6 Easy Actions You Can Take Today To Feel Confident

6 Easy Actions You Can Take Today To Feel Confident

Because sometimes, affirmations just aren't cutting it.
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Being a college applicant is stressful enough on its own, but throwing in low self-esteem makes an already-difficult thing a whole lot tougher. I know, because the college application process has definitely caused my mental health to suffer, and I have often felt on-edge, anxious, and even sometimes, self-pitying. Why would they even want me at their college? I think. I’m stupid, I’m unworthy, I’m — and it goes on and on. At least, until I do something to challenge it, and make things easier on myself.

College applications are stressful, but they don’t have to be insufferable. In my therapy program, we have a saying: Pain is a part of life; you have to feel pain sometimes, but you don’t have to suffer. This distinction between pain and suffering is really important. It is absolutely natural to have moments where you feel anxious, on-edge, and unconfident, but you don’t have to stay in that headspace. In fact, there are a lot of things you can do to get out of that headspace, and I’m about to name a few, tried-and-approved things I’ve done that have worked for me. Hopefully, they’ll work for you, too.

Method 1: Get a piece of paper. Write down three things that you’re good at. Go do one of them.

Pro-tip: Don’t skip the physical action of writing all three things down. This will help you cement in your mind that, in fact, you are a worthy, talented, intelligent being that brings positive things to the world. And the act of doing something you know that you are good at will further cement that idea. Go bake a cake, go running, write some poetry, or sing!

Method 2: Think of something that you’re bad at. Take one step, right now, to becoming better at it.

Pro-tip: The step doesn’t have to be huge. If you wish you exercised more but you’ve never gone running a day in your life, don’t go out and run five miles. But, maybe consider signing up for that neighborhood 5K in three months. Or take a short, 15-minute walk.

Method 3: Evaluate one of your negative thoughts. Do something right now that contradicts it.

Pro-tip: Sometimes I worry that I’m not kind enough to the people that love me. For me, this method can be as simple as giving my friend a meaningful compliment or expressing my gratitude to someone who’s taken care of me in a time of need. If one of your thoughts is that you are stupid, think of something that interests you and do some online research on it. Discover something new! Or better yet, take a drive to the library and do some reading!

Method 4: Think of someone in your life who knows you very well. Write down on a piece of paper three adjectives you think they would use to describe you to someone else who doesn’t know you at all.

Pro-tip: Imagine that your friend is writing you a dating profile. How would they succinctly summarize the kind of person you are to the world? Be honest; the friend I’m thinking of would definitely describe me as sensitive and softhearted. But, she would also describe me as loving and intelligent. This method might help you realize that the people in your life are in your life specifically because they see something valuable in the kind of person that you are. Let them be your mirror until you get on your feet again.

Method 5: Use a “half-smile.” Imagine that the corners of your mouth are being tugged upwards by an invisible string. Smile like this for a few minutes.

Pro-tip: This method works best when you believe that it will help. There is a biological, psychological response your body has to the sensation of smiling and smiling softly like this will allow you to maintain that response in a way that gets you feeling better. I’ve tried this one many times; it really works!

Method 6: Do the “Superman pose.” Stand with your feet spread apart, your hands on your hips, and lift your head so you are looking above the horizon line. Breathe deeply. Hold for as little as 1 minute and as many as 10.

Pro-tip: Do this in a quiet space, free of distractions, where it is unlikely if even possible that someone will see. Not that you should be ashamed (you’ll look pretty bad-ass), but just so you don’t have to think about it. And make sure to hold the pose steadily, and with confidence. This has helped me many times before a stressful presentation or a standardized test.

I hope that you find this article helpful. And remember: self-doubt is only as strong as you allow it to be. And while pain is a natural part of life, suffering is unnecessary. Don’t choose to make yourself feel worse; go try one of these methods (or all six of them!), and take one good step towards feeling better.

Cover Image Credit: Sebastian Voortman

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Sorry Not Sorry, My Parents Paid For My Coachella Trip

No haters are going to bring me down.
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With Coachella officially over, lives can go back to normal and we can all relive Beyonce’s performance online for years to come. Or, if you were like me and actually there, you can replay the experience in your mind for the rest of your life, holding dear to the memories of an epic weekend and a cultural experience like no other on the planet.

And I want to be clear about the Beyonce show: it really was that good.

But with any big event beloved by many, there will always be the haters on the other side. The #nochella’s, the haters of all things ‘Chella fashion. And let me just say this, the flower headbands aren’t cultural appropriation, they’re simply items of clothing used to express the stylistic tendency of a fashion-forward event.

Because yes, the music, and sure, the art, but so much of what Coachella is, really, is about the fashion and what you and your friends are wearing. It's supposed to be fun, not political! Anyway, back to the main point of this.

One of the biggest things people love to hate on about Coachella is the fact that many of the attendees have their tickets bought for them by their parents.

Sorry? It’s not my fault that my parents have enough money to buy their daughter and her friends the gift of going to one of the most amazing melting pots of all things weird and beautiful. It’s not my fault about your life, and it’s none of your business about mine.

All my life, I’ve dealt with people commenting on me, mostly liking, but there are always a few that seem upset about the way I live my life.

One time, I was riding my dolphin out in Turks and Cacaos, (“riding” is the act of holding onto their fin as they swim and you sort of glide next to them. It’s a beautiful, transformative experience between human and animal and I really think, when I looked in my dolphin’s eye, that we made a connection that will last forever) and someone I knew threw shade my way for getting to do it.

Don’t make me be the bad guy.

I felt shame for years after my 16th birthday, where my parents got me an Escalade. People at school made fun of me (especially after I drove into a ditch...oops!) and said I didn’t deserve the things I got in life.

I can think of a lot of people who probably don't deserve the things in life that they get, but you don't hear me hating on them (that's why we vote, people). Well, I’m sick of being made to feel guilty about the luxuries I’m given, because they’ve made me who I am, and I love me.

I’m a good person.

I’m not going to let the Coachella haters bring me down anymore. Did my parents buy my ticket and VIP housing? Yes. Am I sorry about that? Absolutely not.

Sorry, not sorry!

Cover Image Credit: Kaycie Allen

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To The Constantly Underestimated, You Are Stronger Than You Realize

Validate your own damn self, because you deserve it and because sometimes other people just don't get it.
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I've become accustomed to hearing of people's surprise when I accomplish not so surprising tasks.

I'm small in stature.

When I eat a lot of food, people's eyes widen and they make comments without thinking. "You're so tiny, where does it all go?" "You're so lucky you can eat whatever you want."

When I lift a heavy object, I hear "Are you sure you've got that?" or "You're stronger than you look."

I have a gentle demeanor. I listen more than I speak quite often, so people don't always know about the things I like to do or what I've been achieving. I've heard "You're smarter than I thought," a few too many times.

Whether it's at a job, in new friendships or in a new organization, I have dealt with the struggles of proving myself. Although it pays off when other people finally see your potential, you have to learn to be the only person you look for approval from.

Sometimes other people just won't see your potential, no matter how much you deserve validation. Take this as a note that you are strong, even if people view you otherwise.

You have gone through a story no one else will fully understand or appreciate. Your weaknesses don't make you weak. Facing them and continuing on your journey in spite of your flaws makes you a fighter.

I'm also not always the leader people expect, but that doesn't make me any less effective of a leader. I've held leadership positions in various organizations I've been a part of which catches some off guard.

We have all heard that our differences are what drive us, so embrace your alternate style and share your strengths regardless.

If you're small and constantly overlooked, I see you.

If you're quiet and constantly tuned out when you do speak up, I hear you.

If you're struggling with school and are viewed as unintelligent as a result, I believe in you.

I have always let other people define me. I have let people lead me to believe I am weak and of the ability to make little impact on others.

But after self-reflection, I have realized, I am not weak. I have been through so much shit and the fact that I have come out the other side still functioning well makes me a fighter.

I'm not even quiet. I utilize my voice in the ways I view as most effective. That's why I share it every week on a platform that can reach more people than my spoken words can. I listen more than I talk so I can contribute a well thought out response as a result.

I am a good leader.

My voice is worth raising.

I am strong.

You can tell me that I "look like I would lose any fight I ever got in," or that you could "break my arms in half" all you want. You can explain to me that I am not confrontational or that I lack a backbone if you wish. You can even share your opinion of how I might not be the right fit to lead.

But I am done believing you. I am done buying into the mold society has placed me into. I have bought into that model for far too long, and it has inhibited my ability to grow.

For the rest of you that feel constantly underestimated, I encourage you to do the same. Your weaknesses DO NOT make you weak.You have been through some shit too, and here you are.

Validate your own damn self, because you deserve it and because sometimes other people just don't get it.

Cover Image Credit: Izzy Reilly

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