How I Built Confidence & Self-Esteem in my 20's
[As a cosmic being expressed as a woman-being]
When I think back to all of the times I said yes without thinking, the 'root cause' of that was my lack of confidence. What is confidence?
My working definition:
Confidence is feeling deeply rooted in one's sense of self - knowing that no one or nothing can take you away from you. Noting that no matter what happens, you'll find a way to thrive.
It is from this place that one is able to say...
"No thanks, I'm going to look into other options."
"Can you explain that to me again so I'm certain I understand?"
"I'm not feeling up for it today, sorry."
Statements that can easily make us feel like we're being too bold, too aggressive, or not agreeable enough, if we left it up to society to give us cues on how to be.
I consider myself "average" when it comes to the amount of confidence I carried with me from puberty to my early 20's. I might skew more, or less depending on what those of you reading share with me. That said, in my 20's I didn't take confident action often. I did not do things decisively, or boldly advocate for my needs.
This led me down a path of "lessons" and trials. Things like...
Taking hormonal birth control for almost a decade because I didn't research
Wasting my energy, and time starting a business that I was either people-pleasing in, or beating myself up for being assertive
Dating a person for years who gaslighted and manipulated me into staying small
Being really, really freaking hard on myself
I've still got plenty of a ways to go, but this year has been a breakthrough year for me in terms of my confidence level. I compiled a list of things I've been actively doing that have helped this, and detailed them below to inspire your own thoughts.
Meditating on the word 'intention' - Being intentional with your life requires a set of skills that build confidence. It requires you to ask a lot of questions and be a curious seeker. You also need to get comfortable with trial and error, which is the only way to say for certain what works and what doesn't. This includes asking others for help, and it doesn't stop there. It goes the extra steps to gain personal experience, so one can state ones experience confidently.
Prioritizing ruthlessly - I used to get upset when I felt like friends were neglecting me in favor of other life responsibilities. Now, I understand that the only way to walk through life peacefully is by slashing TF out of your list of commitments. You'll go through seasons of life where you have more time and energy to output, and you'll experience just as many seasons where you need to be giving all of your energy to yourself, and your family. When you do this, you'll be saying "NO" a lot, and it will help you see what in your life is truly a yes. Over time, the no gets easier, and you gain confidence knowing you have the space needed to take full responsibility for yourself.
Never giving your power away - Emotional adulthood, aka taking full responsibility for your life, is a verrrry potent space to live. When you do this, you don't need/expect anyone else to meet your needs. You get full control over how you show up when you do not give your power away. Let's say that you have a friend who is awesome at painting houses, and you ask them to paint yours. They respond with specific terms you have to meet to be one of their customers, and you'll get an awesome 'friend discount'. Let's say these terms don't work for you, but you're compelled by a good deal and the relief of knowing your house gets painted eventually. There, you have given your power away. You must either own that you are making a trade off, and make peace with it, or take responsibility for finding another option. Maybe this seems trivial to you, but how many times has a similar scenario happened to you and you spent hours stewing about how unhappy you were, and it was all X person's fault? The wasted energy of that is so mentally draining, you'll be far better off without it (even if it costs you extra)
I'll continue updating this as I go. I'd love you to leave a comment if you resonate, or have a question