I suffer rather quite a bit with low self-confidence, yet I can walk into a room like I own it, simply because I am a massive fan of faking it until you make it!
This is not about being fake or trying to trick anyone but more a way of coping with anxiety and low self-esteem. Anyone who suffers from anxiety will know walking into a room full of people can be extremely difficult, even if you know these people. There is da when I walk into work, with people I know and still feel awkward and anxious. Some days are worse than others, days where I know I have a meeting are a little worse or when someone new starts I get rather anxious. The worse thing is I know it is irrational. There are some days where my confidence could give Beyoncé a run for her money. The truth is there is no set pattern; somedays crowds trigger it other days I could sit perfectly happily in the middle of a 1000 people. The problem with low self-confidence which leads to anxiety is it feeds off itself, it’s not something that can just be fixed it’s about changing an entire mindset, I didn’t realise I had a problem until I hit 30. At this point I had 30 years of negative thinking to work my way through, I had every negative thing anyone ever said to me in 30 years stored up in my brain.
And I know this doesn’t sound very positive but I am lucky, I realised I had a problem and I sought help, I looked after my mental health and I learnt to be kind to myself. This is something that some people figure out fairly quickly, others could take twice as long as I did, and like most problems physical or mentally you have to start with wanting to help yourself. Addressing an issue really is half the problem, after that, it is all uphill, it is bloody hard work, it’s never easy but suddenly there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can visualize the end, the escape.
For me, on a bad day, there are triggers such as trying to make excuses to avoid situations or an increased heartbeat at the thought of what is about to happen. However for others, the symptoms are completely different which can leave you isolated it can leave you with the feeling that no one else knows what you are going through, which then leaves the low self-esteem to thieve and feed more negative thoughts into your brain.
There are some days where I do cancel plans and stay home alone, on these days I have learnt to be most kind to myself. If I end up cancelling plans because I just couldn’t do it, I make sure not a single negative thought is allowed to stay in my mind and I practice some self-care. So I will have a long hot bubble bath, put some new pj’s on and curl up with a book and a cup of tea and I will relax. I tell myself its ok to stay home, its ok to self-care and I will try again tomorrow.
And then there are days when I think “fuck this shit” and I fake it! I have a pep talk with myself and I smash through life like a BOSS! And it’s not that all of a sudden I am no longer anxious or self-conscious more that the positive voice in my head overpowers the negative and reminds me that I can do anything I set my mind too. Sometimes it’s about having a half an hour chat with myself in the mirror and sometimes it’s just a case of taking a super deep breath and jumping straight in before the panic starts.
Starting the day with empowering affirmations helps too, it is a daily reminder that I can slay the day ahead of me and that I am more powerful than I give myself credit for.
My favourite empowering affirmations:
- I’m fearless
- I can do this
- No one can make me feel inferior
- I know my worth
- I choose what I become
- It’s not their job to like me…..it’s mine
- I’ve decided I am good enough
- I was not made to give up
- I am brave enough to climb any mountain
- I have the power to change my story.
Not every day is easy but every day you learn to be stronger, you learn to grow and you learn just how strong you are. So remember to always be kind to yourself, you are doing the best you can do. And always be kind to others because they might be struggling just as much.