Want to feel more confident? As mums juggling a myriad of responsibilities, life can feel like it’s on fast forward. Before you know it, you’ve lost any sense of WHO YOU ARE as it’s drowned out by everything else going on. You doubt and second guess yourself, and anxiety and procrastination are your constant companions. Mimi Fong explains how you can become that confident and self-assured woman you know you can be.
What is confidence?
Confidence is the trust or faith that you have in yourself and your abilities in dealing with whatever life throws at you and being successful in your own eyes.
It’s the fundamental building block to success. It’s the predictor of your future. It’s not a nice-to-have… it’s a must-have in life. Without it, you stay frozen, and unable to move forwards and embrace life to its fullest.
Did you know confidence is influenced by biology?
From an evolutionary perspective, we are wired to have something called a negativity bias. As way to survive, the human brain evolved to easily identify threats. So we are hyper-sensitive and more reactive to feelings of threat, even when threats don’t exist.
Have you noticed that you tend to react to negative things more quickly, and they have a stronger and longer lasting impact than good things? So unless we train our brains to do otherwise, our natural default is to remember the bad things that have happened to us or what we haven’t accomplished or didn’t achieve rather than all the good things.
When this happens, we focus too much on the negative which is not only damaging to your self-confidence but it also critically reinforces low confidence.
We all know that men have more testosterone than women and testosterone has been shown to be linked to a greater sense of pride, increased self-image, higher risk taking and a sense of dominance. As a result, men tend to take more risk and overestimate their abilities by roughly 30% while woman underestimate their abilities. And women are almost twice as likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Does this mean that as human beings and as women, from a biological perspective, it’s a lost cause?
No – not at all! The fact that a lack of confidence can be influenced by biology doesn’t mean that you can’t change it and in fact train your brain to do something different.
Think back to how many times when you’ve lacked confidence and said to yourself ‘I’m not good enough or worthy’ or ‘I’m not capable/I can’t do it’ which has stopped you from acting and doing the things you want to do.
Confidence or more accurately, self-confidence, allows you to have positive yet realistic views of yourself and the situations in which you are involved. You are not afraid to take risks on tasks that you are able to do and you don’t get paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Having an accurate sense of confidence means you avoid being overconfident or reckless.
Rebuilding your confidence: communicating without saying a word
Did you know that communication is 93 percent non-verbal? And of that 93 percent non-verbal, 55 percent is made up of body language and the rest tone of voice.
So for example, if you have your arms crossed, it can indicate defensiveness, insecurity and protectiveness. Slouching can indicate nervousness, a lack of confidence and anxiety. It’s simple physiology.
When you adopt positive body language, you are sending a message to your brain that things are well, you’re at your peak state, and even if you might not have been feeling this to begin with, you start to feel it.
Examples of positive body language:
- Straightening and lengthening your spine
- Aligning your neck with your spine
- Keeping your head positioned over your shoulders and not in front of them
- Allowing your shoulder blades to relax and gently flatten against your back
- Pulling in your stomach to support your back
- Keeping your legs and arms free and uncrossed
- Engaging in direct eye contact, and finally
Body language is a reflection of what is going on in your unconscious or subconscious mind – your recurring fears and beliefs that might be holding you back. So what we are doing here is making positive adjustments on the outside which is very powerful and has an immediate effect.
If your lack of confidence is more deeply rooted, then this provides a good starting point. However, as with anything, to permanently resolve this, you would need to get this at the root cause which will involve some other strategies.