This blog post is dedicated to Sydney, a friend over the pond to whom I owe a long due apology and a reply.

Women are the most affected by lack of confidence, and we can find this self defeating attitude across all ages.
It really is an endemic issue, in fact, if I had a pence for every time I heard  something like “I am not very confident” or “I am so useless at…” I would be more than wealthy by now.
Today I want to share a customer’s story about the lack of confidence and my personal recipe to overcome those huge blows to our self esteem.

A customer’s story. Ms D

When she came in, I could not believe my eyes. Ms D was even more beautiful in person than when I saw her via Skype during our experience call.
Bubbly, clever, stylish and caring, she is one of those women that don’t know how gorgeous they are because their confidence is very very low. When she looked at me, I perceived the shadow of constant self doubt lingering in her eyes. She seemed somehow sad.
We chatted, laughed, and decided together what to do with make up and clothing. This always cheers me up.

She had told me beforehand about her lack of confidence and the fact she had never been in front of a camera before, but I reassured her that it is what happens with 99% all of my clients, and she relaxed a bit.

After years of experience, I know that the first 10 to 20 minutes are the most nervous, but after literally a couple of minutes she was rocking it.
Her lack of confidence was gone. She was so committed to her Boudoir Experience that gave herself 110% to my lens, and the results were amazing.
As often happens with our clients, I had in front of me a better model than many of the agency signed ones I had photographed.

She told me she was on “top of the world” and I could see she looked almost liberated. It seemed as our time together gave her a lot of confidence back.

After we started chatting in front of a cup of coffee and a croissant.
I share a lot of my “funny” stories with my clients and of course some are about my personal journey. It is amazing how most of the times we have a lot in common talking about experiences, insecurities and values and it really feels like talking with old friends. This is how magical it feels when you create a connection with someone else.
It was at that point that she confessed that her Boudoir Experience was a gift for herself to regain her confidence back after a bad break-up.
She told me how she felt not worth it and ugly, and that she  needed to see herself from another point of view to regain perspective over her life and herself. She was incredibly happy to have taken the courage to do it.
I could not believe my ears. But alas, I was not entirely surprised because women beat themselves up a lot. When things do not go the way we want, we always think that we are not enough.

It seemed a reality so distant from what I was seeing in front of me, but I know too well that our perception of ourselves is the only one that counts. If we think we are ugly, there are no people on earth that can convince us of how beautiful we are because you won’t believe them.

Stop the fight

I am a woman, and I am not immune from lack of confidence or self doubt. Actually it is quite opposite. My journey starts way back, and I am still sailing those wild waters.

I have gone through the incredible pain of losing both my parents for the price of being who I am.
It takes a long time to stop grieving someone who is alive and does not want you because you are not what they expected. It is hard to accept and let go of those people who should be the ones to love you and accept you for who you are.
Sometimes it still hurts, but I am mostly serene because I have come to terms with what happened. I now know that forgiveness is a journey, and I am getting there.

For years, I have been fighting my way back to my true self, slowly re-emerging from a deep state of stillness and fear.
I have experienced depression, anxiety, self-pity, lack of confidence, emptiness, distorted body image, bulimia, low self-esteem, you name it.
I then understood that there is no battle to be foughtFighting makes us weak. It is a huge waste of your time and energy, and both of them are your most precious assets.
Stop for a moment and ask yourself “What am I fighting against?” “Who am I fighting?” You will find that the answer to both answers is “you“, and that is also the answer to “Who is going to lose?“.

The secret to regain your confidence is to let go. But how?

People try to find happiness by external means like money, partners, cars, clothes and so on.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those people who deny that these things are beautiful, or comfortable or something I want for myself. Of course, I do. I love shopping!
I am saying that we feel happy when we get what we want, but then the feeling does not stay for long.
Why? Because what we focus on becomes our reality. That means that by changing our focus, we can change our reality.

I will give you an example.
How many times have you woken up feeling grumpy and irritable? I just know that my day is going to be a nightmare. What I don’t know is that my body language changes, my mood is bad, and people start to sense my irritability before I even speak. They react instinctively to my demeanour by being somehow difficult. What I do not realise is that they were a mirror of the way I was acting.
The result? “I knew from the very beginning this was a bad day”. I was right. The whole time I was expecting something negative and that is exactly what I had in return.
Does being right make me feel any better? Errr… not really.

How could have I changed the outcome of my day?
1. By taking some long calming breaths
2. listening to a good piece of music that reminds me of happy memories
3. taking a shower
These steps would have slowed my racing mind down a bit, and I would have had the time to cool off enough to see the good instead of only the bad. Maybe my day would have tipped towards the positive instead of the negative, don’t you think?
Remember that it is our choice how to feel.
It takes patience and focus to fine tuning into your feelings, especially when you just want to storm and rage, but being able to stop is the first step to find your balance. Remember that when you are calm, you are at your best.

If you are convinced that your happiness depends on external factors and not on you, you will believe that you do not have any control over your life.
Good news! It is far from being true! To feel happy you just need to think of feeling happy and smile even if you do not feel like it, and you will see what a huge difference it can make to your mind and your body.
Make it a habit by practicing it every time you feel bad and it will change your day and your life. You will be amazed at how positively people will respond to you.

Let us know your story of lack of confidence and what worked for you by leaving a comment below.