I have always been anxious of showing “too much” of myself. But apart from going all naked, what exactly is too much? Is that a bare stomach? A bikini shoot? Going topless? I think everyone sets those boundaries themselves, and I for one, try to cross them every once in a while. But not just like that, obviously, because for me it takes courage. I don’t want anyone to have the feeling I’m trying to show off, or that I’m trying to be provocative. I want to be comfortable in what I wear and what I do, whatever the opinion of others is. But that’s tough, because obviously everyone has an opinion. In most occasions I’m all for that, but sometimes it’s better to keep your opinion to yourself. I’ve learned that through experience. People can perceive what you think is just being totally honest as insulting, or constructive criticism as offensive. Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that being yourself all the way, all the time (is anyone ever though) takes self-confidence. I’ve learned quite a lot about it over the past few years, making a living out of my blog and finding my way in the fashion world. Apart from all the fun stuff, it would be superficial to ignore the downsides.
I’m still trying to teach myself how to boost my self confidence, and I also have a long way to go still, but I do have a some tips for those of you out there in need of a few pointers. But before I give them to you, let me just say that there are no universal rules that could apply to anyone. Everyone has different needs and insecurities. This is written from a personal prospective, sharing my experiences of what helped me. Working on self-confidence means working on your self-esteem. And you don’t need to do all of them, there is no universal recipe. Pick and choose those that appeal to you, maybe just a couple at first, and give them a try if you will. If they work, try others. If they don’t, try others!
1. Fashun! Let’s stay true to the core of this medium right here first. Generally, if I dress nicely, I tend to feel better about my self. Now this may sound superficial, and yes, by all means, it is, but it does help. When I have an off-day and decide to wear that awesome new fringe jacket that I have, boom! Away with my bad mood. Well not always just like that, but at least it improves.
2. Positive thinking. I do believe in karma, although there are a thousand ways to interpret that. So how do you change your way of thinking? It’s taking baby steps. Start small, train yourself to see the positive in your situation or thoughts, and take it from there. And kill negative thoughts, you have to learn to be aware of your self-talk, the thoughts you have about yourself and what you’re doing. Try it if you haven’t.
3. Get to know yourself. Going into a battle, the best weapon to defend yourself with is knowing your enemy. When a negative self-image is just that, it means getting to know yourself. Listen to your thoughts, try to replace the negative ones with positive ones. Focus on the things you CAN do instead of not, are those limitations really there or just placed there, articficially, by you?
4. Do good. And with this I don’t only mean charity, which obviously should be included here. Don’t just think positive, do positive. You are the only one who can change yourself, and I truly believe in being capable to do almost anything when you really put your mind to it. Energy needs to be directed there, instead of anywhere else blocked by worries and limitations.
5. Be kind and generous. Ok, I’m well aware of the corny-ness of this one, and if you feel like this is too much for you, please move on to the next one. Being kind to others, and generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a tremendous way to improve your self-image. My mom always told me to treat other like I’d like to be treated, and this is something I always try to keep in mind – but unfortunately don’t always manage to do.
6. Increase competence. How do you feel more competent? By becoming more competent. And how do you do that? By studying and practicing. Just do small bits at a time, preparation is everything. Up to a certain level you can teach yourself anything if you’re willing to learn. Yes, there’s also a big part that comes down to factors like talent, luck, opportunity etc. But not trying at all means not getting there at all, not even a little bit.
7. The gutter or the stars. People often make the mistake of shooting for the moon, and then when they fail, they get discouraged. Instead, shoot for something much more achievable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the gutter or the stars, you could potentially sail better when you get somewhere comfortable in-between. Challenge yourself, absolutely, but don’t make it to hard for yourself at the same time. Take it one step at the time, if you get yourself there, take another one.
8. Change what if for what now. I’m a thinker, like the definition of one. I tend to overthink most situations, prepare myself for stuff that probably will never happen. If you focus too much on what could be instead of what actually is, you could get off road. Because you have to deal with situations as they come, and try to focus on solving an issue instead of focusing on how terrible it’s making you feel or what could happen if. What now is what you should be thinking of, the situation is like it is, you’d better make sure you get out of it the best way possible.
9. Be grateful. Look at what you do have instead of what’s still missing. Gratitude is a quality more people could have, I do catch myself focusing on what’s not too. But what you do have is so much more meaningful! And being aware of that even more so.
10. Get active. Yes, this comes back every single personal post I write. Doing something is almost always better than not doing anything. We have to learn from our mistakes, and have to be able to make them ourselves. Without that we wouldn’t have enough room for improvement, not enough challenge to be a better person, or smarter in what we do. Apart from the “mental action” you’d have to take, obviously the physical part is important. Working out produces endorphins in your body, and those are responsible for a more happy and euphoric feeling. Giving you the energy to actually do something and improve yourself.
I’ve written this post, accompanied by these pics shot on Clifton Beach in South Africa, to hopefully send out some positive vibes. I feel like these pics perfectly match the message I’d love to bring. Without me getting more self-confident over the past few year, I would’ve never shared these images. I’m proud that I actually am doing so right now. So curious to hear what you think!