I have confidence in me!

Over the past few days I have had several conversations with a close friend on the issue of confidence – or more specifically a lack thereof and how to improve it.  That got me thinking; there are a lot of people out there similarly afflicted who have no idea how to go about boosting their confidence.  So I thought I would write about it and my journey from the quiet, shy, self-loathing child I was to the (reasonably) confident and happy person I am today.  That being said I still have my moments of self-doubt and fear but I am better able to manage or ignore them and get on with my life!  One of the best songs ever written about confidence would have to be ‘I have confidence’ by Rodgers and Hammerstein in The Sound of Music particularly when performed by Julie Andrews (hence the title of this post).

In the beginning of a journey to confidence courage and confidence are paired, after that stage courage is more linked to happiness – happiness with your life, where you are in it and who you are as a person.  Courage is so much more than becoming a superhero – risking your life for others, doing something dangerous.  Courage is different for everyone.  It takes courage to try something new whether that is sky diving or changing your hair colour.  It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in whether that means being arrested fighting your cause or telling someone you care about that they are smothering you (in some ways this takes more courage). There is a lot out there about courage ranging from Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote; ‘Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear’ to the song ‘I whistle a happy tune’ from the Rodgers and Hammerstein production of The King and I.  Then there is always Strictly Ballroom’s ‘A life lived in fear is a life half lived’.

Thinking through what I’ve learned over the years showed a number of steps and I have tried to write them down as succinctly as possible.  Here are the first 5 with 5 more to follow in a future post – all together would make a mammoth post and it is also a lot to take in at once!

1.  Know you’re awesome.  Make a list titled ‘why I’m awesome’ and fill it with all the things you like about yourself, all the things that make you an individual, all the things that make you awesome.  It can be anything from ‘I have green eyes’ to ‘I told Paul Smith to piss off in primary school when he was being mean to me’ to ‘I got an A on my English work in year 5’ or ‘I have perfect teeth’, ‘I mastered turn-around toe stops in one day’, ‘I speak more than one language’, ‘I travelled overseas’, ‘I am a safe driver’, ‘I have amazing friends who love me for who I am’ and ‘I cook a mean lasagne’.  It doesn’t matter what is on that list as long as it’s something you feel good about.  If you need help ask your friends and family, I’m sure they’ll be happy to oblige.  Here’s some inspiring music

2.  Act confident.  I know it sounds cheesy (don’t we all love a good dose of cheese?) but if you act more confident than you feel on the inside people will begin to think you are confident and will treat you accordingly.  After a while you will begin to believe it too.  This works in the short term but after a while you will need something more solid to work with which is where the rest of the points come in!

3.  Be comfortable in your skin.  If you are happy with the way you look you are more likely to feel confident about yourself.  No, really!  Remember that time you wore that outfit that you weren’t sure about that someone talked you into wearing and you spent the whole event feeling self-conscious and hiding near the wall watching that person in the amazing outfit that oozed confidence and looked like they were having the time of their life?  Yeah, see?!  It is highly unlikely that everyone will ever be completely happy with every part of his or her appearance so work with what you are happy with.  You may have a gorgeous smile, lovely legs, nice arms, beautiful hair, pretty dainty feet that can fit any shoe, a graceful neck that flatters any jewellery, fabulous taste in clothes, a left elbow that people come from miles around to see or a right shoulder blade that is the talk of the town.  Whatever it is it is yours so be proud of it.  If you feel you need a bit of help there are wonderful books out there on how to dress to flatter your figure – try Trinny and Susanna’s what you wear can change your life or similar books.  If you’re concerned about not being able to do makeup properly to enhance the right features book a makeover with a respected salon or makeup company.  Or if you really want a complete overhaul there are always image consultants and image development courses that can teach you all that and more.  Everyone is different so find what works for you.  When you’re happy with how you look on the outside you’ll feel more confident on the inside and always remember the words of Lady Gaga – ‘I’m beautiful in my way ‘cause god makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track baby I was born this way’.  Whether you believe in God or not or enjoy her music or not is beside the point really, the words are good!

4.  Stop second-guessing yourself.  Make a decision and stick to it, don’t agonise over it for days afterwards and beat yourself up for making the wrong choice.  Once you’ve made it that’s it, there’s no going back.  Not to say you can’t consider it properly but set aside a certain amount of time to do it, think clearly; weigh up the pros and cons and how your choice makes you feel.  If you feel you have made the wrong decision, make a different one next time but stop stressing about it now!  The saying ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ if very appropriate but I prefer ‘don’t stress about the things you can’t change and focus on what you can’.

5.  Look out for number one.  Ok so it might seem a little selfish to some people but you are important.  One of the most important things I learned from my Camino is that nobody can walk it for you, just like nobody can live your life for you so you have to be in a position to do that – you have to be well enough and happy enough.  If that means just dropping by a gathering instead of staying for hours because you feel you should when you’re exhausted and stressed then so be it.  If it means picking up a cake from a bakery instead of making it yourself cause you ran out of time then so be it. If you’re stressed, run down, unhappy and exhausted by your life then make some changes – you can’t be happy that way and happiness affects confidence.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone seeking some hints on boosting their confidence.  It’s not an overnight change and takes some work but at least this is a start!  The 5 remaining steps will follow shortly 🙂

November is over!

It’s the first of December, that means November is officially over and the Christmas month has started!  That also means that NaNoWriMo is also over and while I didn’t reach the targeted 50,000 words I am very happy with what I did achieve in what has turned out to be one of the busiest months of the year for me!  Here’s a brief synopsis and I hope you’re as excited as me over what I’ve been able to do this month after months of being virtually house-bound.

  • Wrote around 30% of the target for NaNoWriMo (while not 50,000 words it’s still quite a few!)
  • Had 5 market stalls
  • Made over 50 hair clips
  • Made over 30 headbands
  • Had 6 physio appointments
  • One specialist appointment
  • 2 Mickel therapy appointments
  • Dinner with friends 4 times
  • Lunch with friends 3 times
  • 2 St John’s divisional meetings
  • 3 St John’s shifts (2 on one day finishing at 12am)
  • Saw KD Lang in concert (as a St John’s volunteer)
  • Got my hair cut
  • Picked up my little bro from the airport after his 5 month overseas adventure
  • Saw my personal trainer 4 times
  • Went to a Christmas party
  • Saw part of an international roller derby bout (while I was having a market stall)
  • Celebrated with friends at an engagement party
  • Got a tattoo to commemorate my Camino

So yes, I may not have reached the goal of 50,000 words but I decided that it really didn’t matter as I could do so many more exciting things during the month and when you have been out of action for so long that is really the main thing!  Right now I couldn’t be happier though I still have my wobbly days and occasional random tachycardia.  It turns out that my HR was the lowest I’ve measured it at in ages yesterday during the tattoo process – go figure!  Whether it’s the Mickel therapy, the change in doses for Midodrine and Fludrocortisone, being relaxed and happy or a combination of all of the above that is helping the healing along (who really knows!), the important thing is that it’s happening and I’m well and truly on the road to recovery – with the occasional few steps backwards of course.

Here’s a picture of my tattoo – the photo isn’t great and colour isn’t quite right yet but of course I have to wait until it settles down a bit and finishes peeling and healing before we can really tell what it’s going to look like.  Who knows, one day I may get a yellow arrow to go with it but for now I am very happy with my scallop shell and the tattooist was fantastic.  He worked with me for over an hour trying to get the design right before we started and proved to be a great guy and entertaining conversational companion throughout.  For anyone looking to get a tattoo and can travel to Port Melbourne or Chapel St I highly recommend Victims of Ink.

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