it, in both your work and social life. Confidence use to be a major struggle for me. For one thing, I hated how I looked, I hated having a scar from heart surgery I had in my infant weeks and I hated that I didn't have perfect skin. When I stopped striving to be perfect in the eyes of everyone else, my confidence issues went away. So, there is one tip right there; I stopped trying to look and be how I thought other people wanted me to look and be. 

To gain confidence first begins from within-how you see yourself and what you are saying in your head. You know, there is that voice that can stir up those confidence issues and give you reason to lack self-esteem. It took a lot for me to identify where this little voice was coming from and why in some situations, it got louder and louder (and LOUDER)! That little voice is simply there to induce more anxiety than necessary, but there are ways to destroy this voice or in other words, change it. 

This is where I want to talk about positive self-talk or affirmations. In doing affirmations, listening to CD's on positive thinking and building confidence and self-esteem, I realized I needed to change how I thought of myself. So instead of saying, "Gosh, I hate this scar. Why can't my skin be perfect? Oh no, someone is staring at me." What we say to ourselves has a major impact. 

Social confidence was the most challenging for me. When I say social confidence, I mean, being confident in social settings with peers. In 2010, when my fashion career really took off, I dealt with severe social anxiety. At one point though, I changed my thought process and started doing a different kind of self-talk before events. These self-talks of course, I need to stress, were positive. I'd say three positive things about myself and that helped me get out of my usual fight or flight response. Plus, I knew if I'd flee, then I would miss out on opportunities to advance my career, meet more people, and build my support system, which brings me to the next idea. 

At every event or social gathering, it's important to realize it's not all about you, and everyone is at certain events or social gatherings for the same reasons you are. Half of the things that little voice tells you are strictly paranoiac and are not real. I stopped the inner confidence battle when I realized that it's better to be your unique self, to share what makes you different, and to embrace it. Those are the things I'm saying in my mind now. Being different is a gift and I realized I'd rather be different as opposed to a sheep just following the herd and trying to be and look like everyone else, if you get my drift. So, in my head, I say things like, "Being unique is better, people like unique," and, "nobody is thinking or even caring about my insecurities-" I want to stop at that second one quick. 

In a social gathering, nobody is noticing or hearing what that little voice is saying to you, only you are hearing it. Everyone is normally focused on themselves or how they are appearing in social crowds to others. Now sure, people have seen my scar from having open heart surgery and asked about it, and I'd say, "My heart has a story, I have a story," and it's that story that everyone has that your peers want to hear. It's those stories that make relating and socializing not only enjoyable, but makes you more human and easy to connect to. Ninety percent of human interaction is story telling. My social confidence issues went away when I started becoming a good story teller and could find common ground with people (through stories). 

What also eliminated my confidence and boosted my self-esteem was when I started engaging in activities like designing clothes, doing photo shoots out doors, and doing activities that I am passionate about. People that are passionate about things and are creative are constantly engaged with people, which also changes the way you think and view yourself. And, being constantly engaged with people and doing the things I am passionate about is how I maintain confidence. 

A renowned photographer and creator of Positive Exposure, Rick Guidotti, whom I've had the pleasure of working with in Europe and in Columbus, Ohio spreads this amazing message: "change how you see, see how you change." In this case too, change how you think and see how you change; both go hand-in-hand if you want to get and maintain confidence. I hope you enjoyed this post! And, if you love posts like these let me know and subscribe, so you never miss one! Also, what sort of things do you do to boost and maintain confidence? I'd love to hear from you!  

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