January 10, 2017
Have you written down your #NewYearGoals yet? Every year, like millions of people I like to take time and reflect about the year ahead, what I want to accomplish, and what I need to improve. Land that high profile project at work? Check. Collaborate on XYZ with that awesome charity I follow on Insta? Check. Say no to irrelevant friendships? Check. Well, you know the drill.
However, two years ago I caught myself adding a new item to this list: work on self-confidence. It was the first time I was acknowledging it. The year before, I had faced a lot of ups and downs and challenges at work and in my life, and here I was: my self-confidence was crumbling big time. I knew I had to work on it, not just think about it.
Self-confidence (the belief you have in yourself and your abilities) and self-esteem (the opinion you have about yourself and your value) often go hand in hand; they translate to healthy self-love. Self-love is a concept that can be hard to grasp sometimes, as our culture doesn’t exactly drum it into us. This affects both genders but generally speaking, let’s just say that being the overachievers we are… women managed to over-index the Confidence-Lack-o-meter.
This becomes particularly clear when you consider that 7 in 10 girls feel that they aren’t good enough, be it with their looks, relationships or even school performance. Yikes. A stunning 44% of girls in high school are trying to lose weight. Another thing we gotta hand to ourselves: we are definitely early adopters in many domains, for better…or for worse. When a behavior affecting our lives so negatively is being learned so early on, what can we do to change?
Attitudes must change willingly - that’s just the way it goes - but ladies, we have a choice about how we perceive ourselves and how we express that. Can we really afford to let the opinions of others have such a huge impact on our lives? Our goal should not be outer-acceptance, but inner-acceptance. Understanding this is part of the journey toward becoming a clued-up, powerful woman.
People believe what you believe about yourself. We’ve all seen women who just seem to be born with it. These women may not be stereotypical supermodels, yet they ooze sass, style and an attitude that says, “what you think of me changes nothing”.
These women are not afraid to sing their own praises. Why? They believe in themselves. They embrace their talents and accept their ‘weaknesses’, seeing through the illusory and recognizing that life is way too short to hide their unique selves away.
The math is easy to do: if you don’t believe in yourself, why would you go for that promotion at work? Why would you slip your number to that cute guy in the lift at the gym? A lack of self-esteem equates to a constant erosion of faith in ourselves, and in life; neither of which is remotely constructive, especially at work. Your colleagues can sense your lack of confidence; your body language during interviews, presentations and meetings will give you away.
The attitude and energy you put out there also dictates how others perceive you; talking about your accomplishments and explaining why they matter sends a signal to others: you value your abilities, you know what you accomplished is meaningful, and you value yourself. Bottom line: if you want others to have faith in you, you must first have faith in yourself.
It is important to remember that we are not only our successes and achievements. We are innately valuable, but it’s easy to forget it in a cut-throat, competitive society. We compare ourselves to others endlessly, belittling our talents - and ultimately our worth - which only leaves us feeling inadequate. Enough.
The key here is to think about yourself as your own first BFF. You know that best friend you’ve known since first grade, the one who has been through everything with you? That friend you always support, advise and cheer on no matter what? Well that’s you now! Treat yourself with the love, tolerance and compassion you would bestow that best friend. Remind yourself what you’ve been through, the values you adhere to, the impact you’ve had on others. Thinking about yourself as a loved one will force you to make better decisions for yourself, which will lead to better self-esteem.
Loving yourself does not make you a narcissist. It tells the world (in case they have forgotten), “I have value! And you do too.” What’s not to like about that? We have been taught to play ourselves down; apparently bragging is ugly, it’s showing off and ‘‘nobody likes a show off’’. This familiar but outmoded view needs to be flipped over. Let’s commit to inspiring and empowering each other. Did you just nail each and everyone of your exams? Maybe you just closed that huge deal with that very demanding client? Or maybe you just created that elegant code that will solve an important issue for the software your company makes? Tell the world about it! You did that, and it is impressive!
Why engage in a bragging session? Research has demonstrated that a straightforward brag such as “I always get a job when I go for it” is respected more than a borderline self-deprecating brag such as “It’s weird that I always get the job ‘cause I don’t interview that well.” Authenticity wins but insincerity repels.
Of course we can apply a little etiquette to the way we brag; we don’t need to be conceited about it but humility is not the key here. Bottom line: believe in yourself and others will believe in you too - without question.
When we truly appreciate ourselves, we stop being competitive with others just “for the sake of it”. Envy turns to appreciation, and we can demonstrate to other women that we are their allies in life.
In 2017, let’s make a pact, ok? We will NOT be the women who stand in the mirror, picking holes in ourselves. We will be the women who effortlessly compliment ourselves and others for our uniqueness, our talents and our achievements. 2017 is going to be the year that we cut ourselves some slack, and go after exactly what we want, without apology.
5. Decide on what is great about you and demonstrate it. It helps to make a list of all the things you like about yourself, what you have achieved and what your strengths are. Don’t forget that this can be on a physical level too. What kind of clothes tell the world who you are? Dare to wear your hair in that funky style, wear a stunning lip color like Unapology’s ‘The Game Changer’ – your way of saying “hello world, here I am… pay attention!”
In 2017, give the world an Unapology… after all, you’re a confident, beautiful woman so don't be afraid to show it.
Now your turn, how do you usually keep your confidence level up? What tips do you have for your fellow Unapology Beauties?
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