The #1 comment I get all the time on TikTok is “I wish I had your confidence.”
This is such a huge compliment to me! There was a time in my life… hell, it was most of my life, when I lacked confidence and it affected everything – jobs I had & how I performed, my relationships, how I viewed myself, and more! It wasn't until October 2018, after making the cross country move from small-town Northern Michigan to the vast Pacific Northwest, and had a plus-size yoga teacher tell me “you have permission to take up space just as you are… fat and all” that things changed for me.
I noticed the difference in myself just walking out the doors of that class that night. From that moment on, I stopped dieting, stopped apologizing for being fat and taking up space, stopped covering my body up and started wearing all the things I hadn't let myself wear because “big girls can't wear that.”
I found a confidence I never knew existed or that I… me a plus-size 40 something woman could ever possess! Once I found this confidence I was unstoppable and took the world by the horns – even stepping on stage more than once as a plus-size model!
I don't share that to brag. I share that because my mission and passion is to help other women realize they can take up space just as they are because they're perfect just the way they are! There's so much confidence to be found in just learning to accept yourself as you are!
And the one thing I've learned over the last few years that is so important for all of us to remember…
How you perceive yourself has a powerful impact on how others treat you.
Those same women who tell me “I wish I had your confidence” also ask me “how do I find confidence?”
Some factors in building self-confidence may be beyond your control, but there are some tangible things you can do as well. Here are several tips I have to help you build your confidence.
1. Dress confidently. You probably already know this, but when you dress in something that looks good, you feel good. I mean think about when you've dressed all frumpy lounging around in sweats and baggy shirts – you probably don't feel the greatest. I can't speak for you of course, but when I'm dressed like I definitely don't feel my best and I certainly don't feel confident, sexy, or sassy. But when I slip into a pair of jeans (and when I say “jeans” my preferred go-to are actually jeggings!) and the cute shirt I stand a little taller and hold my head high. I'll take this a step further too – try putting on a pair of cute undies & bra too 😉
2. Good posture. Pay attention to how you're carrying yourself. Are your shoulders slumped? Are you not looking people in the eyes? Those two things right there send off a negative vibe and bad impression. But if you stand up straight, shoulders back, and look people in the eye it'll give a great impression. Try it out: stand up, slump your shoulders, keep your eyes down, and walk down the hallway. How does it make you feel? Again, speaking for myself, it makes me feel kinda like ‘meh'. Now stand up, pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, walk down the hallway and notice how it makes you feel. For me, it's like ‘oh yeah, watch out world cause here I come, owning my body and my physical space like the beautiful, amazing, bad ass woman I am!'
3. Walk faster. This one piggy-backs off the prior good posture tip. Confident people tend to walk briskly and with purpose. Like they have things to do and places to be. Simply quickening your step can help you feel more confident.
4. Compliment others. I love doing this one! If I see a woman with a purse I like, I tell her. An outfit I like? Yep, tell her. Like the smell of her perfume? I let her know. Cute shoes? I let her know. A woman trying on an outfit and it looks cute on her? I make sure to tell her! Seeing the best in others will bring out the best in you. When I'm complimenting others, it makes me feel better and that in turn makes me feel more confident.
5. Exercise regularly. The key here is to find something you like doing that doesn't feel like it's exercise and something you “have” to do. For me, it's hiking with the boyfriend and dog, river walks, Body Groove On Demand, and trying new things. (For example, I tried pole dancing, a burlesque class but it was part of a yoga class so it wasn't full on burlesque but it was fun!, a hip-hop dance class). Unless you try something new, you won't know if you like it or not.
If I do something like going to the gym, walking on a treadmill or elliptical I'm bored out of my mind, hate it, and becomes something I dread and in the end don't do it. Instead, when I'm moving my body in ways that are fun and I like doing, it doesn't feel like exercise and I actually look forward to it! And when you're moving your body regularly and feeling good physically, you feel more confident!
6. Speak up! Many people keep quiet for fear of saying something silly (this was me for a long time; hell, sometimes I still struggle with this one!) Taking an active role in discussions will distinguish you as a leader amongst your peers. They will quickly recognize that you have confidence and plenty to offer.
7. Try something new! Learning a new hobby or activity will broaden your horizons and help you feel “alive.” Anytime you spend stretching your mind improves your overall self-confidence.
8. Help/Empower Others. This one kind of goes along with #4 above but it's on a different level. We all have gifts and talents and when we use those to help others, it can help us feel more confident about ourselves.
9. Sit in the front row. (Keep this one in mind for when (if) you resume going to in-person events). Most of us have a tendency to try to blend into the back of the room somewhere. We don’t like being noticed. Confident people sit up front where they can take part in discussions without fear.
The more self-confidence you build in yourself, the more likely you’ll be to succeed. No matter what task you choose to conquer, you’ll do so with enthusiasm. Any setbacks you encounter won’t bother you because you’ll have the confidence necessary to continue.
Those who are insecure often find life to be a struggle, but with self-confidence, you can find it to be a joy. Why suffer when you can soar!
(Model in Photo: Me; Photographer Credit: Hal Harrison @Rose City Photography)