autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

On Being Confident

Someone, elsewhere, asked the question: “How can you develop more confidence in yourself? How can you attract people to you?”

I thought about it and decided this would be my reply to them:

Confidence begins with oneself and being utterly peaceful with who and what and how one is. The process of attaining it, obviously, will differ from person to person, but the foundational tenets necessary to achieving it remain the same:

(1) Be honest with yourself, both about what you like and what you dislike about yourself.

This means learning how to genuinely appreciate and honor of yourself that which you know you do well and are consistently good at doing or being.

This also means learning how to genuinely acknowledge and take responsibility for that of yourself that you know needs work and to learn how to do so without over-compensating, kicking yourself around, or otherwise harming yourself in relation to it.

(2) Be gentle with yourself.

This means developing a sense of kindness for yourself. Be willing to cut yourself some slack. You’re human. You mess up here and there because that’s what humans do. It’s about learning and being open and willing to work at it, not about weighing yourself so heavily with recrimination and guilt and frustration and anger over it that you cannot move (let alone actually work on improving things).

(3) Be self-deprecating about yourself.

The only thing that hurts worse than knowing you’re struggling with something is not knowing that you are struggling with something. Ego being the most insidious and self-destructive aspect of such things. The best way to check your ego and arrogance is to be sincerely willing to consider yourself as a constantly developing being and to learn the difference between being healthily proud of yourself and being overly-proud or arrogant about yourself.

The side benefit of this effort is that those things you genuinely know are good about yourself will be easier to accept and appreciate and this has a naturally buoying effect upon one’s self-worth and confidence.

(4) Be appropriately protective of yourself.

The primary killers of self-esteem and confidence are fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Learn to recognize how you manifest these traits and when, and then, learn how to gently and kindly defuse them in yourself.

Learn also how to detect and defuse people and activities that introduce or nourish these traits in yourself. Do not allow them presence in your life or, if you must, make regular effort to remind yourself of them and work with yourself to reinforce that their presence does not in any fashion mean you must bow before them or grant them room to grow within you.

(5) Be mindful of your thinking and choices and consider how they affect your state of being and contentment with yourself.

If you spend time doing any of the above, you will eventually notice patterns in your choices and behaviors and even your thoughts. All of these contribute to your overall confidence and esteem because your mind takes in and reacts to the things it hears as well as the things you tell yourself.

Make a point of noticing what is happening inside you when you’re feeling low esteem or lack of confidence. Draw those things out and dissect them for yourself. It’s the only way to understand them and you must understand them before you can address, manage, resolve, or reconcile them.

(6) Reward yourself when you deserve it.

It’s easy to kick yourself around. It’s easy to berate yourself. The world will forever be willing to give both treatments to you. You have to find the way to tend yourself, to nurture and nourish and comfort yourself, and it simply isn’t possible until and unless you establish a habit, a regular routine of being good to yourself, for yourself when you need it and deserve it.

(7) Understand that your true worth is NEVER dependent upon anything external to you.

If it were true that our intrinsic value as humans were dependent upon what others think, upon how much we make, upon how we look, or [insert external valuation or judgment here], it would be a truly sad existence indeed. Work with yourself to develop and enforce the reality that you are a valuable, worthwhile, good, and lovable human being….. because you are, even when you’re not perfect, even when that guy across the street thinks you’re an arse, even when the woman or man you like doesn’t know you exist, every moment, all the time, every day of your life.

Remind yourself that until you believe and know yourself to be any of these things, no one will possibly be able to know them of you with any degree of consistency.

The world takes its cue from you… think, speak, and act accordingly.