By Gillian Mandich
Illustrations By Mark Collins
1) Love yourself, or applaud your flaws. As much as this nugget is overused and trite, it is true: no one is perfect. Confidence comes from loving yourself for who you are — and for who you are not. When you applaud your fears, quirks, and neuroses, they suddenly become your assets. If you feel insecure about your body, learn to embrace your goods and then you can teach others to also embrace theirs. By celebrating your strengths and acknowledging and applauding all of your imperfections, you can find ways to capitalize on what you are good at and delegate or get help in the areas where your weaknesses lie. This can also be a reciprocal confidence booster: knowing your strengths and what you can help others with will build your confidence and, by the same token, when others help you, it will make them feel good and, in turn, build their confidence.
2) Own your feelings. No matter what the circumstance, it is important to not play hide-and-seek with your emotions. By taking ownership of how you feel (whether bad or good) you can take responsibility and move forward, creating more of the emotions that boost your confidence and less of the ones that don’t.
3) Learn to say “no” and “I don’t know.” Honesty is the best policy, and when it comes to confidence, it’s important to be honest with yourself — and know when to say “no” and “I don’t know.” Cultivating the courage to not over commit or make false promises is critical. It is better to be upfront and speak your truth from the beginning instead of telling a white lie, making excuses for not following through, or creating an obligation-clogged calendar. Also, it’s important to acknowledge that we can’t do and know everything, and having the courage to ask for help, admitting when you don’t know something, or seeking answers from others can facilitate your learning. Confidence grows as you gain more knowledge and continue to learn.