Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have heard me talk many times about the importance of inner confidence. About how you can attract exactly what you’re looking for simply by being more confident.
And most of us, myself included, have often wished for much more confidence than we have.
But what does that really look like?
You can try to fake it and just act more confident, even while inside you're secretly terrified (yes, I've tried this method myself, and I know firsthand that it's just not much fun!) While pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone like that can certainly help to build your confidence, and I do recommend trying it if you feel up to it, I also know that it can be too difficult for many of us to attempt.
The good news is that there’s an easier way to being much more naturally confident in yourself that has nothing to do with acting, trying, pretending, or following someone else’s formula for finally getting it right. And the best part is that it will result in a much more authentic kind of confidence because it will be reflecting your true nature.
You see, there’s something that confidence is about more than anything else. It’s about knowing where you belong and where you don’t.
Think about it for a moment.
When you’re heartbroken over the fact that someone didn't call or text you like he said he would, or when you’re with someone for a few months and they start getting emotionally distant, or when you find that he's not wanting any more of a committed relationship with you when you’re ready for more, what’s the first thing you usually do?
You take it personally.
You make it about you and what you’re doing wrong, or why you’re not enough or why there’s somehow something wrong with you. You start thinking about what you can do to change yourself so that he’ll call or text you again, or come to see that you’re someone worth making a commitment to.
And when you don’t get what you’re so longing for from him – this guy that you think you can’t live without – you let it affect you in a way that no one ever deserves to be affected.
Without even realizing it, you do such damage to your self esteem and self confidence by making your worth dependent on what you get from this one person.
What’s wrong with me? You wonder.
Why can’t I ever get this right? You ask yourself and anyone who’s still willing to listen to you.
What does everyone else have that I can’t seem to get?
You compare yourself to everyone else. There’s no end to what you’ll see and do to yourself, what you’ll put yourself through to try to make your beautiful self fit into a mold or a place that you're never meant to fit into.
Remember the whole square peg in a round hole analogy? That’s the one I’m talking about here.
It’s so obvious when we see it in others, but we never see it when we’re in the midst of such a poor fit ourselves.
And that’s the whole point.
You’re not meant to be with someone if you have to try to be something other than yourself to win their affections.
You’re not meant to be with someone who you have to be quiet around, who you have to walk on eggshells with, who you have to follow any set of rules (self-imposed or otherwise) just to maintain the relationship.
You’re not meant to be with someone where you have to constantly wonder where you stand.
You're not meant to be with someone where you have to create a fake profile for yourself to “spy” on them to see what they’re really up to.
You’re not meant to be with someone who’s not on the same page with you, who doesn't want what you want, who can’t give you what you’re looking for.
This is no way for any of us to live, and especially not you!
Why would we ever choose to live this way? Why would we willingly choose to do this to our beautiful selves?
Oh, we rarely think we’re choosing it. We think it’s just what happened to us, that we’re simply finding out what someone’s really like. And yes, that’s true, but it’s more than that. We’re finding out more about ourselves. And where we belong, and where we don’t.
What would it mean for you and the way you live your life if you listened to that small voice inside you that recognizes when something isn't right with who you’re with instead of believing there’s something wrong with you?
What would it mean for the way you treat yourself if you stopped to consider what you were really getting out of this relationship instead of believing someone else’s programming that this is your role to play?
What would it mean if the words, “You’re too (fill in the blank)” or “You're not (fill in the blank) enough” were taken as the reality check they are instead of the rejection of ourselves we take them to be?
Could it change everything?
Could it mean the difference between feeling like a whole person versus one who never feels like enough?
You see, it’s not just in romantic relationships that this happens; it’s everywhere we find ourselves.
I remember a very similar scenario not too long ago in one of the social groups I used to attend where I never quite felt comfortable sharing what I wanted to say. It was a local Mom's group that I joined because the description of it, and what I had heard from others, sounded like it would be such a perfect fit.
In fact, it sounded like such a good fit that I just kept on trying to make it work, even though inside I felt just a bit awkward and uncomfortable with the group.
It wasn't until a couple of years later, long after I left the group, that I finally understood what that feeling was about. It was not about me not being “good enough” for them, but it was about me and this group simply not being the right fit.
It wasn't that I couldn't meditate long enough or be quiet for as long as they wanted me to meditate and be quiet for, it was that I wasn't looking for the same thing they were. The reality was that I was looking primarily for more social interaction, and this was a group that was more about the spiritual component than the social part.
I tried to fit in over the course of many months, and then had a natural reason to leave when I moved away. It was later when I moved back and reconsidered joining them that I recognized my internal reservations about fitting in there. It was then that I realized what I hadn't understood before.
They weren't wrong and I wasn't wrong; we were just wrong for each other. I felt such a relief when I realized that while they're a great group, they weren't the right group for me. I was then free to move on and find a group that had more of the social component that I was craving.
It was the same as all of those relationships from my single days. I poured my heart and soul into them no matter what was going on with him. It was my story, my belief that I had to keep giving, keep proving my worth, keep showing what I had to offer him that would eventually make him mine.
My story, not his.
My story, not anyone else’s.
Not the groups I chose and then never felt like I belonged. Not the friends I chose because they were the kinds of people I thought I should be more like, but who were never capable of being real friends.
Not the careers I chose because they allowed me to hide from what I really wanted to do, but was too scared to try anything else at the time. Not the stories I kept repeating to myself that only reinforced the same underlying beliefs that tell us so much more about ourselves than we ever see.
It took a long time, but I finally realized that I am enough, just the way I am.
You’re enough. Period.
Don’t give so much of your power away like you do. You know you’re enough. You know you’re not too much of something or not enough of something else. You know the truth.
You might say you don’t, but you do. Deep down, we all do. And that’s why we can only play the part for so long.
There’s a beauty in this you can trust. It’s telling you where you belong, and where you don’t. It’s showing you who’s safe, and who’s not. Who’s available to you, and who’s not. Who’s right for you, and who’s not.
Trust it. Trust yourself.
This is how you know! Don’t take on someone else’s judgment of you that only says you’re not right for them, not that you’re not right at all. There’s a huge difference there and you understanding that difference is worth everything. Really getting that, truly understanding that difference is what brings true confidence.
It’s time to stop hiding in the dark.
That’s why you’re here. That’s why you’re not willing to settle even though you’re not quite seeing how you don’t have to. That’s why you keep coming back even though you’re not quite ready to let go. That’s why you’re slowly but surely being gentler with yourself; not because you've learned how to love yourself yet, but you’re starting to understand how.
And that’s why I’m here.
To remind you of what I've taken so long to learn myself. Never all at once – seriously, it took you years to get here, you’re not going to change this overnight.
Keep showing up.
Keep asking the questions here to me and the other people who you’re seeing are not so different from you.
You’re OK. More than OK.
And when you're with someone who's right for you, you'll have all the confidence in the world. Naturally.
Know that you’re never alone. I read every comment you write.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re going through, I'd love to hear about it, and so would the rest of this community that we've built here. Share your story, your struggles, your “aha” moments with us here in the comments. That's what we're here for!