Confidence is something I’ve written about before, in one way or another. I’ve written about the anxiety of going on holiday and overcoming it and I’ve written a few times about feeling confident while pregnant and also feeling confident with my postpartum body. Having a crisis of confidence is something I face more or less every week, thanks to living with my trusty anxiety.

Over the past three years I’ve come to understand that confidence is something you learn. It can be taught. In fact, you can even enrol on online courses that promise to boost your self-confidence, allowing up to overcome any fears you have that you believe may be holding you back in life. Just like anything you learn in life, in order for you to fully embrace it and understand it, you need to practice it.

*This post in collaboration with JD Williams. They kindly gifted me some clothes, all thoughts and images are my own.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

I was a fairly confident person up until I was around 19.

I had loads of friends, got invited out everywhere; I had no problem walking into a room full of people I didn’t know. I was pretty good at adapting myself to different social situations too – I could banter with the lads and moan about life with the girls. Then it all went wrong when the relationship I found myself in lead me down the path of self-doubt and poor self-esteem. Before I even knew what was happening I was alienated from everyone and, thinking retrospectively, the friends I was left with pitied me and mothered me in some ways. They obviously didn’t think I was a strong woman who was confident and ready to take on the world. I got diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder, social anxiety and depression when I was 19. It was a real low point for me and one that would carry on for quite some time as I went on to have Luke and suffer through Postnatal Depression.

That relationship ended and it took another three years for me to get back on my feet and start to learn how to be confident again.

It’s been an interesting experience and it’s definitely a challenging and exhausting process. Naturally I have always been an introvert, despite having lots of friends before I became a mum. That meant that, for me, even acknowledging that I was at an all time low and that I wanted to just ‘like’ myself again, let alone ‘love’ myself was a tough one to digest. It wasn’t as if something had just knocked me down and I could bounce back up again. I’d had five years of doubt niggling away at me and then I had found myself a single mum with a baby in a tiny, grubby flat. It all seemed rather hopeless and it would have been easy to give up and fade away. I probably would have done, if I hadn’t met my lovely other half.

Eventually I found myself a lovely man and things started to look up again.

It was all too easy to wallow in self-pity but when someone else actually expresses that they like you then it sparks something in your mind and reminds you of your own self-worth. I remember talking to my friend at the time, and she was telling me I had no self-confidence – this guy was clearly into me so why was I refusing to accept the possibility that this could go somewhere?

That was three years ago and since then I would say I’m definitely a lot more confident. I’m not, and never will be, an extrovert. I do get intimidated by confident people, especially confident women. I struggle with eye contact (thanks anxiety!) and I wonder if that shows through when I’m chatting. I sometimes wonder if people notice my discomfort in social situations and pity me or think less of me. I am all too familiar with the look people give me when I say that I’m not feeling too great or that I can’t afford something. Yes, sometimes it’s a lie but most of the time now it’s true – unfortunately I cannot escape the goading raised eyebrow that comes after years of neglecting family and friends because of my low self-esteem.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

However there are also things that I’ve learnt and I’ve definitely gained confidence along the way.

It’s not easy and it’s taken me three years to be able to think I could broach the topic in any way. As usual, writing everything down is one place is my go-to therapy and it’s something I always encourage people who are struggling to do. It’s a good place to start when you’re trying to untangle your muddled mind.

I thought I’d share with you some of the things I did that aided my own personal development over the last few years.

Some of it worked for me, some of it left me feeling exhausted and deflated. What worked for me might not work for you, so it’s important to remember that if you’re reading this. Confidence is shaped by our lives and the events that have taken place. There’s no sure fire way to build up that confidence once more so don’t feel disheartened if you are full of self-doubt or you’re worried about certain aspects of your life. One day you’ll find a way to get over them and you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

Love The Way You Look

You may be sick of the ‘self love’ craze but having the confidence to accept who you are is liberating. I’m not saying that I love the way I look; we’re critical beings and we see things about ourselves that other people haven’t even ever noticed. But accepting that your body is yours and you can’t do much to change it is a good start. Yes, you can lose weight/gain weight, you can wear makeup and you can get cosmetic surgery, but at the end of the day, you still have to accept that you are you.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

What’s the point of loathing yourself because you’re a couple of stone heavier than you’d like to be? Why would you judge yourself so harshly? If you want to lose weight and you’re working towards that goal, that is brilliant, so why would you limit yourself to waiting weeks or months until you hit that goal to show yourself some kindness? Don’t hold off from loving yourself for months because your body shape isn’t what you’d like it to be. Those months could be spent appreciating it and being kinder to it, it’ll make you feel much better inside and outside. Instead of getting hung up on things like that, throw yourself in the shower or bath and practice some classic ‘Instagram Self Care’ rituals. You know what I’m talking about – face masks, nice shampoo, bath bombs, doing your nails etc. Having a bit of a spruce always makes me feel a million times better.

Dress For Your Body Type And Express Yourself

Don’t be a robot, let your personality shine! I am 26 and I’m permanently stuck between dressing ‘more like a mum’ and dressing like I’m a teenager – wearing emo band tees and heavy eyeliner. Something I learnt rather recently was that you don’t have to put yourself in a box. If you feel one day you want to wear a bright yellow dress and converse, do it! If the next day you feel you want to dress more conservatively, do that too. You can rock any style of clothing you want to. Trying out something new and receiving compliments about the way you look is an amazing feeling. That’s not to say that your self-worth and confidence relies on what other people think of you (see above – love yourself!), but we all know that the occasional ego-stroke can really nudge us towards being more adventurous.

Buying yourself a new outfit can be mentally refreshing. Walking through the shops or browsing the pages online and just seeing all the options available always gives me this sense of freedom. I could reinvent myself so easily! JD Williams kindly gifted me a new outfit for the winter months. Since having Oscar, I found myself wearing the same worn out clothes day in, day out. The ‘mum uniform’ is fine when I’m at home and the kids are the only people I’m seeing, but out in the big wide world, it wasn’t the best look and it was making me feel pretty deflated and miserable. I am more than just a mum – I’m a person with my own personality and preferences and I feel it’s important that everyone, parent or not, can express themselves through their clothing choices.

To help stay warm in the winter and to give the illusion I have my life together more than I actually do, I received the Suedette Borg Lined Aviator Jacket. Expressing yourself through your clothing and choosing colours that match your personality is a great way of feeling like ‘you’ and being confident in the skin you’re in. Along with the jacket, I was also sent a versatile Mono Print Strappy Cami. Camis are great because you can dress them up for days when you want to feel a bit special, or you can wear them with jeans and trainers for a loose, relaxing outfit. Finally, I was sent these Dela Biker Boots. You may have guessed that the boots are my own little way of letting the teenager trapped inside me out to play.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

If you’re a regular reader, you may remember that I was recently told I needed to wear glasses. I wasn’t overly keen on the idea before I got my eye test but once that was over and I was looking at the frames, suddenly I felt a lot better knowing that there were colourful frames that suited my face shape and personality.

The aim is simple: when you look in the mirror, you need to learn to love what you see.

Trying New Things

You don’t have to go skydiving and you don’t have to attend salsa dance classes, but trying something new is a fun way to gain a bit more confidence. You could learn to cook {or learn to cook some new recipes} or you could start a new hobby. The finished result will leave you feeling proud of your achievement and reinforce your worthiness. Doing something that involves visiting  group or being somewhere where there are other people can also help boost your confidence. Embracing the art of small talk is something I struggle with massively. You should see me on the school playground – oh it’s pretty cringe worthy sometimes. Practising small talk and getting the basics down means that your confidence will start to shine through from the second you open your mouth and greet someone.

Push Yourself (And Set Goals)

Everyone always says that you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone if you want to become more confident. This is true to some degree. It’s hugely beneficial for you to push yourself out of your comfort zone…but only if it goes well. If you make this giant leap and it doesn’t quite end how you’d like it to, it could leave you feeling deflated and knock your new-found confidence back a bit. So instead of jumping straight in, set an end goal that you’d like to achieve and work your way up to it by pushing yourself a little bit more each time. You could start with arranging a girls night out and getting all dolled up and hitting the town, or you could decide that you want to attend some gym classes, with or without your friends for support. It could even be as simple as having a chat with all the checkout assistants you meet that day. Set yourself some little goals based on your current level of confidence and work from there. Practising the things you find difficult every day, or as often as you can, makes a huge difference to your ability to perform the task easily. We know this because it’s something we have done our entire lives: we learnt to read and write, use computers and phones and cook and clean up after ourselves.

No More Negative Thoughts

Everyone, no matter their personality type, will think bad things about themselves. It’s up to us to distinguish between the thoughts being there and the thoughts holding any real meaning. Learning to accept a negative thought is present and then squash it away, rather than dwelling on it is a fine art but it is one that you will benefit hugely from. The trick to doing this is to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of dwelling on the negative self-talk, for instance “I can’t go to the gym, everyone will be looking and laughing at me”, think something along the lines of, “I’m going to go to the gym, give it my best shot and know that I’ll feel a million times better about myself when I finish”. Again, it’s important to remember that other people’s thoughts and opinions aren’t the be-all and end-all of your self-worth and therefore you should limit the effect they have on your confidence. I’ve learnt that most of the time, no one’s looking at you. You know why? Because they’re all too busy thinking about their own confidence and their own personal lives.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

Be Prepared

No one has ever stood outside a room waiting to take an exam after knowing they’ve not studied for it and felt confident they’d do well. The key to self-confidence is preparation. Being unprepared for something instantly sparks anxiety and panic, which makes us feel like we shouldn’t be doing the task or someone else could be doing it better.

Stand Tall, Hold Yourself Well And Talk Clearly

The way you present yourself to others is something that is going to impact their thoughts on you. If you want to feel confident, in charge of the situation and like someone who is worth listening to, you need to make sure you’re presenting yourself well. Whether this relates to you hosting a presentation at work something more along the lines of voicing your own opinion at a family event. Knowing what you want to say and making sure you get your point across in a polite and calm way is the key to success and therefore confidence.

Feign Confidence

You know what? The amount of times I have just faked confidence is startling. I’m not the only one who’s done it either. Think about all the guys who have ever come up to you in a pub or club with a cheesy line hoping that it’ll get them somewhere. Or what about those people who have walked happily into their GP’s room for vaccines or medical problems that they’re secretly worried about but are putting on a brave face for. Feigning confidence is something parents end up doing a lot as it’s reassuring for our children, so it’s really not an alien concept. It also happens to be a technique that works really, really well. If you can convince others of your confidence, then you can convince yourself too. You know what they say: fake it ‘til you make it.

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

There are lots of other ways to build your confidence back up. One quick Google search comes up with article upon article from universities to life coaches all plying you with tips and tricks to help you raise your self-esteem. These are just a few of the things I practice in everyday life to try to stay on track. For some, this entire blog post will be pointless, but for others, it could be a helpful step in the right direction. As I said earlier, confidence is linked to your life experience and some people, people like me, will need or have needed to actively get up and set goals towards building their self-worth and self-esteem back up. It doesn’t matter if you were mentally damaged like I was, or if you were physically damaged ie. traffic collision, the result is the same – you lose confidence and in order to live the best, happiest life you can, it’s well worth practising these steps to help get yourself back on top form.

Have you ever had your confidence knocked significantly? What did you do to help further yourself and get back on track?

Learn to be confident and boost your self-esteem. Clothes gifted by JD WIlliams. Read more at https://lukeosaurusandme.couk

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