Five simple ways to boost your confidence
I never pegged myself as an insecure person. Maybe the opposite in fact.
I'm usually the one who feels too much. Too loud, too bold, too energetic. Since I've always associated insecurity with shyness, I found myself believing that I was anything but.
It wasn't until this past year, that I realized I had never really challenged myself to step outside of my comfort zone. Most areas in life were snug and situated right where I wanted them. I never dipped my toe far enough in the pool of life to fail. Most decisions were made knowing that I would succeed. But when I was forced to make choices this year that pushed me far outside of what I knew, I realized I was operating under false confidence.
I had never stretched my limits enough to truly to doubt myself.
One of the hardest lessons I've learned this year was that freedom often times comes from failure. It's easy to deceive ourselves into believing that we are stepping into the fullness of life, when in reality, we are stuck operating in the same glass boxes- peering out into the night sky and thinking we can touch the stars.
Insecurity is easy to hide, and we fight to push it down- for good reason. Its ugliness leads to all kinds of discontent and comparison. There are a lot of "quick fixes", too. Just turn on your T.V., and new styles, lipstick shades, and home decor come rushing at you, telling you that you'll gain your confidence back once you measure up. But Jesus was always counter-cultural. His way was simple. (Read: not easy, but straightforward).
I wonder if confidence is not a thing to be had, but a thing to be worked for.
What if we are continuously moving forward in confidence, daily closer to our original design in Christ? A place where we can always see the stars, and are always moving forward to touch them.
I've always said that the smallest of daily choices is what builds our life. Generally, it's not one big rooftop high, but a series of slow, purposeful steps where true growth happens.
The list below has helped me grow in confidence: in my relationship with the Lord, with others and with myself. It is certainly not the end all be all, but I do believe that being intentional with these five things will continually and dramatically grow your confidence.
1. Focus on your Savior more than your sins.
Our natural self is always defying our righteous self. What I mean is this: when we are saved by Christ, the war within us turns up a notch. Satan does NOT concede easily, and His sole purpose is to drive you out of Jesus' arms, and into his own. It's a scary, slimy game he plays. One of his main tools is to show you how scary and slimy your own heart is. Our natural, sinful selves that make us want to hide under the covers and give up all hope. Confidence is not attainable when we forget who we are: saved, not slimy. Redeemed, not repulsive. Loved, not left behind. The key is to turn our eyes off ourselves and on to Him. We cannot be strong in who we are until we know that we are the beloved.
2. Prove yourself wrong.
If we truly believed that there was no such thing as failure, what would we try? Those lies that you are not worthy need to be brought into the light. So, prove yourself wrong. The scariest thing is to put yourself out there when you have no practice at all doing so. The more we intentionally place ourselves in discomfort, the more realize that there is no such thing as failure if we are always learning.
3. Seek to encourage others.
Focusing on others takes our eyes off of ourselves. Be intentional with your compliments. Notice what others do well, and call it out in them. When we remind others who they are, we in turn are also reminded of who we are.
4. Do things in quiet.
I am so unqualified to give any advice on this one, because my tendency is to NOT be quiet. It isn't always because I'm seeking affirmation, but sometimes it is. However, I have found that when I am looking for way to be affirmed, this has a tendency to harm my confidence. Why? Because that affirmation from others is rarely what we want it to be, and rarely comes when we want it to come. If we are acting in a way to prove ourselves by what other people say or don't say, we will always come up short. Our friends, colleagues, acquaintances, family- they care about us, but they can't and won't always say what we are desperately wanting to hear. Making it happen in private will often solidify our purpose, and help us understand why we are doing what we are doing. Being loud about our successes or achievements isn't always a bad thing, but it is wise to understand why we are sharing what we are.
5. Take a break from your "thing".
Where is the first place you turn when you are feeling down? A shopping spree? The gym? A new hair cut? I know my tendency is to want to buy myself a new wardrobe when I'm feeling less than. I'n not saying these things are inherently wrong, but they definietly won't fill up what's missing. Our confidence comes from within, not from how we make ourselves look on the outside. When we are feeling insecure and run everywhere but Christ, it often proves to ourselves that WE can be the ones to fix it. True confidence and true beauty comes from knowing our worth and who we are. Beloved. Redeemed. Worth dying for. So, next time you are feeling "less than", take a break from your "thing", and remind yourself who you truly are.
Confidence is a journey, not a mountain top that we can reach if we try hard enough or reach a certain age.
The small steps- ones intentionally taken every day- will keep you rooted and planted. You are worth pouring into.