Growing up, I was an extremely shy, insecure kid. Whenever someone came to the door, I would run upstairs to avoid having to answer it.
The same thing happened when the phone rang.
In public, I avoided eye contact like the plague. I wore clothes that didn’t fit, and I generally went out of my way to avoid situations where I had to talk to people I didn’t know.
I wasn’t trying to be anti-social; I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin.
Thankfully, though, those days are behind me. And if you’re where I used to be, I want those days to be behind you, too.
When I see how far I’ve come, I realize it would probably have been a lot easier to be more confident if someone had given me a helping hand.
So without further ado, here’s what helped me evolve from the shy wallflower I was to the confident woman I am today.
Let’s dig in.
Improve your posture.
When I was growing up, my posture was simply awful. If I was sitting down, there was a 99% chance that my back was arched, and my shoulders were hunched over. On top of that, my feet pointed inward when I walked.
In short, I was a mess.
But thankfully, I decided to change my bad habits. I started sitting up straight and putting my shoulders back and improving the way I walked.
And guess what?
Those little adjustments changed much more than just my posture — they helped my confidence go through the roof.
I couldn’t believe it at first, but it’s true.
To this day, I attribute a lot of my new-found confidence to the fact that my posture is way better than it used to be.
It’s simple: sitting up straight makes me look better, so I feel better. And because I feel better, I no longer sell myself short — I can hold a conversation with educated, knowledgable people without being a nervous wreck now.
Changing your posture will transform your self-esteem in ways you can’t imagine if you haven’t tried it for yourself.
Realize that people don’t fixate on your mistakes.
This is so important to know. Other people aren’t going to be thinking about that “horribly embarrassing thing” that happened to you last week. They have too much to think about, just like you do.
When I finally realized this, it helped my confidence.
I was on a date once with a guy who had gone to college on the West Coast of the U.S., and I said, “I’d like to go there. I’ve never been to the East Coast before!” (We were currently on the East Coast. I meant to say the West Coast. It took me a while to understand his confused facial expression.)
But you know what? It didn’t matter. I was embarrassed, but my date didn’t care — everyone makes mistakes. Laugh at yourself and move on.
Wear clothes you feel comfortable in.
The clothes you wear matter. A lot. They send a message to other people, and they also send a message to yourself. I used to wear clothes that I didn’t even like — clothes that made me hope I wouldn’t meet anyone I knew at the supermarket.
It was stupid.
Now that I wear clothes that fit me and reflect who I am, I feel confident enough to go anywhere and meet anyone.
They say that if you want to appear confident, dress well, and walk like you own the place. Based on my experience, this is excellent advice.
If you’re unsure of yourself, quicken your pace. That, paired with good posture and well-fitting clothes, will get you further than you’d think in life.
Challenge yourself to talk to people you don’t know.
I know how terrifying it can be to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I used to be there too.
But I realized the more I did it — the more I pushed myself out of my comfort zone — the easier it became to interact with people from all walks of life. The key is practice. You can’t expect to be extremely confident if you don’t go out there and do the work first.
But if you are willing to do the work, your insecurities will start to disappear. You’ll realize you can do so much more than you thought, and you’ll look back and wonder what you were so afraid of.
Travel alone more.
I used to be scared of traveling alone. And then, one day, I was in a situation that required me to travel alone and figure things out on my own two feet.
So I did. Again and again and again.
I soon realized being on my own wasn’t as terrifying as I had thought. It was liberating, in fact.
If you’re scared of traveling alone, you just need a little practice. Keep going, and you’ll soon discover how strong and capable and resourceful you are.
Your confidence will increase with every step you take into the unknown. You’ll realize, as I did, that you can handle whatever life throws at you.
Here’s a little secret: confident people aren’t born confident. They often spend years wishing they could be someone else and hating the person they see in the mirror.
If you’re not as confident as you’d like to be, start putting more faith in your ability to move mountains. Once you do, amazing things will start to happen.
For example, I used to hate the idea of public speaking. I didn’t think I’d be any good at it, and I was afraid of making mistakes. But once I did it, I realized it was really doable.
Self-confidence doesn’t happen overnight — it happens gradually, one little step outside your comfort zone at a time.
Know that if someone who used to run upstairs to avoid answering the door can talk easily with strangers now, there’s hope for you, too.
If you have the courage to make little changes every day, you’ll be amazed by how far you’ll go.