“What’s wrong with bein’, what’s wrong with bein’, what’s wrong with bein’ confident? Uh uh uh…”
Nothing, Demi. In fact, I think one of the major plagues strickening our society is a lack of self-confidence, and I truly believe that confidence has the power to change our world.
What’s more, I bet if you sat down with Demi Lovato herself, she would tell you that even she struggles with feeling confident sometimes.
I’ve had the privilege of chatting with gorgeous ladies like Christmas Abbott and Brooke Ence, and even these babes who are the apple of so many others’ eyes battle with body image.
How often do you beat yourself up?
Do you say things to yourself you’d never dare say to a friend?
What do you think to yourself when you look in the mirror first thing in the morning, puffy-eyed, sans makeup, and with your hair looking like you had a wild night with Beetlejuice himself?
For most of us, it isn’t something positive. I know for me it isn’t.
People look at me, the selfie queen who throws up booty pics in a bikini mid-winter, and probably think I always feel great about myself.
The truth is I don’t.
But I do feel confident in myself 90% of the time, and it probably once was only 80%, and I hope someday it can be 98% of the time; I’m working on it.
I believe our confidence is something that we can work on and build like a sweet, glorious glute muscle, and I want to share with you my personal story of struggles with, and strategies to grow confidence.
The Top Five Times I Struggle with Confidence, and Strategies to Overcome It:
1. When I first wake up in the morning
The Struggle: I usually think, “I’m so tired, I don’t want to get out of bed. Then I role out of bed and see my morning-swole, blemished mug in the bathroom mirror and think something like, “My skin looks so dull,” or I might glance at my belly and tell myself, “I look big today.” If I’m not careful this can spiral and lead me down a rabbit-hole of self-criticism. I can end up thinking about how I’m 27 and single, living in my mom and dad’s garage (I’m moving out Friday, for the record) and maybe won’t ever find someone who can love me and my fluffy belly and dull face.
Think these thoughts are absolutely out of line when you think of me? I’d probably say the same about yours. We often hate on ourselves in a way we never would another person, even an enemy! What does your self-talk spiral look like? Think about it right now. The first step is recognizing it. If you can’t recall it, pay attention to your thoughts when you first wake up tomorrow, or especially on days you’re tired.
- The Negative Self-Talk-Spiral Pacifier: The Mantra When I think, “My skin looks dull” I recognize that I’m normal in saying things like this to myself. I remind myself even the most gorgeous women on earth have this brutal habit. I know that if I sometimes wish I looked like other women, there are people who probably look at me and wish they were like me too, and I decide I might as well believe I’m beautiful if someone else can.
- I replace my negative thought with a positive mantra – a short sentence I can say to myself to evoke the feeling I want to have; the feeling of confidence: “I’m beautiful” is a great example. Some days I believe it, and some days I don’t, but I know the more I say it to myself, the more I will believe it.
- The Routines that Help me Evade my own Nasty Name-Calling: “Motivation doesn’t work, habits do. “ – Robin Sharma.
- Rachel Siemens, one of the best female weightlifters in Canada recently wrote a post responding to the question of, “How do you stay motivated?” She basically stated that motivation is fickle; you need to learn how to do the things you want to do whether you feel motivated or not.
- When I start beating myself up, I know I need to get going about my day and doing the things that make me feel better. My morning routine is this: 1) meditation. I use the Headspace app for 10 minutes. 2) writing – I write in my journal for 3 pages (run-on thoughts, a strategy I learned from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), I write a blog, or I use the Daily Difference Maker – the five minute journal available for free if you sign up for my Newsletter. 3) reading – I read a book or blog that I know will inspire me for at least 10 minutes. Short on time? I read a positive quote I’ve hung on my wall.
- If negativity comes up throughout the day, I revert to either a positive mantra, or I get busy with training, work, or a nighttime routine that makes me happy (ROMWOD, taking a bath, reading, writing in a gratitude journal or on the Daily Difference Maker). Craft your own routines so they become like lifeboats you can leap to when you start beating yourself up.
2. When I’m going for a heavy lift.
The Struggle: Doubt creeps into my mind. What if I fail? I get nervous. My heart races and my palms get sweaty. My mind flashes to a way I could fail. Sure enough, when I think this way, I usually miss.
The Strategy: Prevent it and approach the bar with confidence like you deserve the weights. I used to get jacked up before I lift; that doesn’t work for me in anything but a deadlift because then I move too fast not completing the lift with proper technique. Now I try to get calm and focused using these techniques:
- Box breathing – I inhale for a count of 4 through my nose. I hold the inhale for 4. I exhale through my mouth for 4. I hold the exhale for 4. I repeat this process 3 or so times (more than I think I need it), and then I get up off the chair and chalk up. (I also use this technique anytime I have to talk about something that makes me so emotional I want to cry. I can’t speak and cry at the same time. When having my voice heard is more important than having someone watch me cry, I use box breathing.)
- Mini Meditation – I learned this technique from Headspace (download the app and try the relationship pack once you’ve completed the required meditations). I imagine a dot of sunshine starting in the middle of my chest, and then visualize it spreading to cover my whole body; I relax more and more as this happens and allow my happiness to grow. I repeat the process with someone I love, someone I’m indifferent to, and someone I’ve experienced conflict with. I chalk up with new confidence that if I can send positive sunshiny vibes to someone I might not get along with, I can do anything.
- Tiny walks – the simplest. I take some deep breaths and go for a short, slow, relaxed walk around the room. I chill out then head to the chalk bucket when I feel calm.
- Believe you deserve the weights: I first heard this idea on a podcast with Adee Zukier who said about one of the best lifters she knows, “She used to fear the barbell. Now she walks up to it like she deserves the weights.” For me to do this effectively, I think of someone who I see as the epitome of confidence, and I try to get into that person’s head. My ego of choice is Jay Z. Hip-hop artists exude confidence like a globogym screams “bicep curls.” Maybe this is weird but it works for me. I think, “how would Jay Z approach the bar if he were a lifter?” Then I walk up to the bar with all the swagger I can muster and without an ounce of hesitation I calmly think of the cues I need to nail the lift, and then I do.
3. When I randomly feel like I’m not making any progress, or like my world is falling apart
The Struggle: These are the days I feel like I’m never going to make it as a strength athlete. The times I believe building a business is so hard; and wonder if I’m even helping anyone. The moments following a breakup when I imagine something is wrong with me and no one will ever love me.
- I take a nap or go to bed early. Often I’m just tired when I think my world is caving. I recommend this before trying anything else because you might message people crazy shit; tired texting can be worse than drunk texting, in my experience.
- I look back in old journals, workout-tracking notebooks, or I scroll through my Facebook timeline or Instagram feed. It usually only takes one quick look at my “memories” and some post that I thought was so great years ago (and at the time wondered why it only got 2 likes) to remind myself how far I’ve come in every area of my life. It takes one flip through an old training notebook to tell myself, yes, you have made crazy progress. These quick cues let me know that I’m still growing and changing and that anyone I would’ve attracted a year ago probably wouldn’t get me today (also, I AM loveable), and the right man for me will come when I’m at the proper part of my growth.
- I read a book that I know will remind me what’s important, because in these moments my focus us usually small and I’m not seeing the entire scope. Books that have helped me think bigger: anything by Robin Sharma, Mastery by Robert Greene, The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo (my new absolute fav).
- I message a good friend and ask her or him to say something nice about me. You need to know which friends to pick when you do this; choose the wrong one and you might end up disappointed. Choose one whose love language is Words of Affirmation and you will feel like that hip-hop artist ready to walk out on stage to a roaring crowd awaiting an encore.
4.When I’m around a guy I like
The Struggle: In those times, I even manage to turn things that I sometimes see as strengths into flaws. Although I’m usually confident in the way my stomach looks, every day that I’m around him I might fear it looks too fluffy and he won’t like it. I’m normally so proud that I’ve built my own business, but near him I might feel like I come across as too powerful or ambitious and it might make me seem unattractive.
The Strategy: When those thoughts creep in, I remind myself that I’m human and every woman has these cray ideas; I’m not alone. Next, I tell myself that confidence is sexy; I’m not doing anyone any favours by beating myself up. I use a mantra: “I am enough,” and cue myself that anyone who is supposed to play a big role in my life will see me for my beauty. Then I show up, as fully myself – fluffy stomach, with a mind and heart full of wild dreams and ambitions, ready to show love and appreciation to the object of my affection.
Either he’ll love me back or he won’t, but at least at the end of the day I can rest easy knowing I acted like my true self. I have my dignity; I have my integrity.
5. Anytime I feel ugly
The Struggle: You know the days when you just feel plain. super. ugly – and no mantra or positive self-talk will save you.
The Strategy: I get dolled up. This usually means putting on makeup while I train because that’s the only time I’m not in PJs behind a laptop. However it might also mean getting ready for work (when I work with people in real life once a week) a little earlier than normal so I can actually do my hair and makeup nicely and choose an outfit that makes me look like sometimes maybe I know a little bit about fashion.
Or the best option: messaging a friend and asking if she wants to go out, then getting ready together while laughing and listening to an outrageous playlist with jams from your youth – with a wine bottle and curling irons getting more lifts than my barbell on a high volume bench press day.
And when I see how beautiful she is in her imperfection I’m reminded that I’m the same.
Once you’re dolled up, please take a super hot selfie (us-ie?)and throw that shit up on Instagram. The world deserves to see you looking gorgeous and you deserve to feel celebrated!
Finally, I couldn’t write this blog without reminding you that you’re more than just physical. You are a mind, a body, and a spirit. You need to learn to celebrate your worth in all areas. Somedays you might not feel pretty, but you can rejoice in writing a badass proposal at work or in your ability to give to others with all you are as a friend or family member.
Even if you don’t love what you see when you look in the mirror, you also have emotional, spiritual, and mental aspects of your being. Set goals in all of these areas so that when you don’t feel the best physically you still have something to rejoice in! Maybe my training isn’t going awesome (physical), but my business (mental) is growing like crazy! Perhaps I don’t feel so pretty (physical), but I’m practicing gratitude and meditation every day and learning to enjoy the process more (spiritual). So what if my diet wasn’t on point this weekend (physical)? I had an awesome time with my friend and feel like our relationship really grew (emotional).
Just because you aren’t confident in one aspect of your life right now, doesn’t mean you can’t be in another. And I believe that if you’re taking care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, it will undoubtedly give you more power and energy to invest in yourself physically, and the more you can put into your physical training and nutrition, the more you’ll love the way you look!
Know that everyone struggles with confidence, period. Decide you deserve to feel confident and your lack of self-respect isn’t helping anyone – the world is begging to see you shining in all your brilliance!
What’s wrong with being confident?
Nothing, ladies and gents! Our world is crying out for more confident women and men.
In case you wondered where the crazy came from for some of my suggestions for increasing your confidence in this blog, I took it out of this quote for you and replaced it with the word “confident.”
“Here’s to the [confident] ones… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward…Because the people who are [confident] enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” – Apple
REALLY need help with your self talk and with seeing yourself for more than your physical aspects? It’s not too late to sign up for my program, Projekt Possible (but it will be too late in two days), and guess what we work on in the very first week? YEP, your self-talk game. Week Two? Setting goals in all areas of your life.
Sign up for my newsletter for your free Daily Difference Maker to help you squeeze more productivity and joy out of your every days.
Projekt Possible Podcast: “No Regrets: CrossFit, Carbs, Caffeine, and Balancing Dreams with Brooke Ence”
Projekt Possible Podcast: “Up Close and Personal with Christmas Abbott”
Projekt Possible Podcast: “How to Get Rippling Abs (and more importantly, win at lifting, business, and life) with Adee Zukier”
My YouTube Video with some of my fav mantras and how to use them to combat negative self talk