I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for ways to improve my self confidence. I’ve never been overly self assured and now as I get older my self esteem seems to often just get up and go when I need it the most.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties pretty much all I thought about was my image. I’m sorry if this sounds shallow, and I know it is, but many of my waking thoughts were primarily focused on fashion, boys, music and make-up.’
School? Work? World Events? Oh Bleah … Sorry!
I expect some of you were much more worldly wise than me?
As a result of great shallowness I knew what I liked, although my style was far from iconic. But even though I was shy, the physical self image gave me confidence and transported good feeling down the line to how I felt at work and what I wanted to do.
In general I felt good, and I thought that the world was my oyster.
Over the years kids, work and other responsibilities took away from the time I had to think about myself. I may have become a little more worldly and outward looking, but there was a drought of me-time. You know how it goes …
And a lack of self confidence set in.
The self confidence bomb
Around the age of fifty, I looked at myself in the mirror and with an eye on what was going on outside the home in the fashion and blogging world particularly, and I suddenly realised that my fashion sense was rooted in the eighties and I looked for all the world like a bit of a frump.
My self image dropped to the soles of my old cowboy boots.
Not only that but I didn’t have a job and I felt useless. Because we’d moved around the world so much, all I felt good for was packing boxes.
I’d let my exercise routine slip, although I knew that keeping fit and trim was good for my self esteem.
Anyway, who the hell was that old woman staring back at me from the mirror?
My inner critic was super busy and doing a great job at slaying me.
Woah, way to go. My self confidence was detonated.
Self confidence relates to many areas of life
The trouble is, without a strong self image we tend to wilt.
And poor self image can be an underlying cause for those mid-life down-in-the-dumps feelings when we perhaps don’t enjoy life quite as much, or success appears to become elusive, and the tendency is to say: “Oh well, I’m just getting old,” and our self confidence flags.
You know the feeling … when you’re younger there’s so much to live for, and you just seem to be building and moving upwards: Building families. creating homes, educating children, juggling, taking family holidays, and juggling some more.
Then suddenly none of that’s there anymore, and while sometimes it’s a relief, at other times it takes away from who you are, what you always wanted, and how you perceive yourself in the bigger picture.
The belief you once had in yourself fails and often you lose a little bit of that self-assured poise and aplomb you once had.
Why we mustn’t tumble over the hill
Self confidence relates to many areas of our life; career, love, family, character, work and self discipline, and feeling good about yourself is important for general mental health.
So today I thought I’d share some ways to boost our self confidence when we hit free fall and start tumbling over-the-hill.
How do I build my self confidence and self esteem?
1. Boost your self confidence throughout the day.
Tell yourself you are beautiful, in control of your life, and happy. Or whatever mantra works for you. Say it when you boil a kettle for tea, when you’re in the car, anytime really just as long as no one hears you! Say it again as you drift off to sleep. Give yourself compliments. Tell yourself there is not such things as loss of confidence in old age and that as the years go by you will become stronger of mind than every previously.
Also, don’t forget to boost other people’s self confidence. Randomly compliment someone you meet in the supermarket queue about how nice they look because low self esteem in middle age is really a thing and you could make their day just by noticing something about them.
Don’t forget to keep smiling. I don’t know why, but it just makes you feel good. I’m not talking about grinning like an idiot, but smile when you’re spoken to, and smile to yourself is something in a book or movie is humorous. Get those smile muscles working and you’ll be building self confidence in a happy way.
The thing you have to STOP!
For that horrible inner critic – every time it rears its ugly head shout STOP. We Are Not Going There!
The thing you have to DO!
If you’re avoiding exercise, tell yourself how much more energy you’ll have for yourself, your daily activities and your loved ones if you just focus everyday on doing something energetic that makes you puff and gets your heart rate going for 30 minutes or so.
If you’re hearing isn’t what it used to be, get a hearing test done (try Australian Hearing if you’re in Australia) – not being able to hear in social situations is terribly deblitating. And check out these simple steps to keep your hearing in tip top shape.
Lucky or Not?
Stop comparing yourself to others – just don’t do that. There will always be others who are doing better than you, or who are more beautiful, or luckier. It’s a game you can never win.
On the flip side of comparison, keep reminding yourself how lucky you are. When you see someone who is less fortunate than you, reach out a helping hand in a practical way, and then tell yourself how fortunate you are not to be in that situation.
2. Fake it till you make it!
Always act the part, even if you don’t feel like it. Walk into that room as if you were Marilyn Monroe, hold your head up high. You are beautiful! Watch heads turn as you play the part. Be the person you want to be. No, you do not want to be Miss Piggy from the Muppets, thank you!
Sometimes a lack of self confidence can be fortified by faking it, until one day you find an air of confidence just sticks around more often.
3. Surround yourself with positive people
Don’t surround yourself with negative thinking people or friends who pull you down. Decide who you feel good around, who makes you feel good, and people you can rely on when times are tough. Ditch those who suck energy from you. Have you ever read the Celestine Prophecy which discusses the power of positive energy?
4. Learn a new skill
Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something that makes you a little uncomfortable is always good for your self confidence.So too is learning a new skill.
What could you learn?
Study something you’ve always wanted to learn even if you don’t actually apply it in a new job. You’ll feel better about your self, and you’ll feel as if you have more to offer other people too.
What about art classes, or learning a language, or how about a cookery course? Why not embark on the English Literature degree you never had the chance to do when you were younger? Ok Ok, if you really want to learn about the mating habits of frogs – go for it!
For my Aussie readers:-Have a look at the TAFE website and check out their courses and evening workshops.
Join me on one of my blogging workshops … I also offer online and Skype or telephone mentoring.
What about Open University? Anything you fancy there?
5. Dress well and look scrumptious
And now here’s the terrifically shallow bit, but oh my goodness it’s important for your confidence.
By dressing well, I don’t mean wearing the most fashionable or the most expensive designer gear all the time, but rather dressing to feel good. You might be a snazzy dresser, tailored dresser, boho or hippy … now’s the time of life to focus on yourself again and find out what works for you.
Don’t be afraid to try new looks. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money then do some experimenting and take a friend along with you to charity shops in your area. You’ll soon find things which either suit or don’t suit you for a fraction of the cost and if you have to take them back the next day because you really don’t like them, well you haven’t lost much.
Wear what makes you feel gorgeous
So decide what makes you feel hot and gorgeous, and get thee to the shops with a good friend or your daughter, or a friend’s daughter, and try, try, try, until you find things that you like and which look good on you. Perhaps you’ll find a brand that particularly suits your style.
Some of my faves at the moment are Vivid International for the stylish, colour co-ordinated easy wear shapes and styles, and FRANKiE4 footwear because the shoes, boots and sandals are just SO comfortable, long wearing and stylish at the same time.
Check out the FRANKiE4 footwear website and have a look at their fantastic styles – available online with a great sizing guide and good returns policy.
The way you dress affects you in many ways.
Don’t you know the feeling when you wear something great and suddenly your mood is boosted and your self image is lifted? So buy the best clothes you can, those that will stand the test of the washing machine (who wants to hand wash these days, or have expensive dry cleaning bills?)
Of course, I’d love to know how you feel – do you have some great confidence boosters or any tips that you’d like to add in the comments?
Until next time,