How to Talk about Yourself with Confidence
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I know, I know. I ended my Women in the Workplace series last week! I really did, I promise. This post could very much apply to being at work, but just apply it to your whole life okay? Though men talk down about themselves too, I wanted to structure this post in regard to being a woman. I know we tend to talk down to ourselves publicly to make a joke or to seem dumb and more approachable. I know we also tend to struggle with comparison and negative self thoughts that may not ever even escape our mouths. Whether these thoughts stay in your head or exit your beautifully stained lipsticked lips, neither are okay. Negative thoughts about ourselves are not only bad for our mental health, but they can also self-sabotage your life, as thoughts become words and words become actions. As a best practice, whenever Nick or I say negative things about ourselves we like to make each other say 3 things we love about ourselves. It’s a great tip to flip the narrative and work on healthier habits as negative self talk can be detrimental to not only our minds, but also our bodies.
How to talk about yourself with confidence was a blog post request from about 6 months ago that I am just now getting around to… hey thanks quarantine ;) There are some good habits and fun new activities coming from this pandemic, I’ll say! Currently I’m trying to recognize the good things of this season, and making time for this post is for sure one of them. Anyway, I could throw some truth bombs at you today, but I’m actually going to lean on my friend Kami Blease, as she specializes in this kind of thing. Kami is a certified personal trainer who focuses on self-love and helping women love their bodies, both inside and out. She works with busy, professional women with a history of failed diets and fitness routines to permanently improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Kami is based in Los Angeles, and has clients all over the country. You can find out more through her website and podcast or by checking out the Worth More than Your Weight Program.
And now, a word (or two!) from Kami!
I was thrilled when Lauren asked me to write this blog with her because this is a topic I feel very strongly about. As women, it is so easy to be hard on ourselves. Telling ourselves that we could be doing more, doing better, being better...all the while struggling to feel like we are worthy of those better things we try so hard to achieve. This negative thought cycle is on repeat and the more we think and use negative self-talk, the more we begin to believe those thoughts are true. Oftentimes these “truths” are just negative opinions that we’ve held for so long they feel like truth. However, if you were to really step back and examine them, you would see that while they might feel true that does not make them true.
“I’m ugly and no one will want to be with me.”
“I’m not smart enough to be successful.”
“No one really likes me.”
“I’m not loveable.”
“No matter how hard I try, it will never be good enough.”
I’m sure you’ve said something like the above statements to yourself at least once or twice. Even though these statements are hurtful and ugly and you’ve heard them 100 times...they are not true. You are not the sum of these negative thoughts. You are not what has been said about you. You are not what you’ve said about yourself. You do not have to continue to carry these statements with you as if they define you. You can choose to release these lies and instead begin to rebuild yourself from the inside out. Our minds are pliable, malleable things and if you try hard enough, you can change the way you think and speak about yourself. Think about these thoughts as creating pathways in your brain (because they are!). The more you think these thoughts, the deeper those paths become. If you want to change a path, you can start a new one but the old one will still be there. It might even feel more natural to go back down that old path a time or two. But just like you built that old path to be deep and well-worn, you can create a new one to be even more clearly defined through practice and patience. What if instead you told yourself:
“I am an incredible person who has a lot of love to offer and there is someone out there who will see and love me for me.”
“I might have to work hard but I am smart enough to do this job and be successful.”
“I have a lot to offer those around me, and I choose to see the good rather than worrying if people like me or not. I won’t be perfect for everyone and that’s okay.”
“I am love-able and worthy of love.”
“I am already enough.”
When it comes to how we speak to ourselves (both internally and externally) the tone and content matter. Those pathways matter. So today I wanted to share six tips on how you can talk about yourself with confidence. The world is in desperate need of more confident and kind women, as they will help make a difference!
Start small and simple. I am definitely someone who believes in positive affirmations and mantras to keep your mind focused on the good and on the goals ahead. For many people, this can seem a little woo-woo and cheesy; however, if you want to start changing your thoughts, you have to start creating new thoughts. Instead of trying to go from “I hate my body” to “I love my body” start simpler. Try saying things like, “My body does not determine my worth”, “I have amazing hair and I love that it’s unique”, “I am allowed to take up space”, “I am good at _____”, “I am enough”. It’s important for you to come up with phrases that overall feel true. Maybe not a resounding heck yes...but true enough. Your mind will know if you are lying to it and that’s why so often affirmations don’t work because we start with things far beyond where we currently are. Just write down a few simple things, post them on your mirror or set them as the background on your phone so you are constantly reminded of good things about yourself!
Choose to be your own cheerleader. It’s easy to make ourselves the brunt of a joke for a laugh, or to put ourselves down to make someone else feel better. But really, we don’t need to beat ourselves (or each other) up with negativity. We need to be our own cheerleader! We need to get comfortable bragging about ourselves a little bit and being okay with taking credit for a job well done. Being humble is a wonderful thing but don’t spend all your life pushing away compliments and acknowledgments for the sake of being humble. Celebrate your wins and accomplishments! Say thank you when someone compliments you and take a moment to breathe that kindness in. Then make an effort to say more of those things about yourself and those around you! This is not a conceited/vain thing to do, this is what it looks like to be proud of yourself and speak about yourself confidently.
Focus on things that have nothing to do with external appearances or pressures. It’s easy to get wrapped up in looking a certain way and presenting that package to the world to be affirmed that you are good enough. That’s why so many women get wrapped up in weight loss, excessive plastic surgery, over consumption of clothing and products, having the latest newest ______. But do those things really define us? Do those things make us who we are? No. These fleeting trinkets and fickle standards will be forever changing so it’s important that you find your value outside of what’s on the surface. The value that you have to offer does not stop at how you physically show up, so it’s time to release those pressures that are keeping you from living out your potential and acknowledge everything else you have to offer. Are you funny, kind, smart, witty, empathetic, business savvy, a great cook, a patient teacher, a loving friend, a supportive partner, a determined woman?
Understand that your value does not come from what others think or say about you. For many of us, our lack of confidence comes from what has been said about us. At the end of the day, those are just opinions and, more often than not, are coming from hurt or ignorant people. Even people we love dearly can be unintentionally cruel but we have the power to choose whether or not we let those words take root in our heart. You will not please everyone. You will not be for everyone. Ultimately, it shouldn’t matter so much who likes you if YOU don’t like you. Don’t choose to be a watered down version of yourself to please other people. And if the people around you are not consistently speaking love and kindness into your life then it might be time for a new set of friends.
Speak to yourself with the love you would have for a child. Picture yourself as 7 or 8 years old. Maybe find an old picture of her and keep it on your phone or desk (wherever you tend to have the most negative thoughts) and use that photo as a reminder of who you are. Not that you’re an immature young child but that child is still within you. She’s still there. Trying to figure out life and do her best. So when she messes up or has a bad day, what would you want to say to her? Speak those things to yourself! You don’t need to hear that you are dumb or worthless, you need to hear that it’s okay things didn’t go as planned and you can still try again; don’t give up! That simple new path can be powerful if you’ll let it be.
Talk to someone. I mean this in the most loving way possible, but sometimes, to get out of our own head, we have to talk to someone who is outside of your situation and gets paid to help us sort through the mess. Starting therapy has been on my 2020 intentions list and already in a handful of sessions has opened my eyes to thoughts and patterns I would not have otherwise seen. She has shown me how I speak about myself in a way that can unintentionally cause shame (telling myself I “should” do something) and she has helped me make connections so I can better understand why I am the way that I am. She understands human psychology better than me and I am so thankful for that! There is nothing wrong with asking for help, you don’t have to walk this path alone. We all need people in our corner cheering us on and encouraging us when we don’t have the energy to do it ourselves. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to get some outside insight because each of us deserves to feel confident in our skin and sometimes it takes a little extra help to get there.
Speaking about yourself with confidence can be challenging. We spend so much time trying to be better that we can struggle to acknowledge just how great we already are. But you are already enough! You’re doing a great job and are worthy of the things you are working towards - but they do not define you. Choose to take back your words and thoughts and start making a conscious effort to shift those patterns. When those around you start to notice the change, they themselves will be encouraged to do the same. We can start a ripple effect of strong, confident, and kind women who build ourselves and each other up.
So right now, write down three things you like about yourself, post that somewhere for you to see regularly, and begin making that shift right now! You got this girl! I am here cheering you on and doing this work with you :) We are in this together! I hope you found some of these tips helpful and I can’t wait to hear what you think!
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