I’ve heard many people say that once you get to your thirties, you are your most self-assured and confident, and I can honestly say that it’s true. I thought about this a lot and tried to backtrack why this is so, and what were key parts of my twenties that got me to that point. I narrowed it down to four key things that can be applied to any situation really; whether you want to be a more confident speaker, if you want to dress better, be bold/brave in social interactions or believe in your general capabilities.
In no particular order, here they are:
Practice/Experience Will Get You Everywhere
The reason you often lack confidence is because you are underprepared. So give yourself ample time to prep. Whether it’s that big presentation, an interview, your outfit, a photoshoot, your first solo trip; equipping yourself with the right knowledge and fine-tuning your skills will get you everywhere. Success is only partially due to talent – you have to put in the prep work. You will believe in yourself more when you know what you’re doing, or that you’re doing the best that you can. At the same time, don’t let this be the reason you don’t grab an opportunity.
Brainwash Yourself Correctly
This one is more for when you don’t feel confident in the way you look or the way your life looks. By “brainwashing yourself correctly”, I mean consume content/media/shows/brands that make you feel represented, be it in your body type, your culture, socio-economic status, your age, gender etc. It’s easy to blame the internet for our anger and sadness but remember and take responsibility for what you consume too, because you do have the power to control this to a large extent. Expose yourself to things AND people that make you feel good, things that inform you and inspire you. Basically, don’t consume content that makes you feel like crap. If you’re comparing your life or abilities to what you see online, unfollow, mute, block, and repeat. You will be surprised by how much these things and someone yapping in your ear can affect you. It can have you “wanting” things you don’t actually want. Curate what influences you on social media and in life, and if you’re interested in learning something new, check out this article I wrote on where to get free education online. Learning a new skill beats scrolling aimlessly with no benefit to you.
Positive affirmations in the form of meditation can also help tremendously. Find a quiet spot and close your eyes, repeating uplifting reminders to yourself each day. You can also repeat things you are grateful for in your life. For example: “I am enough, I am beautiful, I have everything I need, I am worthy, I am blessed, my Creator loves me, I am strong, I am capable” etc. In time this will reprogram your mind to think differently, particularly about yourself.
Visualise Your Higher Self, Start Showing Up As Her
This is a fancy way of saying “fake it until you make it”. But seriously, it works! There have been times where I’ve been in uncomfortable situations, had an argument with someone, sent out a pitch, been anxious to go to an event and I refer back to this saying because of nerves. It always works.
Here’s some of what I visualise my higher self, my best self to be like: she stands tall with her chin up and shoulders back. She is a girl who goes for her goals, who dresses up for herself, she is kind, she is patient and she is understanding. She isn’t paranoid about what others think or say about her, nor does she care for gossip because she genuinely has better things to do, think and say. She does not need a sidekick to calm her down, and she is the bigger person even toward those who have wronged her, because that brings her peace. She is empathetic and easy to work with, but also unapologetic about her boundaries, her worth, the rates for her services.
I keep some of these things in mind when I’m about to take on something daunting, and it always gives me a sense of strength. In the case of awkward social encounters, I never find myself replaying the conversation later on where I “win” the argument. I never think to myself “I wish I did this” or “I wish I said that” instead, because when I behave like my higher self, she’s always the best, and so there’s nothing to regret.
Be Kind To Yourself
It’s okay not to be good at things. It’s okay to mess up, it’s okay to take breaks, it’s okay to make really slow progress. Beating yourself up over things that are done and dusted will not help you feel confident. Unless you plan to take constructive action from these things, you are feeding yourself negative affirmations. These work just like the positive ones I mentioned earlier, except if you keep reminding yourself about what is wrong with you, your mind and body is going to believe it.
These are the four things I do all the time when I need strength and/or confidence. While I’m definitely the most confident I have been in my entire life, I still have my days. It’s normal not to be super human! I hope these help you on your way to get the things in life you deserve.
All images shot by Abdul Malick Ally