Why we need to stop faking confidence
Quit with the doubting and start believing: confident women are made, not born, says Morgan Reardon
I HAVE a confession to make: I’m often the fakest gal in a room. Not in the boob job, Botox, Barbie kinda way (although no disrespect if you are). I say ‘fake’ because the outward confidence I’m oozing and carefree nature I portray is really a complete front; inside I’m freaking out and secondguessing everything, from my outfit choice and my hairstyle to whether or not anyone noticed me grabbing that third arancini ball.
And it’s not just me. When I brought this issue up with my friends, most of them
admitted they’re guilty of it, too. Turns out they’ve been faking it in the office, on dates, in interviews… even at parties and family events. Why, ladies, why?
Ever since we were little, we’ve been told to ‘fake it ’til you make it’. I’m sure the people who fed us this little pearl of wisdom had the best intentions but, unfortunately, somewhere along the way, somebody forgot to teach us how to actually feel it.
‘Instead of telling people to fake it, I always prefer to tell them to make it,’ says performance transformation expert Dr Vesna Grubacevic (Qttransformation.com). ‘I believe the only thing that differentiates a highly confident and successful person from someone who isn’t is what each of them think of themselves.
‘If you’re going to use your energy to achieve something, you may as well use it wisely – it takes a lot of energy to pretend to be, or feel, something you’re not.’
Stop being so faux
It seems our effort to fake it is doing more harm than good. In a recent global beauty and confidence report*, four out of five girls said they weren’t confident and, of the 13 countries surveyed, Australia ranked 11th on the selfesteem scale. Newsflash: confidence fakers – like myself – come in all different shapes and sizes – and they’re impossible to single out. Even the women you’re looking to for inspo on social media can be crippled with selfdoubt behind their supposed pictureperfect feed. Actress and wellness blogger Cleo Massey, 24 (Passaround thesmile.com), landed her first major acting gig on TV show H20: Just Add Water in 2006, but despite appearing to have it all together, she was the target of cruel online bullies who broke her confidence.
‘On the show, I played a bratty, confident, precocious character, but people didn’t seem to realise that it wasn’t me; I was just acting,’ says Massey, who has a 40kstrong Insta following. ‘My feed is a snapshot of my life and, just like most people, I share the best and happiest parts. This makes people think I’m positive and confident 24/7. But I’m not. We all have moments of selfdoubt and insecurity, and that’s OK.’
Listen up, ladies!
So can you actually learn how to be confident? ‘Absolutely,’ says Dr Grubacevic. ‘The numberone way women sabotage their confidence is being too judgemental of themselves. They need to learn to be kinder to themselves, love themselves and be their own best friend.’
I’ve tried that morning pep talk in the mirror, but it’s yet to give me enough confidence to approach that cute boy at the bar at after work drinks – before I’ve had some liquid courage, that is.
‘When you look in the mirror, focus on who you see rather than what you see. And point out your positive qualities, your strengths and your skills instead of what weight you are, what you think you should look like or where you think you should be on the career ladder,’ says Dr Grubacevic. ‘Learn to accept compliments from others and yourself – and feel good about accepting them.’
It’s time to make nice
Here’s the clincher: we need to stop worrying so much!
‘According to recent research, people who worry about workplace rejection or sabotage can bring it upon themselves; it can become selffulfilling. Other studies found people who focused on making good things happen were less likely to suffer from anxiety than those who focused on preventing bad things from occurring,’ says Dr Grubacevic.
The takeaway? Confidence begins and ends with you. So if no one is cheering you on, be your own cheerleader.
‘I found my confidence when I learnt to love myself. You have to accept yourself for who you are before you can start attracting new and exciting things into your life,’ reflects Massey.
Dr Grubacevic agrees: ‘Our confidence depends on the relationship we have with ourselves. The greater the belief in yourself and your worth, the greater your level of confidence in yourself and your abilities.’
Turns out there isn’t any secret to it, after all. Now, don’t mind me while I book a solo vacay to work on this…
‘IF NO ONE IS CHEERING YOU ON, BE YOUR OWN CHEERLEADER’
CONFIDENCE 101: WAVE YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR LIKE YOU JUST DON’T CARE!