A couple of months ago when I wrote, Happiness 101: It’s Easier Than You Think, I had no idea it would touch people the way it did. I received so many wonderful comments about it that it literally brought tears to my eyes. To know I am helping others with The Mommy Stylist is truly a dream come true. I hope today’s article has a similar effect as it is an important piece of the happiness puzzle.
Where does confidence come from?
Confidence is something we all seek. But, unfortunately, many go about it in all the wrong ways, often without even realizing it. Addictions, acting out, gossiping, negativity, insecurity, fishing for compliments – the list goes on and on. When it comes down to it we all just want to feel good about ourselves. However, that will never come from anything external; it can only come from within.
The 80/20 rule
Before we get started, it is important to mention the 80/20 rule. Don’t think for one second think that perfection is an option with this plan. I don’t even come close. I shoot for doing it 80% of the time. The other 20% is split between doing it half-ass 10% of the time and completely blowing it off the other 10%. But if you can get to that 80% your life will be exponentially better. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard work. But so, so, SO worth it. It will positively affect your relationships with your partner, your kids and pretty much everyone else. Plus, you’ll be an excellent role model for your children by showing them how to be happy and confident. And in the end, isn’t that what you want for them more than anything?
How to boost your confidence
While learning to be happy is about creating a habit, gaining confidence is an action plan. It’s just as simple but takes a lot more effort. However, it works. And it is a vital part of true happiness. So let’s get to it.
The confidence action plan
- Do what you know you need to do/should do: From little things like flossing to bigger things like working out, the DOING is key. All the little things add up, and at the end of the day if I’ve flossed, eaten relatively well, gotten into bed on time, etc. I feel pretty damn good about myself. (The exercise thing is one I struggle with. The only thing that motivates me is remembering that when I don’t do it I am crabby toward my husband because I am mad at myself. That’s not fair to him AT ALL and I refuse to treat him that way. But, this is a good example of how the things we don’t do can strip away at our confidence and affect our lives and relationships negatively.) Whatever these little things are for you, try to do them most of the time. You may not think it will make a difference but it will.
- Do things you’re afraid of/Do things that make you proud of yourself: This is a very personal one. Again, it doesn’t have to be anything big. You know what makes you squirm, what makes you uncomfortable, what you avoid. But the more you ignore it or push it away the less self-respect you have. Avoiding these things will chip away at how you feel about yourself. You don’t have to become Superwoman and conquer everything in one day; I’ve found that just doing things I’m afraid of as they arise works just fine. The “high” from taking care of business has a lasting effect and quickly increases your confidence.
- Be kind to others/Treat others as you’d like to be treated: If the lady at the grocery checkout has an attitude, consider that she’s probably not happy. Try to hold back the urge to give her attitude back; instead, just feel sorry for her. I know that isn’t easy but even the effort of trying will make you proud of yourself. If your partner comes home in a bad mood, consider that he/she is probably stressed from the day and instead of and getting mad at them for it (either in your head or out loud) be extra nice and do what you can to help them de-stress. That’s what you want them to do when you come home stressed, isn’t it? Lastly, just go out of your way to be nice to others – open doors, give the “thank you” wave when someone let’s you squeeze into their lane. If you see someone in the military when you’re standing in line at Starbucks thank them for their service. You will be a positive influence on others and it will make you instantly feel good! Any little thing will do. We have countless opportunities to exercise our confidence muscle like this each day. We just have to notice them. And again, what wonderful behavior and self-control you’ll be teaching your children.
- Act Appropriately: One of the biggest challenges of life is to gracefully navigate the ups and downs. That means handling them with class which, to me, is defined by maturity, diplomacy, intelligence, compassion, conviction, character, integrity, patience and composure. Not easy. But, it gives me something to strive for during difficult times and often, it does guide me in the right direction. In order to be happier with yourself, doing what you know is best, instead of doing what you want is vital. It takes having conversations that are uncomfortable. It takes holding your anger in when you know the time or place is inappropriate. No wonder so many people choose to be miserable. It’s much easier to let your emotions take control, to lie, cheat and steal, and to blame everyone else for your problems – because that doesn’t take any self-discipline, self-awareness, self-control or work. Which is exactly why we tend to respect people who don’t do that, who fight to be better versions of themselves. Because it is a fight. And it’s up to you who will win. No one else can do this for you. You are the only one in control of your happiness.