CONFIDENCE, SELF-LOVE & MEETING PEOPLE: A Practical How-To |
Read on for nine solid practices for transforming “I don’t know how…” thinking into “I am learning how…” doing.
“I don’t know how to be confident.” →
“I am learning how to be confident!”
1) Make a list of everything that makes you, you.
Connecting with confidence can feel tricky. Start by writing down everything that makes up who you are as a unique goddamn snowflake. Little things. Big things. Sad things. Silly things.
I'm a natural brunette.
I love fireflies.
I'm a caring daughter.
I cry during commercials.
I can fall asleep anywhere.
I get very nervous about seemingly insignificant things.
I care a lot about what other people think.
I'm a lefty.
This isn’t about writing down what you like or don’t like about yourself. It’s about acknowledging all that encompasses you. Naming and owning anything and everything that comprises the ever-changing, one billion piece puzzle you naturally are.
Then look at your list. Notice how it makes you feel. Notice how wonderfully three-dimensional you are. Notice how imperfectly human all of it sounds, and how deeply okay that is. True confidence doesn’t come from only liking the good stuff. It comes from being sincerely accepting of the not-so-good stuff. This list is a great start.
2) Dress to impress. Yourself.
Forget what’s in style, what she’s wearing, or what your mom thinks looks good on you. What do you want to wear? How do you want to look? How do you want to feel when you walk into a room? What would help you feel more like that?
Do you consistently wear dresses because you friggin love how fly you feel in an A-line, or are you dying to don a pair of overalls?
Are you not so into make-up, but lately find yourself longing to rock a neon pink lip?
Permission granted. Fuckin’ go for it. Self-expression in all forms is a HUGE part of innate confidence. Be courageous enough to let yourself outta your own box. See what experimenting feels like. Notice what works and what doesn’t. What feels like you, and what feels like a costume. The goal is to turn off auto-pilot. Question. Assess. Then dress accordingly.
3) Say what you really think, and mean it.
If someone is saying something that you don’t understand, don’t just nod along like a drone. Speak up.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you're talking about. Nietzsche who??”
If someone says something you grossly disagree with, respectfully state your opinion.
“Actually I have a cousin who is gay, so I don’t identify with your opposition to marriage equality.”
If someone starts talking about something you LOVE, let them know.
“YES! Grease 2 is absolutely better than Grease 1!! I know we’re in the minority but come on! ‘Cool Rider’?! CLASSIC.”
The point here is to stop censoring yourself. It's important to know what you really think, what’s true for you, and what deeply matters. Sharing in those things is equally important. You don’t have to argue, be combative, or boast. You can just share. Get comfortable with having an opinion and letting it be known.
“I don’t know how to meet people.” →
“I am learning how to meet people!”
1) Go ahead, make friendly with strangers. Yup, every stranger.
Talk to the chick next to you while you stare at the salsa options at Whole Foods.
Talk to the cashier at Target.
Talk to the mailman, the barista, the security guard in your building, the receptionist at the doctor’s office, your spin instructor, those people who ask you if you want to save the children.
You are not nearly as awkward and strange as you think you are, so give it a go. Compliment someone’s shoes. Their hair. Ask where they got their funky earrings. Do they know this area well? How’s their day going? ALL OF THESE ARE GREAT OPENERS.
Why are you doing this? Because you need to get used to having a conversation just for the sake of having a conversation. This is practice. It might scare your pants off at first. That’s all part of it.
Prepare yourself: There will be awkward moments of silence, you will step on each other’s sentences, it will be stilted and human and people won’t always want to talk to you but you will forget ahead undaunted, and do it anyway. Because you’re learning how to meet people, right?
2) Plan a friends-bring-friends brunch/outing/cocktail hour/pajama party.
You have 3 friends. They each have 3 friends. Ask your 3 friends to bring their 3 friends and now there’s 9 awesome peeps (MATH!) you don’t know very well attending this cool but low-key thing you’re planning.
Make a solid attempt at getting to know these people, because friends of your friends are probably cool, and you like meeting cool people, or at least you’re learning how to like meeting cool people.
Truth: You are so, so ready to step a wee bit outside your comfort zone. You’ve got this. It’s going to be great. Make sure guacamole is involved.
3) Set a small but scary goal: I will initiate conversation with 2 guys I think are cute this week, just for the sake of practice, and I have no intentions of going on dates with either of them.
You see a cute guy at Barnes and Noble and immediately think, “OH MY GOD he’s so dreamy I could never approach a guy like that…”
Wrong, sister! Because this week you are going to talk to cute guys and not let yourself get wrapped up in the endless bullshit of, “But what will he think?!” and, “What if he rejects me?!!?” and, “I can’t just talk to a cute guy…” BECAUSE YOU TOTALLY CAN. This is strictly practice, remember??
Also: Are you not a friendly, lovable, fun, kind, dorky chick? I think you may have forgotten that you are a friendly, lovable, fun, kind, dorky, chick. So get after it!
Just pick up a book. Ask if he’s read it. He hasn’t? What was the last book he read and really loved? You’re looking for a recommendation…
YES, it will be terrifying and exciting and nerve-racking, and you’ll feel like your stomach is falling out of your butt as you walk away. But trust me: you will learn to LOVE this feeling.
“I don’t know how to love myself.” →
“I am learning how to love myself!”
1) I want you to face yourself in the mirror each morning and say aloud, “I am learning how to love myself a little bit more every day.”
Prepare to feel stupid and phony, but also commit to looking past said stupid phoney-ness. That feeling is just the small, self-loathing parts of you shriveling up and dying. Trust me on this.
Because the practice of courageously loving oneself is a long and winding road. When you aren’t used to expressing it, it will feel strange and fake. But as time goes on, it usually starts to feel a little more true than false…a little more real than goofy…
It might even start to feel like a fun secret you keep between yourself and you. You’ll catch your own eye in the reflection of a store-front window and wink at yourself for being the lovable badass you truly are. And then you’ll know it’s working.
2) You have to put an end to all the incessant shit-talking you do about yourself.
Start noticing how may times you slam yourself (alone and with others). Try keeping a note in your phone titled “SELF-SMACK-TALK NO MORE” and keep a tally. You’ll be shocked to discover how much you might be hating on yourself, inward and outwardly. Cut that shit short.
Because what sense does it make to tell someone you are learning to love how much they suck all the time? None. Trade in shaming your flaws for owning them. Reach for acceptance and appreciation. Remind yourself of everything you do right, because that list will always outweigh the list of what you think you’re doing wrong. Again: practice, practice, this is a p.r.a.c.t.i.c.e.
3) You are going to TAKE. YOURSELF. OUT.
Think about it: there’s always something we want to do that we don’t do because we “don’t have the time”, or “it’s too much money”, or we “don’t have anyone to go with”. You know, things like…
Scheduling a massage.
Checking out an art exhibit.
Going to “Magic Mike XXL” and ordering a jumbo-sized Icee.
Seeing a live musical!
Tapas and sangria for one.
Signing up for a dance class.
Exploring that chic neighborhood with those cute over-priced boutiques.
A walk in the park.
THE LIST GOES ON.
Please, I beg of you, take an active interest in yourself. What would be fun or interesting to do this week (or month)? Carve out space and time for it. Treat it like a lunch date with Justin Timberlake, aka SOMETHING YOU WOULD NEVER SKIP.
And when someone asks what you’re doing go ahead and tell them: “I’m taking myself out. It’s this new self-love thing I’m trying. It’s rad as fuck.”
I bet while you were reading this, there were one or two points that made you think, "Ohh, that sounds like it might be fun!"
Well that's the one I want you to put on your to-do list this week. Just give it a go. You can change your mind later if you really want to, but try. Experiment. Spend more time in the laboratory of growing confidence, learning self-love, and meeting new people, you sexy mad scientist you.