Have you ever heard yourself muttering 'I wish I had the confidence to ask for a promotion/promote my blog irl/travel alone/speak to attractive guys.... (insert your own here). I know I have. Even writing this post, I have questioned what right I have to talk about the importance of confidence in life, when I wouldn't describe myself as particularly confident, just quite good at faking it. Confident people seem to have the world at their feet: great friends, an amazing socal life, better chances at being picked for promotion. From school onwards there seems to be a pecking order, with the girls on the netball team having their pick of the cute boys, then the general attractive folk (including the rebellious ones) and then the rest, with the weird geeky ones (me) and the very quiet somewhere near the bottom.
Please don't mistake me here. I have great friends still today, who I went to school with (*waves*), and lots of them. We had loads of fun and managed our fair share of mischief. Even so, we were basically the school orchestra plus a few non-musical brainy types, to put you in the picture. I always wished that I could be a bit prettier or real bad ass on the flute, or at anything as it were. Honestly, I would have settled with people not shouting 'dandruff' at me due to my psoriasis or offering to buy me 'Head and Shoulders' to help be less disgusting to them.
So what did someone tell me to do as a response? (I wish I could remember who, as they pretty much shaped my life). They told me to FAKE it, to tell myself that I WAS confident enough to tell the popular (and quite mean) kids to do one - without becoming (*more of a*) a social leper in the process; to stand up in class and give a presentation or to read my work and have a bit of pride in myself. Through doing things that scared me, and not having the world collapse around my ears, and realise I was actually good at some of it was a revelation.
So I learnt to be assertive. I thanked people for the bottles of dandruff shampoo and said I'd be pleased to pass them on to someone who had dandruff. Or I would return the favour and offer them some mints for their bad breath. Either way a shift appeared in the way I was thinking. Rather than lots of reasons for why I couldn't do something, I started to list all of the reasons why I could. This hasn't made me more confident, but has helped me to cope with underconfidence.
As I got older I realised that even the loudest and most confident of us have our weaknesses and fears that in some way hold us back or make us feel less important. I try and remember this when I start to feel anxious or envy someone I know, who seems to have it all.
You can tackle your crises of confidence today by making a list of everything that you want to do that scares you. Then list your fears underneath, then the things that you could do to combat it. I need to take my post-baby body swimming soon and am not looking forward to seeing my bikini body. I could buy a new mumsy all-in-one or visit when it is quietest. This all seems like too much effort though, so it will be a new bikini, a home pedicure and a sod it attitude which will get me through - and if the general public are lucky, I might even have time to shave my legs.
So what do you wish you had the confidence to do? Because I reckon that you should take a big breath and go and do it. TODAY! I know you can.