In the past few days, Fabiana and I have discussed about confidence a lot. I consider myself a person with a good level of self confidence, but I haven’t always been like that. Looking back at my teenager years, I brought back memories of a boy with an extremely low self esteem, haunted by the feeling of being short and by a pretty difficult acne. Nevertheless I managed to transform in a man whose confidence is strong.
What am I doing now that is different to what I was doing back then? How can you start gaining confidence with few simple things to do every day?
Lack of confidence and physical appearance
When I was a teenager, I was not very successful with girls. I was a little bit shy, but my main issue was the way I thought other saw me. Actually, this is pretty much what many women face in their lives, not just in their teens; this is one of the major blow to self confidence!
For me, I thought the girl saw me as a short boy full of acne. The more failures I had with them, the more I blamed my physical appearance. I was sure that if I would have been a little bit taller, things would have been much better. Was I right? Well, in a distorted way yes. Being taller would have not meant much to the girls I had crushes on, but it would have meant the world to me. My confidence would have been higher, and I would have been able to be a more positive boy. My confidence, not my height, would have changed the game.
Thinking about it now, I am pretty sure that the girls that treated me as a great friend (but,alas, nothing more than that) had always been driven away by my attitude, not my appearance, by my lack of self confidence, not my lack of inches!
So why so many women in today’s world are facing the same problem my past self faced?
Why is it so difficult to gain self confidence?
More importantly, what can you do to gain confidence?
I am not an expert in Self Confidence… but I am
I would never openly claim to be an expert in confidence, but as an empathetic boudoir photographer I have learned many things about confidence (and few about women as well). I see the lack of confidence every day in my customers’ eyes when I guarantee they will look beautiful. I see the confidence coming back when they talk about their passions. I see the self confidence waving again when I ask them to tell me what they love about their bodies.
Today I can look at that boy and see that I have been there, with my confidence underneath my feet, because of my appearance. Even if I am not a woman.
So, what are the things that I do today, every day, for which I can be thankful for my confidence?
1. Be Yourself
You either love me or hate me. And that’s fine. The reason is that you have to take me for who I am. You take me for my big heart and my bigger imperfections. For my stubbornness and my loyalty, my creativity and my order. The key is that I am myself, the person I like to be, and that’s fine by me. It feels great to be myself, and this feeling drives confidence!
To be yourself you don’t need a mirror or someone else to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong; you need to listen to yourself.
2. Think with your head
Once I always thought what others thought about me. Was I doing the right thing? Would have I been judged? Truth is that I wasn’t myself, as I was too concern being everything others wanted me to be. Today what others think about me is none of my business. I started giving much more importance to what I think about myself.
A Lion doesn’t lose sleep, over the opinion of the Sheep. And neither should you, because for how much you can try to be what others want you to be, you will end up disappointing them in a way or another.
3. Focus on Your Strengths
I am a good person, a decent photographer, an organised person, a doer. I know there are many other things I am not, but those are not the things I focus on day after day.
Start appreciating your values. Stop depreciating yourself for what you may not be. Life is short and you won’t have the time to do everything and be everyone. So focus on what you are really good at!
4. Be Grateful
My young self always complained. About everything. All the time. The glass was neither half full or half empty, was completely empty. Then, at a certain point, I realised that I am by far luckier than I thought. I have an incredible woman at my side, a beautiful and intelligent son, a good job I built for myself and still plenty of dreams.
If I were you I would start counting your blessings. Even the small things, and this will lead you straight to the next point.
Once one of my favourite quotes was: “Sadder than a sad smile, is the sadness of not being able to smile“. Deep and true, but something I did not apply to myself. What an idiot! Now I try to smile every time I can; you can meet me walking alone in London with a smile on my head, and you know what I would think about your puzzled look? Look at number 2!
Smile is contagious, and it is free. A smile can transform a cloudy day, so what is the reason for which you should not start dong it now, while you are reading this?
6. Help Others
In my darkest years I thought that everyone was against me, therefore I should have been against everyone. Wow, I have called myself an idiot twice in this post already! Three time lucky?
You will discover that the most unexpected people will gift you confidence, sometimes just with an honest “Thanks”. Help others, donate some of your precious strengths to those who need them. You will be a better person, and you will know it.
7. Realise that perfection is boring
I would have loved to be 6′ tall, with a clean skin and an open smile. I was so focussed on what I was not, that I did not realise what I really was. I never thought I was a cute guy, but looking at some images of my past I realise I was not half as bad as I thought I was.
Especially for my women friends, who are battling an ongoing war with their scale and every mirror in the world, I would like to say this out loud: perfection is boring. Stop trying to be perfect, start being yourself and enjoy the process!
If someone had told me these things many years ago, I would have gained my confidence much sooner. Had I understood that my lack of success with girls had almost everything to do with my attitude and confidence and little with my appearance, I might have been able to kiss more girls. Who knows?
Confidence is a key element to succeed, and gaining self confidence is really a simple task. You just need to remember a couple of these 7 steps every day.