Last week, I posted a pretty serious video calling out the men who were doing the virtual version of cat-calling on my TikTok channel (see the video above).
Now if you follow me on social media, you know this video was a far cry from my usual bubbly, happy-go-lucky content. But I knew in my heart it was necessary.
And that knowing was validated when one week later I had almost 40,000 views and over 500 comments from women sharing their stories of abusive men, fear, and bullies.
Thanking me for standing up, thanking me for saying what they felt they couldn't, thanking me for setting a positive example.
I don't share this story to toot my horn or shine the spotlight on myself. I share it because not long ago, I was one of those women who didn't feel confident enough to say anything.
Hell, I almost didn't post the video because I didn't want to offend anybody!!
But times are changing, and what we need now more than anything are strong, confident, fearless women taking a stand for themselves and others. Setting boundaries. And holding their heads high as they speak their truth.
And I found so many women in the comments asking me, "How do I get confident like you? How do I set boundaries? How do I deal with bullies at school?"
So here it is, my no BS advice on what it actually takes to build confidence. Because believe you me, coming from a people-pleaser who was horrendously bullied and who fell pray to a narcissist early in life, this is not something you are born with.
It is something you hone, day in and day out. And it will falter. You will have times when all you want to do is shrivel back into yourself. But with these tools you'll know how to dig your heels in, grit your teeth, and show up with confidence even when it's hard, even when it's scary, even when the world is telling you to be sit down and be quiet.
Every time we say, "I'm going to eat healthy starting on Monday" or "I'm going to ask that person out" or "I'm going to start a meditation practice" and we don't follow through, we undermine our confidence in ourselves. We stop believing ourselves when we say we're going to do something. Think about it this way, if your partner constantly told you all of the things they were going to do for you and they never did them, would you feel confident in them?
With that said, that doesn't mean you should stop making promises to yourself. Making promises and following through is what builds confidence. So start small! If you don't think you can fully commit to exercising 30 minutes per day, start with 5 and work your way up!
Also, don't make promises about things you have no control over. For example, don't tell yourself "I'm going to lose 15 pounds." You don't have any control over when or if that will actually happen. Instead focus on habit-based promises like "I'm going to drink 8 cups of water per day."
Again, start small, and do this with someone who you trust at first to build up your confident communication muscles.
The way I started this was when someone asked me where I wanted to go for dinner, instead of hemming and hawing and trying to figure out the answer they wanted to hear, I just would blurt out the first thing that sounded good to me!
Think about it. When you get good at a new skill (maybe you're a great writer, or you knit beautiful scarfs, or you're a beautiful piano player) you feel more confident in yourself. So pick something to learn, something you can improve at day after day, and notice how you start walking a little taller.
I love this quote my therapist recently shared with me: "Where attention goes, neural firing flows. And where neurons fire, new connections can be made."
Basically this means we have the ability to rewire our brains by being intentional with where we put our mental energy. And by continuously repeating affirmations like "I am confident. I am strong. I am fearless," eventually it gets hard wired into our brain as a new, deep-rooted belief.
I see this with mamas all the time. They won't stand up for themselves, but there will be hell to pay if anyone messes with their babies. It's so much easier to stand up for and defend someone else, so use that! Make those experience a chance for you to flex those confidence muscles and then slowly but surely, try summoning that same fire and strength for yourself!
Need help getting back on track with your healthy habits? Join me for my free, 30-day, 5-for-5 Feel Good Instagram Challenge! Every day, we'll commit to doing 5 minutes of meditation, journaling, movement, creating, and reading. All you do is take a screen shot of the photo below, fill it in with what you did each day, post it to IG stories, and tag me @katspanglerunleashed so I can shout you out and cheer you on!
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