The following was originally published in my alternative journal. It’s slightly edited for clarity.
Being a member of a few BBW and/or Curvy women groups, I’ve noticed a common theme crop up almost every day. Confidence; how to get it. Why don’t many (heavier) women have it? And so on and so on. Since it’s something I’ve struggled with as well, I thought I’d share some thoughts on the subject. Aided by my consumption of life skill books, below are some offerings I’ve learned on my journey to self-assurance in all things (that includes writing).
Confidence in most things is something that has to be worked at. It’s part genetic, part nurture and part self-driven. It’s not easy to attain, especially for women. I think body confidence is one of the biggest obstacles we have because we’re fighting not only external influences (media, random public opinion, family opinions, fashion limitations, doctors), but internal (negative thoughts, lack of self-compassion, memory and genetics). Even those who you may think are the most confident in the world (like yourself), could sometimes struggle with maintaining self-assurance. I haven’t mastered it, but I’m trying to. I like to think that I’m now in confidence rehabilitation. <laughs> The first thing I did was return to therapy.
For me, having a therapist to talk things through with in a non-judgmental way was a good step. I’ve been back in therapy for more than a year now and the way my life and confidence has changed since then is really amazing. I’m not overstating that either. I’m not saying I’ve had a miraculous turn around, but I’m able to spot my negative thinking and work through it better than before. It’s the difference between days of stagnation and months. I believe this matters a great deal in the effort to become a more confident person. I also read and am reading books on life skills.
One book in particular really stood out The Confidence Code by Claire Shipman & Katty Kay. It gave me a lot to think about. Things I hadn’t considered before. I recognized some things in myself and how I could incrementally change my way of thinking (or not thinking so much) to be a healthier minded person. The seven principles that emerged from the book are these:
1.When in doubt, act 2. Practice Self Compassion 3. Don’t Ruminate – Rewire 4. Kill Negative Automatic Thoughts 5. Turn it around from Me to We 6. Own Your Accomplishments 7. Work at It.
I also read another book about confidence that was helpful as a companion piece to Shipman and Kay’s book. It’s titled Plus Size Confidence by Jenni Starr. I believe the author read The Confidence Code because she took some of the principles from that book and worded them in a succinct and practical way for women who feel less confident due to their weight. I didn’t take notes because the book was so short. Took me about 45 minutes to read. But I plan to go back at some point and jot some things down and share how I’ve been able to apply them to my own life. Anyway, the book is only ninety-nine cents for Amazon Kindle® — if anyone who is struggling with confidence (or not) wants to buy it. I found Plus Size Confidence and The Confidence code great reads. Good for anyone who is in need of guidance on the subject or curious to learn more.
I’m still growing and learning. I think that for the duration of my life that’s how it will be. An ongoing work-in-progress is what I consider myself and that’s okay. That’s good. Every month since I started my vision board, I’ve been consistent with maintaining it. Its been a year and half now and I can always go back each month and see where I’ve at least ticked off one thing on the list. It goes a long way in building my confidence. But it takes a lot more. It takes the will to keep going, to accept that I’m not perfect and failure is not something to be feared but an opportunity to gain — the knowledge to be better.
All in all, we can’t control the external forces at play around us, nor genetics, but we can take control of how we perceive the world and most important, ourselves. We can wrangle self-doubt and master the skills to be self-assured in our daily lives. It’s not a perfect science and the results aren’t perfect but it’s a better, happier way to exist. It’s an ongoing thing that has to be worked at. There’s no magic bullet to attaining and building confidence. To quote the book, it’s simply this: “Think Less. Take Action. Be Authentic.” If I put it in my own words, I’d make it simpler, “Be decisively You.” Maybe that’s the key to confidence.
Wishing you many universal blessings