This is a little of an update on my post on growing your self-confidence here- this will make more sense if you read that post first. Whilst I have come a long way from my 14-year-old insecure self, I think that self-confidence is often presented as a result, rather than the ongoing journey it is and so I wanted to compile some more thoughts from my original post.
It is no secret that your self-confidence influences a lot - from what you participate in, your behaviour or even sometimes how others feel. But, I feel like it is too often shown as something that you just achieve and can then forget about. It is often ignored that feeling confident does not mean never feeling insecure. Even now, though I have so much more self-confidence than my teenage self, I find it is something I still have to work on and keep in check. Confidence is throwing yourself into something that scares you. Knowing that whilst it is outside of your comfort zone you have enough self-belief and trust to do it anyway.
Something often missed is that I have to keep doing is things that scare me or that are slightly outside of my comfort zone. Lack of self-confidence can be a catch-22 situation where you avoid getting involved in many activities because you lack confidence. But, then by not getting involved, you stay in the same place and it only reinforces your ideas of no self-worth. This is why I have found you have to take small steps to tackle it. For me, I knew, especially previously, that part of my lack of self-confidence was present in the sheer terror I used to feel whenever I had to do public speaking. 14 year old me used to just straight out avoid it because I thought I could not handle it. Public speaking was the reminder to insecure me - what if I make a fool of myself, what about everyone in the room judging or looking at what I have to say or what I do. Solution - slowly expose myself to it. I started off small - something that to many people may seem insignificant- getting myself to read a poem in front of my class. I then built this up to assemblies in front of the whole school and getting involved in activities that required me to public speak to an audience I had never met before. I stated in my original post that self-confidence does come with time and I agree, but you also have to actively do something about it. It will not change by you doing nothing. For me now, this still means involving myself in a range of things, even some that I may find initially daunting.
Mindset is important, as I mentioned in my original post, but also a continuous journey. I also believe a helpful mindset is not this unrealistic idea of an always positive mindset. It is acknowledging that you will feel down, you will feel insecure, but when those feelings come remembering they are temporary. You will get through them. I know many people advocate saying mantras in the mirror every morning- I found that never helped me because I just did not believe it so it would not matter how many times I repeated it to myself. One of the most helpful mindsets for my self-confidence, I still apply now when I feel self-doubt is what have I got to lose? I find when I am feeling so confident that I convince myself of everything that hypothetically could go wrong and maybe even think of all the moments which I have felt I failed. Trying to convince myself in these situations to just feel great about myself doesn't really help because the negative voices are already there battling the positive voice down, finding any slight doubt. But, acknowledging that I may not feel confident in that moment and instead thinking, I really have nothing to lose because even if I fail I will be in the exact same place really helps.
Self-confidence and self-worth are a constant journey. Mindset and doing things slightly outside of my comfort zone are the 2 main things at the moment that I have found I am using to keep myself on track. Sometimes I still doubt myself, but I think a little self-doubt is healthy to keep you growing. To anyone reading this, self-confidence is not linear, it goes up and down, but you can always pick yourself up again.