Confidence, it’s a funny old thing. Some people are born with it. Some are given it from the day they’re born. Others have to work for it. Many fake it. But really, what is confidence? And how do we foster it when we’re feeling low?
It’s safe to say I’ve been experiencing a crisis of confidence lately. 2020 is a year of upheaval. A year of incredible highs and devastating lows. A year I became a mum, something I never thought possible. And a year that our world seemed to turn upside down. I purchased my first house. Watched our puppy grow. Started a new job. Began to renovate our home. Like many, I lived through lockdown.
I didn’t have my friends and family by my side in those first weeks of motherhood where support is needed more than anything. I struggled reconciling my new role as a mum with my own perceptions of myself. Like you, I watched the world freeze and scream with Covid. And then catch on fire with the murder of George Floyd. I experienced guilt like never before when I returned to work at 6 months post-natal. And then further guilt when I realised that work was making me happier than I’d been in over a year. It’s safe to say, like so many people out there, my confidence fell. Not in my own body but in my very core – my power, my drive, my ambition, my purpose. I questioned it all.
It’s okay to lose confidence
I don’t think any of us will come through 2020 unscathed. But it’s important to recognise the symptoms of low self-esteem, as recognising a change in your mood or belief is the first step in activating change.
For me, I stopped taking care of myself. Physically and mentally. Some would say that is part and parcel of becoming a mum. I think it was more than that. It wasn’t a ‘I don’t have time to look after myself’ scenario. It was a ‘I don’t really think I’m it’s worth looking after myself’ scenario.
I didn’t want to brush my hair or clean my teeth. Wearing nice clothes just didn’t really interest me. I stopped practicing yoga. I stewed. My baby and my dog became my sole reason for functioning. I stopped speaking up and I lost my voice. When I did speak up, it was more performative than from any real conviction that what I was saying was worthy. I just, quite simply, didn’t believe in myself.
And do you know what? It’s okay to lose confidence. To have a wobble. To experience a blip in your own self belief. We are human after all. And it’s how we grow out of those down moments that is important.
Picking yourself back up from a wobble
For me, having a vocation was a huge factor in re-finding my confidence. Going back to work made me feel me again. It reminded me of my identity outside of motherhood. I was lifted by my new colleagues, validated by my peers, praised for something other than changing a nappy or managing to breastfeed my baby.
But this was just one thing that lifted me. Because finding and growing your confidence comes from a deeper level of contentless in yourself and your situation. And that is something that we need to work on.
Have a flirt
We all feel more confident through the validation of others. If you’re coupled, have a date night. Spend some time together. If you’re single, hop on free dating sites and have a little flirt. Rightly or wrongly, and even if it doesn’t go anywhere, a little bit of attention always makes me feel a little more valued.
Surround yourself with people who will pick you up
They say that you have to fake it to make it. But I feel you need more than that. You need someone to give you a leg up. There are so many amazing women I know, promoting confidence, promoting self-love. If you don’t have it in your life from your friends, then try instagram and the amazing community of bloggers who will lift you up there.
Do something for yourself
And only yourself!
I definitely feel my lowest confidence levels when I’m unable to do the things I love most – the things that make me … well, me! I use to shun away from my likes and joys because they didn’t really make me “fit in”. But the reality is, I’m happiest when outside, alone, in nature. I love reading, walking, practicing yoga. Photography (even if I’m not the best at it) also bring me incredible joy. They are the activities that make me uniquely me. And practicing them, finding time for them, raise my endorphins and raise my belief in myself.
The benefits of exercise are really undisputed. But choosing the correct exercise to make you feel more grounded, more in touch with your body, is crucial to feeling more confident in yourself.
For me, that is yoga. I’ve tried every other exercise under the sun but yoga is really the one that lets me zone in on my inner feelings. It calms my brain and allows me to focus on myself. Making sure I have time in the day to stretch and flow helps me to connect with myself and raise my confidence levels for the days ahead.
Practice giving affirmations
And I know I said you need more than fake it to make it. But faking it does help – honest! You don’t need to walk around like Gemma Collins. You just need to tell yourself something good about yourself every day. You can look in the mirror and say ‘I am strong’. Or start smaller, ‘I have good hair today’. You’ll be surprised how much your confidence will start to sing if you remember to affirm yourself.
As for me? Well, I hope my blip is over. It definitely feels that way. But just in case, tell me how do you raise your confidence levels so you can glow from the inside?
This post has been sponsored by We Love Dates. All thoughts and opinions remain my own.