Improving your self-confidence will change how you act at work, school, and home. These tips are from Queen Latifah, who believes that to improve self-confidence you need to stop acting the way you think you “should.”
“I don’t act the way society dictates that a woman ‘should,’ writes Queen Latifah in Ladies First: Revelations of a Strong Woman. “I am not dainty. I do not hold back my opinions. I don’t stay behind a man. I’m not here to live by somebody elses’ standards. I’m defining what a woman is for myself. Simply put, I am not interested in subscribing to what society has decided for half of humankind.”
Queen Latifah said this even before starting Jenny Craig’s weight loss program – and she’s been very clear that she’s not losing weight to society’s standards. Rather, she wants to be fit, healthy, and strong for herself — which is the best reason and the best way to improve self-confidence.
10 Ways to Improve Self-Confidence – Queen Latifah
1. Accept that you might feel guilty when you say no – but say no anyway. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you fulfill everyone else’s expectations and behave the way society thinks you should. Instead, say “yes” only to the requests you can fulfill without depleting yourself, and separate others’ expectations from your own.
If you feel guilty when you say no, read Letting Go of Other People’s Expectations.
2. Make your appearance a part of who you are as a whole woman. You dishonor yourself when you dress for others and change your body to please your partner (wax, botox, hate your body, envy skinny models). Don’t compare yourself to others, especially images of air-brushed perfection. To improve self-confidence, remind yourself that you are more than your appearance, shape, and size.
3. Plan small steps that move you towards your dreams and goals. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you clean the house, garden, ferry kids to soccer practice, paint the deck, cook meals, darn the socks when instead you need to take care of yourself. Stop wishing, and start acting in ways that move you forward. That will help improve your self-confidence levels.
4. Own your career. Think of yourself as an entrepreneur, even if you work for someone else. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you: don’t speak up at meetings, accept extra work even though you’re overloaded, let others take credit, don’t consider pursuing the education or job that you’re passionate about, or let colleagues destroy your self concept and self esteem. To improve self-confidence, focus on your career as if you were an entrepreneur.
If you feel confident enough to get a new job, read 7 Cautions for a Career Change. Remember that taking risks is how you improve self-confidence. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you feel confident before taking a career risk!
5. Avoid soul-deadening activities. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you participate in activities you feel lukewarm about or outright hate, go to places that make you feel uncomfortable, or act like a martyr. Instead, tune in to your spirit through mediation, prayer, and time for yourself.
6. Take control of your health issues. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you ignore your physical problems and let your doctor, psychiatrist, or counselor totally control your prescriptions, diagnoses, and schedule. Instead of hoping that they know what they’re doing, you can improve self-confidence by taking charge of your health.
7. Know what you really think – even if you choose not to voice it. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you swallow your opinions, ignore your ideas, and stifle your creativity. To improve your self-confidence, express yourself through writing, painting, creating, producing, etc.
8. Learn why you’re overeating, overspending, overcriticizing. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you bury your feelings in chocolate ice cream, heroin, cigarettes, wine, excessive activity. Stop immersing yourself in shopping, watching TV, gossiping, and extreme busyness! Instead, face your feelings head-on. Face what you’re afraid to know.
9. Pick friends who support, honor, and love you. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you spend time with people who criticize, condemn, or deplete you. Instead of letting your family, friends or society dictate who you are, improve self-confidence by tuning into what you really think and feel.
10. Define what “taking risks” means to you – and take a little one every day. You dishonor your body, mind and spirit when you don’t trust yourself, don’t reach out to others, don’t be vulnerable, and above all don’t make waves. Take a small risk every day, whether that’s saying hi to your postal carrier or saying no to your mom. These small risks will help you improve your self-confidence.
My new favorite saying is: “To get something you’ve never had, do something you’ve never done.”
If you don’t feel confident because of a learning disability (perceived or diagnosed), read 5 Tips for Overcoming Adult Dyslexia at Work.
What has helped you improve self-confidence in the past? I welcome your comments!