I’m a confident lady — for the most part. I talk the talk and walk the walk and I stand on my own two feet. So, it’s fair to say that I possess a lot of confidence. But that’s not to say that there aren’t moments in my life where I felt unsure, out of my element, or not confident in who I am and what I can do. See, the thing that I’ve learned about confidence is that it’s not something that you obtain and then always have. It’s something that you always have to work on and maintain — especially in different aspects of your life.
Throughout the years, I’ve developed a few different ways to feel confident in all areas of my life and I want to share those with you!
This last year, my beauty confidence has been an up and down battle. Most days, I know I’m sexy and I feel sexy. And yet, the number on the scale isn’t a number I’m completely happy with and the woman who I see in the mirror is not exactly the one that I see in my mind. It get’s super frustrating sometimes.
Recently, I did a photo-shoot with Dallas-based photographer, Demarcus Mitchell and I felt more confident than I had in years.
I used to model years ago and the feeling that I had getting dressed up, posing, and just feeling myself rushed back over me! It was a huge confidence booster, especially when the photos came out amazing!
So if you want to gain that beauty confidence again, book a photo-shoot — whether it be out in public or a boudoir shoot (I so want to try that!), just work it in front of the camera and I guarantee, you’ll feel all kinds of right.
Confidence in Who You Are
There was a time between undergraduate school and graduate school where I felt lost. I was ending things with an ex, moving to a new state, starting graduate school, and trying to figure out who I was as a person. I had so many questions about myself — was I strong? How did I identify in terms of race and ethnicity? What did I believe in terms of religion, politics, social issues, etc.?
It was a tough time, but one that most anyone will go through — not just once, but many times in their life. I wanted to build my confidence in knowing who I was, so I did what I always tend to do, I read.
I read books about race and identity, especially those that dealt with mixed race or the Latina culture, two of my identities.
I read articles about the current political situation and social issues in my area. I actually took the time to learn what it meant to be a feminist (and I totally loved it!).
I read fictional novels with strong female characters (because I totally wanted to feel strong again).
I read books about religion that showed me how they were similar and different. I even read the teachings of Buddha, Hinduism, and Confucius — religions and spiritual followings that I had never been introduced to.
All in all, I read and I read and eventually I felt confident in who I was. If ever you need a confidence booster in who you are, I can only suggest reading. You learn so much from the wisdom of others who are experts in their fields and can lay out everything you are struggling with in terms of your identity in easy and enjoyable ways.
Confidence in What You Know
I’ve always been smart — as in 4.83 GPA in high school and a perfect 4.0 GPA in college smart. And yet, there have been so many times where I thought I was very knowledgeable in a certain field, subject, or job only to feel like a fish out of water struggling to breathe and stay up with others.
I remember the first week of my MFA Creative Writing program. I could barely keep up in Linguistics class and was freaking out before even five minutes had passed. I then went to my first short story class — a class that I thought I would absolutely excel in, only to have my fellow classmates throwing out writing terms that I had no clue about or authors that I had never read (and probably should have by then). I went home each night feeling sick to my stomach because I was out of my league.
And yet, these moments weren’t just limited to schooling. When I taught English on the university level to college freshman, I was given four days of training that absolutely did not train me on how to teach a class or even what to teach! I was left on my own to create the lessons, and if I had to be honest, I was so afraid of teaching grammar, something that I had an instinct for but never actually fully understood. Other jobs provided too little training or not enough information on how to do the position, while in other jobs, I might have had more confidence in my ability to do a task rather than the skills to do the job.
When I’ve been faced with situations like this — where I’m not sure about the subject, less informed, or just haven’t ever got the knowledge, I study. I study my ass off. And I don’t just do it the normal ways.
For college, I had to study up and read authors that I had never read and ask more questions in class to fully understand what was going on.
For jobs, I studied my own duties to the hilt, asked a lot of questions of my superiors, and then studied other people’s jobs and positions. I wanted to not only be the best in my duties, but be available at the drop of a hat for a better opportunity which might mean taking over someone else’s job.
If you want confidence in what you know, you have to get out there and study, learn, ask questions. It’s a definite process but one that’s worth that feeling of “I get it.”
Too many women are scared. We’ve been told to be scared, told to rely on others, told to stay in our own little boxes. I’ve had other women tell me that I’m too independent! As if that was a bad thing.
Yes, it’s scary living on your own, and it’s scary being independent and taking care of your bills, your future, and your entire self but, ladies, it is worth it to know that YOU GOT YOU.
So for those women who need a boost of confidence in the independence department, I have the best idea for you — travel alone.
Start out small by exploring your city. “Alex, I’ve always lived in this city, I know every inch,” you might say. I call BS. Even in my hometown of Wichita Falls (100,000 people), there’s still restaurants that I have never been too, areas of the city that I’ve not explored. Go to those restaurants — alone — explore those parts of the city — alone. Even go to the places that you’ve gone to a hundred times with friends and family — but go ALONE. And if you live in a big city, that’s even more perfect. Get out and explore different areas and places alone. Gain that feeling of independence.
Then once you’ve done that for a bit, travel somewhere — yep, you guessed it, ALONE. If you need to start out small, do so. Go to the town a few miles over or drive to the nearest big city for a day trip, but do it alone. Then work your way up to a weekend retreat somewhere in your country or across the world.
I did this (actually without realizing it at times) and it has totally worked. I feel super independent now and have experienced so many parts of the world (Ireland, Spain, Boston, Wichita Mountains) and felt completely assured, not scared, and powerful at all times.
Because of this confidence boost in my independence, I know that I can do all things with just the power of ME.
So remember, confidence is something that we always have to work on, but the benefits of doing so are totally worth it.
Featured photo by Demarcus Mitchell, TheBreezeLife.com