Fortune Cookie Friday: How to Gain Some Confidence
I love the animated movie Aladdin (1992). There are so many life lessons in the film: be honest to ourselves and others, society does not define who we are, be careful what we wish for, and all that matters is who we are on the inside. Practicing these ideas make us better and more confident.
In the movie, Aladdin learns these lessons with the help of Genie, Abu (his monkey accomplice), and the magic carpet. Aladdin wants to win the Princess Jasmine’s heart but realizes that the best way to do this is to, as Genie puts it, “Bee yourself.” When Aladdin is himself, he is comfortable, confident, and successful.
Being confident can be tough. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” We try to fit in with the crowd and win people over by being something we are not. This practice if folly and a sheer waste of time. All we will become is fake, and nobody likes fake.
What people like are confident individuals. But what is confidence and how do we go about gaining it? Singer Christina Grimmie summed up confidence nicely; “Confidence is not, ‘They will like me.’ Confidence instead is, ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.’”
We are confident when we are content with who we are. We are confident when we don’t let the opinions of others tear us down. Life can be a little daunting at times, but we can all learn to be confident.
Here are some simple ways I found to help improve confidence:
Our outward appearance matters but not in the way many would think. Good grooming, tidy clothes, standing tall and a smile can not only give the impression of confidence; they can provide us with confidence.
A simple shower and shave, or tidying our hair can make us more presentable and make us feel better. It is also quality time we can spend on ourselves. We all need a little “Me Time,” but try to avoid perfectionism.
Along with this same line, we should dress for success. Dressing well means something different to each of us. We don’t all have to put on formal attire. We should be comfortable in our clothes as much as our skin. A clean and tidy outfit gives a fresh new feeling, and we are ready for the day ahead.
Proper posture and smiling can have a significant effect on our confidence. According to psychology professor, Erik Peper, sitting or standing upright, in a powerful position makes it easier for us to have empowering thoughts and memories.
Smiling can have a similar effect. When we smile, we fell good. When we feel good, we smile. This simple facial feedback can conjure up confidence.
These outward changes won’t work on there own. Remember that what matters most is on the inside. There are some simple internal actions we can all take to gain confidence.
Be honest with who we are, imperfect. We don’t have to be perfect to be confident. No one is perfect, but we all have good qualities. We are all diamonds in the rough. We merely need to be ourselves and the best ourselves we can be.
We also need to be honest with others. We might not be capable of doing something because we are inexperienced or it goes against our principles. It is okay to admit that.
Be grateful. Happy people are confident people. We can’t be a happy person if we aren’t grateful. We should be thankful for all that we have. It is impossible for someone to be ungrateful and happy. If we feel we are entitled to something and we don’t get it, we will be unhappy. The less we feel entitled to something, the more gratitude we will have for whatever we get. Expect the worst but hope for the best.
Learn to laugh and laugh often. Laughter is not only the best medicine, but it can also boost our confidence too, especially if we learn to laugh at ourselves. A little jovial attitude is an excellent way to show that we’re comfortable with who we are. When it comes to the little things in life, laughing them off is more productive than beating ourselves up.
Add the positive and subtract the negative. There will be days that the silver lining is a bit tarnished. Take some time to polish it up by thinking positively. By putting negative feeling aside, we can focus on improvement.
A Little Confidence Boost
Now that I’ve discussed some ways to improve confidence, it is time to put them into practice. Various activities can help boost our confidence further. When we have a few successes under our belts, we will feel more assured.
One way to do this is by tackling small projects. Setting small goals and accomplishing them can improve your confidence. These can be things like filing that stack of paper on the desk or cleaning out that junk drawer. Completing these achievable tasks will make you feel better, and you will have a little organization in your life.
Go out and volunteer. Spending time doing things for others is very rewarding, and it makes them happy. We get the bonus of learning new skills in many instances.
Take an improvisation class. Look for community programs that offer courses in acting. The class will give a chance to meet new people, gain confidence, think on your toes, and you get to pretend.
So, now that we have taken some steps to becoming more confident we can tackle the challenges of life with our heads held high. It will feel like a whole new world has opened up and that diamond in the rough will sparkle.