How To Increase Your Confidence: Know Your Self-Worth
Hello Beautiful Muses!
Have you ever stepped into a room where you didn’t know anyone and felt completely intimidated? Insignificant? Small? Do you get anxious at times that you know you should be assertive? Have you ever let yourself be talked over or failed to speak up in a business meeting at work? Do you find yourself to be primarily an introvert?
I feel you. I was that awkward Black girl that was super shy. If I didn’t know anyone at a party or in a group setting, I’d just become a wallflower. My friends are probably reading this and laughing because that is no longer my personality, but I used to be incredibly shy. It wasn’t until college that I truly began to step out of my shell.
I grew up as an only child and to this day I think of myself as an introverted extrovert. People who grew up with siblings have often asked me if I was lonely all the time. I find that question funny because even though I was an only child, I had plenty of friends and I loved playing with them. But I also loved being alone. As an only child, you learn how to get really comfortable with being your own company; I used to entertain the hell out of myself. I would have liked to have a sibling, but my mama made it clear that I was her one and only which was fine…more toys for me! Haha! My point is I was and still am very comfortable with being alone for long periods of time, but as a child, I think that caused me to develop my shy nature.
Fast forward to middle school where I was often bullied and made fun of for being one of the smartest kids in class. Being smart is great, but it often separates you from the social pack. I had my small group of friends, also in the smart crew, who were also shy so we kept to each other mostly. I was definitely less shy in high school, but college is really where the tides turned. In college, I stopped letting other people have power over my feelings and took control of how I wanted to live. I basically stopped giving a f**k.
Let me tell you that when you have no fucks to give, the sky’s not even the limit! College was great because I was the only one from my high school class who attended my school, the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Because no one knew me, it was a chance to reinvent myself. If you’ve read Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say I basically had four years of yes. I tried all kinds of new foods (sushi is now my favorite), studied abroad and travelled the world (I rode a donkey in Santorini, danced the night away in Barcelona, and got lost in Paris), kissed and didn’t tell (ain’t no party like a UCSB party!), and made and lost friends along the way. It was great. Every experience I had in college and thereafter has influenced my confidence tenfold in the most amazing way.
I am now a woman that takes no shit from nobody. When I attend networking events where I don’t know a soul, I walk up to a random person, compliment them on their shirt, and a conversation is born. If I don’t agree with a coworker in a business meeting, I tell them so in a professional manner or ask them to elaborate or clarify. When I go on interviews and I am asked why that company should hire me, my first sentence is always, “You should hire me because I’m awesome”. I then proceed to list the reasons why as I reiterate my job experience and accomplishments.
Here are the steps that I followed in my journey to self-confidence:
1. Know Your Worth. Ladies, the first lesson in self-confidence is to highly value yourself. It’s hard to be confident when bullies are trying to break you. You need to become unbreakable. If you believe what others are saying about you, you are making what they’ve said true by internalizing it. I am a firm believer of speaking your desires into existence. You must speak positively of yourself. If you do this enough, it will become your reality and anytime you hear negativity about yourself, it will sting a bit less and eventually become so insignificant that you’ll brush it off.
2. Fake It Til You Make It. It’s easy to talk the talk, but you’ve got to walk the walk. Start to realize your self-worth by saying positive mantras to yourself in the mirror every morning. If you look good today, acknowledge that. If your butt looks good in those jeans, take a picture. If your makeup is on point, take a selfie and shamelessly serve face. If you are slaying, snatching wigs, and taking names, do it unapologetically. This is NOT being cocky. Women have been taught to downplay their greatness for far too long. As Black women, we are constantly shamed for our hair, bodies, skin colors, and big lips, yet other women try to emulate our natural beauty. Say it with me, “I bomb and I’m proud!” While you’re at it, go compliment someone else. You can never pass along too many positive vibes.
3. Try Something New. Stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to broaden your horizons and further your self-discovery. All throughout college, I tried new things: new foods, new adventures, new clothes, the list goes on. My wardrobe is poppin’ today because in college I discovered patterns. I also discovered that being too matchy-matchy gets boring. I am now a style chameleon. Things that I wouldn’t wear at 20 I dare to wear at 27. I also rode in a hot air balloon this year because…why not?! Life is too short to keep doing the same ole thing. I’m enrolling in a Beyoncé dance class this week…I suck at choreography, but who cares as long as I have fun! Feed your spirit.
4. Stop Relying On The Opinion Of Others. This is probably the hardest step of all as most critiques usually come from those closest to us. But, sometimes, like advice, you have to take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. Once you stop caring what other people think, your life will be much simpler. Your self worth is not determined by what others think of you, but by what you think of yourself. If you set out to be your best self everyday, that’s what you’ll be and others will gravitate towards your positive energy.
5. Be Unapologetic. Let me tell you, being unapologetic about being yourself and living in your truth is the most freeing experience. I never apologize if I’m not sorry and I’m never sorry for being myself. Now I don’t mean never apologize, recognize when you’re wrong and own up to that. But I’m saying never apologize for being who you are or for feeling the way that you’re feeling. You are allowed to feel how you do in any moment. If you try to downplay or hide, you are doing yourself a disservice. And if you can’t take that moment to feel (don’t break down crying in a meeting), make sure that you give yourself time later to debrief and decompress. You are who you are, you are growing as a person, and you are doing the best that you can.
The road to self-confidence is not an easy one, but the journey is beautiful. Be kind to yourself and be fierce in how you love yourself. You are a person that is priceless and your self-worth is non negotiable. You can do this ladies, I know that you can. You are the muses of the world so go out and unapologetically put your best foot forward. You never know who you are inspiring to do the same.
XOXO - Mechelle