Confidence can be described as a belief in one’s ability to succeed. Striking a healthy balance can be challenging. Too much of it and you can come off as cocky and stumble into unforeseen obstacles, but having too little can prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities—in school, at work, in your social life, and beyond.
I have always been one of those who hasn’t naturally got confidence. I would never stand in front of the class and talk, or go up to somebody and make friends with them first, or order something at the shop alone. Even now, at the age of 18, I still wouldn’t say I am the most confident I could be. However, I have built on my confidence a significant amount.
I suffer with an unfortunately common disorder: Anxiety.
1 year ago, I would have never seen myself in the position I am in today. A good position. 1 year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of being able to get into college AND be on a course that I love. If you told me to just get on the bus to go somewhere, even 10 minutes away I would have refused profusely. If you asked if I made plans regularly, it was a no.
However over time (and help from therapists and support) these things have changed. I repeatedly use the bus to get to and from college, doing a course I enjoy. I’ve made a few friends along the way as well (small circles are better than big!). I leave the house almost every day, and I’ve even traveled to Bath (and I’m doing it again very soon by my self).
I shut off my future and let anxiety take control for the most part, but now I’m showing it who’s boss! I still have bad days, or even weeks, but I can regain the control and know it is not forever.
So, a few pointers:
BE COMFORTABLE. In everything. Whether that’s your clothes or just knowing your limits – for some people jumping into the deep end works, but for most starting in the shallow end and slowly advancing into the deeper pools works more sufficiently. BE YOU. Push yourself, but don’t damage yourself. There is no point taking a giant leap if you’re only going to fall back even further.
TRUST. Have somebody you trust. Somebody who will help you advance. Somebody who will praise you for your successes, instead of focusing on what went wrong. Somebody to say ‘it’ll be okay‘ and mean it. Whether it be your mum, your friend or your dog (even though they can’t actually talk)… somebody to share your experiences with good or bad helps to alleviate and rationalise any feelings you may be experiencing.
PLAN. Make plans. Goals. Lists. What do you want to accomplish? Make them reasonable and achievable, make them realistic and fitting and STICK TO THEM. Even if you don’t complete them in the time given. At the start of each month get a sticky note and write 3 things whether that be one ‘easy, ‘medium’ and ‘hard, or just 3 of the same level and keep it on your laptop or noticeboard (somewhere you look regularly.)
REWARD. Reward the positives. Don’t let them go unnoticed. You got onto a bus for the first time? You left the house with no makeup on? You asked a question in a group meeting? Treat yourself with some ‘you time’. Do something you love and puts you at ease, be it Netflix or a walk around a park – whatever makes YOU comfortable.
I will be expanding on all of these over a few blog posts, so keep your eyes peeled!
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