Self-love: The anatomy of confidenceAug 11, 2021
“You can’t be more than the personal self image you hold of yourself at any time”
T Harv Eker
Self-love is often presented as bubble baths and rose petals, pedicures and massages at day spas while wearing fluffy robes.
These are of course lovely things that someone who loves themselves might absolutely do, but doing these things won’t in and of itself lead to self-love.
In fact, self-love is achieved through developing self-confidence and raising self-esteem.
In our initial chats many of the people I speak to tell me that if they just felt more confident, or if they could just get more confidence – that they would make more money, be more successful in their businesses, feel more satisfied in their relationships and like themselves more.
But here’s the thing, liking yourself does not come as a result of ‘being confident.’
Choosing to develop confidence allows you to learn & choose who you are and incrementally become someone who is proud of their identity, and exudes self-appreciation, self-acceptance and self-love.
“Confidence” is a nominal word describing a concept that is in fact complex, transitional, circumstantial and situational.
There’s not just a class you can take or boxes that can be ticked off whereupon a certificate in confidence is presented!
Deciding that you are going to become a confident person, also requires you to define at what, in which situations, and getting clear on what would be letting you know that you were now indeed confident.
Confidence, like many things in life, is a process, a path, a series of steps.
I’m going to share the three main pillars of confidence that can help you figure out where you are and what you might like to explore.
If the desired outcome is self-love, then understanding and developing all three areas of confidence will lead you to really truly like, love and be proud of who you are.
If you spend time working on all three of the areas that I am going to lay out for you here, you will become more confident, and also be able to love yourself in a way that runs far far deeper than bath bombs and spa days!
Inspired in part by Matthew Hussey’s teachings on confidence and competence, my studies into confidence, and my work with hundreds of creative misfits and mavens – I’m going to show you the 3 distinct parts that make up the anatomy of confidence:
Pillar one: Embodied confidence
Pillar two: Identity confidence
Pillar three: Integral confidence
Understanding and developing embodied confidence
The layer of confidence that we usually concern ourselves with is the ‘what is being projected out into the world’ part of confidence. The ‘what confidence looks and sounds like’ part.
The physical or embodiment of confidence, and charisma can be learnt and is manipulated by sets of physiological triggers or adjustments: How we hold ourselves, how we move or stand, what we wear, our pitch, cadence, volume, rhythm, where we look, how long we hold someone’s gaze - all play a part in our embodied confidence.
From listening to uplifting music, pacing our speech, holding a power stance or indeed a beat of silence.
Making and maintaining eye contact, learning proper breathing, and posture - confidence in this area really can be learned and developed by studying and practising the symbiotics of body language, charisma and presence until a degree of competence enables confidence.
Understanding and developing identity confidence
The second pillar of confidence is, at first glance, about how we appear in relation to others.
If you dive a bit deeper, it’s less about comparison and more about creating an identity that is a consequence of a diverse lifestyle.
According to Charles Cooley’s ‘Looking glass self’ theory, we develop our sense of identity and self-image through our perceived judgements of others.
This comes in three steps.
First, we imagine how we must appear to others
Then we imagine and react to what we feel their judgment of that appearance must be and over time
We develop our ‘self’ through the judgments of others.
Being a certain someone, for someone else plays a huge part of our identity creation when growing up and perception of how that identity is perceived plays a huge part in this layer of confidence.
What we imagine other people think of us, unconsciously living up to that expectation and often believing that we are letting someone down can lead many of us to be underconfident and / or feel a sense of incongruence that left unchecked can lead to depression and breakdown.
- Who do you hang out with?
- Who are you looking for approval from?
- Which unwritten set of rules about who you must be in order to be accepted, loved and belong are you adhering to?
- Are these rules outdated or created un-consciously a long time ago?
Redefining yourself and consciously creating an identity in line with your values, on a foundation of a lifestyle that lights you up and turns you on, is what will bring you true identity confidence.
Low confidence in this area also often comes from hanging our sense of self on one role, (daughter, sister, mother, wife, good student, exemplary employee, etc) rather than a set of uniquely complex and interesting interests and choices derived from our true desires and essence.
Letting go of people or behaviours that define us or are part of our identity, even if they no longer serve us can be really tricky to do alone, because it will mean losing a part of ourselves, something or someone that we value.
But, creating a diverse lifestyle from a place of curiosity and participation will enable you to feel confident about who you are.
Understanding and developing integral confidence
The third pillar of confidence is, in my opinion, the most important and can often only be discovered through adversity, by which I mean through living, taking risks and ‘failing’.
Not long after I had qualified as a coach, I designed a transformational VIP day (very intense process) based on all my training, and I had notes on what would happen on such a day, all my processes planned out and all my best questions written and contained in a beautiful document wallet.
One day after I had delivered maybe two or three of these days, I travelled to London to meet a new client in a hotel and upon arrival, I realised that I left my notes on the train!!
At that moment, I doubted my confidence, I doubted my competence and I questioned my abilities but I put on a professional game face and I showed up fully even though I was scared, and guess what, it was a GREAT day!
My client did not know that it was the first day I had delivered without notes, and I got to engage my intuition and all the years of knowledge I had stored inside me, not on paper.
That is integral confidence; knowing that you are the asset, knowing that without all the trimmings and trappings, you are awake, kickass and kind!
Core confidence is not about how other people react or how you look, or sound, it is about approving of and accepting yourself fully, no matter the circumstances.
This is what I want for you!
I know this is complex and intricate work. But, I can assure you that it is some of the most important work that you will do. Developing healthy curiosity and exploration with all three layers of confidence can bring incredible growth and opportunity.
For your audio adventure into self-love and confidence, check out Your Thing Sure Thing.
If you enjoyed this article, I highly recommend The AWE (Adulting with Ebonie) Podcast
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